[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 19 (Friday, January 29, 1999)]
[Pages 4732-4742]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-2071]



Generalized System of Preferences; Imports Statistics Relating to 
Competitive Need Limitations; Invitation for Public Comment

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION: Notice; invitation or public comment.


SUMMARY: The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is informing the 
public of interim 1998 import statistics relating to Competitive Need 
Limitations (CNLs) under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) 
program. The TPSC also invites public comments by 5:00 p.m. March 19, 
1999, regarding possible de minimis CNL waivers with respect to 
particular articles, and possible redesignations under the GSP program 
of articles currently subject to CNLs.

GSP Subcommittee, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 
17th Street, NW, Room 518, Washington, DC 20508. The telephone number 
is (202) 395-6971.


I. Competitive Need Limitations

    Section 503(c)(2)(A) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (the 
``1974 Act'') (19 U.S.C. 2463(c)(2)(A)), provides for Competitive Need 
Limitations on duty-free treatment under the GSP program. When the 
President determines that a beneficiary developing country exported to 
the United States during a calendar year either (1) a quantity of a 
GSP-eligible article having a value in excess of the applicable amount 
for that year ($85 million for 1998), or (2) a quantity of a GSP-
eligible article having a value equal to or greater than 50 percent of 
the value of total U.S. imports of the article from all countries (the 
``50 percent'' CNL), the President shall terminate GSP duty-free 
treatment for that article from that beneficiary developing country by 
no later than July 1 of the next calendar year.

II. Discretionary Decisions

A. De Minimis Waivers

    Section 503(c)(2)(F) of the 1974 Act provides the President with 
discretion to waive the 50 percent CNL with respect to an eligible 
article imported from a beneficiary developing country if the value of 
total imports of that article from all countries during the calendar 
year did not exceed the applicable amount for that year ($14 million 
for 1998).

B. Redesignation of Eligible Articles

    Where an eligible article from a beneficiary developing country 
ceased to receive duty-free treatment due to exceeding the CNLs in a 
prior year, Section 503(c)(2)(C) of the 1974 Act provides the President 
with discretion to redesignate such an article for duty-free treatment 
if imports in the most recently completed calendar year did not exceed 
the CNLs.

III. Implementation of Competitive Need Limitations, Waivers, and 

    Exclusions from GSP duty-free treatment where CNLs have been 
exceeded, as well as the return of GSP duty-free treatment to products 
for which the President has used this discretionary authority to grant 
redesignations, will be effective July 1, 1999. Decisions on these 
matters, as well as decisions with respect to de minimis waivers, will 
be based on full 1998 calendar year import statistics.

IV. Interim 1998 Import Statistics

    In order to provide advance indication of possible changes in the 
list of eligible articles pursuant to exceeding CNLs, and to afford an 
earlier opportunity for comment regarding possible de minimis waivers 
and redesignations, interim import statistics covering the first 10 
months of 1998 are included with this notice.
    The following lists contains the HTS subheadings and beneficiary 
country of origin for GSP-eligible articles, the value of imports of 
such articles for the first ten months of 1998, and their percentage of 
total imports of that product from all countries. The flags indicate 
that status of GSP eligibility.
    Articles marked with an ``*'' are those that have been excluded 
from GSP eligibility for the entire past calendar year. Flags ``1'' or 
``2'' indicate products that were not eligible for duty-free

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treatment under GSP for the first six months or last six months, 
respectively, of 1998.
    The flag ``D'' identifies articles with total U.S. imports from all 
countries, based on interim 1998 data, less than the applicable amount 
($14 million in 1998) for eligibility for a de minimis waiver of the 50 
percent CNL.
    List I shows GSP-eligible articles from beneficiary developing 
countries that already have exceeded the CNL of $85 million based on 
interim 1998 data. None of these articles were receiving duty-free 
treatment as of December 31, 1998. The listed articles did not receive 
GSP-duty free treatment either during all of 1998 or during the second 
half of 1998 (denoted with flags ``*'' or ``2'', respectively).
    List II shows GSP-eligible articles from beneficiary developing 
countries that (1) have not yet exceeded, but are approaching, the $85 
million CNL during the period from January through October 1998, or (2) 
are close to or above the 50 percent CNL. Depending on final calendar 
year 1998 import data, these products stand to lose GSP duty-free 
treatment on July 1, 1999.
    List III is a subset of List II. List III identifies GSP-eligible 
articles from beneficiary developing countries that are near or above 
the 50 percent CNL, but that may be eligible for a de minimis waiver of 
the 50 percent CNL. Actual eligibility for de minimis waivers will 
depend on final calendar year 1998 import data.
    List IV shows GSP articles from beneficiary developing countries 
which are currently not receiving GSP duty-free treatment, but which 
have import levels (based on interim 1998 data) below the $85 million 
CNL. Depending on whether such articles meet both the $85 million CNL 
and the 50 percent CNL based on full 1998 data, such articles might be 
eligible for redesignation pursuant to the President's discretionary 
authority. Articles with a ``D'' flag exceed the 50 percent CNL (based 
on interim 1998 data) but might be eligible for a de minimis waiver. 
The list may contain articles that may not be redesignation until 
certain conditions are fulfilled, as for example, where GSP eligibility 
for articles was suspended because of deficiencies in beneficiary 
countries' protection of the rights of workers or owners of 
intellectual property. This list does not include articles from India 
which do not receive GSP treatment as a result of Presidential 
Proclamation 6425 of April 29, 1992 (57 FR 19067).
    Each list is followed by a summary table that indicates the number 
of products cited from each beneficiary developing country and the 
total value of imports of those products from the beneficiary 
developing country.
    The lists appended to this notice are provided for informational 
purposes only. The attached lists are computer-generated, based on 
interim 1998 data, and may not include all articles that might be 
affected by the GSP CNLs. Regardless of whether or not an article is 
included on the list, all determinations and decisions regarding the 
CNLs of the GSP program will depend on full calendar year 1998 import 
data with respect to each GSP eligible article. Each interested party 
is advised to conduct its own review of 1998 import data with regard to 
the possible application of GSP CNLs.

V. Public Comments

    All written comments with regard to the matters discussed above 
should be addressed to: GSP Subcommittee, Office of the U.S. Trade 
Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Room 518, Washington, DC 20508. 
All submissions must be in English and should conform to the 
information requirements of 15 CFR 2007. Furthermore, each party 
providing comments should indicate on the first page of the submission 
its name, the relevant Harmonized Tariff Schedule subheading(s), the 
beneficiary country or territory of interest, and the type of action 
(e.g., the use of the President's de minimis waiver authority, etc.) in 
which the party is interested.
    A party must provide fourteen copies of its statement which must be 
received by the Chairman of the GSP Subcommittee no later than 5 p.m., 
Friday, March 19, 1999. Comments received after the deadline will not 
be accepted. If the comments contain business confidential information, 
fourteen copies of non-confidential version must also be submitted. A 
justification as to why the information contained in the submission 
should be treated confidentially must be included in the submission. In 
addition, the submissions containing confidential information should be 
clearly marked ``confidential'' at the top and bottom of each page of 
the submission. The version that does not contain confidential 
information should also be clearly marked, at the top and bottom of 
each page, ``public verion'' or ``non-confidential''.
    Written comments submitted in connection with these decisions, 
except for information granted ``business confidential'' status 
pursuant to 15 CFR 2007.7, will be available for public inspection 
shortly after the filing deadline by appointment only with the staff of 
the USTR Public Reading Room ((202) 395-6186). Other requests and 
questions should be directed to the GSP Information Center at USTR by 
calling (202) 395-6972.
Frederick L.Montgomery,
Chairman, Trade Policy Staff Committee.


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Appendix--GSP Import Statistics

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[FR Doc. 99-2071 Filed 1-28-99; 8:45 am]