International Trade Commission to Evaluate Duty-Free Treatment for Products from Canada and Mexico

The U.S. International Trade Commission has instituted an investigation of the economic effects of providing duty-free treatment to products from Canada and Mexico. The investigation and resulting report, launched at the behest of the United States Trade Representative, is in furtherance of negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The investigation is denominated North American Free Trade Agreement: Advice on the Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty-free Treatment for Currently Dutiable Imports. It includes two areas of coverage. The Commission is seeking public input on both, through written submissions and a hearing.

First, the Commission will render advice regarding “the probable economic effect of providing duty-free treatment for imports of currently dutiable products from Canada and Mexico on (i) industries in the United States producing like or directly competitive products, and (ii) consumers.” This assignment entails reviewing “each article in chapters 1 through 97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) for which tariffs will remain, taking into account implementation of U.S. commitments in the World Trade Organization.”

Second, the agency will address “the probable economic effects of eliminating tariffs on imports from Canada and Mexico of any agricultural products currently still subject to U.S. tariffs under” NAFTA and identified by USTR. The report will focus on the impact of such changes “on (i) industries in the United States producing the products concerned, and (ii) the U.S. economy as a whole.”

Anyone for Duty-Free Covfefe?

This investigation provides a rare opportunity for parties interested in maintaining or removing tariffs on products from Canada or Mexico to present their views to the United States government. There is a catch, however. The Commission’s report is due to USTR by August 16, 2017. This means that deadlines for public participation are extremely tight:

June 7, 2017: Deadline for filing requests to appear at the public hearing.

June 13, 2017: Deadline for filing pre-hearing briefs and statements.

June 20, 2017: Public hearing.

June 26, 2017: Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs and submissions.

June 26, 2017: Deadline for filing all other written statements.

Anyone planning to participate should note that all documents (requests to appear at the hearing, briefs) must be filed through the Commission’s electronic portal, EDIS.



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