Federal Register Notices
[Federal Register: September 24, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 184)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
Request for Public Comments To Compile the National Trade
Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers and Reports on Sanitary and
Phytosanitary and Standards-Related Foreign Trade Barriers
AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.
SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 181 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended
(19 U.S.C. 2241), the Office of the United States Trade Representative
(USTR) is required to publish annually the National Trade Estimate
Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE). With this notice, the Trade
Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is requesting interested persons to
submit comments to assist it in identifying significant barriers to
U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for
inclusion in the NTE.
For the first time this year, the TPSC is requesting that comments
on standards-related measures and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS)
measures that create barriers to U.S. exports be submitted separately
from other NTE comments. This will assist USTR in preparing two new
annual reports starting in 2010 highlighting SPS and standards-related
measures that may be inconsistent with international trade agreements
to which the United States is a party or that otherwise act as
significant barriers to U.S. exports.
The TPSC invites written comments from the public on issues that
USTR should examine in preparing the NTE and the new reports on SPS and
standards-related measures. Please note that requirements for
submitting comments, as set forth below, are different from those in
the previous years.
DATES: Public comments are due not later than:
November 4, 2009 for comments concerning SPS or standards-related
November 18, 2009 for comments concerning all other measures.
ADDRESSES: Submissions should be made via the Internet at
www.regulations.gov under the following dockets (based on the subject
matter of the submission):
SPS Measures: USTR-2009-0031.
Standards-Related Measures: USTR-2009-0032.
All Other Measures: USTR-2009-0033.
For alternatives to on-line submissions please contact Gloria Blue,
Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee, USTR (202-395-3475).
The public is strongly encouraged to file submissions electronically
rather than by facsimile or mail.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions regarding the NTE or on
submitting comments in response to this notice should be directed to
Gloria Blue at (202) 395-3475. Questions regarding the SPS report or
substantive questions concerning comments on SPS measures should be
directed to Jane Doherty, Director of Sanitary and Phytosanitary
Affairs, USTR (202-395-6127). Questions regarding the report on
standards-related measures or substantive questions concerning comments
on those measures should be directed to Jeff Weiss, Senior Director,
Technical Barriers to Trade, USTR (202-395-4498).
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NTE sets out an inventory of the most
important foreign barriers affecting U.S. exports of goods and
services, U.S. foreign direct investment, and protection of
intellectual property rights. The inventory facilitates U.S.
negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers. The
report also provides a valuable tool in enforcing U.S. trade laws and
strengthening the rules-based trading system. The 2009 NTE may be found
on USTR's Internet Home Page (http://www.ustr.gov) under the tab
The Administration has recently announced new initiatives to direct
Executive Branch trade priorities to barriers of greatest significance
for U.S. exports, investment, and intellectual property rights. To
ensure compliance with the NTE's statutory mandate and the Obama
Administration's commitment to focus on the most significant foreign trade barriers,
USTR will be guided by the existence of active private sector interest
in deciding which restrictions to include in the NTE. The two new
reports that USTR will initiate in 2010 will draw attention to
significant trade barriers in the form of SPS and standards-related
Topics on which the TPSC Seeks Information: To assist USTR in
preparing the NTE and the reports on SPS and standards-related
measures, commenters should submit information related to one or more
of the following categories of foreign trade barriers:
(1) Import policies (e.g., tariffs and other import charges,
quantitative restrictions, import licensing, and customs barriers);
(2) SPS measures;
(3) Standards-related measures (including standards, technical
regulations, and conformity assessment procedures);
(4) Government procurement restrictions (e.g., "buy national''
policies and closed bidding);
(5) Export subsidies (e.g., export financing on preferential terms
and agricultural export subsidies that displace U.S. exports in third
(6) Lack of intellectual property protection (e.g., inadequate
patent, copyright, and trademark regimes);
(7) Services barriers (e.g., limits on the range of financial
services offered by foreign financial institutions, regulation of
international data flows, restrictions on the use of data processing,
quotas on imports of foreign films, and barriers to the provision of
services by professionals);
(8) Investment barriers (e.g., limitations on foreign equity
participation and on access to foreign government-funded R&D consortia,
local content, technology transfer and export performance requirements,
and restrictions on repatriation of earnings, capital, fees, and
(9) Government-tolerated anticompetitive conduct of state-owned or
private firms that restricts the sale or purchase of U.S. goods or
services in the foreign country's markets;
(10) Trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce (e.g., tariff
and non-tariff measures, burdensome and discriminatory regulations and
standards, and discriminatory taxation); and
(11) Other barriers (e.g., barriers that encompass more than one
category, such as bribery and corruption, or that affect a single
Reports on SPS and Standards-Related Measures: On July 16, 2009,
USTR announced plans to begin publishing two new reports on foreign
trade barriers--one on SPS measures and the other on standards-related
measures. These reports--to be issued annually starting in 2010--will
serve as tools to bring greater attention and focus to resolving SPS
and standards-related measures that may be inconsistent with
international trade agreements to which the United States is a party or
that otherwise act as significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports. See
policy-breaking-down-barriers-trade. USTR plans to use comments on SPS
and standards-related measures (items 2 and 3 in the list above)
submitted pursuant to this notice in developing these two new reports.
To help USTR identify SPS and standards-related measures to include in
the new reports, comments concerning those measures should be submitted
separately from those addressing other foreign trade barriers. (See
The following information describing SPS and standards-related
measures may help commenters to file submissions on particular foreign
trade barriers under the appropriate docket.
SPS Measures: Generally, SPS measures are measures applied to
protect the life or health of humans, animals, and plants from risks
arising from additives, contaminants, pests, toxins, diseases, or
disease-carrying and causing organisms. SPS measures can take such
forms as specific product or processing standards, requirements for
products to be produced in disease-free areas, quarantine regulations,
certification or inspection procedures, sampling and testing
requirements, health-related labeling measures, maximum permissible
pesticide residue levels, and prohibitions on certain food additives.
Standards-Related Measures: Standards-related measures comprise
standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures,
such as mandatory process or design standards, labeling or registration
requirements, and testing or certification procedures. Standards-
related measures can be applied not only to industrial products but to
agricultural products as well, such as food nutrition labeling schemes
and food quality or identity requirements.
For further information on SPS and standards-related measures and
additional detail on the types of comments that would assist USTR in
identifying and addressing significant trade-restrictive SPS and
standards-related measures, please see ``Supporting & Related
Materials'' under dockets USTR-2009-0031 and USTR-2009-0032 at
In responding to this notice with respect to any of the three
reports, commenters should place particular emphasis on any practices
that may violate U.S. trade agreements. The TPSC is also interested in
receiving new or updated information pertinent to the barriers covered
in the 2009 NTE as well as reports of new barriers. If USTR does not
include in the NTE or the reports on SPS and standards-related measures
information that it receives pursuant to this notice, it will maintain
the information for potential use in future discussions or negotiations
with trading partners.
Estimate of Increase in Exports: Each comment should include an
estimate of the potential increase in U.S. exports that would result
from removing any foreign trade barrier the comment identifies, as well
as a description of the methodology the commenter used to derive the
estimate. Estimates should be expressed within the following value
ranges: Less than $5 million; $5 to $25 million; $25 million to $50
million; $50 million to $100 million; $100 million to $500 million; or
over $500 million. These estimates will help USTR conduct comparative
analyses of a barrier's effect over a range of industries.
Requirements for Submissions: Commenters providing information on
foreign trade barriers in more than one country should, whenever
possible, provide a separate submission for each country. Comments
addressing SPS or standards-related measures should be submitted
separately from comments on other trade barriers.
In order to ensure the timely receipt and consideration of
comments, USTR strongly encourages commenters to make on-line
submissions, using the www.regulations.gov Web site. Comments should be
submitted under one of the following dockets (depending on the subject
of the comment):
SPS Measures: USTR-2009-0031.
Standards-Related Measures: USTR-2009-0032.
All Other Measures: USTR-2009-0033.
To find these dockets, enter the pertinent docket number in the
"Enter Keyword or ID'' window at the www.regulations.gov home page and
click "Search.'' The site will provide a search-results page listing
all documents associated with that docket number. Find a reference to
this notice by selecting "Notices'' under "Document Type'' on the
search-results page, and click on the link entitled "Submit a
Comment.'' (For further information on using the www.regulations.gov
Web site, please consult the resources provided on the website by clicking
on the "Help'' tab.)
The www.regulations.gov Web site provides the option of making
submissions by filling in a comments field, or by attaching a document.
USTR prefers submissions to be provided in an attached document. If a
document is attached, please identify the name of the country to which
the submission pertains in the "Comments'' field. For example: ``See
attached comment for (name of country)''. If the comment is related to
SPS or standards-related measures, type "See attached comment on SPS
measures for (name of country)'' or "See attached comment on
standards-related measures for (name of country)''. USTR prefers
submissions in Microsoft Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). If the
submission is in an application other than those two, please indicate
the name of the application in the "Comments'' field.
For any comments submitted electronically containing business
confidential information, the file name of the business confidential
version should begin with the characters "BC''. The top of any page
containing business confidential information must be clearly marked
"BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL''. Any person filing comments that contain
business confidential information must also file in a separate
submission a public version of the comments. The file name of the
public version of the comments should begin with the character ``P''.
The "`BC'' and "P'' should be followed by the name of the person or
entity submitting the comments. If a comment contains no business
confidential information, the file name should begin with the character
"P'', followed by the name of the person or entity submitting the
Please do not attach separate cover letters to electronic
submissions; rather, include any information that might appear in a
cover letter in the comments themselves. Similarly, to the extent
possible, please include any exhibits, annexes, or other attachments in
the same file as the submission itself, not as separate files.
Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. E9-23012 Filed 9-23-09; 8:45 am]