[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 32 (Thursday, February 15, 1996)]
[Pages 6022-6024]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-3334]



Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request

AGENCY: International Trade Commission.

ACTION: Notice of proposed collection; comment request.


SUMMARY: The proposed information collection is a 3-year extension, 
pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub L. 104-13), of the 
current ``generic clearance'' (approved by the Office of Management and 
Budget under control no. 3117-0016) under which the Commission can 
issue specific questionnaires for the following types of investigations 
with statutory deadlines: countervailing duty, antidumping, escape 
clause, market disruption, and ``interference with programs of the 
USDA.'' Comments concerning the proposed information collection are 
requested in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.8(d); such comments are 
described in greater detail in the section of this notice entitled 
supplementary information.

DATES: To be assured of consideration, written comments must be 
received not later than April 23, 1996.

ADDRESSES: Signed comments should be submitted to Donna R. Koehnke, 
Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., 
Washington, D.C. 20436.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the proposed information 
collection (and related instructions) and draft Paperwork Reduction Act 
Submission and Supporting Statement to be submitted to the Office of 
Management and Budget may be obtained from either of the following 
persons: Debra Baker, Office of Investigations, U.S. International 
Trade Commission, telephone 202-205-3180, or Lynn Featherstone, 
Director, Office of Investigations, U.S. International Trade 
Commission, telephone 202-205-3160.


Request for Comments

    Comments are solicited as to (1) whether the proposed information 
collection is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the agency, including whether the information will have practical 
utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the 
proposed information collection, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used; (3) the quality, utility, and clarity 
of the information to be collected; and (4) minimization of the burden 
of the proposed information collection on those who are to respond 
(including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, 
mechanical, or other technological forms of information technology, 
e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses). Comments are also 
solicited as to whether questionnaires gather adequate information on 
the burden respondents incur in answering the questionnaire. 
Historically, the Commission has requested that questionnaire 
respondents report the actual number of hours required and the cost to 
them of preparing the reply and completing the form. (This information 
is compiled by the Commission for each specific questionnaire issued 
under the ``generic clearance'' and submitted to the Office of 
Management and Budget for their review on a quarterly basis. It also 
forms the basis for the Commission's burden estimates reported below.) 
Under the proposed information collection, the Commission will request 
that respondents divide the cost data they report into two components 
(or wage rate categories), namely costs incurred (1) by managers, 
accountants, attorneys, and other professional and supervisory 
personnel and (2) for clerical support.

Need for the Proposed Information Collection

    The Commission conducts countervailing duty and antidumping 
investigations under the provisions of Title VII of the Tariff Act of 
1930 to determine whether domestic industries are being injured or 
threatened with injury by reason of imports of the product(s) in 
question which are being subsidized (countervailing duty cases) or sold 
at less than fair value (antidumping cases). Escape-clause 
investigations are conducted by the Commission to determine whether 
increased imports are a substantial cause of serious injury or threat 
of serious injury to a domestic industry. If the Commission makes an 
affirmative determination in escape-clause investigations it is also 
required to recommend a remedy that will eliminate the injury to the 
domestic industry. Market disruption investigations are conducted to 
determine whether imports of an article produced in a Communist country 
are causing injury to a domestic industry. In addition, the Commission 
conducts investigations to determine whether imports are interfering 
with programs of the Department of Agriculture for agricultural 
commodities or products. 

[[Page 6023]]
Specific investigations are instituted in response to petitions 
received from U.S. manufacturers of the product(s) in question or, in 
rare instances, in response to a request from the U.S. trade 
representative or the Department of Commerce. Data received in response 
to the questionnaires issued under the terms of the proposed 
information collection (or ``generic clearance'') are consolidated and 
form much of the statistical base for the Commission's determinations 
in these statutorily-mandated investigations.

Information Collection Plan

    Using the sample ``generic clearance'' questionnaires as a guide, 
questionnaires for specific investigations are prepared and are sent to 
all U.S. producers manufacturing the product(s) in question and to all 
significant importers of the products, particularly those importing 
from the country(ies) subject to investigation, except in cases 
involving an unusually large number of firms. In these instances, 
questionnaires are sent to a representative sample of firms. Purchaser 
questionnaires are also sent to all significant purchasers of the 
product(s) in cases involving as many as 50 consuming firms. Firms 
receiving questionnaires include businesses, farms, and/or other for-
profit institutions; responses are mandatory.

Description of the Information to be Collected

    Producer questionnaires generally consist of the following four 
parts: (part I) general questions relating to the organization and 
activities of the firm; (part II) data on capacity, production, 
inventories, employment, and the quantity and value of the firm's 
shipments and purchases from various sources; (part III) financial 
data, including income-and-loss data on the production in question, 
data on asset valuation, research and development expenses, and capital 
expenditures; and (part IV) price-related information. (Questionnaires 
may, on occasion, also contain part V, an abbreviated version of the 
above-listed parts, used for gathering data on additional product 
    Importer questionnaires generally consist of three parts: (part I) 
general questions relating to the organization and activities of the 
firm; (part II) data on the firm's imports and the shipment and 
inventories of its imports; and (part III) data on price-related 
information similar to that requested in the producer questionnaire.
    Purchaser questionnaires generally consist of six parts: (part I) 
general questions relating to the organization and activities of the 
firm; (part II) data concerning the purchases of the product by the 
firm; (part III) general questions about the market for the production 
in question and about the purchaser's purchasing practices; (part IV) a 
number of questions related to competition between the domestic product 
and the subject imports; and (parts V and VI) actual purchase prices 
for specific types of domestic and subject imported products and the 
names of the firm's vendors.
    The Commission solicits input from petitioners and other potential 
recipients when preparing questionnaires for individual investigations. 
Where possible, the Commission also circulates draft questionnaires to 
parties for their comment.

Estimated Burden of the Proposed Information Collection

    The Commission estimates that questionnaires issued under the 
proposed information collection will impose an average annual burden of 
90,000 response hours on 2,800 respondents (i.e., recipients that 
provide a response to the Commission's questionnaires). The tabulation 
below lists the estimated average annual burden for each type of 
questionnaire for August 1997 through July 2000.

                                                                    Producers'      Importers'      Purchasers' 
                                                                   questionnaire   questionnaire   questionnaire
No. of respondents..............................................             940             980             880
Frequency of response...........................................               1               1               1
Total annual responses..........................................             940             980             880
Hours per response..............................................            36.4            37.2            22.0
      Total hours...............................................          34,200          36,450          19,350

    These estimates are based upon an analysis of the burden actually 
imposed by specific questionnaires issued under the Commission's 
currently approved ``generic clearance'' authority for fiscal years 
1993 through 1995. The methodology is based on the average number of 
times questionnaires were sent to 10 or more recipients per 
investigation, the average number of responses per questionnaire, the 
average burden per respondent, and the Commission's anticipated 
workload. The estimates are annual averages and take into consideration 
the increase in workload expected for the Commission in fiscal years 
1997 and 1998 resulting from the mandated sunset review of title VII 
determinations issued previously.
    The estimated annual cost to respondents of the proposed 
information collection for August 1997 through July 2000 is $3.8 
million in fiscal year 1995 dollars. The cost was obtained by 
multiplying the estimated number of questionnaires to be cleared under 
the generic clearance by the average cost of completing the 
questionnaire by respondents. In fiscal year 1995 dollars, the average 
reported cost per producing firm was $897; the average reported cost 
per importing firm was $1,734; the average reported cost per purchasing 
firm was $1,007. The cost estimate provided is an average and is not 
broken out by wage rate categories. (Information to be collected by the 
proposed information collection will permit such analysis in the 
future.) Because the specific questionnaires issued under the ``generic 
clearance'' are not repetitive, all of the costs imposed on respondents 
fall into the ``total operation and maintenance and purchase of 
services'' component. There are no known capital and start-up costs 
(e.g., purchasing computers and software; monitoring, sampling, 
drilling and testing equipment; and record storage facilities) to 
respondents. (Estimates of annualized cost to the Commission are 
presented in a draft Paperwork Reduction Act Submission and Supporting 
Statement available upon request from the Commission.)

Variation in Estimated Burden

    The hourly burden estimates presented above can be expected to vary 
widely from one hour to several times the reported average burden. The 
reasons for the variation are as follows: (1) the respondent may not 
produce, import, or purchase the product(s) under investigation (such 
respondents need only to so certify and return the 

[[Page 6024]]
first page of the questionnaire to the Commission); (2) the respondent 
may only produce, import, or purchase the products during a short time 
period or handle only one of the products reviewed; and (3) the 
questionnaires include the maximum number of reporting categories to 
ensure that meaningful data will be obtained from firms with complex 
business operations, and some sections of the questionnaires will not 
apply to smaller-sized firms.
    In addition to variation in hourly burden among firms completing a 
specific questionnaire, there is also variation in hourly burden among 
questionnaires prepared for different investigations. The Tariff Act of 
1930 identifies certain economic factors that the Commission is to take 
into account in arriving at determinations in countervailing duty and 
antidumping investigations; the Commission is also provided with 
guidelines concerning the relevant economic factors it is to assess in 
escape clause investigations. In some investigations, questionnaires 
will solicit data pertaining to other economic factors not listed in 
the statutes (e.g., channels of distribution) because such data have 
been found to be particularly useful in past Commission determinations 
or are relevant to the case in question. A key factor which leads to 
variation in hourly burden among investigations is the number of 
product categories for which data must be collected.

Description of Efforts to Reduce Burden

    To facilitate the preparation of its questionnaires, the Commission 
has proposed to amend its rules to require that the petition identify 
the proposed domestic like product(s) and further identify each product 
on which the Commission should seek information in its questionnaires 
(see Notice of Proposed Amendments to Rules of Practice and Procedure, 
60 FR 51748, Oct. 3, 1995). Further, the Commission has issued 
proposals to formalize the process for parties to comment on data 
collection in final phase countervailing and antidumping duty 
investigations. The Commission has also adopted a new format and 
otherwise revised the basic content of Commission questionnaires (60 FR 
51748, Oct. 3, 1995). The content of the new generic forms are 
described above and are available from the Commission; they are much 
shorter in length than those used in the past and facilitate the 
development of a less burdensome questionnaire for use in specific 
investigations. Finally, the Commission may utilize a ``short form'' 
for use in cases were numerous small businesses must be surveyed. This 
form is a simplified and abbreviated version of the questionnaire sent 
to larger firms. To further reduce respondent burden, the Commission 
permits the submission of carefully prepared data estimates and will 
accept information in electronic format.

    Issued: February 9, 1996.
    By order of the Commission.

Donna R. Koehnke,
[FR Doc. 96-3334 Filed 2-14-96; 8:45 am]