[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 182 (Thursday, September 19, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59086-59089]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-23846]


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OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE


Request for Comments and Notice of Public Hearing Concerning 
Market Access in the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations in the World 
Trade Organization (WTO)

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION: Request for comments and notice of public hearing concerning 
market access and services issues in the WTO Doha Development Agenda 
negotiations.

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SUMMARY: The interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) will 
convene public hearings Monday, October 21 and Wednesday November 6 to 
obtain public comment on the effects of the reduction of tariffs and 
nontariff barriers to trade in agriculture and non-agricultural goods 
and services, and other market liberalization among WTO members in the 
Doha Development Agenda negotiations. Comments submitted pursuant to an 
earlier Federal Register notice need not be resubmitted in response to 
this Notice.

DATES: Persons wishing to testify orally at the hearing on agricultural 
and non-agricultural goods market access must provide written 
notification of their intention, as well as their testimony, by 
Wednesday, October 9, 2002. A hearing on agricultural and non-
agricultural goods market access will be held in Washington, DC, 
beginning on Monday, October 21, 2002 and will continue as necessary on 
subsequent days. Persons wishing to testify orally at the hearing on 
services market access must provide written notification of their 
intention, as well as their testimony, by Monday, October 28, 2002. A 
hearing for services will be held in Washington, DC, beginning on 
Wednesday November 6, 2002, and will continue as necessary on 
subsequent days. Written comments on all issues are due by noon, Friday 
November 8, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Submissions by electronic mail:

FR0032@ustr.gov (Notice of intent to testify and written testimony for 
non-agricultural and agricultural goods);
FR0033@ustr.gov (Notice of intent to testify and written testimony for 
services);
FR0035@ustr.gov (written comments for agriculture, non-agriculture 
goods, and services).

    Submissions by facsimile: Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade 
Policy Staff Committee, at 202/395-6143.
    The public is strongly encouraged to submit documents 
electronically rather than by facsimile. (See requirements for 
submissions below.)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For procedural questions concerning 
written comments or participation in the public hearing, contact Gloria 
Blue, (202) 395-3475. Further information on the World Trade 
Organization and can be obtained via Internet at the WTO Web site 
www.wto.org, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative at 
www.ustr.gov. Questions on WTO agriculture negotiations should be 
directed to Jason

[[Page 59087]]

Hafemeister, Director for WTO Agriculture Negotiations, (202) 395-5124. 
Questions on WTO non-agricultural market access negotiations should be 
directed to Paul Moore, Director for Market Access, (202) 395-5656. 
Questions on WTO services negotiations should be directed to Peter 
Collins, Deputy Assistant USTR for Services, (202) 395-7271.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Background

    The TPSC has sought comments regarding the subject matter of these 
negotiations in three earlier solicitations: (1) Public Comments 
Regarding the Doha Multilateral Trade Negotiations and Agenda in the 
World Trade Organization, 67 FR 12637, March 19, 2002; (2) Public 
Comments on Preparations for the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the 
World Trade Organization, November 9-13, 2001 in Doha, Qatar, 66 FR 
18142, April 5, 2001; and (3) Public Comments for Mandated Multilateral 
Trade negotiations on Agriculture and Services in the WTO and 
Priorities for Future Market Access Negotiations on Non-Agricultural 
Products, 65 FR 16450, March 28, 2000. Supplementary or new submissions 
on these topics are welcome, but comments submitted pursuant to an 
earlier notice need not be resubmitted. The TPSC will review 
supplemental or new comments together with earlier submissions in 
developing positions.
    The Doha Development Agenda agreed to at the WTO's Fourth 
Ministerial Meeting and set out in the Doha Declaration establishes a 
negotiating agenda that is to be accomplished within three years (i.e., 
not later than January 1, 2005), and sets out a certain number of 
issues to be considered further at the next ministerial meeting of the 
WTO scheduled for September 10-14, 2003.
    The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has provided to the 
TPSC the public comments received on agricultural and non-agricultural 
products as part of its investigation (Investigation No. 332-405), 
Probable Economic Effects on Reduction or Elimination of U.S. Tariffs 
(November 1999 (Confidential report)). On February 11, 2002, the U.S. 
Trade Representative requested that the ITC update its advice. The ITC 
instituted an investigation to update its advice (Investigation No. 
332-440, Probable Effect of the Reduction or Elimination of U.S. 
Tariffs) on February 28, 2002 and published its Notice of Institution 
in 67 FR 10576, March 8, 2002. The ITC will again provide the public 
comments received as part of its investigation to the TPSC so these 
comments need not be resubmitted separately to the TPSC. By separate 
notices request for public comment will be solicited regarding an 
environmental review and a review of the impact on U.S. employment, 
including labor markets, of any agreement that may result from the 
negotiations launched by the Doha Declaration. For ease of submission, 
the TPSC has identified the following headings under which comments may 
be submitted. Submissions should identify the relevant subject area or 
areas to which comments apply. These include:

(A) Agriculture

    The mandated negotiations in agriculture address agricultural goods 
from Chapters 1-24, except for fish and fish products; 2905.43 
(mannitol); 2905.44 (sorbitol); 3301 (essential oils); 3501-3505 
(albuminoidal substances, modified starches, glues); 3809.10 (finishing 
agents); 3823.60 (sorbitol n.e.p.); 4101-4103 (hides and skins); 4301 
(raw furskins); 5001-5003 (raw silk and silk waste); 5101-5103 (wool 
and animal hair); 5201-5203 (raw cotton, waste and cotton carded or 
combed); 5301 (raw flax); and 5302 (raw hemp), as specified by the 
Agreement on Agriculture.
    The Doha Declaration outlines the following three objectives of the 
agriculture negotiations: substantial improvements in market access; 
reduction, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies; 
and, substantial reductions in domestic support. Market access issues 
for negotiation include tariffs, tariff-rate quotas, tariff 
administration, and import state trading enterprises. Domestic support 
issues include trade-distorting support and non-trade distorting 
support. Finally, export competition includes issues such as export 
subsidies, export credits, export state trading enterprises, food aid, 
and export taxes and restrictions. In addition, comments on sectoral 
initiatives and rules and disciplines affecting trade in agricultural 
goods are welcome.
    Respondents are requested to provide as much specificity as 
possible on a commodity and country-specific level focusing on trade 
interests and barriers. To the maximum extent possible, commodities 
should be identified by the Harmonized System nomenclature at the 6-
digit level and for specific markets of interest. The Doha Declaration 
calls for agreement on modalities for the negotiations to be reached by 
March 31, 2003, and the submission of initial schedules by the fifth 
WTO Ministerial meeting, scheduled for September 10--14, 2003. A 
helpful supplement to the written statement would be the provision of a 
document in electronic format containing as much of the technical 
details as possible, either in a spreadsheet format or in a word 
processing table format, with each tariff line in a separate cell. This 
document should be transmitted via e-mail and should be labeled and 
should clearly identify the software used and the respondent. The e-
mail should be sent to FR0035@ustr.gov.

(B) Services

    For services, topics for negotiating objectives include removal or 
reduction of barriers to U.S. services exports under existing GATS 
disciplines; establishment of new GATS disciplines to ensure effective 
market access, e.g., proposed disciplines on domestic regulations on 
services, possibly addressing transparency and necessity; and 
clarification of sectoral definitions in the Agreement. The United 
States submitted its initial requests for specific commitments on July 
1, 2002 and intends to submit its initial offer by the scheduled 
deadline of March 31, 2003.
    Services sectors under consideration in the negotiations include: 
(1) Business services (including professional and related services such 
as legal, accounting, auditing and bookkeeping, taxation, medical, 
dental, veterinary, engineering, architectural, and urban planning 
services), computer and related services, research and development 
services, real estate services, rental and leasing services, and 
advertising and management services; (2) communication services 
(including telecommunications services, audiovisual services, express 
delivery services); (3) construction and related engineering services; 
(4) distribution services (including wholesale, retail, and franchising 
services); (5) educational and training services; (6) environmental 
services; (7) energy services; (8) financial services, including 
insurance and insurance-related services, banking and securities 
services; (9) health-related and social services; (10) tourism and 
travel-related services; (11) recreational, cultural and sporting 
services; and (12) transport services. Comments on services in response 
to this notice should include, wherever appropriate, sector-specific 
priorities by country. A helpful supplement to the written statement 
would be the provision of a document in electronic format transmitted 
via e-mail containing as much of the technical details as possible, 
either in a spreadsheet format or in a word processing table format, 
with each

[[Page 59088]]

services sector in a separate cell. This e-mailed document should be 
labeled and should clearly identify the software used and the 
respondent. Send the e-mail to FR0035@ustr.gov.

(C) Non-Agricultural or Industrial Market Access

    Comments are welcome with as much specificity as the respondent can 
provide on general negotiating objectives and/or targets; country- and 
product-specific export interests or barriers; and particular measures 
that might be improved in the context of the new negotiations, 
including both tariffs and non-tariff measures (NTMs). With regard to 
NTMs, any available details on the foreign laws or regulations that lie 
behind the barrier would also be helpful. To the maximum extent 
possible, commodities should be identified by Harmonized System 
nomenclature at the 6-digit level, (or preferably 8-digit level or 
higher, where available) and should specify markets of interest. WTO 
members have agreed in the workplan for non-agricultural market access 
to seek to reach a common understanding on a possible outline of 
modalities for non-agricultural market access by the end of March 2003 
with a view to reaching an agreement on those modalities by May 31, 
2003.
    Specific comments on possible approaches to negotiations are 
invited (i.e., sectoral initiatives such as zero-for-zero or 
harmonization approaches, request/offer and formula methodologies, and 
approaches that address the interests of small- and medium-sized 
enterprises). Comments should also encompass the priorities and 
methodologies for the negotiation of environmental goods identified in 
the Doha Declaration under the heading of Trade and the Environment. A 
helpful supplement to the written statement would be the provision of a 
document in electronic format transmitted via e-mail containing as much 
of the technical details as possible, either in a spreadsheet format or 
in a word processing table format, with each tariff line in a separate 
cell. This e-mailed document should be labeled and should clearly 
identify the software used and the respondent. The e-mail should be 
sent to FR0035@ustr.gov.

(D) Other Market Access Issues

    Comments are welcome with as much specificity as the respondent can 
provide on general negotiating objectives and/or targets; country- and 
product-specific export interests or barriers; and particular measures 
that might be improved in the context of other market access issues, 
including government procurement particularly with respect to current 
Members of the plurilateral Government Procurement Agreement. The e-
mail should be sent to FR0035@ustr.gov.

2. Public Comments and Testimony

    As provided in the regulations of the TPSC (15 CFR part 2003), the 
Chairman of the TPSC invites written comments and/or oral testimony of 
interested parties at a public hearing. Comments and testimony may 
address the reduction or elimination of tariffs or non-tariff barriers 
on any articles provided for in the HTSUS that are products of a WTO 
member country, any concession which should be sought by the United 
States, or any other matter relevant to the market access and services 
negotiations in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations. The TPSC 
invites comments and testimony on all of these matters, and in light of 
the schedule for presenting market access offers, in particular seeks 
comments and testimony addressed to:
    (a) Economic benefits and costs to U.S. producers and consumers of 
the reduction of tariffs or non-tariff barriers on trade between the 
United States and other WTO members, and the recommended staging 
schedule for reduction.
    (b) Existing nontariff barriers to trade in goods between United 
States and other WTO members and the economic benefits and costs of 
removing those barriers.
    (c) Existing barriers to trade in services between the United 
States and other WTO members and the economic benefits and costs of 
removing such barriers.
    As previously noted, a hearing will be held on Monday, October 21, 
2002 for agricultural and non-agricultural goods market access, and 
will continue as necessary on subsequent days, in Rooms 1 and 2 at 1724 
F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508. A hearing will be held at the same 
location on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 for services market access and 
will continue as necessary on subsequent days. Persons wishing to 
testify at the agricultural and non-agricultural goods market access 
hearing must provide written notification of their intention by Friday, 
October 11, 2002. Persons wishing to testify at the services market 
access hearing must provide written notification of their intention by 
Monday, October 28, 2002. The notification should include: (1) The 
name, address, and telephone number of the person presenting the 
testimony; and (2) a short (one or two paragraph) summary of the 
presentation, including the subject matter and, as applicable, the 
product(s) (with HTSUS numbers) and/or service sector(s) to be 
discussed. A copy of the testimony must accompany the notification. 
Remarks at the hearing should be limited to no more than five minutes 
to allow for possible questions from the TPSC. Persons with mobility 
impairments who will need special assistance in gaining access to the 
hearing should contact Gloria Blue. Interested persons, including 
persons who participate in the hearing, may submit written comments by 
noon, Friday November 8, 2002. Written comments may include rebuttal 
points demonstrating errors of fact or analysis not pointed out in the 
hearing. All written comments must state clearly the position taken, 
describe with particularity the supporting rationale, and be in 
English. The first page of written comments must specify the subject 
matter including, as applicable, the product(s) (with HTSUS numbers) or 
service sector(s).

3. Requirements for Submissions

    In order to facilitate prompt processing of submissions, the Office 
of the United States Trade Representative strongly urges and prefers 
electronic (e-mail) submissions in response to this notice. In the 
event that an e-mail submission is impossible, submissions should be 
made by facsimile.
    Persons making submissions by e-mail should use the following 
subject line: ``WTO Market Access'' followed by (as appropriate) 
``Agriculture'', ``Non-Agriculture'', ``Services'', or ``Other'' and 
``Notice of Intent to Testify'', ``Testimony'', or ``Written 
Comments.'' Documents should be submitted as either WordPerfect, 
MSWord, or text (.TXT) files. Supporting documentation submitted as 
spreadsheets are acceptable as Quattro Pro or Excel. For any document 
containing business confidential information submitted electronically, 
the file name of the business confidential version should begin with 
the characters ``BC-'', and the file name of the public version should 
begin with the characters ``P-''. The ``P-'' or ``BC-'' should be 
followed by the name of the submitter. Persons who make submissions by 
e-mail should not provide separate cover letters; information that 
might appear in a cover letter should be included in the submission 
itself. To the extent possible, any attachments to the submission 
should be included in the same file as the submission itself, and not 
as separate files.
    Written comments, notice of testimony, and testimony will be placed

[[Page 59089]]

in a file open to public inspection pursuant to 15 CFR 2003.5, except 
business confidential information exempt from public inspection in 
accordance with 15 CFR 2003.6. Business confidential information 
submitted in accordance with 15 CFR 2003.6 must be clearly marked 
``BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL'' at the top of each page, including any cover 
letter or cover page, and must be accompanied by a nonconfidential 
summary of the confidential information. All public documents and 
nonconfidential summaries shall be available for public inspection in 
the USTR Reading Room. The USTR Reading Room is open to the public, by 
appointment only, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday 
through Friday. An appointment to review the file may be made by 
calling (202) 395-6186. Appointments must be scheduled at least 48 
hours in advance.
    General information concerning the Office of the United States 
Trade Representative may be obtained by accessing its Internet server 
(www.ustr.gov).

Carmen Suro-Bredie,
Chairman, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. 02-23846 Filed 9-18-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3190-01-P