WASHINGTON - The Office of the United States Trade Representative today announced procedures for considering whether to impose a safeguard action on certain steel products under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, which could include a tariff, tariff-rate quota, or quota.
Section 201 allows the President to impose special import restrictions or other measures to assist domestic producers if the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) finds that imports are injuring or threatening to injure those producers. Domestic producers should use the time afforded by Section 201 measures to restructure or otherwise adjust to increased import competition.
On October 22, 2001, the ITC found that increased imports of certain steel products have caused or are threatening to cause serious injury to U.S. steel producers. The ITC will now prepare a recommendation as to what action the President should take in response to the import surge. It will announce its recommendation on November 30, 2001. The ITC will follow its announcement with a report on the results of its proceedings that will be sent to the President by December 19, 2001, after which the President will have up to 75 days to decide on appropriate action.
An interagency group chaired by USTR, with representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Labor, State, and Treasury, as well as the Office of Management and the Budget and the Council of Economic Advisors, will advise the President on appropriate action to take.
The interagency group will begin its work by requesting information on domestic producers' plans to adjust to import competition. Comments will be due on November 5, 2001. Interested persons will have an opportunity to respond to those plans by November 19, 2001.
The interagency group will also consider any requests for the exclusion of particular products from the coverage of the safeguard action that are submitted by noon on November 13, 2001. Interested persons will have an opportunity to respond to these requests by November 27, 2001.
Written comments on what action the President should take should be submitted no later than noon on December 28, 2001, and responses to written comments should be submitted no later than January 8, 2002.