The International Trade Commission (ITC) is amending the rules for the miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) program to require petitions for tariff benefits and comments to include certain additional information and to revise the requirement regarding the time when a petition may be withdrawn, among other things, the ITC said.
In a final rule set to be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 27, the ITC will require that petitions include the names of any domestic producers of articles requested for duty exemption if the names are available and newly require that petitioners include an estimate of dutiable value, in addition to total value, of subject products for the next five calendar years.
In comments to the ITC, groups including the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) and American Chemistry Council (ACC) expressed concerns that such requirements will lead petitioners to disseminate too much information.
AAEI said the amendment to include dutiable and total value appears to apply to the specific petitioner, without allowing the petitioner to redact confidential information or provide it in an alternative form, such as in quantified or percentage values, the ITC said.
The ACC said the amendment, in the absence of an ITC process for considering whether it needs the information for review, would discourage the filing of petitions, and it recommended that the ITC provide a discrete confidential business information process if the ITC decides such information is necessary for review, the ITC said.
“The commission is aware that disclosure of dutiable value data could help a competitor, in some instances and with the help of other data, gain insight into the dutiable value data reported by a petitioner,” the ITC said. “When a petitioner has reason to believe this may occur, the petitioner may request confidential treatment for the information it considers to qualify for such treatment.”
The final rule also will newly require petitions’ article descriptions to allow petitioners to withdraw MTB requests no later than 30 days after the ITC submits its preliminary report to Congress regarding filed petitions. Regulations currently allow petitioners to withdraw petitions anytime before the ITC submits its final report to Congress.
The ITC is scheduled to submit its preliminary report to Congress in June 2020 and its final report in August 2020.
The final rule also sets new requirements for comments by domestic producers. Among other things, such comments will be required to include a description of the product alleged to be identical, like or directly competitive with the subject product; the Chemical Abstracts Services (CAS) registry number, if any; and evidence demonstrating the existence of domestic production and citing possible examples.
Further, the ITC may provide additional opportunity for public comment, and if it does, it will publish a notice in the Federal Register, the commission said.
In comments to the ITC, the MTB Coalition and National Association of Manufacturers expressed support for an additional public comment period.