ITC investigates probable impact of U.S.-Israel agricultural free trade
The U.S. International Trade Commission will investigate the probable economic impact on the U.S. and Israeli agricultural industries if U.S.-Israel agricultural trade was conducted in a free trade environment.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative requested the investigation in an Oct. 23 letter. In January 2008, the U.S. and Israeli governments will begin discussion of the U.S.-Israel Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products (ATAP) to seek ways to improve the agreement before its expiration on Dec. 31, 2008. The ATAP is an adjunct to the 1985 Agreement on the Establishment of a Free Trade Area between the two governments.
The United States has complained that its held differing views with Israel as to the meaning of certain rights and obligations related to agricultural products under the Free Trade Area agreement.
The USTR noted that following the implementation of the 1985 Free Trade Area agreement, most Israeli agricultural products exported to the United States had duty-free access to the U.S. market, whereas U.S. exporters of agricultural products have faced significant market access barriers in Israel despite the ATAP.
The ITC will submit a report of its findings to USTR by April 23, 2008. Meanwhile, the commission plans to hold a public hearing related to the investigation at its Washington headquarters on Jan. 10. For more details, access the ITC Web site at www.usitc.gov, or phone (202) 205-2000.