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ITC to Investigate Lower Tariffs on Environmental Goods
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The International Trade Commission will hold a public hearing October 14 on its newly launched investigation on the probable economic effect of slashing tariffs on certain environmental goods under a World Trade Organization Environmental Goods Agreement, which is being negotiated now, according to an ITC announcement.  U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman requested the investigation in an August 20 letter.  Froman requested an ITC report on the effects of duty-free treatment on U.S. industries producing 400 specific products that the ITC hadn't covered in two previous reports. He also sought to ascertain the probable effects of such treatment on consumers.


The U.S. and 13 other WTO members launched negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) July 8, 2014.  The talks now include 17 parties, representing 44 countries, seeking to eliminate tariffs on goods that make a credible contribution to the environment. Parties to the negotiations include Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the U.S.  The eighth round of talks took place in Geneva in July. Negotiations are expected to resume in September.


The ITC said it will provide its confidential report to the USTR by December 4 as requested. 

The report will be based on the U.S. tariff nomenclature in effect during 2015 and trade data for 2014.  According to the ITC, requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed by October 5, and written submissions for the record should be filed by October 19.

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