Federal Register: December 1, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 232)
DOCID: FR Doc 00-30648
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
Trade Representative, Office of United States
ACTION: Trade Policy Staff Committee:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice.
Notice of Request for Public Comments on the Review and Renegotiation of the United States-Israel Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products
DATES: Public comments are due by noon December 29, 2000.
The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is soliciting written comments on U.S. objectives for upcoming negotiations on the renewal of the United StatesIsrael Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products (ATAP). Specifically, the TPSC is seeking comments on general negotiating objectives and productspecific requests.
United States-Israel Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products; comment request,
The 1985 Agreement on the Establishment of a Free Trade Area between the Government of Israel and the Government of the United States of America (FTAA) was intended to apply, in full, to trade in all products between the two countries. However, the United States and Israel held differing interpretations as to the meaning of certain rights and obligations related to agricultural products under the FTAA. In the interest of achieving practical improvements in agricultural trade between the two countries, the United States and Israel in November 1996 signed the Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products (ATAP). The ATAP, an adjunct to the FTAA, is a fiveyear agreement, expiring on December 31, 2001.
According to the ATAP, U.S. agricultural products exported to
Israel are divided into three categories: (1) Products which are exempt
from tariffs, (2) products which are exempt from tariffs within certain
quantities, (3) products which are imported at a preferential tariff
rate. Israeli agricultural products are treated differently under the
ATAP. Following the implementation of the 1985 FTAA, most Israeli
agricultural products exported to the U.S. had dutyfree access to the
U.S. market. Therefore, dutyfree quota allocations, in excess of U.S.
WTO commitments, are the principle concessions granted to Israeli
products as a result of the ATAP. Not later than January 31, 2001, The
United States and Israel have committed to initiate a review of the
operation of the ATAP and to seek further improvements. In preparation,
USTR is soliciting detailed written comments, including data and arguments, addressing:
(a) General and productspecific negotiating objectives for the ATAP;
(b) Economic costs and benefits to U.S. producers and exporters related to the reduction or removal of current restrictions to the Israeli agricultural market;
(c) Productspecific export interests or barriers (described by Harmonized Tariff System numbers);
(d) Detailed accounts of particular traderestrictive measures that should be addressed in the negotiations; and,
(e) Other relevant issues, including potential environmental implications of the proposed agreement.
Persons submitting written comments should provide twenty (20) copies no later than noon, December 29, 2000, to Gloria Blue at the address listed above. Where possible, please supplement written comments with a computer disk of the submission containing as much of the technical details as possible either in spreadsheet or word processing table format, with each tariff line/services sector in a separate cell. The disk should have a label identifying the software used and the submitter.
Written comments submitted in connection with this request, except for information granted ``business confidential'' status pursuant to 15 CFR 2003.6, will be available for public inspection in the USTR Reading Room (Room 101) at the address noted above. An appointment to review the file may be made by calling Brenda Webb at (202) 3956186. The Reading Room is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Business confidential information, including any information
submitted on disks, will be subject to the requirements of 15 CFR
2003.6. Any business confidential material must be clearly marked as
such on the cover letter or page and each succeeding page, and must be
accompanied by a nonconfidential summary thereof. If the submission
contains business confidential information, twenty copies of a public
version that does not contain confidential information, must be
submitted. A justification as to why the information contained in the
submission should be treated confidentially must be included in the
submission. In addition, any submissions containing business
confidential information must be clearly marked ``Confidential'' at the
top and bottom of the cover page (or letter) and each succeeding page
of the submission. The version that does not contain confidential
information should also be clearly marked, at the top and bottom of each page, ``public version'' or ``nonconfidential.''
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Policy Coordination. [FR Doc. 0030648 Filed 113000; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 319001P
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
For procedural questions concerning public comments, contact Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, TPSC, Office of the USTR, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508 (202) 3953475. All other questions regarding the negotiations should be addressed to Ned Saums, Director for Middle Eastern Affairs, Office of the USTR, (202) 3953320.