Federal Register: October 25, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 206)
DOCID: fr25oc07-107 FR Doc E7-21064
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
Trade Representative, Office of United States
ACTION: Trade Policy Staff Committee:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice and request for public comment.
Trade Policy Staff Committee; Public Comments on the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act and the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act: Report to Congress
DATES: Public comments are due at USTR no later than 5 p.m., November 16, 2007.
The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is seeking the views of interested parties on the operation of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), as amended by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) (19 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.). Section 212(f) of the CBERA, as amended, requires the President to submit a report to Congress regarding the operation of the CBERA and CBTPA (together commonly referred to as the Caribbean Basin Initiative, or CBI) on or before December 31, 2001, and every two years thereafter. The TPSC invites written comments concerning the operation of the CBI, including comments on the performance of each CBERA and CBTPA beneficiary country, as the case may be, under the criteria described in sections 212(b), 212(c), and 213(b)(5)(B) of the CBERA, as amended. This information will be used in the preparation of a report to the U.S. Congress on the operation of the program.
Caribbean Basin Initiative—; Report to Congress; comment request,
Interested parties are invited to submit
comments on any aspect of the program's operation, including the
performance of CBERA and CBTPA beneficiary countries, as the case may
be, under the criteria described in sections 212(b), 212(c), and
213(b)(5)(B) of the CBERA, as amended, and provided below. Other issues
to be examined in this report include: the CBI's effect on the volume
and composition of trade and investment between the United States and
the Caribbean Basin beneficiary countries; and its effect in advancing
U.S. trade policy goals as set forth in the CBTPA. The following
countries are both CBERA and CBTPA beneficiary countries: Barbados,
Belize, Costa Rica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia, and
Trinidad and Tobago. Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, British
Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles,
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines currently
receive benefits only under CBERA. The Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua ceased to be designated as
beneficiary countries when the Dominican RepublicCentral America
United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTADR) entered into force for
each country. The CAFTADR entered info for El Salvador on March 1,
2006; for Honduras on April 1, 2006; for Nicaragua on April 1, 2006;
for Guatemala on July 1, 2006; and for the Dominican Republic on March
1, 2007. Comments on these five former beneficiary countries should
pertain to the time period when each country was still a beneficiary
country. When the CAFTADR enters into force for Costa Rica, that
country will cease to be designated as a CBERA and CBTPA beneficiary country.
Eligibility Criteria for CBTPA Beneficiary Countries (Section 213(b)(5)(B) of CBERA)
In determining whether to designate a country as a CBTPA
beneficiary country, the President must take into account the criteria
contained in sections 212(b) and (c) of CBERA, and other appropriate criteria, including the following:
(1) Whether the beneficiary country has demonstrated a commitment to undertake its obligations under the WTO under or ahead of schedule and participate in negotiations toward the completion of the FTAA or another free trade agreement.
(2) The extent to which the country provides protection of intellectual
property rights consistent with or greater than the protection afforded under the Agreement on TradeRelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
(3) The extent to which the country provides internationally recognized worker rights including
(I) The right of association;
(II) The right to organize and bargain collectively;
(III) A prohibition on the use of any form of forced or compulsory labor;
(IV) A minimum age for the employment of children; and
(V) Acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health.
(4) Whether the country has implemented its commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.
(5) The extent to which the country has met U.S. counternarcotics certification criteria under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. (6) The extent to which the country has taken steps to become a party to and implement the InterAmerican Convention Against Corruption.
(7) The extent to which the country applies transparent, nondiscriminatory and competitive procedures in government procurement, and contributes to efforts in international fora to develop and implement rules on transparency in government procurement.
Additionally, before a country can receive benefits under the CBTPA, the President must also determine that the country has satisfied the requirements of section 213(b)(4)(A)(ii) of CBERA (19 U.S.C. 2703(b)(4)(A)(ii)) relating to the implementation of procedures and requirements similar in all material aspects to the relevant procedures and requirements contained in chapter 5 of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Requirements for Submissions
Comments must be submitted in English by the deadline indicated above. In order to facilitate prompt processing of submissions, the Office of the United States Trade Representative strongly urges and prefers electronic (email) submissions in response to this notice. In the event that an email submission is impossible, submissions should be made by facsimile. Handdelivered submissions will not be accepted.
Persons making submissions by email should use the following subject line: ``CBI Report to Congress.'' Documents should be submitted as either WordPerfect, MSWord, Adobe PDF, or text (.TXT) files. Spreadsheets submitted as supporting documentation are acceptable as Quattro Pro or Excel files. Persons who make submissions by email should not provide separate cover letters; information that might appear in a cover letter should be included in the submission itself. To the extent possible, any attachments to the submission should be included in the same file as the submission itself, and not as separate files.
Written comments, notice of testimony, and testimony will be placed
in a file open to public inspection pursuant to 15 CFR 2003.5, except
business confidential information exempt from public inspection in
accordance with 15 CFR 2003.6. Business confidential information
submitted in accordance with 15 CFR 2003.6 must be clearly marked
``BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL'' at the top of each page, including any cover
letter or cover page, and must be accompanied by a nonconfidential
version indicating where confidential information was redacted by
inserting asterisks where material was deleted, as well as a non
confidential summary of the confidential information. If any document
submitted electronically contains business confidential information,
the file name of the business confidential version should begin with
the characters ``BC,'' and the file name of the public version should
begin with the characters ``P.'' The ``P'' or ``BC'' should be
followed by the name of the submitter. All public documents and non
confidential summaries shall be available for public inspection in the
USTR Reading Room. The USTR Reading Room is open to the public, by
appointment only, from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday
through Friday. An appointment to review the file must be scheduled at
least 48 hours in advance and may be made by calling (202) 3956186. Carmen SuroBredie,
Chairman, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. E721064 Filed 102407; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3190W8P
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Kent Shigetomi, Office of the Americas, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Room 523, Washington, DC 20508. The telephone number is (202) 3953412.