Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), NAFTA countries are required to eliminate customs duties on textile and apparel goods that qualify as originating goods under the NAFTA rules of origin, which are set out in Annex 401 to the NAFTA. The NAFTA provides that the rules of origin for textile and apparel products may be amended through a subsequent agreement by the NAFTA countries. See Section 202(q) of the NAFTA Implementation Act. In consultations regarding such a change, the NAFTA countries are to consider issues of availability of supply of fibers, yarns, or fabrics in the free trade area and whether domestic producers are capable of supplying commercial quantities of the good in a timely manner. The Statement of Administrative Action (SAA) that accompanied the NAFTA Implementation Act stated that any interested person may submit to CITA a request for a modification to a particular rule of origin based on a change in the availability in North America of a particular fiber, yarn or fabric and that the requesting party would bear the burden of demonstrating that a change is warranted. NAFTA Implementation Act, SAA, H. Doc. 103-159, Vol. 1, at 491 (1993). The SAA provides that CITA may make a recommendation to the President regarding a change to a rule of origin for a textile or apparel good. SAA at 491. The NAFTA Implementation Act provides the President with the authority to proclaim modifications to the NAFTA rules of origin as are necessary to implement an agreement with one or more NAFTA country on such a modification. See section 202(q) of the NAFTA Implementation Act.
On December 19, 2005 the Chairman of CITA received a request from Meeks & Sheppard, on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company, alleging that rayon viscose staple fiber, classified in subheading 5504.10 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), cannot be supplied by the domestic industry in commercial quantities in a timely manner and requesting that CITA consider whether the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rule of origin for sanitary towels or tampons classified under HTSUS subheading 5601.10 should be modified to allow the use of non-North American viscose rayon staple fiber. The petitioner requested that the modification be effective for entries made on or after October 1, 2005, the date they alleged all rayon production ended in the United States.
CITA is soliciting public comments regarding this request, particularly with respect to whether viscose rayon staple fiber can be supplied by the domestic industry in commercial quantities in a timely manner. Comments must be received no later than February 10, 2006. Interested persons are invited to submit six copies of such comments or information to the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, room 3100, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20230.
If a comment alleges that viscose rayon staple fiber can be supplied by the domestic industry in commercial quantities in a timely manner, CITA will closely review any supporting documentation, such as a signed statement by a manufacturer stating that it produces fiber that is the subject of the request, including the quantities that can be supplied and the time necessary to fill an order, as well as any relevant information regarding past production.
CITA will protect any business confidential information that is marked business confidential from disclosure to the full extent permitted by law. CITA will make available to the public non-confidential versions of the request and non-confidential versions of any public comments received with respect to a request in room 3100 in the Herbert Hoover Building, 14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20230. Persons submitting comments on a request are encouraged to include a non-confidential version and a non-confidential summary.
James C. Leonard III,
Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.
[FR Doc.06-0000 Filed 0-00-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-DS