• USTR Requests 332 Investigation of ICT Products; WTO Expanded ITA?
  • August 13, 2012
  • Law Firm: Crowell Moring LLP - Washington Office
  • On July 31, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) filed a "Section 332" request with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to conduct an investigation under Section 332(g) of the Tariff Act of 1930 regarding information and communications technology (ICT) products, including computers and peripheral equipment, communications equipment, consumer electronics and electronic components. Under Section 19 U.S.C. ยง 1332(g), the USITC conducts fact-finding inquiries to determine the effect of customs laws, tariffs, treaties and conditions of competition on U.S. industries. The investigation request is likely connected to the ongoing Information Technology Agreement (ITA) negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO); the resulting evidence and reports would provide guidance to the USTR in those negotiations.

    WTO members have been negotiating to expand coverage of the ITA. The current ITA requires the elimination of tariffs for over 150 technology products including computers, communications equipment and semiconductors. The agreement could be expanded to cover hundreds of additional products such as television cameras, liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, various integrated circuits and batteries, smart cards, optical fibers and light-emitting diode (LED) products. WTO members are scheduled to continue the review of ITA products during September discussions in Geneva.

    Companies interested in expanded ITA coverage should consider filing comments or participating in a possible Section 332 investigation and monitor the Federal Register for notices related to this pending investigation.