|For Immediate Release
Contact: Monica Hill, 202-482-3809
NEW COMMERCE WEBSITE ALERTS SMALL- AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES
OF PENDING GOVERNMENT ACTIONS UNDER SECTION 301
U.S. small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have a new tool
to learn about opportunities to comment on potential increases
in U.S. import duties thanks to an innovative website launched
by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The website, Section 301 Alert
is an initiative designed to keep SMEs informed of pending U.S.
Government actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974,
which is administered by the Office of the United States Trade
Representative (USTR). The web site will be particularly helpful
to U.S. businesses given the passage of the Trade
and Development Act of 2000. Section 407 of the Act, which
is know as the "carousel legislation," requires the U.S. Government
to periodically revise retaliation lists.
Section 301 authorizes USTR to take responsive action when foreign
countries fail to comply with the results of dispute settlement
under international trade agreements, and in certain other situations
involving unfair restrictions on U.S. exports. Such actions can
include increasing U.S. import duties by 100 percent or more.
In advance of taking action under
Section 301, USTR issues public notices and requests for comments.
These notices are publicized through media reporting, publication
in the federal register, and posting on government web sites.
This new service of the Department
of Commerce will help disseminate information on opportunities
to comment by allowing SMEs to register with the web site
and to receive automatic e-mail alerts about
potential U.S. actions under Section 301. Registering SMEs will
receive e-mails shortly after notice is published in the Federal
Register. Alternatively, if businesses do not wish to register,
they can learn of opportunities to provide public comment by visiting
the site regularly. The website is free of charge and open to
all interested parties. Section 301 Alert also contains general
information about Section 301 and links to other useful information.