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August 1, 2013

ITC Seeks Information to Support Investigation of How EU Trade Restrictions Affect Exports of U.S. SMEs

Lynn L. Bergeson

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) published a notice in the July 30, 2013, Federal Register announcing that, following receipt of a letter from the United States Trade Representative (USTR), it instituted investigation No. 332-541, “Trade Barriers that U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the European Union.” According to the notice, USTR’s letter indicated that the U.S., in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, “will seek to strengthen U.S.-European Union (EU) cooperation to enhance the participation of SMEs in transatlantic trade, and to address trade barriers that may disproportionately impact small businesses.” ITC will base its report on available information, including information furnished by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and interested parties. ITC will address, where information is available, specific trade barriers in individual EU Member States, and provide, to the extent applicable, qualitative distinctions among the identified trade-related barriers. ITC states that it will include suggestions gathered from SMEs or the relevant literature to strengthen U.S.-EU cooperation to enhance the participation of SMEs in transatlantic trade. ITC will hold a public hearing on October 8, 2013. Requests to appear at the hearing are due September 13, 2013, and the deadline for filing pre-hearing briefs and statements is September 20, 2013. Post-hearing briefs and other written statements are due October 15, 2013. ITC will transmit its report to USTR on January 31, 2014.  As nano stakeholders may be disproportionately impacted by trade barriers, this is a valuable opportunity to comment.