The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements is accepting comments through May 27 on the information collections associated with requests under the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement for textile and apparel safeguard actions and short supply determinations.

Safeguards. The safeguard mechanism applies when, as a result of the reduction or elimination of a customs duty under the Panama TPA, a Panamanian textile or apparel article is being imported into the U.S. in such increased quantities, in absolute terms or relative to the domestic market for that article, and under such conditions as to cause serious damage or actual threat thereof to a U.S. industry producing a like or directly competitive article. In these circumstances, the U.S. may increase duties on the imported article from Panama to a certain extent for up to three years.

Those requesting a textile and apparel safeguard action must provide the following information: (1) name and description of the imported article, (2) import data demonstrating increases in absolute terms or relative to the domestic market, (3) U.S. domestic production indicating the nature and extent of the serious damage or actual threat thereof, along with an affirmation that to the best of the requestor’s knowledge the data represent substantially all of the domestic production, (4) imports from Panama as a percentage of the domestic market, and (5) all data available to the requestor showing changes in productivity, utilization of capacity, inventories, exports, wages, employment, domestic prices, profits and investment as well as any other information relating to the existence of serious damage or actual threat thereof. To the extent that such information is not available, the requestor should provide best estimates and the basis therefor.

Short Supply. The Panama TPA provides in Annex 3.25 a specific list of fibers, yarns and fabrics determined to not be available in commercial quantities in a timely manner from suppliers in Panama or the U.S. Articles containing items on this list are entitled to duty-free or preferential treatment despite containing inputs not produced in Panama or the U.S.

Interested entities from Panama or the U.S. have the right to request that a specific fiber, yarn or fabric be added to or removed from this list. CITA must collect certain information about technical specifications and the production capabilities of Panamanian and U.S. textile producers to determine whether such items are available in commercial quantities in a timely manner in the U.S. or Panama.

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