One of the United States’ top trading partners and a second country that has recently been in the news are the focus of two ongoing economic analyses at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).  U.S. businesses, industry groups, and other stakeholders are invited to participate in the ITC’s Section 332 investigations into various aspects of trade with India and Cuba, the results of which will ultimately be published in a public report to assist policymakers in addressing key trade issues with these two markets.

Section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930 broadly permits the ITC to investigate, among other things, trade conditions and factors affecting competition between the United States and other countries in order to provide “information and assistance” to the President and Congress.  In practice, the President, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Finance Committee, or the House Ways and Means Committee can request a fact-finding investigation under the statute.  Requests to initiate both the Indian and Cuban investigations came from Congress.

These investigations are quite broad in scope, which provides opportunities for those interested in engaging with the ITC in person or in writing to shape investigation outcomes.  The current India investigation follows up on a prior look at the effects of India’s trade, investment, and industrial policies on the U.S. economy, initiated in August 2013 and concluded in December 2014 (Inv. No. 332-543).  Utilizing industry survey responses, hearing testimony, and written submissions, the ITC’s comprehensive 2014 report not only examined the factual basis of alleged Indian policies and practices during the 2003-2014 period, but also developed an economic model to measure impacts on the American economy and estimate the effects of reforming Indian trade rules, with sector-specific analysis.  For example, the ITC found that “[i]f tariff and investment restrictions were fully eliminated and standards of IP protection were made comparable to U.S. and Western European levels, U.S. exports to India would rise by two-thirds, and U.S. investment in India would roughly double.”  In many ways, the ITC’s report, subsequently lauded by the requesting congressional committees, serves as a road map for the market access barriers that the United States will continue to urge the Indian government to improve.         

The ITC’s current India investigation (Inv. No. 332-550) expands upon the groundwork laid last year by exploring significant trade, investment, and industrial policy changes in India since mid-2014 given the election of a new national ruling party.  The ITC’s ongoing Cuba investigation (Inv. No. 332-552) is similarly broad in its reach across industries, types of trade, and economic effects: the Senate Finance Committee’s December 2014 request sought the ITC’s analysis of Cuban import practices since 2005, the impact of the United States’ trade restrictions on Cuban imports of U.S. goods and services, and the potential qualitative and quantitative effects on trade with Cuba if such trade restrictions are lifted.  Companies, trade associations, business groups, and others with an interest in either of these markets can influence how the picture is painted for those in the U.S. government setting trade policy going forward.

Upcoming deadlines:

Trade and Investment Policies in India: 2014-2015 (Inv. No. 332-550)

  • April 21, 2015: Deadline for filing requests to appear at the public hearing
  • April 23, 2015: Deadline for filing pre-hearing briefs and statements
  • May 5, 2015: Public hearing
  • May 12, 2015: Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs and statements
  • June 2, 2015: Deadline for filing all other written submissions
  • September 24, 2015: Transmittal of ITC report to the requesting congressional committees 

Overview of Cuban Imports of Goods and Services and Effects of U.S. Restrictions (Inv. No. 332-552)

  • March 24, 2015: Public hearing
  • March 31, 2015: Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs and statements
  • April 15, 2015: Deadline for filing all other written submissions
  • September 15, 2015: Transmittal of Commission report to the requesting committee