On November 25, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a Federal Register notice announcing that it will hold a virtual public hearing on December 28, 2020, in its ongoing investigation into Vietnam’s acts, policies and practices related to its import and use of illegally harvested or traded timber. See Update of October 6, 2020. A written request to appear at the hearing must be submitted no later than December 10, 2020, and must include a summary of the testimony. The USTR is specifically interested in testimony regarding:
- The extent to which illegal timber is imported into Vietnam.
- The extent to which Vietnamese producers, including producers of wooden furniture, use illegal timber.
- The extent to which products of Vietnam made from illegal timber, including wooden furniture, are imported into the United States.
- Vietnam’s acts, policies or practices relating to the import and use of illegal timber.
- The nature and level of the burden or restriction on U.S. commerce caused by Vietnam’s import and use of illegal timber.
- The determinations required under section 304 of the Trade Act, including what action, if any, should be taken in the investigation.
The hearing “will not involve testimony regarding specific products or services that might be affected by an action in the investigation.” If necessary, the USTR will offer another opportunity for public comment should it later consider actions affecting specific products or services. After the hearing, the USTR will accept rebuttal comments until January 6, 2021, which will be limited to raising “errors of fact or analysis” in any written submissions or hearing testimony.
All written submission must be filed via the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.Regulations.gov on docket number USTR–2020–0036.