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Public Papers - 1989 - November

White House Statement on Duty-Free Treatment for Certain Imported Watches


The President today announced his decision to grant duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to certain imported watches that are not produced in significant quantities in the United States or the U.S. insular possessions. Based on a petition filed by Timex, Inc., the President determined that GSP could be granted to 18 watch tariff categories without causing material injury to the U.S. watch industry. U.S. watch production in these categories is negligible.

The President denied GSP benefits to the remaining 40 watch tariff categories sought by Timex because of the potential for material injury to watch producers located in the United States and the Virgin Islands. In making his decision, the President was mindful of the devastation caused by Hurricane Hugo and the administration's commitment to helping the Virgin Islands recover. Accordingly, GSP has been denied for watches that are produced in the Virgin Islands in recognition of the need for the industry to rebuild quickly its production and assembly operations.

The President directed the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to monitor GSP import levels. USTR will review the application of GSP if watch imports cause material injury to producers of like or directly competitive watches in the United States, Virgin Islands, or other U.S. territories.

In light of the situation in the Virgin Islands, this issue has been discussed extensively with Virgin Islands officials. The President appreciates their advice and counsel on this important matter.

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