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e-CFR data is current as of September 24, 2020

Title 19Chapter IISubchapter APart 201 → Subpart E


Title 19: Customs Duties
PART 201—RULES OF GENERAL APPLICATION


Subpart E—Opening Commission Meetings to Public Observation Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b


Contents
§201.33   Purpose and scope.
§201.34   Definitions.
§201.35   Notices to the public.
§201.36   Closing a portion or portions of a meeting or a series of meetings.
§201.37   Changing the time, place, subject matter, or determination to open or close a meeting following a public notice.
§201.38   Requests by interested persons that the Commission close a portion of a Commission meeting.
§201.39   General Counsel's certification of Commission action in closing a meeting or a series of meetings.
§201.40   Records-retention requirements.
§201.41   Public inspection and copying of records; applicable fees.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552b; 19 U.S.C. 1335.

Source: 42 FR 11243, Feb. 28, 1977, unless otherwise noted.

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§201.33   Purpose and scope.

(a) Consistent with the principle that the public is entitled to the fullest practicable information regarding the decisionmaking processes of the Federal Government, it is the purpose of this subpart to open the meetings of the United States International Trade Commission to public observation while protecting the rights of individuals and the ability of the Commission to carry out its statutory functions and responsibilities. These regulations are promulgated pursuant to the directive of section (g) of the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b(g)), and specifically implement sections (b) through (f) of said act (5 U.S.C. 552(b) through (f)).

(b) Public access to documents being considered at Commission meetings may be obtained by access to the public files of the Commission or, where documents are not in said public files, shall be obtained in the manner set forth in subpart C of this part (§§201.17 through 201.21).

(c) Unless otherwise provided by the public notices as described in §201.35 of this subpart, public observation of Commission meetings does not encompass public participation in the deliberations at such meetings.

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§201.34   Definitions.

For the purpose of this subpart:

(a)(1) Except as hereinafter provided, the term meeting means the deliberations of at least the number of individual Commissioners required to take action on behalf of the Commission where such deliberations determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of official Commission business.

(2) The consideration by individual Commissioners of business which is circulated sequentially in writing (circulation by “action jacket”) is not considered a meeting under paragraph (a)(1) of this section because circulation by action jacket does not determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of Commission business until ratification thereof by formal vote of the Commissioners in a meeting as defined by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, although action proposed by action jacket may be taken before or after formal ratification thereof by vote at a Commission meeting.

(3) Conference telephone calls among the Commissioners are considered meetings as defined by paragraph (a)(1) of this section if they involve the number of Commissioners requisite for Commission action, and where the deliberations of the Commissioners determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of official Commission business.

(4) Deliberations of a majority of the entire membership of the Commission with the sole purpose of determining whether or not to call a meeting at a date earlier than the requisite public notice period as specified in §201.35 of this subpart are not considered to constitute a meeting or portion of a meeting as defined by paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(5) Deliberations of a majority of the entire membership of the Commission with the sole purpose of determining whether or not to close a portion or portions of a meeting or series of meetings pursuant to §201.36 of this subpart are not considered to constitute a meeting or portion of a meeting within the meaning of paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(6) Deliberations of a majority of the entire membership of the Commission with the sole purpose of determining whether or not to change the subject matter of a publicly announced meeting, or to change the determination of the Commission to open or close a meeting, or portion thereof, to the public, following a public notice, as permitted under §201.37(b) of this subpart, are not considered to constitute a meeting or portion of a meeting under paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(b) The terms Secretary and General Counsel mean the Secretary and General Counsel of the Commission and their respective designees within their respective offices.

[63 FR 29348, May 29, 1998, as amended at 80 FR 39380, July 9, 2015]

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§201.35   Notices to the public.

(a) At least seven (7) days before each Commission meeting the Commission shall issue a public notice which:

(1) States the time and place of the meeting;

(2) Lists the subjects or agenda items to be discussed at the meeting;

(3) States whether the meeting or portion thereof is to be open or closed to public observation; and

(4) Gives the name and business phone number of the Secretary to the Commission.

(b) When the Commission has voted to close any portion of any meeting in accordance with §201.36 of this subpart, the notice referred to in paragraph (a) of this section shall also include, or be amended to include, if already issued, (1) A list of the persons reasonably expected to be present at such closed portion or portions of the meeting, (2) A corresponding list of the affiliations of those persons reasonably expected to be present, (3) A written copy of the vote of each Commissioner on whether or not the portion or portions of the meeting or series of meetings should be closed to public observation, (4) A full, written explanation of the Commission's action in closing the portion or portions of the meeting or series of meetings, and (5) A copy of the certification of the General Counsel, called for by §201.39 of this subpart, that such portion or portions of the meeting or series of meetings were properly closed to the public by the Commission. When a vote to close a portion or portions of a meeting in accordance with §201.36 of this subpart or a vote to change the subject matter of a meeting or to change a determination to open or close a meeting, or portion thereof, to the public in accordance with §201.37(b) of this subpart fails for lack of a majority of the entire membership of the Commission, the vote shall also be published as part of the notice required by paragraph (a) of this section.

(c)(1) The 7-day period for public notice provided for in paragraph (a) of this section shall not apply when a majority of the entire membership of the Commission determines by recorded vote that Commission business requires that a particular meeting be called with less than 7 days' notice and that no earlier announcement of such meeting was possible.

(2) When the Commission has voted in conformity with paragraph (c)(1) of this section to shorten the 7-day period for public notice provided for by paragraph (a) of this section with respect to a particular meeting, the Commission shall issue the public notice required by paragraph (a) of this section at the earliest practicable time.

(3) When the Commission not only has voted in conformity with paragraph (c)(1) of this section to shorten the 7-day period for public notice provided for in paragraph (a) of this section with respect to a particular meeting, but also has voted to close a portion or portions of such meeting in accordance with §201.36 of this subpart, the public notice required by paragraph (c)(2) of this section shall also include, or be amended to include, if already issued, those items specified in paragraph (b) of this section.

(d)(1) When the Commission has changed the time or place of a publicly announced meeting by acting under §201.37(a) of this subpart, the public notice required by paragraph (a) or (c)(2) of this section shall be amended to reflect such changed time or place.

(2) When the Commission has changed the subject matter of a meeting or its determination to open or close a meeting, or portion thereof, to the public following a public notice by acting under §201.37(b) of this subpart, the public notice required by paragraph (a) or (c)(2) of this section shall be amended to

(i) Include a statement affirming that Commission business required the change in subject matter and that no earlier announcement of such change was possible and

(ii) Indicate the change in subject matter and the vote of each Commissioner upon such change.

(e)(1) The Secretary shall issue the public notices required by this section and such amendments thereto as are appropriate to the specific meeting to which they pertain.

(2) The Secretary

(i) Shall promptly post the public notices referred to in paragraph (e)(1) of this section on bulletin boards outside the Office of the Secretary to the Commission,

(ii) Shall make copies thereof available to interested members of the public, including mailing copies thereof through a mailing list of those persons desiring to receive such notices and distributing copies to the press, whether of specialized or general readership, and

(iii) Shall immediately submit said public notices to the Federal Register for publication.

(3) The Office of the Secretary shall respond to all questions from the public concerning the agendas of Commission meetings. Persons desiring to receive copies of notices of Commission meetings should contact the Office of the Secretary and request to be placed on the mailing list.

[42 FR 11243, Feb. 28, 1977, as amended at 58 FR 64121, Dec. 6, 1993]

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§201.36   Closing a portion or portions of a meeting or a series of meetings.

(a) Every meeting of the Commission shall be open to public observation except when the Commission properly determines in the manner specified in paragraph (d) of this section that a portion or portions of a Commission meeting shall be closed to the public for the specific reasons enumerated in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) The Commission may close a portion or portions of a Commission meeting only when it determines that public disclosure of information to be discussed at such meeting is likely to:

(1) Disclose matters that are (i) Specifically authorized under criteria established by Executive order to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or foreign policy and (ii) in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

(2) Relate solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Commission;

(3) Disclose matters specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than the Freedom of Information Act), provided that such statute (i) Requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (ii) Establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld.

(4) Disclose trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(5) Involve accusing any person of a crime, or formally censuring any person;

(6) Disclose information of a personal nature when disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(7) Disclose investigatory records compiled for law-enforcement purposes, or information which, if written, would be contained in such records, but only to the extent that the production of such records or information would: (i) Interfere with enforcement proceedings, (ii) deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or to an impartial adjudication, (iii) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, or (iv) disclose the identity of a confidential source, and, in the case of a record compiled by a criminal law-enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national-security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source;

(8)(i) Disclose information the premature disclosure of which would, in those instances where the Commission regulates commodities, be likely to lead to significant financial speculation in such commodities;

(ii) Disclose information the premature disclosure of which would be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed Commission action except (A) When the Commission has already disclosed to the public the content or nature of its proposed action or (B) when the Commission is required by law to make such disclosure on its own initiative prior to taking final Commission action on such proposal; or

(9) Specifically concern:

(i) The Commission's issuance of a subpoena,

(ii) The Commission's participation in a civil action or proceeding, or

(iii) The initiation, conduct, or disposition by the Commission of a particular case of formal Commission adjudication under 19 U.S.C. 1337 pursuant to the procedures of 5 U.S.C. 554 or otherwise involving a determination on the record after opportunity for a hearing.

(c)(1) When the Commission has determined that one or more of the specific reasons enumerated in paragraph (b) of this section for closing a portion or portions of a Commission meeting is applicable to the subject matter or matters to be discussed, the Commission shall consider whether or not the public interest requires that such portion or portions of the meeting be open to public observation.

(2) In making the public-interest determination under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the Commission shall consider whether public disclosure would (i) Interfere with the Commission's carrying out its statutory responsibilities, (ii) Conflict with the individual right of privacy under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), or (iii) Place the Commission in violation of any other applicable provision of law, in addition to any other factors which it deems to be relevant to the particular meeting in question.

(d)(1) Action by the Commission to close a portion or portions of a meeting for one or more of the specific reasons enumerated in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of this section shall be taken only when a majority of the entire membership of the Commission has voted to take such action.

(2) A single recorded vote of the Commission shall be taken with respect to: (i) Each Commission meeting of which the Commission proposes to close a portion or portions to the public for one or more of the specific reasons enumerated in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of this section, or (ii) any information which the Commission proposes to withhold from the public for one or more of the specific reasons enumerated in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of this section. No proxy votes are permissible.

(e)(1) Action by the Commission to close a series of meetings of which the Commission proposes to close a portion or portions to the public for one or more of the specific reasons enumerated in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of this section may be taken by a single recorded vote of the Commission to close such portion or portions of the series. No proxy votes are permissible.

(2) A series of meetings may be closed pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section so long as each meeting in such series: (i) Involves the same particular matters and (ii) is scheduled to be held no more than 30 days after the initial meeting in such series.

(f) When the Commission (i) Has voted to close a portion or portions of a meeting in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section or (ii) has voted to close a portion or portions of a series of meetings in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section, the public notices referred to in paragraph (a) or (c)(2) of §201.35 shall be issued or amended in accordance with paragraph (b) or (c)(3) of §201.35 at the earliest practicable time, but no later than one (1) working day following such vote.

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§201.37   Changing the time, place, subject matter, or determination to open or close a meeting following a public notice.

(a) The time or place of a Commission meeting may be changed following a public announcement required by §201.35 only if the Commission publicly announces such change or changes at the earliest practicable time by issuing an appropriate amendment to the public notice as required by §201.35.

(b) The subject matter or matters of a Commission meeting or the determination of the Commission to open or close a meeting, or portion of a meeting, to the public may be changed following a public announcement required by §201.35 only if:

(i) A majority of the entire membership of the Commission determines by recorded vote that Commission business so requires and that no earlier announcement of the change was possible and

(ii) The Commission publicly announces such change in subject matter or such change in the determination of the Commission to open or close a meeting, or a portion of a meeting, to the public and the vote of each Commissioner upon such change or changes in a subsequent amendment of the public notice required by §201.35.

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§201.38   Requests by interested persons that the Commission close a portion of a Commission meeting.

(a) Whenever any person whose interests may be directly affected by a portion of a Commission meeting requests that the Commission close such portion to the public for any of the specific reasons enumerated in paragraphs (b) (5), (6), or (7) of §201.36, the Commission, upon the request of any one of the Commissioners, shall take a vote in the manner specified in §201.36 of this subpart on whether or not to close such portion of the meeting.

(b) When the Commission votes on a request to close a portion of a meeting under paragraph (a) of this section in the manner specified in §201.36(d), a public notice as required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of §201.35 shall be issued.

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§201.39   General Counsel's certification of Commission action in closing a meeting or a series of meetings.

Before a Commission meeting may be closed for the specific reasons enumerated in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of §201.36, the General Counsel (i) Shall, in the related public notice, certify that in his or her opinion the meeting may be closed to the public and (ii) Shall state each applicable exemptive provision of paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of §201.36.

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§201.40   Records-retention requirements.

(a) The Secretary shall maintain a copy of the certification by the General Counsel required by §201.39 for each Commission meeting of which a portion or portions are closed to the public pursuant to a vote under §201.36(d).

(b) The Secretary shall also maintain a copy of a statement from the presiding officer of each Commission meeting or portion thereof which was closed to the public for the specific reasons enumerated in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of §201.36(b) setting forth (i) The time and place of the closed meeting, or portion thereof, and (ii) A list of the persons present thereat.

(c) The Secretary shall also maintain a complete transcript or electronic recording of the proceedings of each Commission meeting or portion of a meeting, whether open to public observation or closed to the public. The Secretary shall also maintain a complete transcript or electronic recording of all deliberations conducted under paragraphs (a) (4), (5), and (6) of §201.34 of this subpart.

(d) Where portions of a Commission meeting are closed for the reasons contained in paragraphs (b) (8)(A) or (9) of §201.36, the Commission preserves the option to maintain detailed minutes of such portions. Such detailed minutes shall fully and clearly describe all matters discussed and shall provide a full and accurate summary of any actions taken, and the reasons therefor, including a description of each of the views expressed on any item and the record of any rollcall vote (reflecting the vote of each member on the question). All documents considered in connection with any action shall be identified in such minutes.

(e) The retention period for the records required by paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section shall be for a period of at least two (2) years after the particular Commission meeting, or until one (1) year after the conclusion of any Commission proceeding with respect to which the meeting or portion thereof was held, whichever occurs later.

(f) The requirements of paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section shall not affect or supplant the existing duty of the Secretary to maintain permanent minutes of each Commission meeting. The Secretary shall also maintain permanent minutes of all deliberations conducted under paragraphs (a) (4), (5), and (6) of §201.34 of this subpart.

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§201.41   Public inspection and copying of records; applicable fees.

(a) The Secretary shall promptly make available to interested members of the public the transcript or electronic recording of the discussion of any item on the agenda of a Commission meeting or of any item of the testimony of any witness received at the meeting, except for such item or items of such discussion or testimony as the Secretary determines to contain information which may be withheld for reasons specified in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of §201.36. The determination of the Secretary shall be in conformity with a prior vote of the Commission under §201.36(d) to close a portion or portions of a meeting.

(b) Public inspection of electronic recordings, transcripts, or minutes of Commission meetings shall take place at the United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436. A room is designated by the Office of the Secretary and tape recorders with earphones are provided by the Commission for public-inspection purposes when proceedings are recorded on tape.

(c)(1) The Secretary shall provide any person with copies of transcripts, minutes of Commission meetings, or transcriptions of electronic recordings of Commission meetings, which disclose the identity of each speaker, at the actual cost of transcription or duplication.

(2) The Secretary shall not include items of discussion or testimony determined by the Secretary to contain information which may be withheld from the public for the reasons specified in paragraphs (b) (1) through (9) of §201.36 in the copies furnished to the public in accordance with paragraph (c)(1) of this section. The determination of the Secretary shall be in conformity with a prior vote of the Commission under §201.36(d) to close a portion or portions of a meeting.

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