Notification regarding requests for confidential business information.
(a) In general.
Business information provided to the Commission by a business submitter which the Commission has designated as “confidential business information” will not be disclosed pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request except in accordance with this section.
The following definitions are to be used in reference to this section:
Confidential business information means commercial or financial information that has been designated as confidential business information by the Commission under § 201.6 of this part.
Submitter means any person or entity who provides confidential business information, directly or indirectly, to the Commission. The term includes, but is not limited to, corporations, producers, importers, and state and federal governments, as well as others who have an administrative relationship with the Commission such as contractors, bidders and vendors.
(c) Notice to submitters.
Except as provided for in paragraph (e) of this section, the Commission will, to the extent permitted by law, provide a submitter with prompt written notice of a FOIA request or administrative appeal encompassing its confidential business information whenever required under paragraph (d) of this section, in order to afford the submitter an opportunity to object to disclosure pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section. Such written notice will describe the nature of the confidential business information requested. The requester will also be notified that notice and opportunity to object to are being provided to a submitter.
(d) When notice is required.
Notice will be given to a submitter in writing at submitter's last known address whenever:
The information the subject of the FOIA request or appeal has been designated by the Commission as confidential business information; and
The Commission has reason to believe that the information may not be protected from disclosure under FOIA Exemptions 3 or 4.
(e) Exceptions to notice requirment.
The notice requirements of paragraph (c) of this section will not apply if:
The Commission determines that the information should not be disclosed;
The information lawfully has been published or has been officially made available to the public; or
Disclosure of the information is required by law (other than 5 U.S.C. 552 ).
(f) Opportunity to object to disclosure.
In general, the Commision has 10 working days in which to respond to a FOIA request. Through the notice described in paragraph (c) of this section, the Commission will afford a submitter an opportunity, within the period afforded to the Commission to make its decision in response to the FOIA request, to provide the Commission with a detailed written statement of any objection to disclosure. Such statement shall be filed at least one working day before the Commission is required to respond to the FOIA request, and it shall specify all grounds for withholding any of the information under any exemption of FOIA. In the case of FOIA Exemptions 3 or 4, it shall demonstrate why the information should continue to be considered confidential business information within the meaning of § 201.6 of this part and should not be disclosed. The submitter's claim of continued confidentiality should be supported by a certification by an officer or authorized representative of the submitter. Information provided by a submitter pursuant to this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under FOIA.
(g) Notice of intent to disclose.
The Commission will consider carefully a submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure prior to determining whether to disclose the information. Whenever the Commission decides to disclose such information over the objection of a submitter, the Commission will forward to the submitter a written notice which will include:
A statement of the reasons for which the submitter's disclosure objections were not sustained;
A description of the information to be disclosed; and
A specified disclosure date.
Such notice of intent to disclose will be forwarded to the submitter a reasonable number of days prior to the specified disclosure date and the requester will be notified likewise.
(h) Notice of FOIA lawsuit.
Whenever a requester brings suit seeking to compel disclosure of information that the Commission has designated as confidential business information, the Commission will promptly notify the submitter at its last known address. For the purpose of this paragraph, the Secretary may assume such address to be that given on the submission.
[54 FR 13678, Apr. 5, 1989, as amended at 68 FR 32975, June 3, 2003]