neutral and objective criteria
(C) Subsidy to disadvantaged regions (i) In general A subsidy provided, pursuant to a general framework of regional development, to a person located in a disadvantaged region within a country shall be treated as noncountervailable, if it is not specific (within the meaning of paragraph (5A)) within eligible regions and if the following conditions are met: (I) Each region identified as disadvantaged within the territory of a country is a clearly designated, contiguous geographical area with a definable economic and administrative identity. (II) Each region is considered a disadvantaged region on the basis of neutral and objective criteria indicating that the region is disadvantaged because of more than temporary circumstances, and such criteria are clearly stated in the relevant statute, regulation, or other official document so as to be capable of verification. (III) The criteria described in subclause (II) include a measurement of economic development. (IV) Programs provided within a general framework of regional development include ceilings on the amount of assistance that can be granted to a subsidized project. Such ceilings are differentiated according to the different levels of development of assisted regions, and are expressed in terms of investment costs or costs of job creation. Within such ceilings, the distribution of assistance is sufficiently broad and even to avoid the predominant use of a subsidy by, or the provision of disproportionately large amounts of a subsidy to, an enterprise or industry as described in paragraph (5A)(D). (ii) Measurement of economic development For purposes of clause (i), the measurement of economic development shall be based on one or more of the following factors: (I) Per capita income, household per capita income, or per capita gross domestic product that does not exceed 85 percent of the average for the country subject to investigation or review. (II) An unemployment rate that is at least 110 percent of the average unemployment rate for the country subject to investigation or review. The measurement of economic development shall cover a 3-year period, but may be a composite measurement and may include factors other than those set forth in this clause. (iii) Definitions For purposes of this subparagraph— (I) General framework of regional development The term “general framework of regional development” means that the regional subsidy programs are part of an internally consistent and generally applicable regional development policy, and that regional development subsidies are not granted in isolated geographical points having no, or virtually no, influence on the development of a region. (II) Neutral and objective criteria The term “neutral and objective criteria” means criteria that do not favor certain regions beyond what is appropriate for the elimination or reduction of regional disparities within the framework of the regional development policy.