The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is today announcing its determination to consider the application of the United States Futures Exchange LLC outside the 60-day framework of the Commission's "fast track" contract market designation procedure. The fast track designation process requires Commission action on an application for contract market designation within 60 days of filing. The United States Futures Exchange application was filed on September 16, 2003.

The Commission is taking this action in order to ensure that it has an adequate opportunity to consider fully the issues presented by the exchange's application. The Commission emphasizes, however, that the cooperation between the exchange and Commission staff to date has been productive.

This action by the Commission does not, and should not be seen as, signaling that the Commission has made any determination that there are any issues that would preclude designation of the exchange as a contract market on a timely basis. Chairman James E. Newsome reiterated the Commission's commitment to ensuring that the Commission's regulatory process does not operate in a manner that inappropriately influences competitive forces within the private sector.