Posts Tagged ‘trade agreements’

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ITA Program Tackles Trade Obstacles

March 4, 2013

Beverly Vaughan is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Trade Compliance Center.Screenshot of Trade Compliance Center website

The International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Trade Agreements Compliance (TAC) Program works to break down barriers to market access abroad and monitors and helps promote foreign government compliance with trade agreement obligations. TAC Program officers identify, investigate, and resolve trade barriers working with industry. By leveraging relevant trade agreements, ITA engages foreign governments to remove or mitigate barriers to trade as quickly as possible.

While all U.S. exporters or investors can use this free service to resolve their market access barriers, the TAC Program can be particularly valuable for small and medium-sized exporters (SMEs), who may lack the resources to combat such barriers.

Exporters and investors can report a barrier on-line to get help quickly from the program. View a TAC Program client success video to learn how to use the online reporting form and see how we assisted a small business exporter overcome barriers preventing it from accessing the Chinese market. Our actions helped to preserve a contract valued at $8.5 million and set a precedent that helps ensure that the full benefits of our international trade agreements are open to U.S. industry.

This company, Klinge Corporation of York, Pennsylvania, contacted the TAC Program’s Hotline after holding unproductive meetings with Chinese freight forwarders and customs officers. TAC Program officers worked with China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration, who intervened on Klinge’s behalf, emphasizing China’s World Trade Organization obligations with other Chinese officials.  In a matter of months after the initial contact with the TAC Program, Klinge obtained the necessary certification to access the Chinese market.

This successful operation isn’t an exception. In Fiscal Year 2012, ITA initiated 227 trade barrier investigations in more than 70 countries, of which 44 percent (100 cases) were on behalf of SMEs like Klinge. During that time, TAC Program officers closed 168 cases in 62 countries, 53 percent of which (89 cases) were closed successfully.  See how ITA has helped U.S. companies overcome foreign trade barriers.

Can the TCC help you overcome a trade barrier? Let us know if you are having trouble getting access to a foreign market.

 

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President Obama Prescribes Increase in U.S. Exports to Support Economic Growth

February 13, 2013

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. 

Archived photo showing Congress during 2011 State of the Union Address.President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union address that American exports will play a part in America’s economic success. This requires creating free access for American goods to more markets, enforcing trade laws, and ensuring a level playing field in which American companies can compete.

These initiatives have and will continue to support business and create jobs. Over the last 35 months, they’ve already contributed to the creation of 6.1 million private-sector jobs. We at the International Trade Administration are proud to be a part of that success and we know that continuing these initiatives will lead to further economic growth.

The President specifically mentioned completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and entering into a trade agreement with the European Union. Trade agreements like these proved effective in 2012, when we set a new record for U.S. exports. Recently released data show that almost half of the growth in U.S. exports in 2012 was to countries with which we have similar agreements. In fact, U.S. exports to the 20 countries with which we have trade agreements comprised almost half of American goods exports in 2012.

We achieved record levels of exports to 11 of our trade agreement partners in 2012. Five of them – Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru – will all be a part of the TPP and accounted for more than $550 billion in U.S. exports. Completing this partnership will further develop our trade with these countries and help our exports continue to grow.

As Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank explained today, a trade agreement with the EU “will support good-paying American jobs and will expand our trade and investment relations, strengthen our economy, and create new opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

President Obama also mentioned the importance of enforcing trade regulations and ensuring a level playing field in which American exporters can compete. We accomplish this mission every day at ITA, and we are proud to help American exporters compete as a lead member of the President’s Interagency Trade Enforcement Center.

The President has set a clear path to use export growth to help grow the American economy. We at the International Trade Administration are ready to do what it takes to continue to support President Obama’s mission and help support a thriving American economy.

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Under Secretary Sánchez to Speak on Panel for Technology-Based Global Innovation

January 31, 2013

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Tyler Braswell is an intern for the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. He is studying International Business and attends George Washington University.

The Digital Age is upon us. The effect of digital technology on the global market has been well documented as technology-based companies continue to supply the world with innovative methods and products that increase the quality and efficiency of American lives and businesses.  The creation of jobs due to new technology as well as the continued financial success of technology-based firms has made the promotion of technology-based innovation a top priority for any economy looking to compete internationally.

President Obama’s plan to make high-speed wireless services available to 98% of Americans will make technology-based software and products even more accessible to American consumers. As technology is integrated more deeply into society, the U.S. is working to ensure that these integrations directly translate to domestic economic growth.

On Feb. 4, Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, will participate in an event hosted by the Information Technology Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The ITIF is a non-partisan think tank whose mission is to help American policymakers better understand the nature of a new innovation-driven economy.

The ITIF discussion panel will focus on the increase in global competition to host technology-based firms and the benefits that hosting such companies can have on a country’s economy. The event will also feature information on how countries attract technology-based firms and what the U.S. has done to improve its appeal to those firms. The Under Secretary will be joined on the panel by the general counsels for NCR and Qualcomm.

Sánchez and the panel will answer questions from industry participants concerning the advantages currently offered to firms that choose to do business within the United States.

The Under Secretary will also provide information on certain policies the U.S. has enacted to promote technology-based industry within the U.S. as well as trade agreements designed to benefit American companies.

The U.S. is actively advancing trade agreements and initiatives to broaden market access. Technology-based firms will be among the primary beneficiaries. Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help technology-based firms by expanding access to key Asian markets and removing bans on border crossing data-flows.

American leaders—both in government and business—appreciate that supporting technology-based firms is necessary to achieve President Obama’s goal of increasing our exports and re-balancing our economy, which are embedded in the National Export Initiative. This event will reaffirm the International Trade Administration’s commitment to increase exports, further the global expansion of domestic businesses, and attract new technology-based industries to the U.S. economy.

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Putting International Trade at the Local Level

January 30, 2013

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Elías González is an intern in the International Trade Administration Office of Public Affairs, and is a former West Point Cadet and graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Should local governments pay attention to international trade? American trade leaders think so and they’re helping city leaders take a bite out of the export pie.

International trade was a hot topic at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, DC this month, and representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA) used the opportunity to illustrate how U.S. competitiveness depends on local communities.

Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, emphasized the importance of the president’s National Export Initiative (NEI).  He said that 95 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and that the NEI is instrumental in helping American businesses access those foreign markets. He also lauded its success, citing that U.S. exports reached a record $2.1 trillion in 2011 and that data when available next month will likely show that 2012 was even higher.

In a separate task force meeting, Walter Bastian, Deputy Secretary for the Western Hemisphere here at ITA, reaffirmed the importance of international trade, pointing out that trade with Mexico alone produces an average of $1 million a minute for the U.S. economy.

Bastian emphasized the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among several Asian, Pacific, and North American countries, and how it will strengthen trade with Mexico. He said that it will help reduce the cost of doing business, potentially making that million-dollar-a-minute figure higher.

Sánchez and Bastian were quick to note that the economic benefits from trade are not felt only by the U.S. as a whole, but by local communities as well.

In a cooperative effort to help local communities enter the exporting business efficiently, ITA has partnered with the Brookings Institution on the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI). Several metropolitan areas in the U.S. are already participating, and the Under Secretary urged the mayors to utilize the tools the ITA provides. The MEI is one of many tools in place to remedy inefficiency. Inefficiency at the border—issues like long wait times for trucks—cost upwards of $6 billion per year.

Initiatives like the MEI help local communities gain greater control over their exports and create more efficient and beneficial trade partnerships.

Under Secretary Sánchez concluded his discussion at the conference by emphasizing that cities need to prioritize exports, reach new markets, and draw new investments. He reiterated what he and Bastian deemed crucial, that as cities succeed the country succeeds, and that ITA is here to help.

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U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Now in Force!

May 15, 2012

Christopher Blaha is a Senior International Economist within the Office of Trade and Policy Analysis and Julie Anglin is the Colombia Desk Officer within the International Trade Administration.

Today more than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia become duty-free as part of the U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. This includes agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment, and wood. Also, more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon, and almost all fruit and vegetable products.

Related:

Growth Opportunities for U.S.-Colombia Textile Trade

The agreement also provides significant new access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market, supporting increased opportunities for U.S. service providers. For example, Colombia agreed to eliminate measures that prevented firms from hiring U.S. professionals, and to phase-out market restrictions in cable television.

Prior to the enactment of this agreement, the average tariff that U.S. manufactured goods faced entering Colombia was 10.8 percent. With entry into force today, Colombia’s average tariff rate for manufactured goods from the United States has been reduced to 4 percent.

Colombia Snapshot

Colombia’s 2012 real GDP growth is forecasted at 4.7 percent by the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, remaining around 4.5 percent through 2017.

Colombia’s demand for imports has soared since 2001.  Colombia’s merchandise imports from the world have more than quadrupled over that period climbing from $12.8 billion in 2001 to $54.7 billion in 2011.

The United States remains the largest supplier to the Colombian market, with Colombian imports from the U.S. in 2011 totaling $13.7 billion, or one-quarter of Colombia’s imports.

Imports from the United States in 2011 were led by mineral fuels, machinery, aircraft and organic chemicals. Those four categories accounted for over half of Colombia’s imports from the U.S.

Other top Colombian import markets include China, Mexico and Brazil. The U.S. is the largest market for Colombia’s exports, representing nearly 40 percent of the Colombian export market.

The impact of the tariff reductions of U.S. exports to Colombia will be immediate for many products; including recreational vehicles, like motorcycles and pleasure boats (Colombia’s average tariff on U.S. exports will be reduced from 13.7 percent to 5.4 percent today) and agricultural equipment, like tractors and harvesters (Colombia’s average tariff will be reduced from 10.8 percent to 3.1 percent today). This will make U.S. manufactured products much more competitive and could also potentially boost sales.

The economies of the United States and Colombia are largely complementary in terms of the goods each exports to the other. For example, Colombia is a large importer of grains from the United States while it exports a number of tropical fruits to our country. In addition, U.S. cotton, yarn and fabric exports to Colombia are used in many apparel items that Colombia exports to the United States.

Facts about U.S. – Colombia Trade:

  • Between 2001 and 2011 U.S. goods exports to Colombia quadrupled, growing from $3.6 billion in 2001 to $14.3 billion in 2011. U.S. goods exports in 2011 were 19 percent higher than the previous year.
  • Colombia has grown from being the 33rd largest market for U.S. goods exports in 1991 to become the 22nd largest market in 2011.
  • Manufactured goods represented 92 percent of U.S. goods exports to Colombia in 2011.
  • Increasing exports to Colombia has benefits at the local level as well as the national. In 2011, more than half of U.S. States (26 total) reported merchandise export shipments to Colombia above $75 million.
  • In 2011, the largest state exporters of merchandise to Colombia included Texas ($5.1 billion), Florida ($2.8 billion), Louisiana ($894 million), California ($534 million) and Illinois ($454 million).
  • Houston and Miami are also major metropolitan area exporters to Colombia.

The provisions of the agreement and the resulting tariff cuts present new opportunities for U.S. companies and give U.S. exporters an advantage over exporters from Colombia’s non-FTA partners. The International Trade Administration maintains a database that helps exporters monitor when tariffs on specific products go to zero. The FTA Tariff Tool currently has information relating to manufactured products.

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Top 25 Metro Areas Increase Exports by 21 Percent

March 7, 2012

Elizabeth Clark is a Senior Economist in the Office of Industry Analysis within the International Trade Administration

In 2010, merchandise trade exports to the world for the 377 (only 369 areas are available due to Federal disclosure regulations) U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) totaled $1.13 trillion, with merchandise exports from non-metropolitan “rural” areas totaling an additional $151.5 billion. Since the launch of the President’s National Export Initiative, merchandise exports from MSAs have increased 15.4 percent over the 2009 U.S. export figure of $975.7 billion.Top 25 metropolitan export markets for 2010

Although the value of U.S. exports is concentrated in the top metropolitan areas, exporting is an important economic driver in nearly every metropolitan area. In 2010, more than one-third of U.S. metropolitan areas exported more than $1 billion in merchandise to the world. Eight of these metropolitan areas exported merchandise worth more than $25 billion with a further 19 metropolitan areas exporting more than $10 billion.

Among the top 25 MSA exporters, merchandise exports increased 21 percent between 2009 and 2010. This growth rate was consistent across the three largest metropolitan area exporters: New York up 22 percent, Houston up 22 percent and Los Angeles up 21 percent.

Fourth-ranked Detroit leads metro areas in terms of growth, with 55 percent due mostly to the substantial recovery of the auto industry, as Detroit’s exports of transportation equipment grew 62 percent in 2010 to reach nearly $29 billion.

Trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA-DR have had a positive impact on exports from MSAs. While agreements with even the smallest countries may have only a marginal impact at the national level, these agreements can have a large impact at the local level when a metro area has geographic proximity and economic or cultural ties to a particular country or region.

For example, the Central American Free Trade Agreement or CAFTA-DR is a region where the U.S. has an agreement and close trading relationship with six countries, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. U.S. merchandise trade with these six countries totaled only $24.3 billion in 2010, less than 2 percent of total U.S. merchandise trade. However, the CAFTA-DR markets represented a significant share of exports for a number of MSAs. The CAFTA-DR markets represented more than 5 percent of exports for 20 MSAs with these areas concentrated in the Southeast United States. The largest of these areas was Miami, Florida, where exports to the CAFTA-DR region totaled $3.8 billion, representing 11 percent of Miami’s exports to the world. Miami actually exports more to the six nations of the CAFTA region than it exports to our NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico combined.

Trade agreements will be increasingly important to small U.S. metropolitan area as the latest agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama enter into force. Agreements like these will further help to strengthen the export potential for U.S. firms.

Find more information on MSA exports, including data and fact sheets for the top 50 exporting MSAs in 2010 is available on the Office of Industry Analysis home page.

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How U.S. Companies Can Start Taking Advantage of the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement

March 6, 2012

The Office of Japan and Korea within the Market Access and Compliance unit of the International Trade Administration assists U.S. firms that are encountering trade and investment barriers in Japan and Korea.

The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement will enter into force on March 15, 2012.

What does that mean for our companies – both those who are already doing business in Korea as well as those who are considering entering the Korean market for the first time?  How can companies ensure that their products will receive preferential treatment on or after March 15?South Korean flag and images of South Korea

On the first day the agreement takes effect, March 15 of this year, almost 80 percent of U.S. exports to Korea of consumer and industrial products can be imported duty-free. Nearly 95 percent of remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 5 years after that date, and most remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 10 years.

A web-based resource created by the International Trade Administration, the FTA Tariff Tool, is a great way to see if your product would benefit under the agreement. The database conveniently links to the latest U.S. tariff schedule and relevant rules of origin, helping you to determine the exact tariff benefit for your product and the rate at which the tariff is eliminated.

Additionally, nearly two-thirds of all U.S. exports of agricultural products to Korea will become duty-free starting March 15. This agreement also includes a number of significant non-tariff commitments that will come into force on March 15, including obligations to be transparent when developing and passing new regulations and laws that affect bilateral trade.

Commitments on strengthened protections for intellectual property rights benefiting American creators and innovators will also come into force on that day. Finally, commitments opening Korea’s $580 billion services market will also be in effect beginning March 15.

To ensure that your company’s product will benefit under the agreement, you will need to determine that the product is originating in either the territory of the United States or Korea under the rules of the agreement, and claim U.S.-Korea trade agreement benefits when importing.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will soon publicly release implementation instructions and interim regulations regarding U.S. imports under the agreement. Importers should closely monitor CBP’s FTA website and send inquiries on U.S. imports directly to fta@dhs.gov.

For more information, you can also contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center and the U.S. Commercial Service at the American Embassy in Seoul, Korea.

The International Trade Administration’s U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Portal should be your next stop!

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