Updated FTA Tariff Tool Helps U.S. Exporters Calculate Tariff Benefits under TPP and Make Strategic Business DecisionsMarch 15, 2016
This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.
Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
With the launch of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Tariff Tool in 2011, the International Trade Administration (ITA) provided a first-of-its-kind way for U.S. businesses to calculate the tariff benefits for their products in U.S. free trade agreement partner countries. ITA has now expanded that tool to include tariff information for the 11 countries that recently signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
For any exporter, especially an SME, researching the tariff rate for their product in an FTA partner market can be costly and time consuming. The tariff schedules among our 11 TPP partners account for thousands of pages in the agreement. If an exporter is lucky enough to find out where their specific product is in the tariff schedule, they may still have challenges determining what that tariff will be next year, or in five years, or in 10 years. Businesses – especially smaller companies – need this information for sound business planning in the medium and long term.
The FTA Tariff Tool reduces uncertainty and increases clarity, saving businesses time and money while providing critical information to develop international expansion strategies.
The updated tool provides instant TPP tariff information—searchable by keyword or tariff code— in a user-friendly public interface. It incorporates all products (agricultural and non-agricultural goods) classified within all 97 chapters of the Harmonized System, and includes information on product-specific rules of origin to determine the eligibility of the reduce tariff rates under TPP. The Tariff Tool not only provides information on current tariff lines, but also provides transparency on future tariffs and the year in which those products become duty free. For example, with this tool, an exporter can see that a 17 percent tariff from Vietnam will be reduced to 10.2 percent on year one, to 6.8 percent by year two, and completely disappear by year 5 of TPP going into force. The tool website also contains an instructional video, quick start guide, and user’s manual.
The FTA Tariff Tool is critical to American businesses realizing the historic commercial opportunities TPP offers. When in force, this agreement will eliminate more than 18,000 tariffs on Made-in-America exports. In fact, 98 percent of U.S. industrial and consumer goods to our five new free trade partners will be duty-free on the first day TPP is enacted. It will also remove non-tariff barriers and secure non-discriminatory treatment for U.S. goods and services, removing many of the market ambiguities that prevent small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from going global. TPP is nothing short of a historic opportunity for our workers, our businesses, and our economy.
The Tariff Tool is another example of ITA’s commitment to create opportunities for U.S. workers and businesses by promoting international trade and business investment, and by fostering a level playing field for American businesses. With offices in more than 100 U.S. cities and 75 international markets we are available to help U.S. companies succeed in the global marketplace. Visit www.export.gov to connect with your local U.S. Export Assistance Center and learn more about international opportunities for your product.