Bringing American-Made High-Tech Instruments to TPP Countries

March 24, 2016

Scott Kennedy is ITA’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing.

U.S. High-Tech Instruments are in high demand and will continue to play a vital role in a wide range of applications across the globe. Here at home, the industry makes its mark by employing more than 340,000 Americans, and is responsible for $32.2 billion in exports worldwide.

The industry comprises a variety of products including environmental monitoring equipment, equipment for testing and analyzing materials, meters and other precision measuring equipment, electrical gauges, lenses and prisms, and other optical instruments.

Electrical Gauge

American-made precision measuring equipment, electrical gauges and other high-tech instruments will benefit from the new trade agreement.

The TPP Region is the destination for more than 32 percent of high-tech instruments exports, with exports to new TPP partners alone valued at $2.6 billion in sales. Yet, tariffs up to 25 percent can await these exports upon arrival.

A few months ago, leaders from 12 countries gathered to complete negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 21-st century agreement that will open the borders to 11 countries along the Pacific Rim, allowing made-in-America goods to enjoy duty-free status.

Under TPP, the elimination of tariffs and removal of customs inefficiencies will help to make American-made high-tech instruments more competitive throughout the TPP region. Once enacted, TPP will instantly remove import taxes to diverse markets such as Malaysia and New Zealand. Japan will lock in duty-free access for all U.S. high-tech instruments exports immediately upon approval.

TPP also includes provisions to ensure that technical standards, conformity assessment procedures, and technical regulations are developed in a fair and transparent manner. These provisions are contained in TPP’s chapter on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and will create regulations and baselines for high-tech instruments. The TBT chapter also includes provisions on conformity assessment procedures and verification that products meet the technical regulations and standards set by governments or private sector standards development bodies. Such testing is dependent on precision instrumentation and creates export opportunities for U.S. high-tech instruments. The elimination of tariffs on instruments used in conformity assessment will also help to make testing more affordable for exporters around the TPP region.

Once Congress passes TPP, the high-tech instruments industry will begin to see benefits from the new trade agreement. To learn more about how TPP can benefit U.S. workers and businesses, visit our TPP site.  To look up the TPP tariff treatment for specific products, including high-tech instruments, please visit our FTA Tariff Tool.  For more information on opportunities for U.S. high-tech instruments exporters, contact one of our local offices.