Archive for the ‘Trade Enforcement’ Category

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Application Process Opens for U.S. Industry Groups Seeking Awards for Projects that Address Barriers to U.S. Exporters

February 11, 2020

By Brad Hess, Director, Market Development Cooperator Program, Office of Industry Engagement

The International Trade Administration (ITA) invites U.S. trade associations, professional societies, standards developing organizations, and other non-profit industry groups to apply for financial and technical assistance for projects that remove trade barriers to U.S. exporters. Applications for the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) awards are due April 27, 2020.

ITA is conducting a series of conference calls to provide further information on how to compete successfully for a 2020 MDCP award. Potential applicants can check the requirements to determine their eligibility to apply for the program.

Pitch Ideas Now to ITA Officials
Prior to the February 27 MDCP notice being published on grants.gov, applicants will have the chance to brainstorm project ideas with ITA officials.

Interested industry groups should contact Jessica.Dulkadir@trade.gov to discuss their ideas. ITA will also include trade professionals in this initial phase that can give potential applicants useful feedback.

2020 Funding Focus is Removing Trade Barriers
Historically, 30-40 percent of MDCP projects have included a strong focus on removing trade barriers. For the 2020 competition, ITA wants all projects it funds to have such a focus.

An MDCP applicant must propose a project that creates or sustains U.S. jobs by increasing or maintaining exports (priority 1 listed below). In addition, a successful applicant must show how its proposed project will address any two of priorities 2-6 below.

  1. Create or sustain U.S. jobs by increasing or maintaining exports.
  2. Address non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports such as discriminatory regulations, local content requirements, onerous standards or conformity assessment procedures, and other measures that may be unreasonably trade restrictive.
  3. Secure strong intellectual property rights protection and combat counterfeiting and piracy.
  4. Counter discriminatory trade policies such as “indigenous innovation” or “localization.”
  5. Participate in the formulation and encourage the adoption of standards that are industry-developed, market-driven, science-based, and internationally recognized.
  6. When appropriate, encourage the development of aligned regulatory requirements that avoid unnecessary costs on businesses.

Examples of Successful Trade Barrier Removal Projects
It takes time to address and remove trade barriers. This is why MDCP projects must last a minimum of three years. Realistically, most projects need even more time to remove trade barriers like discriminatory standards or regulations. The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) was able to help Indonesia establish a new plumbing code and implement a conformity assessment regime in just three years.

IAPMO advised Indonesia officials on establishing a national plumbing code then openedPhoto and Caption for MDCP Blog 020920 a lab to certify compliance of products with the new code. Indonesia’s newly adopted national plumbing standard, SNI 8153:2015, requires a lab certification of plumbing products. This allows architects, planners, builders, and building owners the certainty they need to choose the right products for the right applications.

Prior to the MDCP project and the adoption of the plumbing code, low quality plumbing products not up to standard were prevalent throughout the country. The shoddy products made urban living miserable for most residents. Their widespread use also made it hard for high quality U.S.-made products to compete. Now all plumbing products must conform to the same high standards.

A more detailed description of the IAPMO project is available at trade.gov/mdcp on the Addressing Trade Barriers page. Highlights of several other current and past MDCP trade barrier projects are available on this page as well.

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International Trade Administration: Helping to Win the Fight Against Trade Barriers

February 14, 2019

Steven Presing is the Executive Director for Trade Agreements, Policy and Negotiations at the International Trade Administration (ITA)

Here at the ITA, one of our strategic objectives is to enforce the nation’s trade laws and ensure compliance with our trade agreements. This allows U.S. businesses to compete both domestically and internationally on a level playing field. ITA established its 2018 agency priority goal to reduce, remove, or prevent trade barriers.  Accordingly, two of Commerce’s strategic goals set for 2018 were focused on addressing foreign trade barriers.  I am happy to report that the ITA not only met but exceeded these goals in 2018! This is a huge success for ITA and thousands of American businesses.   ITA logo

In close coordination with U.S. manufacturers and exporters, ITA identified and initiated approximately 18 percent more compliance cases and successfully closed roughly 20 percent more cases than in the previous year.  Between the 39 agreements compliance successes and 99 market access problems resolved, ITA has ensured more than $6 billion in U.S. exports were granted continued access to overseas markets. This work is not only helping U.S. businesses to continue to export billions of dollars in goods and services worldwide, but also providing support for the U.S. economy and helping advance American job growth.

Check out some of our 2018 success stories below to see how ITA is helping to win the fight against trade barriers.

ITA agreements compliance efforts mean changes to Brazil’s medical device regulations
In 2009, the Advanced Medical Technology Association reported to ITA that Brazil required Brazilian regulator inspection of all medical device manufacturing plants before companies could register devices for sale in Brazil. This meant inspections and registrations were backlogged, sometimes for years, resulting in costly delays for U.S. medical device exports valued at $1 billion annually.  This cumbersome registration process raised concerns regarding compliance with WTO Technical Barriers to Trade obligations, which stipulate that technical regulations not be more trade-restrictive than necessary.  For more than six years, the U.S. government engaged Brazil through targeted meetings with both trade officials at the World Trade Organization and regulators in the International Medical Device Regulator Forum (IMDRF) with the goal of streamlining the registration process.  As a result, Brazil recognized the IMDRF Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) and now accepts certifications from U.S. certification bodies as an alternative means to register devices.  U.S. medical device manufacturers are no longer subject to delays, and U.S. government agencies continue to work with Brazil to identify potential improvements to the MDSAP, which will further increase U.S. export opportunities.

ITA leverages the U.S.-Colombia FTA to expedite flow of U.S.-built SUVs into Colombia

For several years, BMW North America was not receiving proper duty reimbursement for its U.S.-made vehicles imported into Colombia.  Under the Colombia FTA, firms who elect to pay duties up front to keep their exports moving are entitled to a refund once their U.S. origin (i.e. duty-free status) is established and found to be eligible for duty-free treatment. The refunds were taking years and Colombia did not provide BMW NA with a timeline for reimbursement.  Following outreach with Colombia’s Trade Attaché and pressing the Colombian Government about the significant delays in the reimbursements, noting its FTA obligations, the company received more than $3 million in refunds. Colombia also was put on notice that the United States expects all U.S. exports to receive the full benefits of our bilateral agreement.

ITA ensures fairness for Cisco Systems in a Bahrain telecommunications equipment procurement

Cisco Systems contacted ITA’s officers in the Middle East with concerns about a potentially unfair government tender process in Bahrain. The Ministry of Transportation appeared to be changing procurement technical requirements to push the prime contractor for the modernization of Bahrain’s international airport to select wireless telecommunications systems provided by a Chinese company rather than use Cisco’s solutions. The U.S.– Bahrain FTA’s Government Procurement chapter requires that governments do not use such technical specifications in a manner that would create unnecessary obstacles to trade. As the deadline to finalize the purchase of a wireless telecommunications system loomed, ITA (operating regionally in the Middle East) teamed up with the State Department (operating in Bahrain) to jointly press the Ministry of Transportation, including engaging the U.S. Ambassador and using ITA’s analysis, that Cisco be treated fairly and that Bahrain uphold its obligations under the FTA. After sustained ITA advocacy, Cisco finalized a contract with Bahrain this past June to provide its wireless telecommunications equipment as per the original contract award, preserving Cisco’s $1.8 million sales opportunity. Trade compliance means solving trade problems now and locking in fairness for the future. ITA makes U.S. trade agreements work for U.S. industry.

ITA holds a unique position as the U.S. Government‘s full-service trade agency with both the expertise and personnel to open markets and remove foreign trade barriers for U.S. industry and its workers.  This is made possible through our global presence. We have personnel throughout the United States and around the world dedicated to solving business problems; with focused daily commercial engagement with foreign governments, the negotiation of new trade agreements and the monitoring of compliance with existing agreements. This coupled with a deep industry sector and data knowledge allows us to ensure our trading partners fulfill their commitments under our trade agreements.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance specializes in working with U.S. businesses to remove unfair foreign government-imposed trade barriers.  If your business is facing such a barrier, please report it, and our team of experts will investigate.

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ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance Unit

December 21, 2018

Candice Appiakorang, Public Affairs Specialist in our Office of Public Affairs sat down with ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance Communications Director, Brooke Kennedy, to get an in-depth look into the importance of enforcing trade laws and ensuring compliance with trade agreements. Keep reading to find out how this office promotes the creation and maintenance of U.S. jobs and economic growth.

Brooke, thanks for joining me for this important discussion on the Enforcement and Compliance business unit within the International Trade Administration (ITA). Here at ITA we are focused not only on the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, but also ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. Your office leads this effort. Tell me about the Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) unit and your role?Legal signs

Thanks, Candice.  I am really excited to talk about the work of E&C, especially at a time when the importance of fair trade is covered in the media almost daily! 

First, let me say that, very simply, I see the role of ITA as helping U.S. companies participate effectively in the global trading system. In E&C, we carry out this mission by providing a suite of services that enhance the strength of U.S. industries and ensure fair competition both at home and abroad. 

To do this, our E&C team has four primary responsibilities:  enforcing the laws on dumped (sold at less-than-fair value) or unfairly subsidized imports, preventing unfair foreign trade barriers, ensuring compliance with trade agreements by our trading partners, and aiding U.S. manufacturers access the benefits of foreign-trade zones.  In short, E&C has the critical responsibility of making sure that international trade works for American manufacturers and workers. 

Let’s touch on each of E&C’s responsibilities a little bit more. What types of services does each team provide to U.S firms and exporters?

One of E&C’s core responsibilities, our bread and butter, is to examine allegations of sales at less-than-fair value and unfair subsidization, which we refer to as antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) investigations.  That means that when a foreign company dumps a product into the U.S. market at an unfair price or when a foreign government unfairly subsidizes a particular product, E&C investigates those practices and, when warranted, provides relief to a domestic industry by imposing a duty on imports.  Currently, we have 51 active investigations into allegations of dumping or unfair subsidization from countries such as China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.  E&C is also currently enforcing over 460 border measures on products ranging from steel and aluminum to olives and pasta.

E&C also provides advocacy and support for U.S. companies subject to foreign trade remedy actions like AD and safeguard proceedings, and we monitor foreign government compliance with international obligations.  Our E&C team works directly with U.S. companies to help ensure they are well-positioned to defend their interests and our team can even intervene with foreign authorities to protect the interests of U.S. exporters.  In 2016, our advocacy efforts helped lead to the termination of 27 foreign trade remedy actions, affecting approximately $374 million in U.S. exports. 

In addition, E&C makes sure foreign governments comply with the terms of our trade agreements.  Non-compliance often manifests itself as non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports and investment; E&C works with experts across ITA, both at headquarters and in the field, to end these barriers now and secure lasting changes to the offending laws, procedures, or practices so these barriers hopefully don’t occur again in the future.  Trade compliance means making trade agreements work for U.S. industry.

Last, but not least, E&C plays a key role in helping U.S. manufacturers access the benefits of the Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) program.  A FTZ is a special economic area in which manufacturers can operate with delayed or reduced duty payments on imports.  Our FTZs program helps level the playing field by reducing the costs of U.S. operations.  One of our best-known FTZs, for example, is BMW’s factory in South Carolina, which supports $5+ billion in exports annually – over half its production – and 10,000+ jobs.

If a business is interested in learning more, where would you suggest they go? 

If you believe your firm is facing dumping our unfair foreign competition, please contact E&C’s Petition Counseling and Analysis Unit at 202-482-1255.

If your firm or industry is facing a foreign antidumping or countervailing duty investigation, please contact E&C’s Trade Remedy and Compliance Staff at 202-482-3415.

If you need assistance with a foreign trade barrier or would like to report a foreign trade barrier, please contact the Trade Agreement Negotiation and Compliance Office’s hotline at 202-482- 1191.

For matters related to Foreign Trade Zones, please contact 202-482-2862.

For general matters, please contact our experts at the E&C Communication Office at 202-482-0063.

 

 

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Medical Device Regulations are Changing in Canada and the EU, Prepare Now to Maintain Market Access

June 11, 2018

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

Susan Crawford is the communications specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Global Healthcare Team. The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Webinar: Preparing for the MDSAP

Date:  June, 28, 2018
Time: 
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
Registration:
https://go.usa.gov/xQVSh
More Information:
Connie.Irrera@trade.gov

Healthcare regulations are changing in major medical device export markets including Canada and the European Union (EU), and the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) Global Healthcare team is helping to inform U.S. companies about these changes and ensure that exporters have the resources they need to access these important markets.

Canada is launching a new Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) and all medical devices in Canada must be deemed safe and effective, including software accompanying any medical device. As of January 1, 2019, only MDSAP certificates will be accepted. Therefore, exporters will need to register under the new program to maintain the ability to sell medical devices in Canada in 2019.

The MDSAP Consortium includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and the United States; however, Canada’s Medical Devices Regulations (SOR/98-282) are unique from other regions covered by the MDSAP Consortium in that it is currently the only one that will use MDSAP certificates to make determinations on Class II, III, and IV devices licenses. As Health Canada notes, “All manufacturers must transition from CMDCAS to MDSAP certificates to meet the quality management system requirements of the Medical Devices Regulations.”

To assist exporters with understanding the new regulation, the Global Healthcare Team is holding a webinar about MDSAP registration and requirements on June 28, 2018, featuring Frédéric Hamelin, Manager of the Quality Systems Section of the Medical Devices Bureau at Health Canada. To register for the webinar, please click here: https://go.usa.gov/xQVSh. For more information, contact Canada-based CS Commercial Specialist Connie Irrera at Connie.Irrera@trade.gov.

Medical regulations have already changed in the EU regarding the treatment of healthcare IT applications, post-market surveillance and liabilities borne by manufacturers. The new Regulation 2017-745 took effect in May 2017, and is the master regulation with which all imported medical devices will need to comply. The new rules will apply after a transitional period which will be three years after entry into force for the Regulation on medical devices (spring 2020), and five years after entry into force (spring 2022) for the Regulation on in vitro diagnostic medical devices, according to the EU Commission.

CS Global Healthcare Team Acting Director Taylor Little (CS New Hampshire) and team members David Edmiston (CS Minneapolis, MN) and Melissa Grosso (CS Middletown, CT) are educating U.S. firms and colleagues about these upcoming regulatory changes and the potential impact on U.S. medical device exports. The three international trade specialists recently completed the Regulatory Affairs Certificate Program in Medical Devices from the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS), the largest global organization for those involved with the regulation of healthcare and related products.

“We want to prevent a situation in which a small company loses access to an export market because they were not aware of impending regulatory changes,” Little said.

For more information about the CS Global Healthcare Team, visit our website and click here to find a healthcare trade specialist near you.

 

Resources for Exporters

The U.S. Commercial Service Global Healthcare Team offers a variety of resources to educate exporters about market opportunities and trends for healthcare-related products and services.

Global Healthcare Team Website: https://2016.export.gov/industry/health/

Health Technologies Resource Guide: https://2016.export.gov/industry/health/healthcareresourceguide/eg_main_083726.asp 

Top Markets Series Reports

Additional Resources

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Helping the American Worker Succeed in a Global Marketplace

September 1, 2017

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog

labor day graphic

Helping the American Worker Succeed in a Global Marketplace

As we celebrate Labor Day, the U.S. Department of Commerce is proud to express our appreciation for American workers and reiterate our commitment to helping Americans succeed in a global marketplace.  We firmly believe that given a level playing field, American workers can help grow the economy and build a better future for all Americans.

Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for Americans competing in the global marketplace. ITA strengthens the global competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, analyzes trade trends and opportunities that help businesses make better decisions and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of U.S. trade laws and agreements.

ITA offers the expertise needed to connect U.S. businesses with trade opportunities that strengthen their bottom lines and grow jobs here at home. In 2016 alone, we enabled $59 billion in exports and facilitated $5.3 billion in foreign investment into the United States.

From January 20, 2017, through August 29, 2017, Commerce has initiated 58 antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations, a 27 percent increase from the previous year, and currently maintains 407 AD and CVD duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

Since President Trump has come into office, ITA has been working hard to fulfill the President’s mission to increase opportunities for American workers. This includes:

  • Fighting for American ManufacturingITA is a leading advocate and ombudsman for advancing the competitive position of U.S manufacturing industries in the global market.  We are ramping up efforts to combat unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft and unfair trade barriers affecting U.S. manufacturing exporters. We provide the data and tools that industry and local government partners need to help companies increase exports, investment and jobs. We also support the negotiation of strong provisions in U.S. trade agreements in key areas, including government procurement, customs and trade facilitation, standards and technical regulations, import licensing, investment, state-owned enterprise behavior, anti-corruption, labor, environment, dumping, subsidies and safeguards. ITA will use its expertise and enhanced data analysis programs to put forth recommendations that will make U.S. companies more competitive and will allow them to support more high-paying jobs here in the United States.

 

  • Empowering American ExportersWith offices in 108 locations across the U.S. and 78 markets worldwide, ITA is uniquely positioned to help American companies overcome the challenges of exporting and capitalize on the opportunities to sell American goods and services around the world. Our team works daily to address the market challenges that U.S. companies – especially small and medium-sized businesses – face when pursuing opportunities in the global marketplace. We provide companies with actionable market intelligence, including practical transactional know-how on the mechanics of exporting, guidance on how to manage and overcome barriers to trade and information on trade financing options.  ITA also provides dedicated advocacy support to American companies competing for foreign civilian and defense government procurements.
  • Fighting Unfair Imports: ITA has a record of accomplishment in delivering timely and responsive relief to American manufacturers and workers from unfair trade and ensuring that U.S. national security interests affected by international trade and investment are vigorously evaluated and addressed. We administer and enforce the U.S. antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty laws to defend U.S. manufacturers, ranchers, farmers and workers against injuriously dumped and unfairly subsidized imports. We are steadfast in our work at leveling the playing field through the conduct of these investigations and other proceedings. ITA also provides recommendations and analysis for the Trump Administration of U.S. trade safeguards that protect American industry and jobs. To further strengthen the Department’s abilities to enforce U.S. trade laws, ITA is building capacity to self-initiate trade remedy actions when appropriate.

At home and abroad, ITA works every day to help American workers.  It is our mission and our promise.  Happy Labor Day to everyone!

 

 

 

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Ensure International Clients Can Find You – Website Globalization

July 27, 2016

Michael Waters is an International Trade Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service office in Atlanta

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

In this digital age, a website is a necessity for any business of any size across all industries. A company’s website speaks about the organization and should be viewed by management as a virtual introduction of products and services offered to prospective customers.

However, working with international customers presents its own unique set of circumstances, especially when it comes to websites. For example, is there a link for international sales inquiries on your company’s website? And if so, what details are you requesting? What does your site look like on a mobile device or when translated into a foreign language? These are a few questions that every organization needs to consider when designing a website that offers a product or service for international customers.

Business woman

Ensuring your company’s website is user-friendly can attract customers from abroad.

Globalizing your company’s website does not have to be overly technical. This article will provide a few easily implementable suggestions that anyone can apply, with the ultimate goal of increasing international sales.

One of the simplest steps a company can take to attract international clients is to ensure that foreign visitors know your company is interested and open for business. But you need to have more than just an “international sales” email address listed on the “Contact Us” page. While a direct email address is an important feature, having a specific page dedicated to International Inquiries is a best practice. Be sure that the information collected there is relevant, like removing ZIP codes and correct formatting of telephone numbers or addresses. An open field text box is generally a good way to go.

We also live in a world with a growing mobile workforce. Your company’s web presence should be mobile compatible. Not only is it an important aspect for international business, it also makes sense for your domestic customers as well.  Google reports that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they if had trouble accessing it (McKinsey 2014). Work with your website service provider to ensure mobile compatibility is enabled, works properly, and that the content is limited to the most important information.

Turning now to search engines: Most of us domestically use Google or Bing, and there may even be a few still using Yahoo!. But does your company consider international search engines? Ever heard of Baidu, Yandex or Naver? If your sales team is trying to attract customers from China, Russia, or South Korea, then these need to be on your radar. According to ReturnOnNow.com, in 2015 Baidu had an impressive 55% share of all internet searches in China, with Yandex capturing 58% of the Russian market, and Naver with more than 77% of South Korean online searches . While Google maintains the majority share in Japan, Yahoo! Japan maintains 40% of internet searches. When targeting a specific market or region of the world, ensure that your company will be found when customers come looking by registering your company’s site map with the search engines in your target markets.

Speaking of site maps: Does your company’s webpage have one? A site map is an XML file that search engines use to “read” what is on your webpage and impacts where your company is listed on a search results page. If looking to grow your visibility internationally, it is important for your company to register the site map with popular search engines used in local markets. Site maps also exist as HTML files and can allow for quick navigation – important for customers in a developing market accessing the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Finally, companies may be tempted to translate webpages to attract international customers. While this is logical, it is important to do so properly, generally by professional translation firms. Your website should be free of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. However, translation services can also be an expensive investment, especially if you translate your entire website; therefore, including a Google Translate link can be a more affordable option. If mistakes are made, an international visitor will know that it is most likely due to the translation software, and not the company. If your company has a few target markets, we recommend translating an introduction page (often a combination of the home page and “about us” page) so that foreigners from those markets can find your website when searching in their native language.

While these might seem like small details, they can make a lasting impression on a potential international customer, and result in a sale. With 95% of the world’s population outside of the United States,  it is important that your website reflects your interest in international business. Your local U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center and Trade Specialist can help ensure that your international web presence works to assist your international expansion. Visit www.export.gov to find your local office and for additional information.

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“Survey Says…Foreign Market Research is Tops”

April 19, 2016

Morgan Barr is an International Economist in ITA’s Office of Trade Policy & Analysis.

What do companies need to increase their export sales? In a recent client survey, the International Trade Administration (ITA) confirmed that it is often assistance in gathering market or competitive intelligence. Most companies use in-depth industry research on foreign markets to identify which markets to target, and forecasting future business opportunities using data is especially valuable. However, many companies lack an organized approach to finding this research. The overarching finding on market intelligence can be summarized by an interviewee who expressed that, “Market research is key, however, we don’t have the ability to do it ourselves.”

ITA has a variety of resources to help companies conduct market research on potential export markets for their goods and services—providing everything from tariffs under Free Trade Agreements, detailed trade data, and country guides to industry-specific market research. Together, these resources can provide important market information for U.S. exporters looking for new markets and new opportunities. Learning more about market opportunities is also a critical step in preparing to exhibit at trade shows such as the upcoming Hannover Messe.

Data

Trade statistics to identify new markets can be found in ITA’s Trade Policy Information System, which has an easy search function that quickly provides major U.S. export and import markets by product in an easy-to-read graphical format. Also, Trade Stats Express displays the latest annual U.S. merchandise trade statistics at the national and state levels in maps, graphs, and tables tailored to the user’s needs.

The FTA Tariff Tool provides tariff information on specific products under various U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs). It shows the tariff applied on the date the FTA entered into force and how it is phased out or reduced over time under the agreement. It now contains data on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Top Markets and Industry Information

Top Markets Reports, written by experts from ITA’s Industry and Analysis team, are industry-specific reports, covering both goods and services industries. Each report ranks future export opportunities within a particular industry based on a sector-specific methodology and includes country case studies for identified top markets.

Just in time for Hannover Messe Trade Show, ITA released seven updated Top Markets Reports related to the themes of the show, in order to provide the latest assessment of export opportunities for U.S. companies.

Country Information

Country Commercial Guides are an excellent starting point for everything you need to know about exporting and doing business in more than 125 overseas markets. They are written by U.S. Embassy trade experts and provide critical information on everything from entry strategies for a particular market, to leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment, to customs procedures.

Market Intelligence Search

The above resources are just the beginning. In the near future, we plan to release new lines of market research reporting on www.export.gov that will replace the website’s Market Research Library. Companies will then be able to tap into hundreds of new industry-specific articles, global market insights, and other trade education materials previously unavailable. Other valuable tools, such as a New to Market Tool for identifying export prospects, are not far behind, as we move forward with initiatives to provide more digital services and information to our customers.

Where do you go from there? More than 60 percent of survey respondents sought ITA’s assistance for their overall marketing and planning needs, which also includes identifying and arranging appointments with foreign partners, distributors and buyers, as well as developing a strategy to begin or expand exporting. Along with our self-help market research resources, ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service has offices across the United States that can work together with you to develop an entire export strategy.

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Connecting the Internship Dots: Bridging the Gap between Academics and Real Practice

September 4, 2014

Aileen Yang recently completed an internship with the International Trade Administration’s Office of Trade Agreements, Negotiations, and Compliance. She is a graduate student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies located in Monterey, California. 

Aileen Yang

Aileen Yang

Are you enthralled by the world of trade policy? Are you driven for a career in international trade?  If so, an internship at the ITA’s Office of Trade Agreements, Negotiations, and Compliance (TANC) is the ideal place for someone who is passionate about international trade to become a part of an expert team of trade specialists dedicated to helping U.S. industries maximize their benefits from trade.

TANC is a part of the wider ITA Trade Agreements Compliance (TAC) Program that actively monitors and investigates our trading partners’ enforcement and compliance with trade agreements in order to ensure U.S. industries are provided a fair trading environment.

I had the pleasure of interning at TANC this summer. This afforded me the opportunity to work with a team of trade specialists who uniquely and directly work with private industry to resolve foreign government-imposed trade barriers related to government procurement, technical barriers, and border barriers, among others, they may be facing. I was fortunate enough to have found TANC’s webpage during my internship search and was delighted to learn the office was recruiting interns. I submitted my application materials, was contacted for a telephone interview shortly thereafter, and was eventually offered a summer internship with TANC, which I ecstatically accepted.

During my internship at TANC, I worked with the Trade Agreements team. Among my tasks, I assisted in writing talking points for government-to-government meetings and a WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade meeting; assisted in researching legislation to address foreign government concerns about U.S. state-level government procurement requirements; and assisted in compiling a statistical report to be submitted to the WTO Government Procurement Committee and will be used by U.S. negotiators to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. All of the work I was assigned was used to help real industries resolve real trade problems.

This internship provided me the invaluable opportunity to learn from and work with trade policy experts in a fast-paced and demanding field that cannot be obtained in a classroom. Where else would I have gotten the opportunity to write talking points for a senior-level official to deliver at a WTO meeting amongst delegates from all over world? More importantly, these talking points were used in ITA’s on-going efforts to engage our trading partners in remedying government-imposed regulations that put U.S. businesses at a disadvantage overseas.

Interning at TANC has strengthened my resolve to continue my studies for a career in international trade policy, and there is no doubt that I have chosen the right career path to head towards. Not only did I get to practice the tools I learned in my studies, I was able to witness first-hand how trade policy experts help the private sector ensure they can maximize their benefits from our trade laws and agreements. If you are exploring a career in international trade, apply for an internship at TANC and learn what the office has to offer.

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Beyond the Border: United States and Canada Enhance Their Trade Relationship

July 29, 2014

Isabel Sackner-Bernstein is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is studying Strategic Communication at Elon University.

The United States and Canada share more than just a border, and I’m not talking about the dual citizenship of famous pop star, Justin Bieber. The two countries share common values, deep links among their citizens, and deeply rooted economic ties.

To improve this already strong relationship, President Obama and Primer Minister Harper announced the Beyond the Border initiative (BTB) in 2011. BTB programs, developed by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will create effective solutions to manage the flow of traffic across our shared borders. The BTB initiative has already helped U.S. travelers and businesses by reducing wait times at the border.

These reduced wait times will also support our trade relationship, reducing the time and cost of shipping goods across the border.

One of the programs linked to this initiative is the NEXUS program. It allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay across the border from Canada or the United States. NEXUS membership has increased by nearly 50 percent since BTB’s announcement in 2011, and NEXUS enrolled its one-millionth member in July 2014.

NEXUS isn’t the only BTB program that is making the U.S.-Canada border crossing easier and more secure. Below are a few of the BTB accomplishments to date:

 So why does the BTB initiative matter to you or your company? Here are some key facts about the U.S.-Canada relationship that help explain the importance of BTB:

The United States and Canada have the largest trading relationship in the world. More than $1 billion in trade cross our shared border each day;

  • Canada is one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment in the U.S. economy and vice versa; and,
  • More than 350,000 people cross our shared border each day for work, school, tourism, and to visit family and friends.

Now imagine all those people and products crossing the border every day. BTB is working to make that journey easier for thousands of people so that trade and travel can flourish in both the United States and Canada.

We look forward to the BTB initiative helping Canada become an even more attractive market for U.S. exporters! If you’re ready to explore Canada as a potential market, contact your nearest Export Assistance Center!

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Making It Easier to Clear Customs in Latin America

April 10, 2014

Diana Alvarez recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

More than 40 percent of current U.S. exports go to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Both its geographic proximity and the presence of 11 free trade agreements in the region make these markets attractive for U.S. businesses.

As the U.S. government continues to support businesses expanding in Latin America through the Look South Initiative, one key aspect being addressed is working through potential barriers to trade.

Issues like long customs-clearance times, inconsistent interpretation of customs regulations, and subjectivity of customs inspectors can add to the time and cost of the exporting process. These costs can especially affect small business exporters.

To address these problems, the International Trade Administration is working alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection, governments across Latin America, and other public and private sector partners on the Customs Modernization and Border Management Reform Program.

This program brings business and government together to discuss the challenges faced at the border and to develop solutions that will make clearing customs easier, faster, and more efficient.

The program began in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras and has already helped create a simpler and more efficient border-crossing process:

  • Honduras extended its operating hours at many border posts and harmonized them across the many different border agencies.
  • El Salvador eliminated several administrative requirements for express shipments, saving companies time and money.
  • Costa Rica recently launched its one-stop web portal that will allow companies and government agencies to submit and review all customs-related documents in one place.

As part of a second phase of the program, training workshops and dialogues were held in Peru and the Dominican Republic in March, with events in Guatemala and Uruguay scheduled to take place soon.

We’re excited to see more businesses expand to Latin America under the Look South Initiative, and we look forward to being a part of a smoother trade process under the Customs Modernization and Border Management program.

If you’re ready to increase your business’s presence in Latin America, contact your nearest Export Assistance Center or visit export.gov/looksouth.