Posts Tagged ‘standards’


ITA’s Office of Standards and Investment Policy

October 2, 2018

Did you know that ITA has an Office of Standards and Investment Policy? Candice Appiakorang in ITA’s Office of Public Affairs sat down with Eileen Hill, Team Leader for Standards in the Office of Standards and Investment Policy to get an in-depth look into the importance of standards and testing to exporters.

Keep reading to find out how this office helps goods and services to move easily between markets!

Candice: What is the Office of Standards and Investment Policy?Teamwork

Eileen: The Office of Standards and Investment Policy (OSIP) is in the Industry & Analysis unit of the International Trade Administration (ITA). The Standards Team in OSIP focuses on addressing standardization issues before they become market barriers. The Standards Team also seeks to ensure trading partners accept the standards U.S. manufacturers use to satisfy regulatory requirements, which helps our companies avoid re engineering products or undergo unnecessary, costly testing. Additionally, the Standards Team in OSIP works proactively to ensure that U.S. stakeholders can participate in standards development to protect their market access opportunities.

Candice: How do standards and testing support global sales?

Eileen: Standards are the foundation that enables global trade, competitiveness, and technology development. Standards are essential to accelerating the widespread commercialization of new technologies and enabling goods to move easily between markets. Testing demonstrates that a product complies with a specific standard and builds confidence that a product will perform as stated. Together standards and testing help improve access to global markets, thereby strengthening global trade.

Candice: To export successfully, you clearly need to know how to navigate the global standards, testing and regulatory landscape. What are the first steps an exporter should take to become aware of this important information?

Eileen: is a helpful resource. ITA’s Country Commercial Guides are an excellent starting point to find everything you need to know about doing business overseas. These guides have a standards and regulations section to help you decide if a market is right for your product or service. The Top Markets Reports from Industry & Analysis include information on the global regulatory landscape for 27 sectors. Exporters should also consider signing up for the free Notify US service, administered by Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to learn about and comment on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures proposed by trading partners that could impact market access. Information can be customized by sector or country. Another useful website is NIST’s, which has industry guides, including on the China Compulsory Certificate (CCC) mark. Our trade specialists around the world can help you navigate the full menu of ITA services; first-time exporters should connect with their local U.S. Export Assistance Center..

Candice: What are some tools exporters can use to address specific standards export problems?

Eileen: ITA has a complete toolbox. We can assist in resolving transactional issues via our network of offices around the globe, which can connect with the appropriate foreign ministry or standards body to resolve technical issues. OSIP works to foster public-private partnerships to tackle standardization challenges; connects U.S. and foreign regulators on specific sector issues; and promotes U.S. standardization solutions that underpin emerging technologies. Much of this work happens in regional fora such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ITA also raises standards issues in ITA-led bilateral exchanges, the commercial dialogues ITA organizes with U.S. trading partners, trade agreement discussions, and at the World Trade Organization.

Candice: And for our readers who have not reached international markets just yet, what are some things they could do to prepare for standards that may impact potential global sales?

Eileen: Get involved in the standards development work relevant to your products! Taking a seat at the table will ensure that your interests are reflected. Contact our office to learn more about standards!


Expanding the Wine Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region

September 29, 2011

Jamie Ferman is an international trade specialist focusing on the consumer goods industry.

I have always loved my job.  Since 1999, I have worked in the Office of Consumer Goods in the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration and have covered numerous industries, with a primary focus on toys.  But in January, I was asked to take on a special project for the U.S. host year of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to organize and implement the first meeting of the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF).  Last week in San Francisco, it all came together as one of the projects of the third Senior Officials Meeting.

Grapes in the Concannon Vineyard

Grapes in the Concannon Vineyard

With 110 wine regulators and industry representatives from 18 APEC economies, we discussed the sharing of best practices on wine certification, laboratory testing, and labeling.  We had 30 speakers from 13 different economies, with a major focus on encouraging economies to get involved with the international organizations that focus on wine, especially World Wine Trade Group, an informal group of government and industry representatives including the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa which works to facilitate wine trade. 

APEC delegates tour the grape crusher at Concannan Vineyard

APEC delegates tour the grape crusher at Concannan Vineyard

In the past decade, wine trade in the 21-nation APEC region has grown significantly, accounting for 26 percent of all global trade in 2010, up from 21.8 percent in 2000.  More than one-fifth of APEC members’ global wine trade is conducted within the region, which has tripled to $3.6 billion in value over the last decade.

Given the importance of wine trade to some of our cosponsoring economies, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and Peru, it is not surprising that our event drew some big names, like our key-note speaker, former World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General and current New Zealand Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Moore.  In his remarks, Ambassador Moore noted that the APEC  wine trade, while quickly growing in significance, is burdened by different and sometimes conflicting regulatory requirements which are estimated to cost APEC economies and businesses approximately $1 billion USD per year.  Ambassador Moore also explained how New Zealand developed its wine industry from being small and domestically focused, to becoming a major international player by opening the market to imports and streamlining the regulations.

And yes, we did sample some of the best wine in California.  At the close of the first day, the event’s private-sector cosponsor, the Wine Institute, hosted a reception at the historic Ferry Terminal overlooking San Francisco Bay which featured wines from the Napa Valley Vintners Association.  After a regulators-only breakfast on the second day, we boarded a bus for the Livermore Valley and held our remaining sessions at the Concannon Vineyard and Winery. 

After agreeing in the Outcomes Statement to meet again to discuss critical issues like streamlining paper certifications for wine, which were documented and presented at the meeting by our U.S. regulatory partner, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB), we went on a tour and tasting of the Concannon wines.  The grapes were still about two weeks away from harvest, so we sampled them right off the vine.  We ended the day by a tour of the TTB wine testing lab in Walnut Creek, CA where scientists in white lab coats gave us a glimpse of the hard science behind their regulatory mandate. 

All in all, this assignment was one of the best I have had during my time at Commerce. I am especially thankful for the chance to work with Tom LaFaille, Director of International Trade Policy at the Wine Institute and to the great U.S. government APEC team led by Julia Doherty, from the U.S. Trade Representative and Jennifer Stradtman from the International Trade Administration.  


The presentations and other key documents from the WRF including the Outcomes Statement are available on the Wine Institute’s website.

APEC was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs in other parts of the world.  It fosters growth and prosperity by facilitating economic cooperation and expanding trade and investment throughout the region.  APEC’s member economies today account for 55% of global gross domestic product, 61% of all U.S. export goods and 44% of world trade, and comprise a market of 2.7 billion consumers.