Posts Tagged ‘TPP’


U.S. Fish and Fish Products Industry Swimming Along with the TPP Current

May 5, 2016

Greg Schneider is a Senior International Trade Specialist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

In a span of just five years—2009 to 2014—U.S. fish and fish products such as frozen fish fillets, fish roe, crabs, cod, clams, and salmon exports to the world grew by 48 percent. In 2014, this sector yielded $5.8 billion in U.S. exports to the world and accounted for 1.3 million U.S. jobs. Once it enters into force, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, will help to increase the competitiveness of these U.S. exports in important markets.

U.S. fish and fish products

U.S. fish and fish products

In 2014, the U.S. fish and fish products sector generated $909 million in exports to new TPP markets which include Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand and Vietnam. The United States does not have preferential market access in these countries and, consequently, faces tariffs as high as 35 percent which result in an estimated $52 million in import duties levied on U.S. fish and fish products each year.

The United States is the sole supplier of Alaskan Pollock to Japan, averaging $248 million in exports annually. Presently, an estimated $10.4 million in duties are levied on these exports due to the current 4.2 percent tariff. Under its previous trade agreements, Japan has excluded Pollock from tariff elimination; however, under the TPP, the 4.2 percent tariff will be eliminated immediately upon entry into force, thus benefitting U.S. fishermen by helping to make U.S. Pollock more competitive.

Implementing the TPP will break down barriers the U.S. fish and fish products sector currently faces. Tariffs on 100 percent of U.S. exports of fish and fish products to Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam will be eliminated immediately. Additionally, Japan will immediately eliminate tariffs on 93 percent of U.S. exports of fish and fish products with the remaining seven percent eliminated within the next 11 years.

Bringing TPP into force is an important step forward to increase the competitiveness of U.S. exports of fish and fish products in new TPP markets. TPP commitments to promote sustainable fisheries management, eliminate some of the most harmful fisheries subsidies, and combat illegal fishing are groundbreaking and can make a significant contribution to global efforts to conserve fisheries resources while ensuring a level playing field for legitimate fishing operations and trade.

The International Trade Administration’s Industry & Analysis team has developed several resources to help business owners and employees in this booming sector. One, the FTA Tariff Tool, is designed to help U.S. companies—large and small—take advantage of export opportunities with U.S. FTA partners, including TPP partners. The “What’s My Tariff” search empowers the user to perform instant and at-a-glance searches for tariff treatment for all goods under certain U.S. FTAs.

For more detailed information on the fish and fish products sector, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, please download the free sector report.



American-Made Chemicals Reach TPP Markets

April 7, 2016

John Meakem is an International Trade Specialist with the Office of Materials Industries

When we hear the word ‘chemicals’, we often imagine a science lab, flasks, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. But did you know that chemicals are used to produce everyday household items such as cosmetics, paints, plastic products, and fertilizers?

It’s no surprise, then, to know that the United States has a bustling chemicals industry that in 2014 had $160 billion in exports and employed 1.2 million workers. Many countries rely on U.S. exports of these chemicals to help meet their everyday needs.


In 2014, the U.S. chemicals industry employed 1.2 million workers.

In fact, from 2009 to 2014, U.S. chemical exports to the world grew by 44 percent – and this supports the growth of jobs here in the United States as well. It’s estimated that STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics) jobs are poised to grow by 8.65 million by 2018; many of them will be in the chemicals sector and will be critical in supporting the development of U.S.-made chemical products.

But there is a cost to doing business abroad. Without the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in place, these products have been subject to tariffs of up to 35 percent in some TPP countries.  Worldwide, an estimated $236 million in duties are levied on U.S. exports of chemicals every year.

However, once enacted, the TPP will create duty-free access to new TPP markets, thus leveling the playing field for domestic-made chemicals and the chemical industry’s workers. Japan, for example, will eliminate import taxes on all U.S. chemical products immediately. And within four years, growing markets such as Malaysia and Vietnam will end upwards of 93% percent of their duties on U.S. chemicals exports as well.

With respect to plastics, the TPP countries represent a significant market for highly-competitive U.S. products. Under the TPP, tariffs of as high as 25 percent will be eliminated, and U.S. plastics producers will enjoy reciprocal market access to all the other economies. To give two examples: Japan will immediately eliminate all tariffs on U.S. plastics, and Vietnam will eliminate nearly all of its tariffs on plastics within four years.

The TPP addresses high foreign tariffs for many every-day use items (e.g., cosmetics, soap, shampoo, deodorant), as well.  For example, Vietnam’s duties on U.S.-made cosmetics, which have been as high as 27 percent, will be eliminated within four years after implementation.

ITA’s Industry & Analysis team understands the importance of this historic agreement and is ready to assist businesses that are looking to take advantage of the new possibilities. We have created a detailed fact sheet on what U.S. chemical exporters can look forward to once the agreement is passed.


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.


Kansas Exporter Spreads Global Cheer with “Ballooning” Sales: Company Set to Benefit from TPP

March 16, 2016

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service

Pioneer Balloon Company balloons at a wedding receptionWhen Ted A. Vlamis and his wife, Betty, left their jobs in the food industry in 1978, they knew it was time to pursue their lifelong dream of starting their own company. As it turned out, they didn’t have to wait long. A year later, they heard rumblings about Sherwood Medical, a Pioneer, Ohio, medical glove and balloon manufacturer that was looking to spin-off its balloon business. The timing was perfect. Ted and Betty bought the firm and renamed it Pioneer Balloon Company. Now located in Wichita, Kansas, with Ted A. serving as president and Betty as executive vice president, the company’s “ballooning” export sales are appealing to decorator-doers worldwide.

“We really see ourselves more as a decoration and entertainment business,” says Ted J. Vlamis, the couple’s son, who serves as vice-president. “We provide value-added services to encourage use of our balloons by professional artists and decorators, and for special occasions such as corporate events, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and, well, you name it.”

For example, the company established and continues to grow a unique, professional “balloon network” that teaches customers how to decorate with balloons and run a profitable business. Pioneer Balloon educates these firms on innovative techniques for management of employees, tax laws, costing, rent, and so on. By helping these businesses thrive, Pioneer Balloon helps sustain and grow a robust network of professional customers.

The company’s latex balloons, ranging in sizes from 5 inches to 3 feet in diameter, include its popular professional Qualatex brand product line, which is heavier than traditional balloons and uses a higher grade of pigments for a deep, rich color. The firm’s less-expensive balloons, sold at retail, are lighter weight and offer more subtle colors. The company also makes popular foil balloons and distributes stretchy plastic balloons. And for all those would-be event planners, here’s a timely tip: Regular helium-filled latex balloons stay airborne for 18 to 24 hours, and foil balloons stay up for as long as four weeks. See you at the party.

Selling to Trans-Pacific Partnership Markets

Pioneer Balloon first began exporting in the mid-1980s, making its first sales to Canada. Today, the firm sells to 100 countries, with exports growing from 35 percent of overall sales in 1997 to 50 percent of total sales today.

The company stands to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) once it is enacted. By reducing or eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers, TPP will give U.S. businesses improved access to 11 Pacific Rim markets, collectively representing 40 percent of global GDP.

“About 50 percent of our export sales go to TPP countries. Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Australia are some of the key markets,” Vlamis says. “While many of these countries are already duty-free, we see major benefits if TPP eliminates tariffs in Malaysia, Japan, and Vietnam. Those three markets represent a combined population of some 250 million consumers with increased spending power.”

For Pioneer Balloon, the TPP would immediately eliminate current tariffs of 5 percent in Malaysia and 2.8 percent in Japan, while phasing out Vietnam’s 20 percent tariff in four years. In addition, the TPP would help reduce the burdensome regulations in Japan.

Putting the benefits of TPP in context, Vlamis recalls how NAFTA helped the company grow and become more competitive. NAFTA eliminated the 20 percent tariff on the company’s exports to Mexico, allowing the firm to boost sales and employment by reducing costs.

Pioneer Balloon’s main U.S. production facilities in Dallas, Texas, and distribution headquarters in El Dorado, Kansas, serve as hub for its domestic and much of its export sales. The company also supplies U.S-based materials and expertise through an integrated global supply chain to its facilities in Canada, Mexico, England, and Australia that print and distribute balloons for their respective markets. Altogether, these integrated global operations support 600 jobs in the United States out of the company’s worldwide total of 1000.

Ted’s Words of Wisdom on Exporting

Vlamis offers some solid advice for those businesses that have yet to export: “I would encourage businesses to take the ‘plunge.‘ It diversifies your business, so if you encounter problems in the United States, you can augment your sales by doing better overseas. Exporting also makes you a stronger company because you can adopt ideas from other countries, and that helps you better succeed domestically as well.”

How about advice for those U.S. companies already exporting; any thoughts? “Yes, the most important thing for me is going out and seeing the customer personally. There’s just no substitute. You can’t understand their business until you see them personally. Hey, when I travel, I adopt the attitude that I’m a student wanting to understand and embrace their culture.”

Along the way, Pioneer Balloon has also leveraged export expertise from the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Wichita and abroad for business matchmaking, visa information, customs clarification, and single company promotions that helped the firm enter several new markets.

Finally, there are the personal rewards from doing business internationally. “Exporting has been enriching my life for 30 years,” Vlamis says. “I’ve had opportunity to speak other languages and experience new cultures and friendships. Just last week, I gave some visiting overseas customers a taste of iconic American cuisine by bringing in lunch from one of our Wichita BBQ restaurants. They loved it.”


Updated FTA Tariff Tool Helps U.S. Exporters Calculate Tariff Benefits under TPP and Make Strategic Business Decisions

March 15, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

FTA Tariff Tool now includes the information on tariffs in TPPWith 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 to connect with your local U.S. Export Assistance Center and learn more about international opportunities for your product.


Making a Difference to the World’s Digital Economy: The Transatlantic Partnership

March 11, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Single Market  

Europe and the United States have a long history of deep political and economic ties. Our economic relationship is the largest in the world, with goods and services trade between us totaling about $2.7 billion a day.

It should come as no surprise that these linkages extend to the digital realm as well. In fact, $260 billion in digital services trade moves between the U.S. and the EU annually. Given these facts the U.S. and the EU have made stronger cooperation on issues related to the digital economy a top priority.Europe & US

On both sides of the Atlantic, we already share the same goals. We want to ensure that digital technologies are helping to create jobs, generate growth, build thriving technology ecosystems that support startups and entrepreneurs, and ensure the protection of privacy and other public policy goals.

On Friday, March 11, we are meeting in Boston to further our work toward these critical aims. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we will come together to exchange knowledge and insights on digital innovation. We will be joined by private sector leaders from both the U.S. and the EU, who will offer their views on how best to enable the growth of the digital economy.

We will discuss initiatives such as Europe’s proposal to build a Digital Single Market, which is an opportunity to fuel growth in Europe and in the trans-Atlantic digital economy. The EU’s vision of the Digital Single Market will tear down barriers to innovation, and create a welcoming climate for investors.

We will also discuss our recent political agreement on a new structure and arrangement to facilitate transatlantic data flows while strengthening the protection of personal data, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.

Looking to the future, it is clear that data will continue to be fundamental – whether we are talking about the Internet of Things, quantum technologies, apps, or e-commerce. Data is the basis of our digital future without borders, which presents new challenges that we are confident we can solve together.

The ability to transfer data easily, smoothly and securely worldwide is vital, but it is particularly important for the EU and the U.S., as data flows between us are the highest in the world. The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is an important milestone for all of these reasons.

Nobody would deny that these have been lengthy and difficult negotiations, given the legally complex and politically sensitive exercise we undertook.

Partners on both sides of the Atlantic worked around the clock to finalize a framework that provides certainty to help grow the digital economy by ensuring that thousands of European and U.S. businesses and millions of individuals can continue to access services online. In the end, we achieved a strong agreement that enables transatlantic commerce while safeguarding privacy. Both partners will work to make sure that people’s privacy will be fully protected and that we are fit for the opportunities of the digital age.

The Privacy Shield is a robust new framework that offers significant improvements over the previous scheme. And it is a ‘living mechanism’ which will be continuously monitored and reviewed on an annual basis.

Work to make the Privacy Shield a reality has started on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, discussions with the EU’s 28 national governments and data protection authorities are entering a crucial phase.

Working together, we will strengthen trust and confidence in the online world. It is what will drive our digital future – building on our longstanding history of trust, cooperation, and mutual understanding to further the global digital market.



TPP: Fostering a Level Playing Field for the American Services Sector

March 10, 2016

Stefan Selig is the Under Secretary for the International Trade Administration

This week, I had the opportunity to speak before the Washington International Trade Association (WITA) at their event “What Will TPP Mean for Services Trade?” So I used this opportunity to go even further.

First, I explained what our services exports have meant for the American economy as a whole. The U.S. is currently the leading exporter of services in the world. But more importantly, over the past 20 to 25 years, as the global marketplace for services developed, we have experienced the job and export growth that came with maintaining and deepening that leadership. Between 1999 and 2014, U.S. jobs supported by services exports increased by 36%, and services accounted for 70% of the total increase in jobs supported by exports during this period. Today, more than 4.5 million jobs are supported by services exports, and last year we exported more than $710 billion in services. Overall, our services sector produces surpluses year after year after year.


Selig speaks with WITA about TPP and U.S. service exports.

I also explained what TPP means for American leadership. As I have said over the course of my time as Under Secretary, trade is not a threat to American leadership, it is an expression of it. TPP will allow us to expand our commercial leadership by opening market access for our goods and services in the part of the world where the majority of global middle class will be located within the next 15 years. It will allow us to expand our strategic leadership by advancing rules of global commerce that reflect our core values, embodied in the strongest labor, environmental, and intellectual property protections of any trade agreement in history. And, TPP will allow us to grow our strategic and diplomatic leadership, because it will enable our nation to deepen our relationships with countries in the Asia-Pacific, the area that is becoming both the political and economic center of gravity in the world.

Of course, I also answered the topic question of the event. For our services exporters, TPP is nothing short of a generational opportunity. TPP is a generational opportunity compared to earlier agreements, particularly the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Because TPP utilizes a negative list approach, as opposed to GATS with its positive list approach, U.S. services exporters will enjoy a superior breadth of coverage and superior quality of commitments for market access. And TPP contains several advancements relative to GATS and our other free trade agreements, which will better combat “behind-the-border” regulations that impede our services exporters. TPP is also a generational opportunity in that it is the first major trade agreement of the digital economy era. TPP positions our digital services exporters to gain market access in such sectors as network management, internet search, data analytics, and cloud computing among others. And TPP is a generational opportunity for our services exporters to access a $600 billion services market among our partner countries. That market will only grow as nearly half of global economic growth will be in the Asia-Pacific in the next 20 years.

Our services sector has been a backbone of our economy, supporting good-high paying jobs. In order to ensure this will continue, we need to do everything we can to make sure TPP becomes a reality during this administration.  That includes the organization I lead, the International Trade Administration (ITA), which supported the negotiations to close TPP, and which is working with members of Congress to secure its passage.

ITA is committed to creating 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— including 170 Commercial Service officers in all 11 TPP markets—we are available to help U.S. companies succeed in the global marketplace.