Posts Tagged ‘trade compliance’


Hometown Heroes: Trade Specialists Shine a Community Spotlight on Manufacturing

October 26, 2022

Lisa Wang is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement and Compliance

October is National Manufacturing Month, and communities across the country are celebrating the important contributions of America’s most enduring and rapidly evolving field. Every aspect of our lives and livelihoods is touched by the people and places that produce our goods.

At the International Trade Administration (ITA), we help U.S. manufacturers thrive in global trade and ensure a level playing field at home and abroad. ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) team enforces U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty laws to protect our industries from unfair pricing and practices of foreign actors who don’t play by the rules.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to see our trade laws in action at manufacturing sites stretching from Appalachia to Alabama as part of a series that we’ve been calling “Hometown Tours.” On each tour, we visit a city considered home by one of our trade specialists and a U.S. company impacted by our work.

A collage of five images. Upper left is Jayden White-Graham standing with two Tuskegee University officials with a Tuskegee University logoed backdrop. Upper right is Kathryn Krishnan with construction glasses on holding an object with four individuals in the background. Lower Left is Norbert Gannon in a construction hat and protective outfit, standing in a crowd of 9 individuals with similar dress. Lower left is Tom Conley posing for a photo behind a sign that reads AMI Auburn Manufacturing Inc. with two individuals besides him and four individuals in front. Center is Zachary Le Vene posing for a photo with construction glasses on with a city backdrop.
Photo collage of ITA trade specialists: Jayden Graham-White (upper left), Kathryn Krishnan (upper left), Norbert Gannon (lower right), Tom Conley (lower left – standing above the AMI sign), and Zachary Le Vene (center).

Our first stop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, can be credited to Norbert Gannon. Gannon, who grew up near U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Plant, saw the integrated steel mill’s evolution throughout his life and marveled at its longevity. Built in the 1870s, it outlasted every other steel mill subsequently built in the “Mon Valley.” Gannon had always wanted to visit the mill but had never stepped foot inside. After a career dedicated to learning about and crafting policy that implicated U.S. manufacturers of steel—nearly 50% of E&C’s cases deal with some form of unfairly traded foreign steel product—Norb was finally able to tour his neighborhood steel facility.

  • Having finally seen the facility, Gannon said, “I can now check this off my bucket list!”

Next, in Portland, Maine, Tom Conley showcased Auburn Manufacturing Inc. (AMI), a woman-led factory that produces high-performance textiles that provide protection from extreme temperatures. Both AMI and nearby Sappi North America—a wood yard and paper mill—are companies that in recent years have been affected by unfair trade practices from China and other countries. Through the enforcement of our laws, ITA has helped these companies stay competitive in the international marketplace while also supporting hundreds of local jobs.

  • Conley said, “These two businesses alone show that Maine is much more than just ‘Vacation Land’ and seafood—though we do have great seafood. It was fantastic to see firsthand the tremendous impact ITA has had on the businesses I grew up with.”

In Lexington, Kentucky, Kathryn Krishan gave a perfect example of a resilient U.S. supply chain with a visit to Leggett & Platt, where 100% of the components that go into the innerspring unit—including the wire that makes the innerspring coils—are manufactured by Leggett & Platt. Through vertical integration and strategic application of U.S. trade laws, Leggett & Platt maintains a global company that has employed generations of Kentuckians.

  • Krishnan said, “My work in D.C. and my hometown in Kentucky have always felt very distinct. It wasn’t until I heard someone who sounds like my Papaw explain how important our work in ITA was to him and his family that I could bridge that gap. I hope that my colleagues were able to see the vibrant and proud communities that make what we do worth it.”

In Alabama, Jayden Graham-White arranged a visit to Globe Specialty Metals. As result of successful trade enforcement, Globe recently reopened its Selma-based plant to continue a proud legacy of producing silicon metals that support sectors ranging from cosmetics to energy and semiconductors. What made this tour more special was visiting the nearby campuses of some distinguished historically Black colleges and universities and predominately Black institutions—Alabama State University, Auburn University at Montgomery, and of course Graham-White’s alma mater, Tuskegee University.

  • Graham-White said, “It was an honor to be able to see firsthand the work that these people do every single day to keep these factories, cities, and ultimately this country running. To return to Alabama serving the communities that raised me and encouraging and supporting diverse students to follow suit was an amazing experience that really brings meaning to the title public servant.”

And most recently, Wisconsin-native, Zachary Le Vene highlighted the local and global impacts of trade remedies at a visit to Renewable Energy Group (REG), a producer of sustainable biofuels. After E&C put duties in place to counter unfairly subsidized and priced biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, REG was able to invest in its refining capacity at facilities like the one E&C visited in Deforest, Wisconsin.

  • Le Vene said, “It was heartening to witness firsthand REG’s commitment to bettering the local community at multiple levels, including both farmers and restaurants who provide the company with ‘waste’ products as feedstock. REG’s innovative, yet practical process of using renewable feedstock and existing infrastructure is inspiring to see in my home state. Although Wisconsin is often known for its beer and cheese, companies like REG are putting it on the map as a center for sustainable, innovative manufacturing.”

ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance team is here to support companies who need our help. If you are facing unfair competition from unfairly priced imports, we offer petition counseling services that are free and confidential. Also, if your U.S. company is facing export barriers, we are available to help. Contact us.

It’s not every day that those of us who work behind the scenes get an opportunity to see how the work we do supports American workers and communities. I am grateful to these individuals for taking us to meet the people and see the places where our work resonates most.


ITA Program Tackles Trade Obstacles

March 4, 2013

Beverly Vaughan is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Trade Compliance Center.Screenshot of Trade Compliance Center website

The International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Trade Agreements Compliance (TAC) Program works to break down barriers to market access abroad and monitors and helps promote foreign government compliance with trade agreement obligations. TAC Program officers identify, investigate, and resolve trade barriers working with industry. By leveraging relevant trade agreements, ITA engages foreign governments to remove or mitigate barriers to trade as quickly as possible.

While all U.S. exporters or investors can use this free service to resolve their market access barriers, the TAC Program can be particularly valuable for small and medium-sized exporters (SMEs), who may lack the resources to combat such barriers.

Exporters and investors can report a barrier on-line to get help quickly from the program. View a TAC Program client success video to learn how to use the online reporting form and see how we assisted a small business exporter overcome barriers preventing it from accessing the Chinese market. Our actions helped to preserve a contract valued at $8.5 million and set a precedent that helps ensure that the full benefits of our international trade agreements are open to U.S. industry.

This company, Klinge Corporation of York, Pennsylvania, contacted the TAC Program’s Hotline after holding unproductive meetings with Chinese freight forwarders and customs officers. TAC Program officers worked with China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration, who intervened on Klinge’s behalf, emphasizing China’s World Trade Organization obligations with other Chinese officials.  In a matter of months after the initial contact with the TAC Program, Klinge obtained the necessary certification to access the Chinese market.

This successful operation isn’t an exception. In Fiscal Year 2012, ITA initiated 227 trade barrier investigations in more than 70 countries, of which 44 percent (100 cases) were on behalf of SMEs like Klinge. During that time, TAC Program officers closed 168 cases in 62 countries, 53 percent of which (89 cases) were closed successfully.  See how ITA has helped U.S. companies overcome foreign trade barriers.

Can the TCC help you overcome a trade barrier? Let us know if you are having trouble getting access to a foreign market.



Workshop Shows Exporters How to Overcome Barriers to International Trade

October 24, 2012

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

Skip Jones is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Agreements and Compliance.

Assistant Secretary Michael Camunez delivers keynote speech at the Defeating Foreign Trade Barriers Workshop at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Assistant Secretary Michael Camunez delivers keynote speech at the Defeating Foreign Trade Barriers Workshop at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. products are the most sought-after products in the world.  However, U.S. companies sometimes have problems selling their products abroad. They encounter various foreign government-imposed trade barriers such as unfair technical requirements, discriminatory government procurements, or unfair customs valuation practices. In many cases, these difficulties represent a country’s not honoring its trade agreement with the United States.

To address these difficulties, the U.S. Department of Commerce operates the “Trade Agreements Compliance Program.”  Representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offered participants expert advice at a “Workshop to Defeat Foreign Trade Barriers” in Washington, DC, and explained how to take advantage of this free Commerce program.

The day-long event was organized by the National District Export Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It featured numerous panels, roundtables and keynote addresses.

The speakers discussed current trends in foreign non-tariff barriers, and the government programs and policies available to combat them.

Download full video .mp4 (22MB)

The message was clear: The U.S. government is doing everything it can to help American businesses overcome these barriers as quickly as possible. As the Under Secretary for International Trade, Francisco Sánchez, stressed in his remarks to the audience :

“Trade agreements can serve as powerful export multipliers, but they need to work properly to reach their full promise,” he said.  “The Commerce Department intends to do its part to see that they do. Let us know when you encounter trade barriers abroad. Work with us so we can remove them as quickly as possible so that your job-creating exports can flow to foreign markets unhindered, just as they should.  ITA’s Trade Agreements Compliance program is a terrific, free resource for U.S. exporters encountering these trade barriers.”

In addition to Under Secretary Sánchez, over 30 speakers offered their insight to the participants – among them, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, Michael Camuñez, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, Ambassador Chuck Ford.

U.S. companies are highly successful in international markets, if they can compete on a level playing field. Efforts like today’s workshop, as well as the underlying work of all U.S. government agencies, help ensure that is the case.

If your business encounters a trade barrier, please visit a Barrier for assistance.