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USTR Initiates Next Steps on New Trade Enforcement Efforts

USTR Initiates Next Steps on New Trade Enforcement Efforts
Federal Register Notices Call for Public Input on Key Barriers for Manufacturers, Agricultural Producers

Washington, D.C. - As part of the Obama Administration's trade enforcement efforts, the Office of the United States Trade Representative today initiated the next steps in an effort to better spot and address standards-related measures that impede U.S. producers' ability to access foreign markets, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures restricting U.S. agricultural exports.  United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk first unveiled the new enforcement tools in July of this year during a major address to steelworkers in Braddock, Pennsylvania.  Today, notices published in the Federal Register will initiate the process of gathering information on standards-related measures, SPS measures, and other barriers to trade, requesting public comments on the most significant barriers faced by U.S. agricultural producers and other exporters.

"A fundamental goal of U.S. trade policy is to level the global playing field for American workers and businesses, which will save jobs and create new jobs in the United States," said Kirk.  "Today, we are following through on our commitment to ensure that American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and producers have a fair chance to compete for business around the world, to sell more goods to global consumers, and to bring the benefits of our trade agreements back home.  We are heightening USTR's focus on some of the most significant barriers that our exporters face, so that trade can be a more effective tool for restoring this country's economy."

The Federal Register notices - available at www.regulations.gov - request public comments for the purpose of compiling USTR's National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, and for the new reports on standards-related and SPS foreign trade barriers.

Standards-related measures are identified as standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures, such as mandatory process or design standards, labeling or registration requirements, and testing or certification procedures.  Standards-related measures can be applied not only to industrial products but to agricultural products as well, such as food nutrition labeling schemes and food quality or identity requirements.

SPS measures are identified as those measures applied to protect the life or health of humans, animals, and plants from risks arising from additives, contaminants, pests, toxins, diseases, or disease-carrying and causing organisms.  SPS measures can take such forms as specific product or processing standards, requirements for products to be produced in disease-free areas, quarantine regulations, certification or inspection procedures, sampling and testing requirements, health-related labeling measures, maximum permissible pesticide residue levels, and prohibitions on certain food additives.

Key Links:

Full text of Ambassador Kirk's speech unveiling these new enforcement initiatives can be found here.

Notice regarding standards-related measures can be found here.

Notice regarding SPS measures can be found here.

Notice regarding all other measures can be found here.

Supplemental information on today's Federal Register notices can be found here.