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Acting United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis Announces Obama Administration Accomplishments in 2012 in Reducing Trade Barriers

04/01/2013

Three Reports to Congress Show Continued Progress in Opening Markets for U.S. Exports of Goods and Services

Washington, D.C. – Today, Acting United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis sent three reports to President Obama and to Congress detailing significant accomplishments that the Obama Administration has achieved in reducing or removing foreign government barriers to U.S. exports. In addition to describing progress made over the past year, the National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, the Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Barriers to Trade and the Report on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) describe current barriers to U.S. exports and detail how the Administration is continuing to work on addressing these barriers so that U.S. exports can continue to grow and support more jobs for American workers.

“The Obama Administration has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to opening markets for American products and services abroad – this translates into increased economic opportunities for U.S. workers and companies here at home,” said Acting USTR Marantis. “On behalf of America’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers, we will continue to eliminate unwarranted barriers that obstruct the sale of high-quality 'Made-in-America' products overseas. And we will maintain our vigorous efforts to ensure a level playing field for U.S. goods and services in markets around the world.”

The Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Barriers to Trade focuses on unwarranted SPS barriers that block American agricultural exports. In addition, USTR is providing information on several successful actions to dismantle barriers, which will provide increased access to international markets for American food and agricultural products. Among many other efforts, U.S. negotiators successfully removed specific SPS barriers in El Salvador, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan to exports of U.S. beef; opened the European Union (EU) market to exports of beef treated with lactic acid (a pathogen reduction treatment); resolved barriers to U.S. exports of rough (paddy) rice and poultry products to Colombia; improved market access for U.S. cherries entering Korea; and gained access into China for certain pears grown in the United States.

The Report on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) addresses unwarranted or overly burdensome standards that make it difficult for American manufacturers to sell their products abroad. In 2012, the Administration successfully addressed several of the TBT barriers identified in the previous year’s report. Addressing these barriers should make it easier for U.S. products to meet these trading partners’ standards and access their markets. For example, the Administration’s work with Costa Rica and El Salvador to eliminate a burdensome and unnecessary certification requirement will facilitate exports of processed meat products into these markets. In addition, we achieved an agreement with Brazil on certification requirements for meat processing facilities and meat products that maintains access for U.S. exports. The Administration also worked with Vietnam to address tax stamp issues for alcohol and to eliminate the requirement for “consularization” of documents related to export of mobile phones, cosmetics and alcoholic beverages entering Vietnam.

The 2013 SPS and TBT reports are being released in conjunction with the 2013 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, an annual report that identifies foreign barriers to American exports of goods and services, foreign direct investment, and protection of intellectual property rights. The NTE report outlines current barriers and the actions the Obama Administration has taken to address the export barriers described in the report. The measures identified in the three reports can both restrict American exports and limit the growth of jobs here at home.

To view the full 2013 SPS, TBT and NTE reports, please visit USTR’s website here.

Background

USTR leads the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that foreign governments play by international trade rules. USTR’s work to prevent and remove unwarranted foreign SPS and standards barriers helps achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling American exports by the end of 2014 through the National Export Initiative (NEI).

Former United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced in 2009 that the Obama Administration would bring greater focus to enforcing U.S. rights under international trade rules. As part of those efforts, USTR published the first SPS and TBT reports in 2010 on the Administration’s steps to reduce foreign SPS and TBT barriers that unnecessarily impede American companies, farmers, ranchers, and workers from selling safe, high quality American products.

The 2013 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers is the twenty-eighth annual report that surveys significant barriers to American exports. In accordance with section 181 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is required to submit to the President, the Senate Finance Committee, and appropriate committees in the House of Representatives, an annual report on significant foreign trade barriers.