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U.S. Trade Representative Froman Announces Recent Obama Administration Accomplishments in Reducing Trade Barriers

Three Reports to Congress Show Persistent Progress in Opening Markets for American Goods and Services

Washington, D.C. –United States Trade Representative Michael Froman sent three reports to President Obama and Congress detailing significant accomplishments by the Obama Administration, related to trade, that will unlock opportunity for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.  The National Trade Estimate Report (NTE) is accompanied by the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) reports. The reports detail USTR’s work to reduce and remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports over the past year. 

“Trade has been an important part of the United States’ economic recovery, and it is a critical component of President Obama’s forward-looking strategy to unlock opportunities that will create jobs, promote growth and strengthen the middle class.” Ambassador Froman said, “Over the last five years, we have expanded and intensified trade enforcement efforts, making clear that the Obama Administration is prepared and willing to go to the mat for American workers and businesses. The National Trade Estimate report plays an important role by shining a spotlight on significant trade barriers that our goods and services exporters face.”

The Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Barriers to Trade identifies the Obama Administration’s ongoing work to eliminate unwarranted barriers that block American agricultural exports.  For example, in 2013, U.S. negotiators:

  • Removed specific SPS barriers to exports of U.S. beef in the European Union, Mexico, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama;
  • Lifted the European Union’s previous ban on live swine from the United States;
  • Opened new markets for U.S. pork in Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, and Bahrain;
  • Increased access for U.S. peaches, nectarines, and grapes in the Australian market; and
  • Reduced barriers to U.S. horticultural products in China and Japan.

These and other successes helped the United States to export a record $148 billion in food and agricultural products in 2013, supporting over 929,000 U.S. jobs.

The Report on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) addresses unwarranted or overly burdensome technical barriers that make it difficult for American manufacturers and workers to sell their products abroad.  For example, in 2013, U.S. negotiators;

Negotiated an agreement with Japan which facilitates trade in organic agricultural products;

  • Protected market access for exports of U.S. prepackaged foods in Chile;
  • Obtained a commitment from China to protect companies’ sensitive intellectual property related to 4G technology;
  • Removed certification barriers for U.S. manufacturers of sanitary pipes in Mexico.

These and other successes helped the United States to export a record $1.6 trillion in agricultural and industrial products in 2013, supporting over 8.6 million U.S. jobs.     

To view the full 2014 SPS, TBT and NTE reports, visit USTR’s website here.

Background

USTR leads the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that foreign governments play by international trade rules.  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 two 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 2014 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers is the twenty-ninth annual report that surveys significant barriers to American exports.  In accordance with section 181 of the Trade Act of 1974, as added by section 303 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984 and amended by section 1304 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, section 311 of the Uruguay Round Trade Agreements Act, and section 1202 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, 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. A list of the major developments of the National Trade Estimate Report can be seen here.