The Office of the United States Trade Representative is seeking information about the most common barriers to foreign trade faced by U.S. companies, for inclusion in the 2014 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE) report. The response will help prioritize America’s trade priorities in future trade negotiations.
The USTR is particularly interested in import policies, government procurement restrictions, export subsidies, lack of intellectual property protection, barriers in services and investment and trade restrictions that affect electronic commerce. Other barriers, such as corruption or issues that affect multiple categories, also should be reported. Instances of government-tolerated anticompetitive conduct of state-owned or private firms are also of interest, when they restrict the sale or purchase of U.S. goods or services in international markets.
In addition, organizations are invited to identify those barriers covered in their submissions that may operate as “localization barriers to trade.” Localization barriers protect, favor, or stimulate domestic industries, services providers and or intellectual property at the expense of goods, services or intellectual property from other countries.
As Monday’s Federal Register notice specifies, “Comments should include an estimate of the potential increase in U.S. exports that would result from removing the foreign trade barrier the comment identifies, as well as a description of the methodology the commenter used to derive the estimate. Estimates should be expressed within the following value ranges: Less than $5 million; $5 to $25 million; $25 million to $50 million; $50 million to $100 million; $100 million to $500 million; or over $500 million. These estimates will help USTR conduct comparative analyses of a barrier's effect over a range of industries.”
Electronic submissions are preferred to fax or hard copies and are due before midnight, October 22, 2013.
The NTE inventories the most important foreign barriers affecting U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment and protection of intellectual property rights. The report is used in U.S. trade negotiations and provides a valuable tool in enforcing U.S. trade laws and strengthening the rules-based trading system.