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USTR Seeks Comments On Foreign Trade Barriers To US Exports

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is asking interested persons to submit written comments to assist the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) in identifying significant barriers to US exports of goods, services, and US foreign direct investment for inclusion in USTR’s annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE).

The Office of the USTR has to receive all written comments no later than October 25, 2017. Electronic submissions should be made at www.regulations.gov; the docket number is USTR-2017-0013.

The NTE sets out an inventory of the most important foreign barriers affecting US exports of goods and services, US foreign direct investment, and protection of intellectual property rights. The inventory facilitates US negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers. The report also provides a valuable tool in enforcing US trade laws and strengthening the rules-based trading system.

To assist USTR in preparing the NTE, commenters should submit information related to one or more of the following categories of foreign trade barriers:
• Import policies (e.g., tariffs and other import charges, quantitative restrictions, import licensing, and customs barriers).
• Export subsidies (e.g., export financing on preferential terms, subsidies provided to equipment manufacturers contingent on export and agricultural export subsidies that displace US exports in third country markets).
• Lack of intellectual property protection (e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, trademark regimes).
• Government-tolerated anticompetitive conduct of state-owned or private firms that restrict the sale or purchase of US goods or services in the foreign country’s markets.
• Trade restrictions implemented through unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary measures, including unwarranted measures justified for purposes of protecting food safety, and animal and plant life or health.
• Trade restrictions implemented through unwarranted standards, conformity assessment procedures, or technical regulations (“technical barriers to trade”) that may have as their objective protecting national security requirements, preventing deceptive practices, or protecting human health or safety, animal or plant life or health or the environment, but that can be formulated or implemented in ways that create significant barriers to trade.

USTR is inviting commenters to identify those barriers covered in submissions that may operate as “localization barriers to trade.” Localization barriers are measures designed to protect,

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