USTR Seeks Comments On Significant Barriers, Such As Tariffs, To US Exports

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) is inviting comments to assist it and the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) in identifying significant barriers to US exports of goods and services and the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights for inclusion in the annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE Report).

The deadline for submitting comments is Thursday, Oct. 29. USTR prefers electronic submissions made through the federal e-rulemaking portal, at www.regulations.gov. The docket number is USTR-2020-0034.

Section 181 of the Trade Act of 1974 requires USTR annually to publish the NTE Report, which sets out an inventory of the most significant foreign barriers affecting US exports of goods and services, including agricultural commodities and United States intellectual property.

The inventory facilitates US negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers and is a valuable tool in enforcing US trade laws and strengthening the rules-based trading system, the USTR explained in a notice published in Thursday’s Federal Register.

The 2020 NTE Report, which was released in March, noted that, while the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) expands market access opportunities for dairy products exported to Canada, the US “remains concerned about potential Canadian actions that would further limit US exports to the Canadaian dairy market.”

That report also noted that Canada’s regulations on compositional standards for cheese limit the amount of dry milk protein concentrate (MPC) that can be used in cheesemaking, reducing demand for US dry MPCs.

The US continues to stress to the European Commission that common names of products should not be absorbed into quality schemes. For instance, if a Codex standard exists, or if a name is used in a tariff schedule or by the World Customs Organization, the US believes that the name should be excluded from the EU’s quality schemes. The US has taken issue with the Commission’s decision to register “havarti” and “danbo” as protected geographical indications (GIs), despite the existence of Codex standards.

Also, since 2012, the EU has required dairy product imports that require EU health certificates to also comply with EU somatic cell count (SCC) requirements. Specifically, the EU requires certification to establish that the SCC does not exceed 400,000 cells per milliliter. The certification necessary to meet this EU requirement is “more burdensome than necessary”.

To assist USTR in preparing the next NTE Report, commenters should submit information related to one or more of the ...

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