Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Request for Public Comments To Compile the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers

The Office of the United States Trade Representative ("USTR") Policy Staff Committee ("TPSC") is requesting interested persons to submit comments to assist it in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for inclusion in the National Trade Estimate Report ("NTE"). The TPSC invites written comments from the public on issues that USTR should examine in preparing the NTE.

Highlights relating to textiles, apparel, and footwear from the 2015 NTE are available from Agathon Associates at

Public comments are due not later than 11:59 p.m., October 28, 2015.

Topics on which the TPSC Seeks Information: To assist USTR in preparing the NTE, commenters should submit information related to one or more of the following categories of foreign trade barriers:

  1. Import policies (e.g., tariffs and other import charges, quantitative restrictions, import licensing, and customs barriers);

  2. Government procurement restrictions (e.g., "buy national policies" and closed bidding);

  3. Export subsidies (e.g., export financing on preferential terms, subsidies provided to equipment manufacturers contingent on export and agricultural export subsidies that displace U.S. exports in third country markets);

  4. Lack of intellectual property protection (e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, and trademark regimes);

  5. Services barriers (e.g., limits on the range of financial services offered by foreign financial institutions, regulation of international data flows, restrictions on the use of data processing, quotas on imports of foreign films, unnecessary or discriminatory technical regulations or standards for telecommunications services and barriers to the provision of services by professionals);

  6. Investment barriers (e.g., limitations on foreign equity participation and on access to foreign government-funded R&D consortia, local content, technology transfer and export performance requirements, and restrictions on repatriation of earnings, capital, fees, and royalties);

  7. Government-tolerated anticompetitive conduct of state-owned or private firms that restrict the sale or purchase of U.S. goods or services in the foreign country's markets;

  8. Trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce (e.g., tariff and non-tariff measures, burdensome and discriminatory regulations and standards, and discriminatory taxation);

  9. 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;

  10. 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 (including unnecessary or discriminatory technical regulations or standards for telecommunications products); and

  11. Other barriers (e.g., barriers that encompass more than one category, such as bribery and corruption, or that affect a single sector).

Furthermore, commenters are invited to identify those barriers covered in submissions that may operate as "localization barriers to trade". Localization barriers are measures designed to protect, favor, or stimulate domestic industries, services providers, and or intellectual property at the expense of goods services or intellectual property from other countries, including the provision of subsidies linked to local production.

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