The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking input from companies and industry on trade barriers from around the world, in preparation for its annual National Trade Estimate (“NTE”) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers as well as a more focused report on violations of telecommunications trade agreements.
USTR announced its request in an August 19, 2015 Federal Register notice. For the NTE Report, it is seeking assistance in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment.
USTR identified 10 categories of foreign trade barriers that should be identified, including: import policies, government procurement restrictions, export subsidies, lack of intellectual property protection, services and investment barriers, electronic commerce barriers, and unnecessary standards and technical regulations.
In particular, USTR asked for assistance identifying measures that violate trade agreements as well as measures that operate as “localization barriers to trade.” Localization barriers are measures designed to protect, favor, or stimulate domestic industries, services providers, and or intellectual property.
For the telecom report, USTR is required under Section 1377 of the Trade Act to annually review operation and effectiveness of all U.S. trade agreements regarding telecommunications products. Companies are invited to identify telecom trade barriers to USTR in advance of this report.
Comments for both reports can be submitted online and are due October 28, 2015.
Last year’s 444-page NTE report is available here.