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USTR Seeks Comment on Standards as Barriers to Foreign Trade

New York, Sep 14, 2007

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking comments regarding instances where standards, certifications, and/or self-declarations of conformance issues have been barriers to trade during the last year. The input gathered will assist USTR in publishing its annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE) as required by the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984.

Interested parties are invited to provide written comments that will assist in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services and overseas direct investment. Of particular concern are impediments materially affecting the actual and potential financial performance of an industry sector, as well as any practices that violate U.S. trade agreements. Submissions should contain estimates of the potential increase in exports that would result from the removal of the barrier.

Information is requested relating to one or more of ten categories of foreign trade barriers:

  • standards, testing, labeling, and certification (including unnecessarily restrictive application of phytosanitary standards, refusal to accept U.S. manufacturers' self-certification of conformance to foreign product standards, and environmental restrictions)
  • import policies
  • government procurement
  • export subsidies
  • lack of intellectual property protection
  • services barriers
  • investment barriers
  • anticompetitive practices with trade effects tolerated by foreign governments
  • trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce
  • other barriers that encompass more than one category or that affect a single sector

Additionally, USTR is interested in receiving new or updated information pertaining to the barriers addressed in last year’s NTE report.

Written comments are due no later than Thursday, November 8, 2007. The public is encouraged to submit documents via e-mail (; however, comments may also be faxed to Gloria Blue, executive secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee (202.395.6143).

Click here to access the Federal Register for specific details regarding the submission of comments.

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