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Market Access and Fair Trade


Please respond with specific examples, including the country and approximate time frame and frequency of occurrence.  If you are aware of other companies in your industry facing similar problems, include that as well.

Questions to determine if the issue is a trade barrier:

  • Are your exports or investment being treated differently from other domestic or foreign competitors?
  • Is your ability to export, invest, or compete in foreign markets restricted by foreign government policies, practices, or procedures, which:
  • Are more burdensome or restrictive than they need to be to achieve some defined legitimate governmental purpose?
  • Intentionally or unintentionally appear to advantage local domestic or other foreign firms, goods, or services?
  • Are unpredictable, non-transparent, or formulated without publicly solicited comments from all interested parties, including international companies like yours?

Specific Market Barrier Issues

Are you facing a tariff barrier?

  • Is a WTO Member or FTA partner applying a tariff at the border which is higher than it committed to charge on that product?

Are you facing a tariff classification or customs barrier? Are you experiencing difficulties with a foreign customs office that will not clear your goods to a buyer/importer?

  • Are your goods being classified under the wrong tariff schedule heading?
  • Are you having problems with a foreign customs office's documentation requirements?
  • Are you having problems with any consularization requirements?
  • Has the valuation of your goods been rejected on the basis of a minimum or reference price?
  • Are the duties charged for your goods higher than what you expected?
  • Are the duties charged for your goods based on an arbitrary or inappropriate valuation by foreign customs?
  • Are you unable to locate an official public source of information for current data and information regarding a country's customs procedures?

Do you have a problem related to rules of origin requirements?

  • Are you having a problem with a burdensome rules of origin certification requirement?
  • Are you having a problem with a burdensome country-of-origin marking requirement?
  • Are you having a problem with an unreasonable qualification for rules of origin status?
  • Is there a requirement for a U.S. government certification that does not exist?
  • Are you unable to locate an official public source of information for current data and information regarding a country's origin requirements?

Are you facing a standards-related barrier in an export market?

  • Is the obstacle related to a government regulation requiring mandatory standards, testing, or certification?
  • Does the barrier entail:
  • a burdensome or unclear new national standard
  • a standard not based on an international standard
  • a burdensome or unclear labeling requirement
  • a vague or unclear process to comply with a standard
  • a factory inspection that is difficult to obtain
  • a national quality mark that is unclear or difficult to meet
  • a burdensome or unclear testing or certification requirement
  • a burdensome or unclear product registration requirement
  • a standard or testing requirement that applies only to foreign companies
  • a duplicative or redundant testing or certification requirement
  • an unreasonable time frame to comply with the standard or testing requirement
  • a regulation developed in a non-transparent manner
  • a regulation developed without consideration of available scientific and technical information
  • unnecessary or unreasonable administrative costs

Are you facing sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade?

  • Do you face a sanitary or phytosanitary (SPS) barrier to trade which has kept your food or agricultural product out of a specific export market?
  • Does the barrier entail:
  • an SPS measure developed in a non-transparent manner
  • an SPS measure--including requirements, testing and certification--addressing food safety, animal health or plant health, which is not based on science
  • an SPS measure not based on an international standard (Codex, OIE, IPPC)
  • an SPS requirement that applies only to foreign companies
  • a vague or unclear process to comply with an SPS measure
  • an unreasonable time frame to comply with the SPS measure or testing requirement

Do you have a problem related to foreign government procurement?

  • Are you prohibited from bidding on foreign government contracts?
  • Are you facing discriminatory treatment in foreign government procurements?
  • Are there inappropriate technical requirements in bid documents that exclude your goods or services?
  • Are there mandatory domestic content requirements or price preferences in foreign government tenders?
  • Are there bid deadlines that are too short to prepare and submit proposals?
  • Are there restrictions that prohibit you from applying to be on a qualified suppliers list?
  • Are there problems with procedures to challenge the winning bid; do you have problems getting these procedures?
  • Are there contract liabilities and guarantees that are too costly and keep your company from competing for foreign government contracts?

Do you have an intellectual property rights problem?

  • Are your intellectual property rights being violated in a foreign market?
  • Have you registered your intellectual property (copyright, patent, trademark, etc.) in the foreign market where the violation is occurring?
  • Are counterfeit or pirated products which violate your intellectual property rights being sold in the United States or in another country?
  • Have you registered your patent or trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?
  • Have you registered your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office?
  • Have you recorded your U.S. trademarks or U.S. copyrights with U.S. Customs?
  • Are you unable to register the patent, trademark, or copyright with a foreign government? Are similar trademarks, patents, or copyrights registered in that country?
  • Have you trusted a foreign government with your intellectual property and has it passed your business confidential information, technology, or trade secrets on to a local company without your permission? Is the local company now your main competitor?
  • Is a foreign government not helping your agent, distributor, or wholly-owned subsidiary to stop a violation of your trademark, patent or copyright's violation?
  • Is your patent, trademark, or copyright being used illegally in a foreign market?
  • Is your patent, trademark, or copyright protected under international law (the World Trade Organization's Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property - TRIPs, the Berne Convention, or the World Intellectual Property Organization - WIPO)?
  • Is your trademark considered a famous mark?
  • Do you have documentation or other proof of the patent, trademark, or copyright violation?
  • Are you unable to register the patent, trademark, or copyright with a foreign government? Are similar trademarks, patents, or copyrights registered in that country?
  • Have you trusted a foreign government with your intellectual property and has it passed your business confidential information, technology, or trade secrets on to a local company without your permission? Is the local company now your main competitor?
  • Is a foreign government not helping your agent, distributor, or wholly-owned subsidiary to stop your trademark, patent or copyright's violation?

Are you facing excessive government requirements or other market access barriers to trade?

  • Are you experiencing difficulties exporting because of subsidized local products? Is the foreign market dominated by a domestic company or controlled by monopolistic business practices?
  • Is the country restricting your product based upon the percentage of foreign-origin content or of foreign ownership of the supplier or service provider?
  • Is the country restricting your product because of its components/ingredients, structural composition, or product design?
  • Is your product facing overly limiting or unreasonable shelf life restrictions in the foreign market?
  • Does a foreign country prohibit the importation of used or re-manufactured goods?
  • Is your ability to export affected by the way your goods are classified in a foreign market?
  • Are your foreign wholesalers, retailers, or customers having difficulty obtaining certifications, licenses, or other necessary approvals to sell/use your product in other countries?
  • Is a foreign country asking for your company to disclose proprietary product information before allowing your product to be imported or approved for sale?
  • Have customs duties on your product increased in a country?
  • Do you suffer from higher customs duties in a foreign market than your competitors? Are your exporting problems a result of the trade agreement benefits shared by other countries?
  • Are you encountering a problem with a State-owned or controlled enterprise?

Do you have a problem related to import licensing?

  • Are there unreasonable fees associated with obtaining an import license?
  • Is there an overly burdensome process for obtaining an import license?
  • Are you having problems learning where/how to obtain an import license?
  • Is the purpose for an import license unclear?
  • Are there long delays in receiving approval for an import license?

Are you encountering corruption when you try to export, invest, or otherwise conduct business abroad?

Bribery of a public official, including a foreign official, is a crime under U.S. law. Bribery is also a crime under the laws of other countries.

  • Do public officials ask you for bribes in exchange for services, contracts, permits, licenses or other business you may have or would like to have with them?
  • Do you know whether your competitors are promising, offering or giving such bribes to public officials?
  • Are there any other situations related to corruption you would like to tell us about?

Are you facing barriers to trade in services (GATS)?

  • Are all relevant measures (including new and existing laws, regulations, rules, procedures, decisions and administration actions) pertaining to or affecting trade in your company's services published or made readily accessible?
  • Do you find registration requirements, licensing procedures, qualification requirements and procedures, and technical standards in a foreign market more burdensome for your company than for domestic service providers?
  • Are foreign laws administered in a reasonable and impartial manner? Do they discriminate against you as opposed to third party foreign service providers?
  • Has your company faced:
  • Quotas (direct access to labor)
  • Limitations on foreign capital participation
  • Limitations on the size or location of your establishment
  • Do you face restrictions in establishing or expanding a commercial presence (e.g., joint venture, branch, affiliate, representative office) to provide your service in a foreign market?
  • Do you experience foreign ownership limitations or limits on the number of company directors or managers in providing your service in overseas markets?
  • Do you face citizenship, nationality or residency requirements in providing your service in a foreign market?
  • Does your company experience limitations or restrictions on the temporary entry/mobility of key business personnel (including executives, managers and other skilled intercorporate transferees) in your business operations in foreign markets?

Are you facing barriers in Competition Laws?

  • Are you facing a trade barrier due to the application of competition laws in a foreign country?
  • Are you concerned about receiving fair treatment in anti-trust proceedings?
  • Are the competition laws and procedures you are facing transparent?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be facing an unfair trade barrier. Contact us today to report it so that the United States Government can begin working with you to remove the unfair treatment and restore your access to the market.



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