US Government Requests Comment on Foreign Trade Barriers

USTR Notice in Federal Register

Submissions Due in November

On September 24, 2009, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), by way of notice in the Federal Register, called on US businesses to submit their reports on laws, regulations, policies and practices of foreign countries that are significant barriers to US exports and investments, including but not limited to licensing requirements, tariffs, lack of intellectual property protection and government corruption. This annual practice is for the creation of the National Trade Estimates Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE) that must be created every year under federal law. The NTE is used by the US government in setting its trade agenda and priorities for negotiations and enforcement. This year’s notice for the 2010 NTE also includes a request for comments on the sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) and standards-related measures of foreign countries that result in a significant barrier to US businesses.

This is important to the international practitioner because if your US client is having problems in entering or developing a foreign market for its business, you need to consider the possibility that yours is not an isolated instance. By submitting comments for the NTE, you call the US government’s attention to the situation and potentially harness the power of the US government to serve your client. The Obama Administration has signaled that it will focus on the most significant foreign trade barriers, and it may be the one(s) affecting your client. Proprietary and confidential information need not be disclosed when submitting comments.

Comments on SPS and standards-related barriers are due by November 4th, and on all others barriers by November 18th. The Florida Bar International Law Section has submitted reports to USTR before and is available to assist its members.

-The Federal Register Notice can be viewed at:http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-23012.pdf

Article submitted 9/24/9 by:

Mr. Francisco A. Corrales
ILS Chair (2009-10)
Silverberg & Weiss, P.A.
2665 Executive Park Dr., Ste. 2
Weston, FL 33331-3652
(954)384-0998
Fax: (954)384-5390
Email: fcorrales at pkslegal.com
www.pkslegal.com