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USTR Soliciting Input for Annual Reports on SPS and Technical Barriers to Trade

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is accepting through Nov. 15 public comments that identify significant sanitary and phytosanitary and standards-related barriers to U.S. exports of goods. USTR will use this input to help decide which such barriers to include in its 2014 reports on these issues, which are designed to facilitate negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers.

USTR states that SPS measures are generally those applied to protect the life or health of humans, animals and plants from risks arising from additives, contaminants, pests, toxins, diseases or disease-carrying and causing organisms. SPS measures can take such forms as specific product or processing standards, requirements for products to be produced in disease-free areas, quarantine regulations, certification or inspection procedures, sampling and testing requirements, health-related labeling measures, maximum permissible pesticide residue levels, and prohibitions on certain food additives.

Standards-related measures comprise standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, such as mandatory process or design standards, labeling or registration requirements, and testing or certification procedures. These measures can be applied to industrial as well as agricultural products, such as food nutrition labeling schemes and food quality or identity requirements.

Commenters should place particular emphasis on any practices that may violate U.S. trade agreements. In addition, each comment should include an estimate of the potential increase in U.S. exports that would result from removing any foreign trade barrier the comment identifies as well as a description of the methodology used to derive the estimate. Estimates should be expressed within the following value ranges: Less than $5 million; $5 to $25 million; $25 million to $50 million; $50 million to $100 million; $100 million to $500 million; or over $500 million.

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