The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is accepting through April 27 comments on the eligibility of Nepal to receive preferential treatment for the articles described in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. Under that law the president may authorize such treatment for covered articles imported directly from Nepal if he determines that Nepal meets certain criteria under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Generalized System of Preferences.

Under AGOA, these criteria include that Nepal (a) has established or is making continual progress toward establishing a market-based economy, the rule of law and the right to due process, the elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment, economic policies to reduce poverty, a system to combat corruption and bribery, and the protection of internationally recognized worker rights and (b) does not engage in activities that undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, engage in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or provide support for acts of international terrorism.

The GSP criteria include the level of economic development, whether or not other major developed countries are providing preferential treatment, the extent to which Nepal has assured the U.S. that it will provide market access and refrain from unreasonable export practices, the extent to which Nepal is providing adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, the extent to which Nepal has taken action to reduce trade-distorting investment practices and policies and reduce or eliminate barriers to trade in services, and whether or not Nepal has taken or is taking steps to afford workers internationally recognized worker rights.

Before providing preferential treatment to any article from Nepal, the president must also determine, after receiving the advice of the International Trade Commission, that these articles are not import-sensitive in the context of imports from Nepal.

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