Background

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is seeking input by Oct. 28 for its annual report on significant barriers to, or distortions of, U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment, and U.S. electronic commerce. Comments may be submitted with respect to one or more of the following categories of trade barriers (issues newly listed this year are indicated in italics).

- import policies (e.g., tariffs and other import charges, quantitative restrictions, import licensing, pre-shipment inspection, customs barriers and shortcomings in trade facilitation or valuation practices, and other market access barriers)

- subsidies, especially export subsidies (e.g., subsidies contingent on export performance and agricultural export subsidies that displace U.S. exports in third-country markets) and local content subsidies (e.g., those contingent on the purchase or use of domestic rather than imported goods)

- intellectual property protection  (e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, and trademark regimes, trade secret theft, and inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights)

- services (e.g., prohibitions or restrictions on foreign participation in the market, discriminatory licensing requirements or regulatory standards, local presence requirements, and unreasonable restrictions on types of services that providers may offer)

- digital trade and e-commerce (e.g., barriers to cross-border data flows including data localization requirements, discriminatory practices affecting trade in digital products, restrictions on the provision of Internet-enabled services, and other restrictive technology requirements)

- investment (e.g., limitations on foreign equity participation and on access to foreign government-funded research and development programs; local content, technology transfer, and export performance requirements; and restrictions on repatriation of earnings, capital, fees, and royalties)

- competition (e.g., government-tolerated anticompetitive conduct of state-owned or private firms that restricts the sale or purchase of U.S. goods or services in the foreign country’s markets, abuse of competition laws to inhibit trade, or due process concerns by companies involved in competition investigatory and enforcement proceedings in the country)

- sanitary and phytosanitary measures (e.g., those that are unnecessarily trade restrictive, discriminatory, or not based on scientific evidence)

- technical barriers to trade (e.g., unnecessarily trade-restrictive or discriminatory standards, conformity assessment procedures, labeling, or technical regulations)

- government procurement restrictions (e.g., closed bidding and bidding processes that lack transparency (a reference to “buy national” policies has been omitted))

- state-owned enterprises (e.g., actions by SOEs and governments with respect to SOEs involved in the manufacture or production of non-agricultural goods or the supply of services that constitute significant trade barriers, practices with respect to SOEs that discriminate against U.S. goods or services, and actions by SOEs that are inconsistent with commercial considerations in the purchase and sale of goods and services)

- labor (e.g., failures by a government to protect internationally recognized worker rights or to eliminate discrimination in respect of employment or occupation in cases where these failures influence trade flows or investment decisions in ways that constitute significant trade barriers)

- environment (e.g., a government’s levels of environmental protection, unsustainable stewardship of natural resources, and harmful environmental practices that constitute significant trade barriers)

- other barriers, including those that encompass more than one category, such as bribery and corruption, or that affect a single sector

Commenters should submit information related to one or more of the following export markets to be covered in the report (although comments on other markets may be submitted as well): Algeria, Angola, the Arab League, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, the European Union, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

USTR is particularly interested in practices that may violate U.S. trade agreements, new or updated information on the barriers covered in its 2022 report, and information on new barriers. Each comment should include an estimate of the potential increase in U.S. exports that would result from removing the identified barrier.

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