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U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Highlights Obama Administration Accomplishments in Reducing Trade Barriers

April 02, 2012

Three Reports to Congress Show Successes in Opening Markets for American Goods

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today sent to Congress and to President Obama three reports detailing significant achievements by the Obama Administration in reducing or removing key foreign government barriers to American exports. The reports describe how the Administration has fought for American jobs over the last year by working to reduce or eliminate unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) as well as other significant barriers to American exports.

“The Obama Administration is committed to opening foreign markets for “Made-in-America” products – which means more jobs and increased economic opportunity for American workers and businesses,” said Ambassador Kirk. “We continue to fight on behalf of America’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers to break down the obstacles to selling their products overseas. And we continue to use all available resources to ensure a level playing field for American goods and services.”

The Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Barriers to Trade focuses on unwarranted SPS barriers that block American agricultural exports. This year’s report outlines the increasing opportunities for American agricultural products abroad, such as the removal of China’s ban on live swine from the United States.

The Report on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), addresses unwarranted or overly burdensome technical barriers that make it difficult for American manufacturers and workers to sell their products abroad. For example, the report released today describes an agreement the United States reached with the European Union (EU) to allow organic products certified in the United States or in the EU to be sold as organic in either market. This partnership between the world’s two largest organic producers will promote the growing American organic industry and support U.S. jobs and businesses.

The SPS and TBT reports are being released in conjunction with the 2012 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, an annual report that identifies foreign barriers to American exports of goods and services, foreign direct investment, and protection of intellectual property rights. The NTE report outlines the actions the Obama Administration has taken to address the export barriers described in the report. The measures identified in the three reports can both restrict American exports and limit the growth of jobs here at home.

To view the full 2012 SPS, TBT and NTE reports, visit USTR’s reports page.

The historic passage by Congress of three new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama in October 2011, and the recent entry into force of the free trade agreement with South Korea will significantly increase liberalization of trade in goods and services. The agreements will also strengthen our ability to ensure that the standards-related measures adopted by those trading partners are transparent and serve legitimate objectives.

Further, with the establishment of the new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center, which President Obama announced in his State of the Union address earlier this year, we will have more resources available to investigate, and if necessary pursue, any country’s failure to abide by international trade rules and commitments.


USTR leads the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that foreign governments play by international trade rules. USTR’s work to prevent and remove unwarranted foreign SPS and technical barriers serves President Obama’s goal of doubling American exports by the end of 2014 through the National Export Initiative (NEI).

During a 2009 speech at the U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Steel Works in Braddock, Pennsylvania, Ambassador Kirk announced that the Obama Administration would bring greater focus to enforcing U.S. rights under international trade rules. As part of those efforts, Ambassador Kirk announced that USTR would publish the first two reports on the Administration’s steps to reduce foreign SPS and TBT barriers that unnecessarily impede American companies, farmers, ranchers, and workers from selling safe, high quality American products.

The 2012 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report on Foreign Trade Barriers is the twenty-seventh annual report that surveys significant barriers to American exports. In accordance with section 181 of the Trade Act of 1974, as added by section 303 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984 and amended by section 1304 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, section 311 of the Uruguay Round Trade Agreements Act, and section 1202 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is required to submit to the President, the Senate Finance Committee, and appropriate committees in the House of Representatives, an annual report on significant foreign trade barriers.