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Q. What is a Certificate of Review?
A. A Certificate of Review is a legal document issued by the Department of Commerce with the concurrence of the Department of Justice that provides antitrust protection for the export activities specified in the certificate. It is available to any U.S. exporter that demonstrates that the proposed export activities sought to be certified will not result in a substantial lessening of competition within the United States.
Q. What is the antitrust protection provided by a Certificate of Review?
A. For specified export activities, a Certificate of Review provides immunity from federal and state antitrust suits. In private antitrust actions it shortens the statute of limitations covering the certificate holder's conduct, alters the burden of proof to the advantage of the certificate holder, provides for recovery of legal expenses in cases where the certificate holder prevails, and reduces liability from treble to single damages.
Q. Why is this antitrust protection important?
A. This protection allows U.S. exporters to work together without fear of antitrust liability. Such a cooperative effort means greater profits because two or more exporters can lower their costs by sharing export market information, negotiating high volume freight rate discounts, operating joint sales and warehouse facilities and, generally, engaging in other joint export activities that will result in economies of scale and minimize individual risk.
Q. Who can apply for a Certificate of Review?
A. Any individual who is a U.S. resident; partnerships or corporations formed under U.S. laws; and state and local government entities can apply for a Certificate of Review. Associations or combinations among these entities may also apply. Many trade associations have taken advantage of the program as a way of providing antitrust protection for their member firms.
Q. How do you apply for a Certificate of Review?
A. There is a standard application form available online at www.ita.doc.gov/oetca or from Export Trading Company Act (ETCA), U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, (202) 482-5131.
Q. How much does a Certificate of Review cost?
A. There is no fee of any kind. ETCA is available to provide free counseling to applicants and to assist in preparation of the application.
Q. How long does it take to get a Certificate of Review?
A. The Commerce Department is required to issue the certificate or to deny the application within 90 days, unless the review process requires additional research.
Q. What kinds of organizations have obtained Certificates of Review?
A. The main categories of certificate holders are: trade associations and their members in various manufacturing and service industries; agricultural associations and cooperatives representing producers; trade intermediaries such as export companies; export associations; and entities affiliated with states, counties, and port authorities.
Q. Can foreign firms participate in a Certificate of Review?
A. Both U.S. and foreign entities involved in exporting or facilitating exports from the United States can be protected by a Certificate of Review.
Q. Can banks participate in the Export Trade Certificate of Review program?
A. Yes. Banks and bank holding companies can apply for Certificates of Review and can be members of a group operating under the protection of a Certificate.
Q. What about the limitation on bank holding companies maintaining equity positions in export trading companies?
A. Regulations on bank holding companies that wish to take equity in export trading companies are distinct from the eligibility requirements of the Export Trade Certificate of Review program.
Additional ETCA Resources
EXPORT TRADING COMPANY GUIDEBOOK
The Export Trading Company Guidebook is available through the U.S. Government Printing Office at (202) 512-0132 or through G.P.O. bookstores located in several metropolitan areas (local numbers are listed under Federal Government in your telephone directory). This guidebook can help you consider the various ways to organize for exporting as encouraged by the ETC Act. It will also facilitate your review of the ETC Act and serve as a planning tool for your business by showing you what it takes to export profitably and how to start doing it. Price: $18.00 Stock Number: 003-009-00523-0