News from the International Trade Administration
Weekly Updates on Trade Barriers Available by E-mail
“What’s New,” a weekly update service that contains the latest information regarding U.S. and foreign government practices, trade agreements, and other trade-related developments affecting access to foreign markets by U.S. firms, is now available at no charge to U.S. exporters. The Trade Compliance Center (TCC), a unit of the International Trade Administration, compiles the weekly e-mail service.
The TCC is the gateway to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Agreements Compliance program. This program coordinates a network of U.S. government resources designed to reduce or eliminate foreign trade barriers and to improve market access for U.S. workers, exporters, and investors. Foreign trade barriers are measures imposed by foreign governments that restrict, prevent, or impede investment in—or export of goods or services to—a country. When a complaint about such a barrier is received, the TCC organizes a case-management team of U.S. government experts to pursue the issue. Those experts work with foreign governments to resolve problems faced by U.S. firms attempting to access a foreign market. Their aim is to ensure that U.S. firms receive the full benefits of all trade agreements signed by the United States and its trading partners.
To sign up for the weekly “What’s New” service or to learn more about the TCC, visit the TCC’s Web site or contact the TCC at tel.: (202) 482-1191; e-mail: email@example.com.
President’s Export Council Approves Letter on APEC Issues
The President’s Export Council, anticipating President George W. Bush’s participation in the upcoming meeting of the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Hanoi later this month, approved a letter of recommendation that calls on the United States to play a leadership role in APEC on a number of issues. As part of its duties, the council regularly issues such letters of recommendation to the president on a wide range of trade-related matters. (See the June issue of International Trade Update.) The November 1, 2006, letter suggests that the president do the following:
- Urge APEC members to adopt government procurement policies that are technology neutral, encourage competition, and do not favor domestic suppliers over foreign producers.
- Continue working to ensure that intellectual property protection remains a top priority among APEC policy-makers.
- Press for stepped-up liberalization of capital markets and financial services within APEC countries.
- Support the advancement of the U.S. bilateral free trade agenda with APEC members.
Other issues discussed in the letter include support of APEC’s Life Sciences Innovation Forum, immigration and border management issues, and transparency and the rule of law.
The letter also noted, “Active U.S. engagement in regional forums such as APEC is essential to promote economic liberalization to bolster trade and investment. Barriers to trade and domestic protectionist sentiment are the norm rather than the exception in many such markets. These protectionist practices must be challenged.”
For more information on the President’s Export Council, or to read the full text of the letter of recommendation, visit the council’s Web site.
Significant Future Growth Seen in U.S. Travel and Tourism Industry
The Department of Commerce is projecting record arrivals and receipts from international travelers to the United States in 2006. The forecast exceeds the previous record arrival year of 2000, when more than 51.2 million international travelers visited the country. The forecast examined years 2006 to 2010. By 2010, international arrivals will reach 63 million, an increase of 28 percent between 2005 and 2010 or an average annual increase of about 5 percent. Money generated by travelers to the United States is a form of export that has made a significant contribution to the economy every year. These exports are projected to grow steadily in 2007 to nearly $113 billion. By 2010, travel exports are expected to exceed $135 billion.
(Story continues below.)
|Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.
“The recent forecast is significant for America’s travel and tourism industry as well as our economy. A strong global economy will certainly boost visitation to the United States in the future,” said Ana M. Guevara, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for services. “This is particularly good news after international visitors added nearly $103 billion to our growing economy in 2005.”
Visitor projections differ greatly by world region and country of origin. Visitation from the North American markets of Canada and Mexico, the top two origin countries, will grow at about the same rate as the average for all countries. Higher growth is projected for the Asian-Pacific markets of Australia, China, India, and South Korea. In addition, visitation from the South American markets of Brazil and Venezuela is expected to grow exponentially. Although lower growth is projected for Europe, the United Kingdom is projected to maintain its rank as the top overseas market.
Travel and tourism represents the top services export for the United States and has produced a travel balance-of-trade surplus since 1989. For official information on international travel to the United States, including additional information on the forecast, visit Travel and Tourism Industries, and look under “TI News.”
Dialogues with China Focus on Steel and Information Technology
Jamie Estrada, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing, was in Beijing, China, on October 19 and 20, 2006, to cochair a dialogue on steel between the United States and China. The dialogue is one of two trade dialogues with China—the other focuses on telecommunications—that have been taking place during the past year. The two dialogues are being held under the auspices of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), an annual government-to-government forum that was established in 1983 to develop and facilitate the U.S.–China commercial relationship. The dialogues are the result of a commitment made by China in late 2005 to enter into discussion on those two industries.
The October steel talks were a follow-up to meetings held with Chinese officials in March 2005. The talks consisted of one day of government-to-government discussions on issues such as intergovernmental cooperation, subsidies, and market access. A second day of government and industry sessions focused on investment, production, bilateral capacity, industry consolidation, trade trends, and industry-to-industry contacts. Other officials participating in the steel dialogue were Timothy Stratford, assistant U.S. trade representative for China affairs, and Chen Yin, director general of foreign affairs in the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry.
According to Estrada, the steel dialogue is in a foundational phase. “While we are pleased that the Chinese are willing to engage in this conversation, a lot of work remains ahead, and we hope to see more progress in future meetings. We are looking to the Chinese government to take decisive and positive action.”
Estrada participated in a similar series of meetings on telecommunications capitalization this past January and August as part of the JCCT telecommunications dialogue. Those talks were a follow-up to the commitment made by the Chinese government to adjust its high registered capital requirements for telecommunications service providers.
Report Details Strategies for International Property Enforcement and Protection
The National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council recently released a comprehensive report on what the federal government is doing to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and what it plans to do in the future. The council was established in 1999, and it brings together key entities within the federal government that are responsible for intellectual property enforcement, including the Department of Commerce.
Violation of IPR is a significant problem for U.S. rights holders. The report notes that “theft of American intellectual property strikes at the heart of one of our greatest comparative advantages—our innovative capacity.” Such theft has become widespread. In just one industry, pharmaceuticals, the World Health Organization has estimated that 10 percent of all products available worldwide are counterfeit.
Under the leadership of the Office of the U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement, an office established in 2005, the federal government has made progress in a number of areas to combat the theft of intellectual property. Those areas include leading the interagency STOP! Initiative, working with international partners such as the G8 and the European Union to implement intellectual property strategies, and increasing seizures of fake and counterfeit goods by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
According to the report, priorities for the upcoming year include expanding the presence of U.S. intellectual property policy and law enforcement attachés in U.S. embassies (see related story), strengthening laws and penalties related to IPR enforcement, and providing better resources and assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Copies of the report are available on the Internet at www.trade.gov. For the latest information on U.S. intellectual property enforcement efforts, visit www.stopfakes.gov.