USTR Reports Show Trade Progress

A series of reports released this week by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative shows existing international agreements are breaking down barriers to trade. According to a statement from Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis - the Obama Administration has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to opening markets for American products and services abroad. Marantis went on to say that on behalf of America's farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service providers - they will continue to eliminate unwarranted barriers that obstruct the sale of high-quality 'Made-in-America' products overseas and maintain vigorous efforts to ensure a level playing field for U.S. goods and services in markets around the world.

One of the reports focuses on sanitary and phytosanitary barriers affecting U.S. agricultural products. The report notes the administration's success in tackling a number of barriers to trade - including - among other things - the removal of specific sanitary and phytosanitary barriers for exports of U.S. beef in El Salvador, Hong Kong, Japan and Mexico and working with Taiwan to implement a maximum residue limit for beef containing ractopamine. The report stated that many SPS measures are fully justified - but governments too often cloak discriminatory and protectionist trade measures in the guise of ensuring human, animal or plant safety. According to the report - these barriers not only harm U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, workers and their families - but also deprive consumers around the world of access to high-quality American food and agricultural goods.

A report focused on technical barriers to trade finds that as tariff barriers to industrial and agricultural trade have fallen - standards-related measures have emerged as a key concern. These include product standards, testing requirements and other technical requirements. The report says these new restrictions are hurting the ability of U.S. companies, farmers, ranchers and manufacturers to sell their products abroad.

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