It has been a decent year for international trade policy in Washington — but it's not over yet! The House and Senate are still deciding whether to take up and pass a large package of proposals to temporarily suspend import duties on many inputs that are used by U.S. manufacturers (including some NEMA members) but that are not available from U.S. sources. NEMA is part of a broad coalition supporting passage of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which, like so many other higher profile things must get done in the next two weeks. Click here to contact your Representative and Senators to urge their support and advocacy for the MTB.
Late last week President Obama signed legislation that will lead U.S. companies to finally gain access to the benefits of Russia's August 22 entry into the World Trade Organization. And 12 months ago we were still waiting for implementation of the U.S. free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Since October, all of those agreements are in effect and creating new opportunities for U.S. sales into those markets.
Looking into 2013:
- Negotiations are proceeding on the free trade initiative known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with the U.S. and 10 other countries seeking to agree on a trailblazing, comprehensive approch to opening their markets to each other. The goal is to wrap up those negotiations by the end of the year.
- In Geneva, the U.S. and others are seeking to expand the product-scope of the 1997 Information Technology Agreement, which eliminates tariffs on enabling technologies. The U.S. and a group of other WTO countries are also trying to find ways to open up their services markets to each other in 2013.
- In Brussels, the European Union is waiting for the Obama Administration's decision in the next few weeks whether to launch free trade negotiations, with a heavy emphasis on trans-Atlantic regulatory cooperation.
On all of these fronts, NEMA is in contact with U.S. and, in some cases, foreign negotiators and is pushing for the best treatment possible for NEMA companies and sectors.
Plus, in 2013 Congress will consider legislation to reform trade operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including CBP's new Centers for Excellence and Expertise.
NEMA is ready to help member companies take advantage of all of these opportunities in 2013 and onward.