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March 31, 2005 

USTR Issues 2005 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has issued the 2005 version of the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE), an annual report documenting foreign trade and investment barriers and U.S. efforts to reduce and eliminate those barriers. The NTE provides an account of barriers and unfair trade practices to American exports of goods, services and agricultural products. The NTE, which is required to be issued by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, is based upon information compiled by the USTR, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and other U.S. Government agencies, and is supplemented with information provided in response to a Federal Register notice, and by members of the private sector trade advisory committees and U.S. Embassies abroad. The 2005 NTE report discusses the largest export markets for the United States, including 56 nations, the European Union (E.U.), Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Southern African Customs Union and the Arab League.

The NTE's chapter on the E.U., which is 49 pages in length, states that U.S. exporters in some sectors continue to face chronic barriers to entering the EU market. The report indicates that although the enlargement of the E.U. in May 2004 to include ten new countries represents an important and positive political and economic achievement, it has resulted in new tariff, non-tariff and services-related barriers to U.S. trade. In addition, the report notes that the systemic problems surrounding a lack of uniformity and transparency in the administration of E.U. customs law have assumed greater prominence in light of the addition to the E.U. of 10 new national customs authorities.

The NTE's chapter on the Arab League states that the Arab League's boycott of Israel remains a significant barrier to U.S. trade and investment in some countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The report indicates that enforcement of the boycott remains the responsibility of individual member states and enforcement efforts vary widely from country to country. For example, the report notes that Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and the Palestinian Authority do not enforce the boycott.

With respect to Turkey, the report states that U.S. CE-marked products, particularly medical devices, are often detained by Turkish customs authorities for inspection. In some cases, U.S. products apparently have been subject to additional tests, despite their CE marks, while EU CE-marked products gain immediate entry to the Turkish market.

The USTR's 2005 NTE report can be found at the following link:




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