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Sept 11 -- The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), through the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), publishes the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE Report) each year. USTR invites comments to assist it and the TPSC in identifying significant foreign barriers to, or distortions of, U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment, and U.S. electronic commerce for inclusion in the NTE Report. USTR also will consider responses to this notice as part of the annual review of the operation and effectiveness of all U.S. trade agreements regarding telecommunications products and services that are in force with respect to the United States.

Deadline for submission of comments: October 23, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET

Section 181 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2241), requires USTR annually to publish the NTE Report, which sets out an inventory of significant foreign barriers to, or distortions of, U.S. exports of goods and services, including agricultural commodities and U.S. intellectual property; foreign direct investment by U.S. persons, especially if such investment has implications for trade in goods or services; and U.S. electronic commerce. The inventory facilitates U.S. negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers and is a valuable tool in enforcing U.S. trade laws and agreements and strengthening the rules-based trading system. You can find the 2023 NTE Report on USTR's website at https://ustr.gov/​sites/​default/​files/​2023-03/​2023%20NTE%20Report.pdf. To ensure compliance with the statutory mandate for the NTE Report and the Administration's commitment to focus on significant foreign trade barriers, USTR will take into account comments in response to this notice when deciding which significant barriers to include in the NTE Report.

To assist USTR in preparing the NTE Report, commenters should submit information related to one or more of the following categories of foreign trade barriers:

1. Import policies. Examples include tariffs and other import charges; quantitative restrictions; import licensing; customs barriers, pre-shipment inspection, and trade facilitation or customs valuation practices; and, other market access barriers.

2. Technical barriers to trade. Examples include unnecessarily trade restrictive or discriminatory standards, conformity assessment procedures, or technical regulations, including unnecessary or discriminatory technical regulations or standards for telecommunications products.

3. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Examples include measures relating to food safety, or animal and plant life or health that are unnecessarily trade restrictive, discriminatory, or not based on scientific evidence.

4. Government procurement. Examples include closed bidding and bidding processes that lack transparency.

5. Intellectual property protection. Examples include inadequate patent, copyright, and trademark regimes; trade secret theft; and, inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights.

6. Services. Examples include prohibitions or restrictions on foreign participation in the market, discriminatory licensing requirements or standards, local-presence requirements, and unreasonable restrictions on what services may be offered.

7. Digital trade. Examples include restrictions on the supply of internet-enabled services, and other restrictive technology requirements.

8. Investment. Examples include limitations on foreign equity participation and on access to foreign government-funded research and development programs, technology transfer requirements and export performance requirements, and restrictions on repatriation of earnings, capital, fees and royalties.

9. Subsidies. Examples include subsidies contingent upon export performance, and agricultural export subsidies that displace U.S. exports in third country markets.

10. Competition. Examples include government-tolerated anticompetitive conduct that restricts the sale or purchase of U.S. goods or services in the foreign country's markets.

11. State-owned enterprises. Examples include actions by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and by governments with respect to SOEs involved in the manufacture or production of non-agricultural goods or in the supply of services that constitute significant barriers to, or distortions of, U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. investments, or U.S. electronic commerce, which may negatively affect U.S. firms and workers. These actions include subsidies and non-commercial advantages provided to and from SOEs; and practices with respect to SOEs that discriminate against U.S. goods or services, or actions by SOEs that are inconsistent with commercial considerations in the purchase and sale of goods and services.

12. Labor. Examples include concerns with failures by a government to protect internationally recognized worker rights or to eliminate discrimination in respect of employment or occupation, in cases where these failures influence trade flows or investment decisions in ways that constitute significant barriers to, or distortions of, U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. investment, or U.S. electronic commerce, which may negatively affect U.S. firms and workers. Internationally recognized worker rights include: the right of association; the right to organize and bargain collectively; a prohibition on the use of any form of forced or compulsory labor; a minimum age for the employment of children, and a prohibition on the worst forms of child labor; and, acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health.

13. Environment. Examples include concerns with a government's levels of environmental protection, unsustainable stewardship of natural resources, and harmful environmental practices that constitute significant barriers to, or distortions of, U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. investment, or U.S. electronic commerce, which may negatively affect U.S. firms or workers.

14. Other barriers. Examples include significant barriers or distortions that are not covered in any other category above or that encompass more than one category, such as bribery and corruption, or that affect a single sector. . . .

To the extent possible, each comment should include an estimate of the potential increase in exports of goods or services of the United States, U.S. foreign direct investment, or U.S. electronic commerce that would result from removing any significant foreign trade barrier the comment identifies, as well as a description of the methodology the commenter used to derive the estimate. Commenters should express estimates within the following value ranges: less than $25 million; $25 million to $100 million; $100 million to $500 million; and over $500 million.
 
USTR reports: https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/reports-and-publications
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-19521

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