Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Special Trade Program Opportunities for Importers and Exporters
The United States has entered into free trade agreement with 20 countries that provide for the elimination of duties and trade barriers imposed on goods traded between the member countries, resulting in substantial cost-savings for U.S. importers of raw materials and finished goods as well as giving U.S. exporters a competitive advantage when marketing to countries that are parties to these agreements.
The United States has also implemented a variety of unilateral preferential trade programs that provide for reduced and duty-free treatment on imports of certain products from developing countries, or duty-free treatment for certain categories of goods. In order to take advantage of these significant duty and cost-saving measures, companies must comply with certain product eligibility and documentary requirements. U.S. government agencies place increased scrutiny on imported merchandise entered under free trade agreements and special trade programs.
- Determining the eligibility of products for preferential treatment under these agreements and programs;
- Designing and implementing a rigorous system for soliciting supporting country of origin information from supply chain partners to support claims that are made;
- Documenting policies and procedures for compliance;
- Assessing compliance with free trade agreements and special trade programs during internal audits and compliance reviews;
- Providing in-house training to company personnel on free trade agreement and special trade program product eligibility and documentary requirements;
- Assistance in preparing required certificates of origin and certifications; and,
- Working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to resolve questions or issues involving product eligibility and validity of claims under these agreements and programs.