- Table of Contents
- Full Issue in PDF
- United States, Asia-Pacific Partners Look at Ways of Fostering Trade and Economic Growth
- Exporting with a Warm Touch
- Online Tool Makes Search for Tariff Information Simpler
- ITA Win: Export Success-Lighting the Way to More Exports
- Short Takes
- Trade Calendar
- Featured Trade Event: Executive-Led Water and Wastewater Industry Trade Mission to Australia
- World Trade Week 2014
- World Trade Month 2013
- World Trade Week 2012
- National Export Initiative Anniversary
Online Tool makes Search for Tariff Information Simpler
By reducing a significant information barrier, the new FTA Tariff Tool can help broaden the geographic horizon of small exporters. (photo © John Steele/iStock)
© John Steele/iStock.
An innovative online tool gives exporters easy access to tariff information for 85 percent of goods going to the 20 markets with which the United States has signed a free trade agreement. It is a resource that will prove especially beneficial to small and medium-sized exporters.
by Justin Hoffmann
U.S. exporters once needed to spend an immense amount of time and money looking through pages of legal texts to figure out tariff rates under a free trade agreement (FTA). That burden has now been greatly reduced, with exporters able to retrieve this information almost instantly thanks to the FTA Tariff Tool, a new online resource unveiled April 27, 2011, by the International Trade Administration.
An FTA usually eliminates tariffs, removes nontariff barriers, and stops nondiscriminatory treatment of U.S. goods and services. But FTAs typically run to hundreds (and sometimes more than a thousand) pages and are often difficult to interpret.
The FTA Tariff Tool makes the process of identifying reduced tariff rates and schedules much simpler and faster. It does this by offering three complementary elements: (a) a searchable database identifying the tariff treatment of industrial goods covered under the trade agreements, (b) market access reports and charts across industrial sectors or product groups, and (c) a snapshot of current tariff and trade trends under different U.S. trade agreements.
This simple-to-use system allows companies to see current and future tariffs applied to their products and the date on which those products become duty free. By combining sector and product groups, trade data, and tariff elimination schedules, users can also analyze how product sectors are treated across the spectrum of all FTAs.
Benefits to Small Business
For More Information
The FTA Tariff Tool can be accessed on the U.S. government trade portal, Export.gov, at www.export.gov/FTA/FTATariffTool. In additional to the tool itself, the Web site also offers an instructional video, a quick-start guide, and a user’s manual.
The United States has implemented FTAs with 17 countries, has signed three more agreements, and has one under negotiation. Trade partners offer many advantages to U.S. companies, whether they are U.S. exporters looking to expand into new markets or exporting for the first time.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) especially stand to benefit from exporting to FTA markets. In 2009, according to the Census Bureau, SMEs accounted for 97.6 percent of all exporting companies, but for only 33 percent of the total exported value. And that same year, 59 percent of SMEs exported to only a single market. By reducing a significant information barrier, the FTA Tariff Tool will help broaden the geographic horizon of SME exporters.
Future development of the FTA Tariff Tool will be ongoing. Plans are already under way to incorporate agricultural and textile information. Trade data will be updated on an annual basis, and future FTAs will be incorporated as they are negotiated and implemented.
Justin Hoffmann is an economist in the Office of Trade Policy Analysis in the Manufacturing and Services unit of the International Trade Administration.
The International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, manages this global trade site to provide access to ITA information on promoting trade and investment, strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein. This site contains PDF documents. A PDF reader is available from Adobe Systems Incorporated.