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Magazines & Newsletters / ASTM Standardization News


July/August 2008

U.S. Government Groups Aid Export

Businesses Can Rely on MAC and TCC for Help

man and globeMore than 270 trade agreements open international markets to U.S. goods and services, and two groups — Market Access and Compliance and its Trade Compliance Center — within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (click here for more about ITA) help ensure that American firms and workers can compete on a level playing field through those agreements. Both MAC and TCC monitor the agreements and their respective countries as well as work to resolve any difficulties that may arise.

Market Access and Compliance

MAC concentrates on ensuring that American companies can reach world markets — indeed, that access, for both businesses and individuals, is the group’s top priority. Within its scope, MAC staff addresses trade barriers and trade policy issues, and it monitors compliance with trade agreements.

MAC officers possess expertise on the commercial, economic and political climates in their respective global regions, and they monitor changes within their market areas that might affect exporters. Each staff member addresses such issues as:

  • Intellectual property and piracy;
  • Quotas;
  • Standards;
  • Customs;
  • Transparency and contract sanctity;
  • National treatment;
  • Good governance; and
  • Sanitary and phytosanitary standards.

Calls to MAC come from businesses, associations and international U.S. commercial offices to resolve difficult situations and consequently ensure that Americans can compete equally with other countries.

When companies and individuals alert MAC to issues, staff establishes a team with knowledge about the country, industry, trade agreement and any other issues. The team then reviews the situation and works to find a solution. MAC coordinates efforts with the Commercial Service arm within the International Trade Administration as well as industry experts and other government agencies as needed and as appropriate.

Click here for sidebar, “Contacting the MAC Staff” for who to call for specific MAC regional and compliance offices. For more information about MAC, click here.

Trade Compliance Center

Within the Market Access and Compliance unit, the Trade Compliance Center focuses specifically on resolving trade barrier issues. The center, created in 1996, is geared particularly toward serving small and medium-sized businesses and helping them benefit from trade agreements.

TCC notes success stories around the world: helping a small U.S. manufacturer export agricultural equipment to Canada, aiding an exporter of compressed air cylinders to gain product approval in Japan, and ensuring that Mexican port requirements did not hold up U.S. textile and apparel exports.

Teams within TCC focus on trade situations, and its staff members examine each individual case to determine whether TCC or another Department of Commerce area should address it. TCC emphasizes that it directs all inquiries to the proper channel so that companies do not need to take the time to try and determine who to call.

The TCC also maintains the Trade and Related Agreements database, which details current agreements between the U.S. and its trading partners for manufactured products and services. Users can search agreements or check exporter’s guides that explain individual agreements.
The TCC Web site provides access to other locations for useful information, plus a “Recently Added Information” link, to make it easy to track news about trade agreements and trade compliance.

Contact the TCC either online by clicking here, e-mail tcc@mail.doc.gov; call 202-482-1191 or fax 202-482-6097.