If you’re exporting, and think you have an unfair situation, let the ITA know. With its proven expertise, ITA can work with your company to help identify, investigate, and resolve trade barriers. Learn more by viewing our “Bridging Trade Barriers” video.
Last Published: 3/6/2019
Before exporting to foreign markets, be sure to become familiar with possible foreign trade barriers by doing your market research in advance. Trade barriers are government-imposed policies, practices, or procedures that unfairly or unnecessarily restrict U.S. exports or investments. Examples include discriminatory tariffs, where higher tariffs and taxes are assessed unfairly to U.S. exporters compared to foreign competition. There’s also border barriers such as burdensome customs procedures, technical barriers such as unfair testing requirements, and many others. Careful export planning—such as practical advice from your nearest U.S. Commercial Service office of the International Trade Administration (ITA)—can help avoid or mitigate potential problems, but sometimes unexpected issues may arise. If you’re exporting, and think you have an unfair situation, let the ITA know. With its proven expertise, ITA can work with your company to help identify, investigate, and resolve trade barriers. 
 
Foreign Trade Barriers 


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Is your Company Facing a Foreign Trade Barrier? 
There are many ways that foreign governments can impose trade barriers that discriminate against U.S. exports and investment. The following are some of the most common foreign government-imposed trade barriers that U.S. companies encounter abroad: 
  • Discriminatory “tariff trade barriers,” where higher tariffs and taxes are assessed unfairly to U.S. exporters compared to foreign competition. 
  • “Border barriers” such as burdensome customs procedures or import licensing requirements, incorrect valuation or classification of exports, problematic rules of origin or marking requirements. 
  • “Technical barriers” to trade, are product or service specific including unfair testing, labeling, or certification requirements by market. 
  • Other trade barriers such as government procurement problems, discriminatory investment requirements, lack of transparency, intellectual property issues, and more. 
Get Help
Export.gov provides links to many other resources, including the following: 
  • For a comprehensive review of trade barriers and assistance, visit ITA’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiation and Compliance (TANC) website. Companies can directly report a trade barrier by using an online form. ITA’s market access, country, policy and industry specialists can help with trade barrier issues. Experts will evaluate and determine whether your case involves a trade barrier. If not, we may be able to assist in other ways or provide referrals to other federal agencies. 
    •    If you’re already working with ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service, contact your nearest trade expert. With its network of 100+ offices across the United States and in U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 markets, the U.S. Commercial Service helps U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. 
    •    Country Commercial Guides provide the latest market intelligence on more than 140 countries from U.S. embassies abroad. Specific information on foreign import regulations can be found in the Trade Regulations, Customs & Standards chapter of each Country Commercial Guide and verified through your local U.S. Commercial Service office.     

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.