Breaking Trade Barriers: Creating U.S. Jobs
Harley-Davidson, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, overcame a foreign trade barrier that threatened to prevent access of its motorcycles into Bahrain with the assistance of the Department of Commerce’s Trade Agreements Compliance Program led by the Market Access and Compliance (MAC) Unit.
Why it Matters: If the United States did not assert its rights under the U.S. Bahrain FTA in the case of Harley-Davidson, other American businesses might find themselves losing benefits the U.S. negotiated as part of the agreement.
The Problem: Harley-Davidson was denied duty-free access for its motorcycles manufactured in the United States as provided for under the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA); instead it was charged a 5 % duty. The Government of Bahrain (GOB) claimed that because the motorcycles were not imported directly into Bahrain from the United States and instead were transshipped (shipped through a third country), they therefore did not fulfill the FTA’s rules of origin which would grant Harley-Davidson duty-free access.
The Solution: A team of ITA specialists and representatives from other USG agencies advocated on behalf of Harley-Davidson and provided specific guidance on the FTA rules of origin for transshipped goods which resulted in the GOB allowing for transshipment stop-overs. In addition, MAC and representatives from U.S. Customs and Border Protection provided training to Bahrain customs officers. Due to these efforts, Harley-Davidson was granted duty-free access and has received a refund of all duties paid from the Government of Bahrain. This solution will also benefit other U.S. exporters to Bahrain who transship their products.
Working closely with U.S. companies, MAC creates, expands and defends market access for U.S. goods and services overseas. “We promote policy that develops a more favorable business climate for U.S. companies in global markets; we employ commercial diplomacy to resolve trade barriers; and we leverage our bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to ensure our trading partners live up to their commitments so that our businesses can compete on a level-playing field.” - Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, Michael C. Camuñez.