Swift Response by ITA Team Secures Open Market in Taiwan
The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), led by its Market Access and Compliance (MAC) unit, recently helped Air Products, a specialty gas supplier located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to overcome a foreign trade barrier that threatened to exclude it from Taiwan’s market.
Why it Matters: Air Products reported that Taiwan’s failure to recognize U.S. container standards for specialty gases would have had the effect of locking Air Products out of its lucrative market in Taiwan with a potential loss of $50 million in annual sales.
The Problem: Taiwan’s mandatory technical requirements were based on a unique national standard, unnecessarily limiting U.S. access to Taiwan’s market. Air Products’ specialty gases are supplied to Taiwan’s manufacturers for use in many of Taiwan’s high tech industries. Taiwan’s authorities temporarily halted a shipment of these gases, claiming that trailers built to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards were not acceptable for the transport of the specialty gases within Taiwan. Although Taiwan authorities released the shipment as a temporary solution, Taiwan’s failure to permanently permit the transport of specialty gases in DOT-certified containers would have resulted in a loss of considerable revenue as well as industry competitiveness for Air Products in Taiwan.
Solution: A team of ITA specialists advocated to Taiwan’s authorities on behalf of Air Products to accept the DOT standard, thereby allowing shipments to resume. The team leveraged Taiwan’s WTO obligation which requires that Member countries ensure that mandatory standards are no more trade restrictive than necessary. As a result, Taiwan officially adopted the DOT standard, and Air Products regained access to one of its most important foreign markets without having to restructure its manufacturing process for a single market.
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.