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Five Recent Actions that Build on Administration’s Record of Standing Up for Workers and Businesses

Recent Administration efforts will help level the playing field for Made-in-America goods and the jobs they support

Editor's Note: The following press release on recent trade enforcement wins was released today by the United States Trade Representative.

Over the last two weeks, the Obama Administration’s commitment to supporting American farmers, ranchers and businesses through unprecedented enforcement efforts has been on display in several important announcements. These actions, which have ranged from World Trade Organization dispute announcements, to the passage of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, to commitments from trading partners to meet high standards we’ve helped set, come as the U.S. prepares to fully enforce the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the highest-standard trade agreement in U.S. history. In particular, the actions of the last few weeks show our commitment to intellectual property standards that protect American innovation and labor and environment standards that reflect American values. Here’s a look at recent trade enforcement announcements, news articles, endorsements, as well as a new report that highlights the Administration’s trade enforcement record:


On Wednesday, Ambassador Michael Froman, joined Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and the National Chicken Council President Mike Brown to announce that the United States and South Africa reached agreement on the removal of long-standing barriers to U.S. agricultural products entering South Africa. The announcement followed intensive engagement under the new out-of-cycle review mechanism of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).


  • Froman: South Africa now open for business for U.S. meat (Politico)
    • “U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced that South Africa has met the final benchmarks necessary to avoid losing benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act… The USTR pointed to the successful deal with South Africa as the "most recent example of Obama holding trading partners accountable."
  • South Africa allows sales of U.S. poultry, pork, beef –USTR (Reuters)
    • South Africa is allowing sales of American chicken, pork and beef products throughout the country, meeting benchmarks for resolving a 15-year trade dispute with the United States, Washington's top trade official said on Wednesday. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said that if sustained, South African sales are a key step toward President Barack Obama lifting his threat of suspending South Africa's benefits under a U.S.-Africa free trade deal.
  • South Africa relents on U.S. poultry import blockade (Delaware Public Media)
    • “After years of fits and starts, South Africa is accepting U.S. poultry imports after threats of excluding the country from international trade agreements… Coons and fellow Chicken Caucus co-chair Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) have been pressuring South African dignitaries, ambassadors and even President Jacob Zuma into dropping the trade barriers.”
  • South Africa finally opens market to poultry from Delaware (Delaware Business Now)
    • U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE.) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), co-chairs of the Senate Chicken Caucus, applauded the news that the first U.S. poultry in more than 15 years has arrived in South Africa… “Today’s news is the result of years of hard work and negotiations led by our poultry producers and U.S. trade officials, and we are proud to have also played a part. This is a significant win for poultry farmers in Delaware and Georgia and for South Africans who will now have access to our healthy, affordable, and high-quality poultry.”
  • US chicken back on South African soil (World Poultry)
    • US chicken is back on grocery shelves in South Africa for the first time in nearly 17 years following the arrival of 5 containers of poultry products into the country…The United States and South Africa have reached a definitive agreement to allow US chicken producers to resume exports of US chicken parts to South Africa.


Following intensive United States efforts to improve the protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) in Honduras, including through an out-of-cycle review of IP protection, the Government of Honduras committed to undertake a series of actions to strengthen criminal enforcement, address signal piracy in cable and satellite transmissions, increase clarity in the scope of geographical indications protections, and to strengthen border enforcement.


  • Honduras to strengthen intellectual property protections –USTR (Reuters)
    • The government of Honduras has agreed to take steps to strengthen and protect intellectual property rights after negotiations with the United States, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said on Wednesday. The steps include efforts to crack down on piracy of cable and satellite television signals as well as substantially increasing the number of Honduran prosecutors specializing in criminal intellectual property rights enforcement, USTR said in a statement.
  • USTR Cuts Cheese IP Deal With Honduras (Intellectual Property Watch)
    • The government of Honduras has committed to a work plan for protecting intellectual property rights that includes recognition of food names considered generic by the United States such as “parmesano” (parmesan), provolone and bologna, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced today. Other commitments include signal piracy related to cable and satellite, and a customs trademark registry.

Stakeholder Support:

  • 21st Century Fox applauds agreement addressing signal piracy in Honduras
    • “Today’s announcement is a win for the 1.9 million workers whose livelihoods rely on enforceable copyright protections that sustain a healthy entertainment industry. We salute Ambassadors Froman and Milla and their staffs for their tireless work, and look forward to working with the U.S. and Honduran governments on this crucial issue.” 
  • MPAA Statement on USTR’s IP Work Plan with Honduras to Reduce Signal Piracy
    • “We’d like to express our gratitude to Ambassador Froman and the USTR team for undertaking this important dialogue aimed at protecting creative rights. We’re also grateful for the regional leadership of the Government of Honduras for their willingness to tackle the persistent and recurring problem of signal piracy. International frameworks that include strong IP provisions are a major priority for the American film and television industry because they promote jobs and economic growth. We hope this work plan can serve as a model for future cooperation throughout Latin America.”
  • HBO Latin America applauds trade enforcement efforts resulting in Honduras commitments to combat cable and satellite signal piracy
    • “HBO Latin America has called for increased enforcement with regard to signal theft in Honduras as well as throughout the region, and we appreciate the United States Trade Representative’s engagement toward addressing these serious concerns.  This is an important first step and we look forward to working with Honduran authorities to ensure the effective implementation of these commitments, which will help combat illegal signal piracy and support competition and legitimate business formation in Honduras.”
  • American Apparel and Footwear Association Statement on Honduras IP Enforcement Announcement
    • “IPR infringements affect all of our members’ brands. Their competitiveness is highly dependent upon the global protection of the intellectual property embedded in their designs, their brands, and their images. We are pleased to see the Government of Honduras make concrete commitments to increase the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including the reactivation of an interagency anti-counterfeiting task force. We are grateful to the U.S. government for its work in negotiating this work plan, and look forward to working with the U.S. and Honduran governments to see that the elements of the work plan are carried out so that our members’ brands can be protected.”


Last Friday, the United States requested the Government of Peru verify that a 2015 timber shipment exported to the United States complied with all applicable Peruvian laws and regulations. The timber verification request is the first of its kind under the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, and helps ensure that timber imported from Peru is legally harvested and exported.


  • U.S. asks Peru to verify timber shipment (Politico)
    • The U.S. for the first time is invoking a provision in its trade deal with Peru that allows it to demand the government verify a timber shipment complies with the country’s laws and regulations aimed at combating illegal timber trade. The timber in question arrived in Houston last January and was shipped by Inversiones La Oroza SRL, a Peruvian company that environmental watchdogs have consistently accused of illegal logging activities. Sen. Ron Wyden requested the U.S. take action on Feb. 11 and brought attention to another shipment of Peruvian wood intercepted by U.S. customs agents at the Houston port in September.
  • USTR Asks Peru To Investigate Timber Shipment (Law360)
    • In an effort to combat illegal logging in Peru, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has asked Peru’s government to verify that a timber shipment from the country to the U.S. complies with Peruvian forestry laws and regulations, the office said Friday… The request is the first of its kind to be made under the timber verification provision of the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, the USTR said. The trade agreement monitoring tool, which the USTR says is meant to ensure enforcement of forestry laws throughout Peru’s supply chain, has been at the office’s disposal since the deal entered into force in 2009.

Stakeholder Support:

  • EIA Welcomes U.S. Announcement to Verify Timber Legality under US-Peru FTA
    • The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) strongly supports recent actions by Peruvian officials to conduct enforcement initiatives against illegal timber operators. In addition, EIA is pleased that Peru’s international trading partners are expressing heightened concern and supporting Peru’s still nascent efforts to actively combat illegalities and protect Amazonian forests. After many reports of illegalities in Peruvian timber exports, and with Inversiones La Oroza as one of the companies repeatedly named, EIA welcomes today’s announcement that the United States will seek verifications of legality for this company’s exports under the U.S.-Peru FTA.


Last week, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel found in favor of the United States in its challenge to India’s “localization” rules discriminating against imported solar cells and modules under India’s National Solar Mission.  In this important outcome, the Panel agreed that India’s domestic content requirements breached international trade rules and discriminated against U.S. solar cells.


  • U.S. wins WTO dispute against India's solar rules (Reuters)
    • “The United States won a ruling against India at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday after challenging the rules on the origin of solar cells and solar modules used in India's national solar power program. In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative's office called the ruling a significant victory that would hasten the spread of solar energy across the world and support clean-energy jobs in the United States.”
  • US wins WTO trade spat over India solar power rules (AFP)
    • “A World Trade Organization panel ruled Wednesday in favour of a US claim that India's rules restricting what products can be used in its solar industry breach international trade regulations… ‘This is an important outcome, not just as it applies to this case, but for the message it sends to other countries considering discriminatory 'localisation' policies,’ US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement.”

Stakeholder Support:

  • WTO Ruling in US-India Trade Case is a Step in the Right Direction (Solar Energy Industries Association)
    • “The World Trade Organization ruling is a step in the right direction and hopefully will remove any obstacles to a constructive U.S. presence in India’s solar market. The WTO dispute settlement panel’s decision will clear the way for significant and rapid deployment of solar energy in India and can create jobs at home.
  • WTO Decision on Solar Localization Rules Marks Victory for U.S. Manufacturers (National Association of Manufacturers)
    • United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced today that a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel had found that localization rules under India’s national solar energy policy violated WTO international trade rules in discriminating against imported solar cells and modules. This marks an important victory for U.S. manufacturers in pushing back against Indian efforts to promote local manufacturing at the expense of market access and opportunity for U.S. manufacturers.
  • Chamber Applauds U.S. Win in WTO Challenge of India’s Discriminatory Policies on Solar Technology (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
    • “The U.S. business community applauds the ruling that India’s discriminatory ‘localization’ requirements violate WTO rules…In the long run, discriminatory policies that impede the use of the most efficient products from the most cost-effective producers provide neither economic nor environmental benefits. We applaud the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for its efforts in this matter.”


Last week, President Obama signed the bipartisan Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which includes new tools and resources to help ensure that U.S. trading partners comply with their trade commitments, including trade rules on intellectual property rights, labor, and environment.


  • White House officials urge passage of Pacific trade deal as Obama signs customs bill (The Hill)
    • Several top White House officials on Wednesday said they are working with Congress to pass a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade agreement as quickly as possible, arguing that delaying the deal will damage the U.S. economy.
  • President Obama Signs Long-Awaited Customs Bill (BNA)
    • “This bipartisan piece of legislation will strengthen trade enforcement at our ports, improve our ability to combat evasion of our enforcement actions, and improve transparency, accountability, and coordination in enforcement efforts. It also provides unprecedented new measures to address unfair currency practices by establishing a process that directs the executive branch to confront countries that engage in such practices and to impose penalties on countries that fail to remedy these issues,” the president said.
  • President Obama has signed legislation that extends some privacy protections to citizens of allied countries (AP)
    • Obama is trying to build support for a trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and during the second bill signing ceremony, he sought to emphasize that his administration is vigorously taking on countries that violate free trade law. He said the bill will provide more resources to boost trade enforcement efforts and streamline the process for fighting the illegal dumping of goods.