I used to live in the USA. I spent a year in Corvallis, Oregon when I was ten years old. I remember it as one of the happiest times in my life, except for being confused about my national identity. Most of my elementary school classmates thought that I was from North Korea. This is not surprising since the North Korea nuclear issue had been surfacing at that time during George H. W. Bush’s presidency. North Korea is still a frequent topic on the famous American TV show, Conan, to this day.
Recently I assisted a client with a particularly difficult and rarely used provision of the NAFTA agreement. It involved a tariff shift rule and list of exceptions that, when coupled with a specific production process, became problematic.
Prior to contacting Tradewin, the client had a Free Trade ‘expert’ look at the provision of NAFTA and the challenge they were facing. The ‘expert’ came to a very detailed and long winded way of creating massive amounts of work for the client. While the analysis was technically correct for the issue, ultimately it did not fit the bill for the client.
When you’re dealing with something as complicated as a Free Trade agreement you want the quickest, easiest, and most compliant solution. A company needs to have a level of confidence in whoever is performing the task. It’s necessary to know you have the right kind of expert who has actual experience with Free Trade qualification. These issues can and do involve trade secrets, material cost structures, manufacturing process, etc. Companies love “the bottom line” and the faster you get there with the least amount of legal exposure the better.
How often does anyone really get free money? When you buy something at the store only to find out that you need to fill out the card and mail it in to get the rebate. Most people think about it on the way home and then leave the card on their desk.
But, what is the risk? You may end up giving some information to a company that probably already has your information. You may end up actually getting the money back. It is a minor investment of time to recoup some cash. An interesting statistic says that the majority of people who take advantage of rebates live in households that have an annual income of $100,000 or are between the ages of 35 to 64 and are women. Most of the rebates that go unfiled because of a technicality, it is not completed properly, or the man that gets it can’t be bothered to send it in.
I read another statistic that 70% of companies do not fully utilize trade agreements. When your country enters into a trade agreement with a country that you do business with, or want to do business with. What are your options?
Recently the United States Trade Representative released the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Many news articles have been covering the TPP concerns revolving around intellectual property, environment concerns and the loss of jobs. All for good reason. With the introduction of NAFTA, these are some of the issues that came to the forefront of the national conversation regarding free trade. These issues are definitely addressed in the agreement where collective bargaining rights and “acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages” are demanded. However, in the words of the infamous Mike Tyson – everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.
But, what does this mean for the international trade community and tariff rates? Let’s jump right to the good stuff and focus on some of the largest duty rates to be eliminated.