International Trade Issues

Trade is the lifeblood of the global economy.  Policies and practices put in place by the U.S. and its global economic partners, however, can often restrict the flow of goods in commerce.  Recent actions by the Administration on trade issues have ramped up pressure on other nations and caused disruption in the global economic pattern of trade.  This has created a greater need for our clients to seek The Acta Group’s (Acta®) expertise on navigating the channels of turbulent trade waters. 
Trade issues constantly evolve as countries seek to level the economic playing field or impose restrictions on imports of chemicals or products through various legislative and regulatory means.  Acta’s clients manufacture innovative and essential products that span all sectors of the economy.  Our clients distribute these products across the globe.  But the efficacy of these products means little if barriers to trade -- such as prohibitive tariffs, intellectual property theft, lack of a trade agreement, and unfair or illegal trade practices -- block or restrict them from entering other nations and getting into the hands of those who need them. 
Companies engaged in international trade need continued monitoring of potentially destabilizing developments and other support to ensure their ability to flourish on the global scale.  They require timely and expert advice on how to ensure that their products maintain market position and can be shipped globally.  It is vitally important that companies also recognize the interplay between trade issues and other regulatory programs, such as hazardous materials transportation, global hazard communication, import restrictions, and other requirements that are very much a part of the fabric of global commerce.  Acta  professionals offer substantial experience navigating international trade matters for large multi-national firms, for growing firms seeking to expand into new markets, and for firms of all sizes managing ever-more-complex supply chains.
Our Experience:

Lynn Bergeson has been working on industrial and agricultural chemical policy issues for over 20 years. She has worked extensively on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform, emerging technologies, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, and synthetic biology, and the application of legal and governance systems to these emerging technologies.  Ms. Bergeson’s work has brought her to Capitol Hill, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and other governance and standard-setting bodies on chemical policy and management issues.

Karin Baron, MSPH, provides consulting services on classification and labeling requirements under various international and national legislations, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) (United Nations (UN) model as well as international adaptations), and the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). In the area of HazMat, Ms. Baron assists in navigating the nuances between the various classification criteria and the correlations that can impact local and international shipping, particularly with respect to labeling and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) generation.

Karen Lorusso is a highly experienced product safety professional who has assisted companies with TSCA Inventory issues and polymer exemptions to achieve TSCA compliance.
Emma Jackson, CBiol MSB, is distinguished by more than a decade of experience in testing and regulatory environments, assisting clients to achieve regulatory compliance in the European Union (EU), the Americas, and Asia.  She offers particular expertise in worldwide chemical notifications, data analysis, preparing test plans, and managing to completion large and complex compliance projects quickly, cost-effectively, and harmoniously across multiple jurisdictions.  Her focus is on compliance for industrial chemicals and chemical products.

Jane Vergnes, Ph.D., DABT®, with a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and over 25 years of experience as a senior toxicologist and product steward with major global chemical companies, offers clients her expansive understanding of toxicological testing within the regulatory framework of TSCA, including study design, laboratory practices, and data requirements for new chemical introductions and existing chemical support.
What We Do:
The Administration has launched a new era in American trade policy.  The new agenda is driven by a determination to use the leverage available to the world’s largest economy to obtain a better deal for the U.S.  This policy rests on the following five major pillars:

  1. Trade Policy that Supports National Security Policy;
  2. Strengthening the American Economy;
  3. Negotiating Trade Deals that Work for All Americans;
  4. Enforcing and Defending U.S. Trade Laws; and
  5. Strengthening the Multilateral Trading System.

Acta professionals assist clients on a wide range of issues related to trade, including ensuring that our clients' efforts are in harmony with the five pillars of trade advanced by President Trump.  We assist clients in monitoring and analyzing global trade agreements, legislative authorization and rulemaking, dissecting the intricacies of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), and ensuring that our clients’ distribution networks are not hampered by changes in trade policies or practices.
On major trade agreements between the U.S. and other nations, we work closely with like-minded organizations and our clients’ partners and customers to craft sensible approaches on trade.  We implement sophisticated campaigns that result in long-lasting stability and certainty on our clients’ trade issues.  We also provide regulatory and legislative guidance and counseling to ensure that our clients are doing all that is required under applicable laws and regulations to maintain an unfettered flow of their products across the globe. 

Acta conducts extensive advocacy on trade issues.  We work with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of Commerce, lawmakers, and international government organizations such as the European Union (EU) and the China Ministry of Trade. Through these efforts, we seek to influence administrations and governments on the global scale to ensure our clients’ products and services can be distributed with ease and efficiency. 

Representative Engagements:

  • During negotiations between the U.S. and the EU on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Acta crafted a series of recommendations that would reduce technical barriers to trade and ensure smooth flows of commodities and metals.  Our approach involved working with our client in the U.S. and reaching out to forge a partnership with a like-minded trade association in the EU.  Acta worked extensively with the USTR and Department of Commerce to include appropriate language and advocacy during the TTIP negotiations.
  • Acta helps our clients identify and comply with requirements related to trade agreements, laws, and regulations. 
  • Identifying the appropriate HTS code for products is a cornerstone of trade compliance.  Acta provides guidance and expertise in helping our clients select the appropriate HTS code.
  • The U.S. has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars of goods imported from China.  Acta has conducted advocacy on these tariffs on behalf of several clients. 
  • Acta has assisted clients in developing the requisite rationale and documentation to receive tariff exemptions.
  • Acta has worked on behalf of clients on advocacy regarding the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement (USMCA), the replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 
  • Acta has assisted clients whose products are held up by international customs agents to satisfy requirements so products are freed and released into commerce.
  • Acta has helped clients navigate the requirements imposed by the U.S.’s ban on certain products to Iran.
  • Acta monitors and analyzes global free trade agreements and identifies potential issues that may impede our clients’ global trade.
  • Acta staff briefed the Chinese Embassy to the U.S. on the requirements for hazardous waste management under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • Acta assisted a client to establish a certification program for hazardous materials professionals in China.

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