ITA’s Trade Agreements Compliance Program Helps Small Pennsylvania Company


>>NARRATOR: Billions of
dollars worth of goods and services change hands
every day around the world. Much of this commerce
is governed by international
agreements between countries that help ensure a framework
for predictable fair trade. If you’re a U.S.
exporter or investor who has encountered a
trade barrier caused by a foreign government
policy or procedure, these agreements can
be effective tools for overcoming that barrier. This is the story of one such
problem and how it was resolved with the help of specialists in the Trade Agreements
Compliance Program of the U.S. Commerce
Department’s International Trade Administration, or ITA. [Music]>>NARRATOR: Henrik
Klinge and his father came to the United States in the
late 1970s from Denmark to work as agents for a specialty
refrigeration company in York, Pennsylvania. In 1984 they purchased
the company and Klinge Corporation
was founded. Since that day, they have
almost doubled their workforce to accommodate large
foreign contracts. Eighty-five percent of their
business is from exports. Klinge Corporation had just won
a multi-million dollar contract with the Australian military to
supply refrigerated containers and power-generation equipment. Klinge planned to send these
products to China to be mounted on containers and then ship
them onward to Australia to fulfill the contract, but
Klinge’s products were held up in Chinese customs for
reasons they did not understand.>>ALLAN KLINGE: These goods,
even though we had shipped them in many, many times before,
got held up and were sitting in customs for one week
and then another week and then another week, and
meanwhile we’re going back and forth with our freight
forwarder trying to understand, what is the issue
that has come up. So there was quite a bit at
stake with regard to all this, and primarily though, the
well-being of the company, the reputation of
the company and how in the future we might
be seen to be able to handle these contracts.>>SARAH KLINGE: We actually
received a newsletter from the ITA, which described
their export assistance services and also provided
instructions on how to report a trade
barrier on the website. So I submitted the report on
the website, a couple months after we initially had
our equipment held, and the same afternoon I
heard back from Adam Boltik, who put us in touch
with Bryan O’Byrne.>>NARRATOR: When a
company reports a problem, specialists in ITA’s Trade
Agreements Compliance Program investigate the issue
and work directly with the affected industry
to develop a strategy to eliminate the barrier and to
ensure that U.S. rights provided by our trade agreements
are protected.>>BRYAN O’BYRNE: What the
Chinese were doing were misapplying a technical
regulation, and making it more trade
restrictive than necessary. That falls under the WTO-TBT
Agreement as problematic. So what we did is just simply
remind them of those commitments and integrate that
into the relationship. And usually when that happens,
people remember, oh, yeah, we did have an interest in this
trade agreement and we want to be known as a country that
lives by its trade agreements.>>NARRATOR: How does ITA use the
WTO framework to resolve current or potential trade problems U.S. industry experiences,
such as this one?>>JENNY MAY: I think there
are two sides of the coin. First of all, we need to
make sure that the laws and regulations on the books
comply with the WTO requirement, and secondly we need to look
at in terms of implementation, are rules and laws being
implemented evenly?>>NARRATOR: The Trade Agreements
Compliance Program uses many resources to resolve
trade barriers, including
government-to-government discussions, such
as a roundtable, which includes the participation
of business leaders. Bryan O’Byrne was organizing
a roundtable with China at the time and invited
Henrik Klinge to participate.>>HENRIK KLINGE: In Ningbo, I
met Bryan O’Byrne as the head of the delegation
that was there. So there was all hands
on deck from the U.S. side.>>ALLAN KLINGE: We really valued
that opportunity and we kind of joked around here because
we saw the list of attendees. I think it was maybe Dell,
Microsoft and then Klinge, so we felt pretty involved
and valued at that point.>>BRYAN O’BYRNE: We
leveraged these discussions, these bilateral discussions
with the Chinese, and obtained a commitment from
the Chinese authorities to work and work to resolve the issue. In the end, Klinge was
able to fill its contract with the Australian Government,
so that barrier was eliminated.>>SARAH KLINGE: I would
advise small businesses to take advantage of the
governmental resources that are out there, such as
reporting a trade barrier, which was clearly
a success for us. I think there is somewhat a
fear if you’re a small business that you’re just
not as important. So it was a surprise that
we received all the support that we did.>>ALLAN KLINGE: The eight
million dollar project that we had, everything has
been moving very smoothly within that process. We really feel like that, as
far as a direct business impact in terms of basically money
in everybody’s pocket here at the company and
jobs for everybody, was the greatest takeaway.>>NARRATOR: In addition
to challenges like the one you just saw get
resolved, we can also help you with trade barriers
such as these: Intellectual Property
protection, Import Licensing, Rules of Origin,
Investment, Services, Government Procurement,
and Tariffs. Eliminating one barrier
can open opportunities for a whole industry. Contact us to learn more about ITA’s Trade
Agreements Compliance Program, led by the Market Access
and Compliance Unit. [Music]

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