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World Trade Organization (WTO)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by many of the world’s trading nations, and ratified in their parliaments. The goal of the WTO is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business and ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible.

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World Trade Organization (WTO) Notifications

Member countries submit "notifications" to the WTO Secretariat to announce changes in regulations that may affect trade with other Members. WTO TBT notifications are circulated by the WTO Secretariat to all Members via the WTO's ePing SPS&TBT Platform at Current and would-be Notify U.S. users are encouraged to register for and use ePing to follow and track notifications and to receive customized e-mail alerts when new notifications are distributed. E-mail alerts from the Notify U.S. service will be discontinued sometime in the second half of calendar year 2022. Current active Notify U.S. users will receive notice prior to the discontinuation of notification alerts. ePing is available to all stakeholders and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts.

WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) notifications summarize important information about the proposed technical regulation: products covered, title, description, objective and rationale for its issuance, any relevant documents, proposed dates for the adoption of the regulation and its entry into force, and a proposed date by which Member countries must comment on the regulation if they wish to comment. Availability or access to the full text of the regulation is often included.

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International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a network of national standards organizations of 151 countries (on the basis of one member per country) with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.

ISO is a non-governmental organization. Its members are not, as in the United Nations system, delegations of national governments. ISO occupies a special position between the public and private sectors. Many of its member organizations are part of the governmental structure of their countries, or are mandated by their government. Other members have their roots in the private sector, having been set up by national partnerships of industry associations.

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International Classification for Standards (ICS)

The International Classification for Standards (ICS) serves as a hierarchical structure for classifying and cataloguing international, regional, and national standards.

Use of ICS codes facilitates the harmonization of standards information for global dissemination and improved global communications on standards.

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United States International Trade Commission (USITC)

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) is an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.

The mission of the Commission is to: (1) administer U.S. trade remedy laws within its mandate in a fair and objective manner; (2) provide the President, United States Trade Representative (USTR), and Congress with independent, quality analysis, information, and support on matters of tariffs and international trade and competitiveness; and (3) maintain the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

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International Trade Administration (ITA)

The International Trade Administration (ITA) strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements. ITA works to improve the global business environment and helps U.S. organizations compete at home and abroad. We are organized into three distinct but complementary business units:

ITA is headed by the Under Secretary for International Trade who oversees the operations of ITA's four units:

  • The Global Markets promotes U.S. exports, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises; advances and protects U.S. commercial interests overseas; and attracts inward investment into the United States.
  • The Industry and Analysis trade and industry experts produce the world’s most innovative, high-quality, in-depth trade analyses and develop strategies that define the future of international trade, investment, supply chains, and export promotion.
  • The Enforcement and Compliance ensures a level playing field for U.S. industries by defending against unfair trade and ensuring compliance with existing trade agreements.

Back to Table of Contents is a U.S. Government export information portal. The web site provides online trade resources and one-on-one assistance for U.S. businesses engaging in international commerce, whether the business is just starting or whether it is expanding into global sales. There is in-depth online information. can be reached by telephone at 1-800-USA-TRADE.

Get in-depth information and solid advice on issues relevant to any prospective exporter with the new edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting.

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Trade Information Center (TIC)

The Trade Information Center (TIC) is the first stop for companies seeking export assistance from the U.S. Government. The TIC is located in the Department of Commerce's USA Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The USA Trade Center offers specialized services, including counseling on free trade agreements, export licensing, and focus centers for China, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Newly Independent States (Russia and former Soviet republics).

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The 1-800-USA-TRADE contact center provides U.S. businesses with help for their exporting questions, whether it is with a fast response or connection to the right U.S. Government resource. To find out more information and to request assistance, please visit FAQ.

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U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs)

U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) provide front-line outreach and service operations for U.S. exporters through the assistance of International Trade Specialists working in over 100 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Contact a Trade Specialist Near You.

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U.S. Department of Commerce Advocacy Center

The Advocacy Center helps to ensure that sales of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance competing abroad. Advocacy assistance is wide and varied but often involves companies that want the U.S. Government to communicate a message to foreign governments or government-owned corporations on behalf of their commercial interest, typically in a competitive bid contest.

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Textiles and Apparel Export Promotion Program (OTEXA)

The Textiles and Apparel Export Promotion Program (OTEXA) provides specialized assistance to businesses interested in exporting in this industry, through export-counseling, seminars, business match-makings, sponsorship of trade missions, U.S.A. pavilions in major international trade events, and research to identify key export opportunities in selected markets.

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The Export Yellow Pages

Created through an exclusive partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Global Publishers LLC, The Export Yellow Pages gives U.S. exporters a simple and convenient way to establish contacts and conduct global business.

When you participate in , your company can create a profile, providing product and company exposure to a global audience. You can also explore the U.S. Trade Assistance Directory’s comprehensive list of export service providers that will help develop your global business. For more information, and to register immediately for the web edition (and for the upcoming print edition), visit The Export Yellow Pages

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System for Tracking Agricultural Regulations (STAR)

Each year, foreign governments notify the World Trade Organization (WTO) about changes in their domestic regulations that could impact international trade in food and agricultural products. Under WTO rules, other WTO member countries have the opportunity to evaluate these regulatory changes to determine whether they might pose sanitary/phytosanitary (SPS) concerns or technical barriers to trade (TBT).

This system, System for Tracking Agricultural Regulations (STAR), allows users to monitor and evaluate these notifications and provide input to FAS that can be incorporated into official U.S. government comments. The system also helps U.S. businesses remain abreast of global regulatory developments that may affect their exports.

New Applicants: If you do not already have a USDA eAuthentication account, you must create one before accessing the system. Visit and request Level 1 access.

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Administered by the Standards Coordination Office (SCO) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), provides information about the use of documentary standards and conformity assessment activities in the Federal government; background materials and resources on the standards landscape that can be useful for industry and academia; and standards and conformity assessment information freely available to the general public.

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Standards Information Center

The Standards Information Center serves as a starting point to identify information on standards, regulations, conformity assessment, and other compliance requirements. The Center helps users navigate a complex U.S. and international standards landscape.

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Guides for Industry: Compliance Requirements

A set of guides on product compliance requirements in specific industry sectors has been released by NIST's Standards Services. The guides include information on Federal and State regulatory frameworks, voluntary standards frameworks, applicable voluntary standards, mandatory technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures for each sector.

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