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Q. Under NAFTA, what does "wholly obtained or produced" mean?

Preference Criteria tell Customs and the importer how the goods qualified as originating. It is impossible to choose an origin criterion without first reading and fully understanding the rules of origin frequently referred to as Article 401 of NAFTA and Annex 401. There are six preference criteria: A through F. Criterion A corresponds to goods wholly obtained or produced entirely in Canada, Mexico or the United States. "Obtained" does not mean "purchased," but is simply used to acknowledge that production is not the only way goods are created. When qualifying products and determining the preference criterion, many exporters have difficulty answering the question of whether their product has been wholly or totally produced in a NAFTA territory. For the purpose of NAFTA, "wholly obtained or produced" means that the goods contain no foreign parts, components or raw materials. Some examples of products wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the countries are mineral goods; vegetable goods; live animals; and goods obtained through hunting, trapping, or fishing.

Q. What financial services are available in Bahrain?

Bahrain is a principal financial services hub in the Middle East. Legal, regulatory, and accounting systems in the financial sector (onshore and offshore) are transparent and consistent with international norms. International financial institutions operate in Bahrain, both internationally and domestically, without impediments. Bahrain's attraction as a financial center is based on its established offshore facilities, free foreign exchange movement, tax-free status, stable Bahraini Dinar-USD foreign exchange rate, established insurance sector, modern telecommunications systems, and prime geographical location among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The financial sector has established itself as a key employment generator for Bahrain.

Q. What form do I use to document origin under the U.S.-Korea FTA?

Unlike the NAFTA, the U.S.-Korea FTA does NOT prescribe a particular form that must be used to document origin. Instead, the agreement specifies the types of information a certification must contain. Remember that this certification is required only if requested by your buyer in Korea. Specifically, the data elements for certification must include (on company letterhead): 1. Name and address of the importer: (The legal name, address, telephone, and e-mail of the importer of record of the good.) 2. Name and address of the exporter: (If different from the producer.) (The legal name, address, telephone, and e-mail of the exporter of the good.) 3. Name and address of the producer: (If known.) (The legal name, address, telephone and e-mail of the producer of the good.) 4. Description of good: (The description of a good shall be sufficiently detailed to relate it to the invoice and the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature.) 5. HS tariff classification number: (The HS tariff classification, to six or more digits, as specified for each good in the Rules of Origin.) 6. Preference criterion: (The rule of origin set forth in General Note 33(b) or Article 6.1 of the Agreement. In the case of a product-specific rule specified in General Note 33(o) or Annex 4-A or 6-A of the Agreement, please be specific as to which rule was applied.) 7. Single shipment: (Provide the commercial invoice number.) 8. Multiple shipments of identical goods: (Provide the blanket period in mm/dd/yyyy to mm/dd/yyyy format with a 12-month maximum.) 9. Authorized signature, company, title, telephone, fax, e-mail, and certification date: 10. Certification: (The importing country may require additional information such as the corporate address, a signature, and a statement regarding the truth and accuracy of the information provided.) The language used on the certification may be in either English or Korean, although the customs authority of the importing country may require the importer to submit a translation of the certification in the language of that country.

Q. What healthcare services are available in Bahrain?

Bahrain has a modern health system. All Bahrainis receive free state health care. Current plans for the health services sector include the construction of a third large public hospital, the King Hamad Hospital in Muharraq, where construction on the project has already started. The Royal College of Surgeons will use the medical facilities as a learning hospital. In the private sector, the Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center (JDC) constructed its first facility outside the U.S. in Bahrain in 2003. Due to increased demand for diabetes treatment in Bahrain and the Gulf, in 2004, JDC announced plans to expand the existing facility with an additional building. In 2002, a $45 million private hospital, the Bahrain Specialist Hospital, contributed to the growth in the countrys private medical services with the establishment of the Ibn Al Nafees Hospital. Bahrain Ministry of Health officials have also announced that the government might start outsourcing certain jobs, including the management of both medical and non-medical services in the $80 million King Hamad Hospital, expected to complete in 2007.

Q. What if my good is produced in the United States, but is transshipped through a third country on its way to a CAFTA-DR country? Can it still qualify for preferential treatment?

It can, provided it does not undergo processing in the third country. According to CAFTA-DR, a good that undergoes subsequent production or any other operation outside the territories of the Parties, other than unloading, reloading, or any other operation necessary to preserve it in good condition or to transport the good to the territory of a Party can no longer qualify for preferential treatment under the Agreement.

Q. What if my good is produced in the United States, but is transshipped through a third country on its way to Australia? Can it still qualify for preferential treatment?

It can, provided it does not undergo processing in the third country. According to the U.S.-Australia FTA, a good that undergoes subsequent production or any other operation outside the territories of the Parties, other than unloading, reloading, or any other operation necessary to preserve it in good condition or to transport the good to the territory of a Party can no longer qualify for preferential treatment under the FTA.

Q. What if my good is produced in the United States, but is transshipped through a third country on its way to Bahrain? Can it still qualify for preferential treatment?

It can, provided it does not undergo processing in the third country. According to the U.S.-Bahrain FTA, a good that undergoes subsequent production or any other operation outside the territories of the Parties, other than unloading, reloading, or any other operation necessary to preserve it in good condition or to transport the good to the territory of a Party, can no longer qualify for preferential treatment under the FTA.

Q. What if my good is produced in the United States, but is transshipped through a third country on its way to Korea? Can it still qualify for preferential treatment?

According to the FTA, a good cannot undergo subsequent production or any other operation outside of the U.S. or Korea other than loading/unloading and preserving the good. Also, if transshipped, it must remain under the control of customs authorities in the territory of a third country.

Q. What information and communications technology (ICT) services are available in Bahrain?

In the past five years, telecommunications liberalization has extended to mobile telecommunications services, paging services, very small aperture terminal (VSAT), public access mobile radio services, international telecommunications facilities, international telecommunications services, national fixed services, internet service provider (ISP) and value-added services license following the full liberalization of the sector on July 1, 2004.

Q. What is the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)?

The CAFTA-DR is a trade agreement between the United States and the countries of Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. This Agreement is currently in force for the all the signatory countries. The CAFTA-DR requires important reforms of the domestic legal and business environment that encourage competitive business development and investment, protect intellectual property rights, and promote transparency and rule-of-law in the democratic systems that have solidified in the region over the past decade. The Agreement is an important instrument to support U.S. national security interests; the FTA promotes closer economic cooperation among the Central American countries, thereby advancing regional integration and contributing to greater peace and stability in the region.

Q. What is the Integrated Sourcing Initiative (ISI)?

The ISI improves the global competitiveness of U.S. businesses and workers by adapting traditional trade rules to help U.S. companies improve the efficiency and flexibility of their global sourcing networks. The ISI currently accords special treatment to certain IT products. For a limited number of IT products and medical devices that already face zero tariffs in the United States and Singapore, the ISI eliminates the requirement that these products meet specific rules of origin when shipped between the United States and Singapore. Therefore, the customs procedure is streamlined, and the cost and burden on the importer is reduced.

Q. What is the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA)?

The U.S.-Australia FTA is an agreement between the United States and Australia that allows both nations to strengthen and develop economic relations and to establish free trade between the two nations through the reduction and elimination of barriers to trade in goods and services and to investment.

Q. What is the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (U.S.-Bahrain FTA)?

The U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement between the United States and Bahrain that allows both nations to strengthen and develop economic relations and to establish free trade between the two nations through the reduction and elimination of barriers to trade in goods and to investment; and to lay the foundation for further cooperation to expand and enhance the benefits of such agreement.

Q. What is the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement?

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement between the United States and Korea that allows both nations to strengthen and develop economic relations and to establish free trade through the reduction and elimination of barriers to trade in goods and to investment. The FTA lays the foundation for further cooperation to expand and enhance the benefits of the free trade.

Q. What issues are commonly misunderstood about the NAFTA?

The NAFTA establishes special preferential tariff treatment for goods originating in and traded among NAFTA countries. However, the NAFTA Certificate of Origin is not a required entry document for shipments between the United States and Mexico or Canada and should only be prepared if the product qualifies under the NAFTA Rules of Origin for preferential tariff treatment. The exporter must first determine if the product qualifies and whether a Certificate of Origin is needed. Completion of a NAFTA Certificate of Origin is an affirmation that the party signing the document has determined that the goods covered by the certificate are originating, as defined in the NAFTA. Preparation of this certificate imposes certain legal rights, obligations and liabilities on the party signing the document and should be based on a careful inquiry into the terms of the NAFTA as they apply to each product. One of the most difficult issues exporters face when exporting to one of the NAFTA countries is determining whether the product can be considered an originating good. Origin is not determined by where the product begins its export journey. The term originating means qualifying under the rules of origin set out in Chapter Four of the NAFTA. The NAFTA Certificate of Origin must be completed in order to receive preferential tariff treatment upon entry of the goods into the importing country. Many U.S. companies are unfamiliar with the agreement and mistakenly believe that products produced in the United States, Canada, or Mexico qualify for NAFTA treatment. Most firms are unaware that they need to determine whether there are any foreign parts, components, or raw materials used to manufacture their final product. U.S. companies must obtain or confirm the appropriate Schedule B or Harmonized Tariff Classification Number for their product(s) in order to reference the rules of origin that govern the allowable percentage of foreign components. The classification number is also used by shippers in reporting export shipments, by governments in compiling official trade statistics, and by customs authorities in determining the relevant import duties to be paid. Analysis of the NAFTA Rules of origin can be found on the TIC website.

Q. What paperwork is required for my shipments to Singapore?

The importer of goods must obtain an Import Permit prior to the import of goods into Singapore. To engage in import, export, and transshipment activities in Singapore, companies must first register with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Upon successful registration with ACRA, a company must apply to Singapore Customs for a Central Registration Number. This CR Number enables a company to submit Import, Export and Transshipment Permit applications through TradeNet. A CR Number is processed free of charge.

Q. What provisions are maintained in the U.S.-Bahrain FTA to enforce compliance with the Agreement?

All core obligations, including core labor and environmental provisions, are subject to the dispute settlement provisions of the Agreement. These provisions establish a high standard of openness and transparency through open public hearings, public release of legal submissions by each government, and opportunities for interested non-governmental organizations to submit views.

Q. What is tourism like in Bahrain?

Bahrain always has been a tourist favorite amongst regional and international visitors. The Bahrain Ministry of Information is working diligently to upgrade the tourism sector through granting licenses for projects that will expand family tourism. Part of these efforts is directed towards providing attractions and events that will increase tourists' length of stay. Longer term, investment opportunities exist for large-scale tourist attractions that appeal to the international tourist. Given the current composition of tourists to Bahrain (mainly visitors from the GCC), the demand by these tourists for secondary homes in Bahrain is also expected to increase. In addition, with the notable rise in shopping malls and complexes in Bahrain, there are increasing opportunities for international restaurant chains, theatres, and other entertainment activities. Tourism development is not limited to leisure tourists. Health tourism (fitness centers and spas, for example) and business tourism (fairs and exhibitions) also represent significant opportunities for investors.

Q. What will be different about investing in Australia?

All U.S. investment in new businesses is exempted from screening under Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board. Thresholds for acquisitions by U.S. investors in nearly all sectors are raised significantly, from A$50 million to A$800 million, exempting the vast majority of transactions from screening.

Q. Where can I find more information on the NAFTA or on how to qualify products?

The text of the NAFTA agreement can be found at the bottom of the main NAFTA page under Additional NAFTA Resources or on the following website: http://www.sice.oas.org/trade/nafta/naftatce.asp For assistance with specific questions on qualifying products under NAFTA or clarification of unfamiliar trade terms, International Trade Specialists are available at the Trade Information Center (TIC) at 1-800-USA-TRAD(E).

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