Those who hold a GSA contract to sell their products to the United States government are required to acquire TAA (Trade Agreement Act) compliance. While this might appear to be a complicated process, maintaining TAA compliance means access to lucrative, often long-term contracts. Fortunately, compliance is simpler and more straightforward than you might think.
Since the purpose of the TAA was to encourage open and fair international trade, the primary objective maintains that products purchased by the US government are manufactured or significantly altered in the US or certain designated countries.
While legal guidance is necessary to ensure success, TAA compliance can be boiled down to essentially five steps: First, exercise caution regarding where your products are manufactured, and only utilize manufacturers within TAA compliant countries. Second, maintain clear and consistent communication within the company. All partners must be aware of the importance of TAA compliance at all times, and any changes to the supply chain must be fully investigated before proceeding.
Third, all operations must be thoroughly documented. Keep letters of supply agreements in order to record proof of the origin of all supplies. Each product must include a country-of-origin code and markings.
Fourth, maintain a proactive stance regarding TAA compliance. Seek ongoing compliance training so that you’re aware of potential changes or complications ahead of the fact, so that you’re aware and ready to act if they do occur.
Finally, educate yourself and other company heads on issues related to border and customs protections. Doing so will help you to anticipate issues before they arise and allow you time to take action to avoid the loss of your contract status.
Countries not covered by the TAA include Russia, China, and India. Transactions with these, or other non-TAA compliant countries, could put your compliance status at risk. If you engage in any business with these nations, seek professional guidance before applying for GSA MAS contract status.
In fact, professional guidance is strongly recommended at all stages of TAA compliance, for any company that holds or wishes to hold a GSA contract with the government. Call our office to schedule a consultation, so that we can help you anticipate and avoid issues that could complicate your contract status.