New 2012 Updates to U.S. Free Trade Agreements Expected; No Progress With China

With the dawn of a new year, there look to be a number of changes on deck regarding U.S. free trade agreements, most particularly relating to an expanded scope for the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement ("WTO GPA"), as well as updates to the dollar thresholds at which the various free trade agreements will apply. For government contracts, the updated dollar thresholds are particularly important because the dollar thresholds determine when a contract is governed by the Buy American Act ("BAA") or the Trade Agreements Act ("TAA"). Perhaps the most hoped for expansion of the WTO GPA – the accession of China to the agreement – remains stalled. But at least there has been a little progress in 2011.

On December 8, 2011, the U.S. Trade Representative ("USTR"), Ronald Kirk, announced new dollar thresholds at which free trade agreements ("FTAs") will apply to U.S. procurements. See 76 Fed. Reg. 76808. The USTR has adjusted the thresholds as follows...

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