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What Does TAA Compliance Mean? Blog Feature
Stephanie Hagan

By: Stephanie Hagan on June 5th, 2024

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What Does TAA Compliance Mean?

GSA Schedule | Government | 9 Min Read

As a GSA Schedule contractor, there are a few pre-requisites you need to meet before you can begin preparing your GSA Schedule proposal that also continue throughout the life of your contract. One of these requirements is Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliance. In order to maintain TAA compliance with your GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract, you must agree each “final product” you sell will have been “substantially transformed” in the U.S. or in a signatory country designated by the TAA, throughout the entirety of your contract.

This may seem complicated and overwhelming, but once you get a better idea of what TAA is then you can be more confident you are abiding by the rules and complying with your contract.

Table of Contents:

What Does TAA Compliance Mean?

The Trade Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. & 2501-2581) of 1979 was enacted to foster fair and open international trade, but more importantly, it implemented the requirement the U.S. government may acquire only U.S. made or designated end products. However, this requirement has still has left many GSA contract holders confused on its true meaning. 

TAA compliance means the “final products” you sell through your GSA Schedule as a product manufacturer or GSA reseller cannot be made in certain countries including, but not limited to:

  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia 
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Sri Lanka

In simpler words, the products and services you sell through a GSA Schedule should be:

  1. Articles that are wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of the U.S. or a designated country, or
  2. Articles that are "substantially transformed" in the U.S. or a designated country into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was transformed.

Here at Winvale, we get a lot of questions about what "substantially transformed" means. GSA defines "substantially transformed" as a product that has become a new and different commerce article in terms of name, character, or use. However, employing the definition in real life can be a little confusing. We suggest if you have any questions about whether your products pass the TAA compliance check, ask your consultant/lawyer or refer to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.225-5 on Trade Agreements. We are of course always here to help answer any of your questions on TAA

Which Countries Are TAA Compliant?

We have talked about what countries you can't have final products made in, but which countries are considered TAA compliant? 

Designated countries that are TAA compliant include:

  • World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement Countries
  • Free Trade Agreement Countries
  • Least Developed Countries
  • Caribbean Basin Countries

Here's a list of all the countries by category: 

World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement Countries

  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

Free Trade Agreement Countries

  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Republic of Korea
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Nicaragua
  • Oman
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Singapore

Least Developed Countries

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Haiti
  • Kiribati
  • Laos
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen
  • Zambia

Caribbean Basin Countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bonaire
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • Saba
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Sint Maarten
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Although it's rare, the list does change from time to time, so you should make a practice of checking it annually or each time you add new products. You can find the full list of TAA compliant countries here

Tips for Successful TAA Compliance

TAA compliance can be complicated, and you may have to bring in some legal advice if your company has several different manufacturers or if some of your parts originate from non-TAA compliant countries. So, here are 10 tips for successful TAA compliance. 

  1. Products are bound to change throughout the years--implementing a system whenever a product or manufacturer is changed is essential. This way, the main POC for your GSA Schedule contract is aware right away and can ensure you are still maintaining TAA compliance. 
  2. Create a detailed checklist of TAA compliance requirements for all your employees and suppliers to have on hand. This will help eliminate 
  3. Ensure proper documentation, which includes supplier agreements as well as a letter of supply agreement.
  4. Additionally, correct documentation of the country of origin (COO) is vital, including origin markings, most current COO and the COO code.
  5. Keeping a detailed inventory is important, including sample products, product markings, and product matching.
  6. Maintenance, both internal and external: companies have to be proactive with their MAS contract, by participating in activities such as product market sampling and training on a regular basis.
  7. Monitor U.S. customs and border protection information, which can be found on the CROSS website.
  8. As a MAS contract holder, you must research any compliance issue with the TAA right away--otherwise you could be penalized for noncompliance.
  9. If you have significant sales with a non-TAA compliant country, it is necessary to seek legal counsel on whether you are able to sell your solutions through GSA. 
  10. Training is key to success. Your company should have written policies and procedures that increase employee awareness and will prevent any violation of the TAA.

Do You Still Have Questions About TAA Compliance?

It's important to remember that it's your responsibility to ensure your product information is accurately incorporated into your GSA contract and displayed on GSA Advantage! throughout the life of your contract. It's good practice to routinely review the country of origin of products offered on your GSA contract, because sometimes manufacturers change their manufacturing points. If you find out that a country of origin has changed for a product, you should make sure you update your GSA Advantage! to reflect the changes.

If you want to learn more about the technical requirements surrounding TAA, check out Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.225-5 Trade Agreements.

We know GSA contractors have to keep up with a lot of rules and regulations throughout the life of their contract. For more questions, advice, and guidance concerning TAA compliance and noncompliance, contact Winvale for professional services in accelerating your governmental opportunities.

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About Stephanie Hagan

Stephanie Hagan is the Training and Communications Manager for Winvale. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.