What Does TAA Compliance Mean?
In order to maintain Trade Agreements Act (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 United States or in a signatory country designated by the TAA, throughout the entirety of your contract term. While it may sound complicated, it’s not. You just need to make sure you fully understand what TAA compliance means and how you can abide by the rules.
What Does TAA Compliance Mean?
TAA compliance simply 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:
- Sri Lanka
Designated countries that are TAA compliant include:
- World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement Countries
- Free Trade Agreement Countries
- Least Developed Countries
- Caribbean Basin Countries
For your convenience, a full list of TAA compliant countries is available here.
However, before ensuring that you are TAA compliant, it is important to understand the significance of being so.
Why You Should Be TAA Compliant
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. This means specifically that GSA must only acquire U.S.- made and/or TAA compliant products while under a MAS program. This requirement has still has left many MAS contract holders confused on its true meaning.
Understanding TAA Compliance
To truly understand what it means to be TAA compliant and ensure that you are, it is essential you as a MAS contract holder understand Winvale’s 10 strategies outlined below:
- It is essential for MAS contract holders to pick the right manufacturer for their products. Companies such as China, India, Russia and Malaysia, violate TAA compliance and thus violate their GSA contract.
- Communication between partners is critical for maintaining a good relationship within the company, allowing for responsibility to be shared throughout the managerial oversight on the company’s function.
- Ensure proper documentation, which includes supplier agreements as well as a letter of supply agreement.
- Correct documentation of the country of origin is vital, including origin markings, most current country of origin and the correct country of origin (COO) code.
- Detailed inventory is a must, including sample products, product markings, and product matching.
- 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.
- Monitor U.S. customs and border protection information, which can be found on the CROSS website.
- As a MAS contract holder, you must research any compliance issue with the TAA should you notice one – allowing you to ultimately remove the issue.
- If you have done significant sales with a non-TAA compliant country it is necessary to seek professional help.
- As a MAS contract holder, if you become unsure about any aspect of TAA compliance it is imperative to get advice from a professional, who can guide you through the problems of non-compliance.
TAA Compliance Exceptions
As with any law, there are often exceptions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GSA is temporarily allowing the procurement of non-TAA compliant products that help mitigate the virus. This applies to the following Federal Supply Classes:
- FSC 4240 for N95 masks
- FSC 6810 for Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach)
- FSC 6840 for disinfectants including cleaners, sprays and wipes
- FSC 7930 for cleaners including sanitizing surface and floor cleaners
- FSC 8520 for hand sanitizers, soaps and dispensers
This exception is in effect until December 31, 2020 unless amended.
If you want to temporarily offer non-TAA compliant products under one of the categories above, you will need to submit an Add Special Item Number (SIN) or Add Product modification request in eMod.
Do You Still Have Questions About TAA Compliance?
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.
About David Baldino
As Director of Professional Services at Winvale, David Baldino focuses on leading the Government Contracts Professional Services division, which offers clients expert advice related to the acquisition and maintenance of federal government contracts, strategic consulting for the optimal execution, compliance on federal government projects, and best practices training. David is the Subject Matter Expert for all clients in a variety of industries, including Information Technology, Cyber Security, Professional Services, and Commercial Products. David is a graduate of George Mason University and has attended both Georgetown University and the University of Oxford, where his studies consisted of History and Law.