Market Access and Compliance (MAC) is an initiative of the U.S. International Trade Administration to assist and protect companies conducting business abroad. According to the International Trade Administration, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce:

“Keeping foreign markets open to American businesses and workers is our top priority. MAC looks for exporting problems caused by foreign governments and uses every possible tool to achieve equal treatment for U.S. companies and workers.”

Differences between market access and compliance

Market Access: Trade barriers — both physical and legal – can be obstacles for U.S. exporters, according to For example, certain imports may only enter a foreign country through an inconvenient port, or domestic goods in a foreign country may receive preferred treatment over imports. MAC regularly fields inquiries from U.S. businesses to address these concerns and map out plans to resolve them.

Compliance: The United States is involved in more than 250 trade agreements; so keeping them straight can be a task within itself, warns MAC addresses compliance issues by identifying problems faced by U.S. businesses and organizing a team to outline and implement a solution.

Common problems MAC helps U.S. businesses overcome

It’s not unusual for U.S. businesses to face a variety of challenges in accessing international markets. Those challenges include:

  • Tariff and customs barriers
  • Service barriers
  • Standards, testing, labeling, or certification barriers
  • Rules of origin
  • Government procurement contract barriers
  • Intellectual property protection problems
  • Excessive government requirements
  • Excessive testing or licensing fees
  • Bribery
  • Investment

With so many trade barriers, regulations, and laws to consider, access to markets and ensuring compliance can be difficult to navigate. Fortunately, the professionals at ICAT are available to help you through. Protecting your interests is a top priority.