Sandler Trade LLC Chosen by The Asia Foundation to Complete Baseline Market Study and Offer Recommendations to Strengthen Exports and Product Sales of Timor Leste’s Women Weavers

Lautem groupIn May of this year, Marideth Sandler and Anna Rose Ott of Sandler Trade LLC began work on a baseline market study with The Asia Foundation. The overall project, Women Weaving a Better Future through Better Business, is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Dili and also involves two implementing partners, The Alola Foundation and Empreza Di’ak.

Sandler Trade LLC previously worked together with The Alola Foundation in 2013 to premiere (and sell out) hand-crafted “tais” and “tais” products of the Feto Forte women weavers’ group in Quelicai, Timor Leste, at the internationally acclaimed Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. Cipriana knocted tie dyeMs.Rui things Sandler has focused on expanding Timor Leste’s exports into the U.S. market since 2007, including offering training to pertinent government officials in 2012 and marketing Timorese products to U.S. Fair Trade Federation and other U.S. importers of handmade items.

Sandler Trade LLC’s first project tasks with The Asia Foundation were to develRYK_8648op a tablet survey of women weavers and male-owned businesses in seven rural districts in Timor Leste, along with a roadmap for weaver focus group discussions in each location. The survey
s and focus group discussions began in July.

Marideth Sandler spent two weeks in-country in late June-early July talking with women’s weaving coordinators and groups, NGOs and retailers helping to produce and sell tais products, local tais product fashion designers, and the newly growing sector of tais product
Jeitu boxesmanufacturers.

In addition, Ms. Sandler spoke with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry about their work to certify and list each district’s tais designs on UN registries. The Ministry has also offered training and design assistance to individuals interested in manufacturing tais-highlighted clothing and shoes.  The Ministry’s training efforts and providing facilities for a weekend tais market have resulted in the expansion of RYK_8670clocal as well as tourist demand for tais products, thus supporting the expanding tais product manufacturing sector.

Sandler Trade LLC expects to finish early this fall its baseline snapshot and recommendations of next steps to grow the weaving and related industries.

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Sandler Trade LLC Organizes Food and Safety Modernization Act Webinar in Tunisia

Food and Safety Modernization Act Webinar



The Business Reform and Competitiveness Project (BRCP) has organized, February 2nd, 2016, FDA webinar on FSMA, a first-ever webinar delivered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) experts on Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) directly featured from Washington
DC, to non US-companies.

35 Tunisian agribusiness companies, expected to participate at the Summer Fancy Food Show NY June 2016, benefited from the event, to discuss FSMA guidance.


The webinar was followed by a seminar provided by a Senior US agribusiness expert who discussed U.S. supply chains, buyer and customer behavior, and the most effective methods and timeframes to market products, to provide agribusiness companies with the essential tools to succeed in the U.S. market.

The three-hour session provided detailed information to help Tunisian SMEs enter U.S. market and increase their market share in the U.S.

“We have an ethical story and values to share with the American consumer. We are here to find out more about how to access the American market, the needed procedures to comply with the FSMA FDA regulations. We need to learn about consumer’s taste and labeling preferences of the product.”  Faisal Bouguerra – General Manager ABADA – Olive oil exporting company.

This seminar is part of a coaching series that will continue until mid-June 2016 as part of promoting the 62th edition of the Summer Fancy Food Show of New York, 26 to 28 June 2016 during which Tunisia will be the partner country, a unique opportunity for Tunisian companies wishing to expand or start business in the U.S. agribusiness market.

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Attention: U.S. Importers & GSP Country Exporters: Nine GSP-eligible Products Likely to Lose Duty-Free Treatment in 2016 Unless Action is Taken by Mon, Nov 23, 2015

If U.S. importers and emerging-market exporters of certain GSP-eligible items do not act by Monday, November 23, nine products from six countries would likely lose duty-free entry into the U.S. market under the Generalized System of Preferences starting on July 1, 2016.

Sandler Trade LLC has identified nine tariff lines that currently exceed or could exceed the Competitive Need Limitation (CNL) thresholds.[1] By statute, if a country demonstrates “competitiveness”, as defined by obtaining 50% of total U.S. imports in a tariff line or if a tariff line has total U.S. imports of $170 million from a country in 2015, then the GSP-eligible country will lose duty-free treatment for the specific tariff line. The two tables below list the tariff lines and the corresponding countries that are in danger of losing duty-free entry into the U.S. market under GSP next July 1.

The GSP statute allows for “interested parties” (U.S. importers, exporters, or trade associations) to petition to retain duty-free treatment for a tariff line that exceeds the CNL thresholds. If successful, the petition can result in a Competitive Need Limitation (CNL) Waiver, which retains duty-free treatment for a product for at least five years. Petitions for CNL Waivers are due on Monday, November 23, which is only two weeks away.

As the “Duties Savings” column from the tables below demonstrate, U.S. importers have significant money at stake, with duty savings ranging from several hundred thousand to millions of U.S. dollars. We urge U.S. importers and their foreign suppliers to consider submitting a CNL waiver threshold by the November 23 deadline. To learn more about our track record and how we may assist an interested party to file a petition and gain its approval, please contact Mr. Romulo Cabeza or Ms. Marideth Sandler at 202.350.4303 or by email at or

[1] There are two Competitive Need Limitation (CNL) Thresholds: 50% of total U.S. imports, and $170 million total U.S. imports.



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Trade for Aid for Nepal – Help Make it Happen Today!

URGENT! Please tell Sen. Brown (D-Ohio) to let Congress pass the Nepal Trade Preferences Act. He has stopped its progress cold. Sandler Trade LLC is is assisting the Embassy of Nepal to obtain duty-free treatment for the country’s pashmina, carpets, hats, and gloves exports to the U.S. market – currently approximately $7m in exports to the U.S. market.

Congress must pass this change, but it is being stopped completely by Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. WE ASK YOUR HELP BY CONTACTING SEN. BROWN. Please tell him Nepal needs the Nepal Trade Preferences NOW to attract investment to rebuild Nepal, so please stop blocking the Senate from considering it. Contact him via twitter @SenSherrodBrown or or call him toll free at 1-888-896-OHIO (6446). Thank you very much! Questions? Marideth can be reached at

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Sandler Trade LLC Supports National “Imports Work” Week: Imports Drive Development and Natural Disaster Recovery

International trade fuels emerging-market development through growing a stable middle class, empowering women, and creating jobs and sustainable economies especially in remote communities and neighborhoods where the concepts of “hope” and “a good future” are rare commodities.

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) has expanded U.S. imports from emerging markets – 2/3 of the world’s economies – since 1976. More recently, the Caribbean Basin Initiatives (CBI) and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) have provided even more opportunities for U.S. importers to source a wider variety of goods duty-free from nations in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Congressional commitments to use trade to fuel economic stability and growth have been successful. The 20-month lapse of GSP since August 1, 2013, has resulted in U.S. imports under GSP dropping by 13.3% in the first quarter of 2015, as compared to a year earlier and a backdrop of essentially an overall flat U.S. import situation. The negative, in this case, helps to prove the positive.

The current AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act takes the recognition of trade fueling economic stability to a new level. AGOA’s trade benefits would be authorized for a ten-year period, through the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act. This would address investors’ longstanding needs for duty treatment stability so that they may recoup their investments. Haiti, too, would benefit from the Act’s five-year program extension.

International trade – linking emerging market suppliers to U.S. importers – is also a powerful driver of reconstruction, investment, and economic renewal following natural disasters. An important example is Haiti, for which Congress established the use of trade as a way to help a country recover from a devastating earthquake. The Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) expanded opportunities for Haitian-made textile and apparel to enter the U.S. market free of duty.

At first, investment – largely from the public sector – needed to be coaxed. After Haiti’s exports to the U.S. market began to grow, the potential for even greater trade expansion and diversity attracted private and public investment. The results are a new industrial park, infrastructure growth, long-term employment, and ancillary workers’ facilities.

On April 25, 2015, Nepal suffered a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Many aftershocks have followed, including a powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake on May 12, 2015. The death toll is nearly 8500 people, with more than 17,000 people injured and 2,500 missing.

The earthquakes’ economic impacts are far-reaching.  The U.S. Geological Survey estimates losses could exceed Nepal’s $20 billion annual gross domestic product.[1]

Nepal’s needs are parallel and equally intense to those of Haiti.

Nepal is a land-locked, mountainous country of 28 million people, It is in a challenging, transitional period following the end of a 10-year internal conflict. Nepal is among the world’s poorest countries, with a per-capita gross national income of $730,[2] which is less than half of South Asia’s regional level.

Similar to Haiti, low investor confidence, stagnant export diversification, and growing remittance dependence had characterized Nepal’s pre-earthquake economy. To counter these conditions, the Government of Nepal had just begun to make significant progress. The World Economic Forum ranked Nepal 102nd of 144 countries in global competitiveness for 2014-2015, as compared to 117th a year earlier.

U.S. imports from Nepal totaled about $87 million in 2014, with textile and apparel items comprising more than 75% of the total. Nepal’s businesses and workers had achieved U.S., European Union, and global market presence for its men and women’s apparel, as well as its carpets, pashminas, gloves, and hats. Stable economic growth had begun.

The earthquakes have flattened much of the country, but the use of trade as a way to rebuild has already taken hold. As a way to help their countryman, Nepali businesses and tailors (whose facilities are intact), are donating Nepali shirts for purchase by international consumers with the proceeds to be spent for relief in-country.

The Embassy of Nepal and thousands of Nepalese and friends of Nepal living in the United States hope that Congress will enact S. 81, the Nepal Preferences Act, separately or as part of current trade legislation. Doing so will demonstrate Congressional commitment to use its successful trade-based Haitian earthquake response to help rebuild and attract critically needed investment to Nepal.

Posted in Duty-free preferences, Expanded markets for U.S. artisans, Growing exports from developing countries, International Trade | Leave a comment


Sandler Trade LLC is pleased to offer our Advocacy Seminar on strategies to promote your Government’s position most effectively to U.S. agencies. The Advocacy Seminar will be on Wednesday, February 18, from 10a to noon (EST) at the Churchill Embassy Row Hotel, 1914 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. The seminar is free of charge.

You’ll learn how, when, and where you can impact U.S. trade and economic policies and U.S. reviews of your country’s policies. We will discuss:

• Annual schedules of agency reviews, watch lists, and reports concerning trade policies;
• Decision-making processes of USTR, State, Labor, Commerce, FDA, and Agriculture: how they function, who controls them, and their internal deadlines;
• Ensuring the U.S. Government considers your country’s viewpoint: who to meet, how to set the agenda, and what to provide; and
• Preparing your Ambassador or other spokesperson for oral testimony and answering hearing questions.

The seminar will focus on the trade policy and regulatory advocacy needs of Ministers, Minister-Counselors, Commercial Attaches, Trade Officers, and other Embassy diplomats.

About the Speaker:
Marideth Sandler, founder/CEO of Sandler Trade LLC, has years of hands-on trade advocacy experience. Prior to founding the firm, Ms. Sandler served in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in the Executive Office of Presidents Obama and Bush. She represented USTR among high-level interagency decision-makers charged to reach consensus for Presidential and Cabinet action. Ms. Sandler is also a featured speaker for Washington International Trade Association’s (WITA) annual trade policy seminars.

RSVP by going to:
Questions? Please email, or call 202.350.4303 (office) or 202.492.7473 (cell)

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Alliance of GSP Countries Urges Congress to Renew GSP Now – and End Record-Setting Lapse

November 1, 2014, marked the 15-month anniversary of the lapse in Congressional authorization of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). This lapse is now the longest in the 38-year history of the GSP – a fact costing U.S. importers approximately $1.9 million every day ($864 million since the July 31, 2013, expiration), and that has led to canceled orders from thousands of businesses in GSP countries.

The 24 geographically and economically diverse countries of Alliance believe that the final months of the 113th Congress are an opportune time for Congress to put GSP on its “must-do” lists, either by attaching GSP renewal to other moving bills, or by passing S.1331 and H.R. 2709.
The urgency of the situation – job losses and business closures in importing and supplying nations, especially among small and medium-sized businesses – is clear. The Alliance cites an important example. Maria Roseni Alvero, Commercial Counselor in the Philippines Embassy, pointed out that, “In the case of Philippine coconut farmers in the Typhoon Haiyan-affected areas, they have become even more reliant on GSP so that they can export competitively to the U.S. market. Resuming operation of GSP is a key factor to aid in their recovery from the devastation caused by the Super Typhoon.”
The Kyrgyz Republic and Lebanon recently joined the Alliance to request GSP renewal. In 2013, 61% of Lebanon’s exports to the U.S. market entered under GSP. Lebanese businesses have been especially affected since the GSP lapse. Lebanon’s exports entering under GSP dropped 32% in 2014 through September, as compared to a year earlier. Examples are Lebanon’s jewelry exports, down 76%, and exports of building stone, nuts, gherkins, and olive oil. Items exported in small amounts by Lebanon’s farmers, artisans, and other businesses have decreased by half. The GSP lapse creates an urgent situation for the 122 GSP countries and, especially, for 54 nations that benefit from no other U.S. preference program.

GSP benefits more than 3.8 billion people living in two-thirds of the world’s economies. When GSP is in operation, U.S. companies can import up to 5,000 products duty-free, such as raw materials, intermediary goods, and consumer-ready items from suppliers in 122 emerging markets. Information on the Alliance and GSP is available at Media contacts are Romulo Cabeza, Sandler Trade LLC, at; and Marideth Sandler at or at 202.492.7473 (cell).

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Looking to make a difference through international trade? Join US!

We are looking for a trade analyst, interested in working in a social entrepreneurial firm operating in the intersection of international trade and sustainable business growth in developing economies. Are you interested in strategic trade analysis? Working with emerging economies to grow and diversify their exports? Advocating on the Hill or within the Administration? If so, keep reading!

Do you have strong analytical and research skills with experience in trade data, tariff information, and U.S. regulatory environment? Would you describe yourself as a creative self-starter and team player who learns quickly, is comfortable working on new issues, delivers accurate work within deadlines, and can reliably file date-specific required paperwork?

If so, we would very much like to hear from you by Wednesday, September 17. Please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to (No calls, please.)

Here’s the full job announcement:

Immediate Opening for Trade Analyst: Indications of Interest due September 17, 2014

About Us
Sandler Trade LLC is a consulting firm whose goal is to make international trade really happen – especially with emerging economies. The firm’s website is

Position Summary
Sandler Trade LLC seeks a full-time trade analyst with a solid trade background and excellent investigative, writing, and editing skills. The analyst works collaboratively within the firm’s team to assist embassies, businesses, and producer groups to expand exports to the United States through regulatory compliance, trade promotion, export expansion investigation, and Congressional and Administration advocacy.

Key Position Responsibilities
• Conducts trade analyses and prepares project strategies that support the firm’s projects to make international trade really happen.
• Administers advocacy efforts with Congress and Administration including preparing written materials; scheduling meetings; liaising with staff, think tanks, and others; and monitoring trade policy news.
• Prepares reports, presentations, and petitions for clients, prospects, and conferences.
• Files mandated paperwork, writes progress reports, and otherwise assists the Chief Executive Officer.
• Identifies opportunities and develops project proposals.

Required Experience and Interests
• Desire to work with a social entrepreneurial firm operating in the intersection of international trade and sustainable business growth in developing economies.
• Strong analytical and research skills with experience in trade data, tariff information, and U.S. regulatory environment.
• Creative self-starter and team player who learns quickly, is comfortable working on new issues, delivers accurate work within deadlines, and can reliably file date-specific required paperwork.
• Excellent writing and editing skills that result in high-quality, concise, and accurate pieces.
• Bachelor’s degree with focus on international trade, business, economic development, or related field.
• Excellent command of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
• International experience and/or background.

Preferred Experience and Qualifications
• Graduate degree in international trade, business, economic development, or related field.
• Multilingual.
• Direct international trade, business, econ. development, or logistics experience with emerging markets.
• Previous work with USTR, Customs, USDA, FDA, TDA, Commerce, USAID, or Ex-Im Bank.
• Professional editing, proposal writing, and/or advanced Excel experience.

Provide resume, cover letter, and writing sample to by Wed, Sept 17. No calls, please.

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GSP Lapse Marks Its First Anniversary – Unanticipated Costs Mount for Emerging Economies and U.S. Importers

August 1, 2014, marked the one-year anniversary of the lapse in Congressional authorization of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The 22-member Alliance of GSP Countries has expressed disappointment that Congress did not renew GSP prior to leaving Washington for its August recess.

The ongoing lapse in GSP impacts the livelihood of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in the United States and in GSP-beneficiary countries. Since August 1, 2013, U.S. businesses have paid reinstated import duties for products from GSP-eligible countries, costing U.S. importers $631 million thus far, or approximately $1.9 million per day.

Exporters from GSP-eligible countries have felt the impacts as well. U.S. customers have canceled orders from hundreds of businesses in GSP countries and are reconsidering their commercial ties with GSP countries in favor of low-cost producers. The lack of GSP not only hurts the bottom line for businesses worldwide and in the United States, but also undermines the U.S. strategic goals of deepening economic ties and overall partnerships with developing economies.
The Alliance applauded the bipartisan efforts of the Senate and House of Representatives trade leadership when they introduced legislation in July 2013 to extend GSP. Now a year later, the continued absence of GSP illustrates the difficulty in finding a viable legislative path. The geographically and economically diverse group of Alliance countries strongly urges Congress to renew GSP when it returns from its August recess.

GSP provides duty-free treatment for up to 5,000 types of U.S. imports from 123 emerging economies. U.S. imports from GSP beneficiary countries benefit the livelihoods of more than 3.8 billion people living in two-thirds of the world’s economies. GSP also strengthens the U.S. economy by generating tens of thousands of jobs and providing U.S. manufacturers with needed inputs. Since the expiration, American importers have lost sales, stopped hiring, and delayed expansion plans.

Information on the Alliance and GSP is available at Media contacts: Romulo Cabeza, Sandler Trade LLC, at

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Sandler to give insider’s perspective in Guatemala on “How U.S. Trade Policy is Made”

CEO and International Trade Advisor, Marideth Sandler is slated to be one of the lead- off speakers at the two-day CAFTA-DR Forum in Antigua, Guatemala, on May 27- 28, 2014. The Washington International Trade Association and George Washington University are holding the intensive seminar on the occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the U.S.-Central America – Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The forum, to be attended by over 200 business leaders and government officials, is co- sponsored by the Guatemalan Agricultural Chamber, the Guatemalan Apparel & Textile Exporters Association, and the Guatemalan Ministry of Economy.

Ten years have passed since the Agreement was signed. CAFTA-DR has had a positive impact on international trade for both sides, although there is still room to expand economic relations. The Forum’s purpose is to assist Central American and Guatemalan firms to better understand the “nuts and bolts” of how U.S. trade policy is made and how U.S. agencies operate.

Ms. Sandler will speak on “Trade Responsibilities in the Executive Branch.” As former Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and now working on behalf of many emerging-market countries in Washington, D.C., she is well-placed to provide a description of trade policy in the Executive Branch including “White House agencies (e.g. USTR and NSC/NEC) as well as in Cabinet-level agencies (e.g. Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture). She will also talk about the more intangible aspects of working with U.S. officials to assist other countries’ businesses and officials to be more effective in accomplishing their export and trade goals.

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