How to Become TAA Compliant: A Guide

worker fixing machine parts

TAA Compliance is an important concept that refers to the compliance of a product with the statutory requirements set out in the Trade Agreements Act. It is an important concept for businesses to understand, as failure to comply with TAA regulations can result in costly violations and fines. By adhering to these requirements, businesses are able to take advantage of the many benefits of being a U.S. based manufacturer or supplier, while helping to protect the health and safety of consumers and employees.

Understanding TAA Compliance

The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) is a law which helps the US promote fair trade with other countries. This act, established in 1979, is intended to protect domestic manufacturers from unfair competition by foreign companies and ensure that government purchases are made from U.S.-based manufacturers or suppliers. It ensures that any products purchased by the federal government meet certain standards and do not originate from countries or suppliers with which the United States does not have trade agreements.

Who Must Comply with TAA?

Governments and their agencies, as well as companies that sell products to the government must comply with TAA regulations. This includes contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers who are involved in the sale of goods or services to federal government entities. Moreover, products that need to comply with TAA requirements include those used for the construction of public works, purchases of goods and services, research and development activities, production of government property, and other activities related to the federal government.

TAA Compliance Requirements

The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) requires that products made in the United States, or their components, must undergo a substantial transformation in order to be considered TAA compliant. A product's substantial transformation is determined by where it was last substantially transformed — meaning if there were changes to the end product in the U.S., then it would be classified as being substantially transformed and therefore eligible for TAA compliance status. The term “manufactured” refers to a product produced by a process that changes its form, or composition. According to the TAA, a “substantially transformed” product is one that has undergone an alteration which gives it a new and different identity or character from that of its original components.

How to Determine if a Product Is TAA Compliant

In order to determine whether or not a product is TAA compliant, you will need to look at all of its components and assess whether or not they meet the requirements established by the TAA. In addition to substantial transformation, you should also consider the country of origin for components and products as well as any other requirements set by the government in regards to TAA compliance.

Common TAA Compliance Pitfalls to Avoid

One of the main pitfalls when attempting to remain compliant with TAA regulations is that companies may not be aware of all of the necessary regulations or may make missteps when trying to meet them. It is important to understand what needs are required and how they must be met in order to avoid costly penalties and delays. Additionally, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all changes or updates that might affect your product's eligibility for TAA compliance status.

TAA Compliant Countries

The Trade Agreements Act applies to products made in the US and certain countries with whom the US has trade agreements. These countries include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Korea (South), Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua Panama Peru Singapore Switzerland and many others.

TAA Compliance Certification

The TAA Certification Process requires businesses to go through a thorough review of their products, services and operations. This process involves making sure that the business is meeting all applicable requirements for trade agreements with the US Government. While there isn't a formal TAA certification, ensuring TAA compliance lies with the contractor or supplier. Should there be a need to validate TAA compliance, companies would typically delve into an internal review of their operations, focusing on the sourcing of their products or components.

This internal review acts as a self-certification, ensuring products are either made in the USA, originate from a TAA-designated country, or meet the 'substantially transformed' criteria. Any evidence from this self-assessment can then be presented to entities, like the GSA, as evidence of compliance.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Companies that fail to meet TAA requirements may face significant penalties and sanctions from the US Government. These consequences can range from fines to revocation of certifications if non-compliance continues. TAA Compliance is an important part of the export control regulations that govern the sale of products and technologies to foreign countries. Companies must comply with these regulations to avoid potential legal ramifications, as well as to ensure that they are in compliance with international law.

Additionally, TAA Compliance helps companies protect their intellectual property rights and increase their competitiveness in global markets. Companies should work closely with qualified professionals when implementing a TAA Compliance program to make sure that all necessary steps are taken and that all obligations are met.



1. What are the penalties for TAA non-compliance?
Penalties for non-compliance with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) can vary depending on the severity of the violation. Generally, those found in breach of TAA can face a range of civil penalties, including fines, suspension and/or debarment from federal contracts.

2. Can a product be partially TAA compliant?
Yes, products can be partially TAA compliant meaning that some components of a product may meet TAA requirements while other components do not. Organizations must determine which parts are compliant and which ones are not to ensure they are meeting all applicable regulations.

3. Does TAA apply to services and software procurement?
The Trade Agreements Act does apply to services and software procurement processes as it is required for any federal purchases. Companies should be aware of which services are eligible for TAA and ensure that they comply with the associated regulations in order to be considered as an approved vendor.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


Shop Tradesafe Products

Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.