What Is a TAA-Compliant Product?
The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) exists to ensure fair international trade between the U.S. and approved, compliant countries. A product that is TAA-compliant is one made either in the U.S. or in one of the designated countries. Since this act is supervised by the General Services Administration (GSA), it is important to remain TAA-compliant with international suppliers to avoid future problems with your business and the law.
The GSA is a government agency that manages real estate and government buildings, provides support in procuring services and products, and develops regulations and policies. A GSA Schedule contract is important to companies looking to purchase long-term services and products easily, and many government agencies will only order products through this contract.
Because the Fortinet company’s products conform to TAA regulations, they qualify for those engaging in GSA contracts. Fortinet TAA-compliant products enable a producer, company, or individual to engage in business with a variety of government agencies.
TAA Compliance Checklist
The product must have been produced in a country that has not been put on the list of countries that are not TAA-eligible. The list includes the following countries:
- Sri Lanka
If the product’s country of origin (COO) is not eligible according to TAA standards, you need a government waiver. If you are unsure as to whether you are in compliance, seek assistance from a TAA-knowledgeable attorney.
With Fortinet’s products and services, there is no question as to whether or not what you get aligns you with TAA compliance standards. All Fortinet TAA products conform to all necessary guidelines.
How To Identify a Non-TAA-Compliant Product
There are some signs to look out for when figuring out whether a product is TAA-compliant or not. It does not matter whether the error is intentional or an accidental oversight. You still should avoid contractors, products, and situations that meet the following criteria.
- The contractor seems to not understand what is required to obtain TAA certification. Ignorance of the requirements is not a valid excuse when it comes to TAA compliance. With Fortinet TAA products, you do not have to worry about whether the contractor knows how to meet the requirements. However, with some contractors, you may see indications that they do not know how to navigate the process. This typically means they have not taken the appropriate steps, or perhaps they have intentionally bypassed them, hoping the buyer would not know the difference. In either case, it is better to avoid trouble than to assume unnecessary risk.
- The product you need is not typically available in either the U.S. or one of the approved countries. There are some products that are primarily produced in non-TAA-compliant countries. Keep in mind that many products, such as crude oil, may be produced in a non-TAA-compliant country, but because they are substantially different by the time they are used to make the final item, they conform to TAA regulations. However, in other cases, the product cannot be changed significantly before it goes to market. This may be the case with certain medications that are only manufactured in non-TAA-compliant countries, for instance. There are also certain computer keyboards that are manufactured in non-TAA-compliant countries. While a regular consumer may be able to purchase these, anyone doing business with the U.S. government would be wise to steer clear.
- The reseller is not able to provide the most recent data regarding the country of origin. This is another red flag, particularly because, with some products, the country where it is produced can change while the product can remain the same. This could result in a product that is TAA-compliant one month but falls out of compliance the following month. If updated information is not available, this could indicate that the product no longer conforms to TAA regulations.
- The item was purchased by a supplier, but the TAA certification was never obtained, or the COO was never established. While this could indicate that the supplier knew, but omitted, crucial information, even if the supplier has good intentions, the lack of information could be a significant liability in the future.
- Where a product is manufactured gets changed from a TAA-compliant country to one that is not approved—but those managing the contract are not notified in time to make the change. Due to budget constraints or timing, if information regarding TAA compliance is withheld until a certain time, it may be too late to stop production or to avoid implementing the item or service in a business-critical process. This kind of situation is easy to take advantage of by an unscrupulous supplier. You should, therefore, be aware of where a product is made or developed changes.
- The people in charge of bidding on a project or managing the sales process enter into an agreement that falls under TAA limitations but do not notify the contractor or the fulfillment team. Without this information, the contractor or those dealing with fulfillment may mistakenly agree to something harmful to the business or future projects.
How Do Fortinet’s TAA-Compliant Products Differ from Non-TAA-Compliant Products?
All Fortinet products are compliant with TAA regulations because they all meet the requirements regarding where they and their components, or elements of service, have been produced. Therefore, when you choose a Fortinet TAA-compliant product, you are ensuring that your organization remains aligned with the TAA. Also, if you work for a federal agency, sourcing a product from Fortinet means you remain in compliance with the TAA, making whatever product or service you are producing something the U.S. government can sanction.
On the other hand, by using or producing non-TAA-compliant products, you may be precluding partnerships with the U.S. government or the various federal agencies connected to it. Furthermore, if you are a supplier or vendor and your products are not TAA-compliant, federal agencies may not be able to use what you produce or your services. Therefore, you could lose the chance to gain a profitable government contract.