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Western Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (WTAAC)

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ).

Questions
- What is Trade Adjustment Assistance?
- What can Trade Adjustment Assistance do for my firm?
- Who is eligible for assistance?
- I am not sure if my company is eligible. How can I find out?
- Do you charge to help my company complete the application and/or petition forms?
- What is the cost of the program?
- Is the information about my business going to be shared with the Internal Revenue Service or other government agencies?
- How much money can my firm receive from the Western TAAC?
- What is going to prevent my competitors from finding out my trade secrets or financial information?
- Who decides what projects need to be done?
- How long does it take before my firm can get started on consulting projects?
- Can my company use the assistance money to implement projects ourselves?
- How does my firm find the consultants? Who picks the consultants? What happens if my firm doesn't like the consultant?
- How does the consultant get paid? Does my firm pay first and get reimbursed?
- Can my firm buy equipment?
- Can my company buy software for our new MIS or to improve our efficiency?
- Can my firm use funds to attend trade shows?
- Can my company build molds and tooling with these funds?
- Can my firm use the funds for employee training?
- My company wants to use TAA funds for ISO 9000 certification. How much will you pay?
- How can my firm use the funds?
- Does my company have to do all the projects at the same time?
- Will my company have to report every detail about our business to the government? for how long?
Answers
What is Trade Adjustment Assistance?
The Trade Adjustment Assistance program was established by Congress in 1974 and placed under the direction of the U.S. Department of Commerce to help American manufacturers who have been hurt by direct import competition. A network of Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs) across the country provides services to import-impacted manufacturers in the areas of marketing, production, and management systems.

What can Trade Adjustment Assistance do for my firm?
Working closely with company management, the Western TAAC staff will identify your firm's strengths and weaknesses, and develop a customized adjustment plan designed to stimulate recovery and growth. The program pays up to 75% of the cost of developing the adjustment plan. When the plan has been approved, the  company management  identify consultants with the specific expertise required to assist your firm. The program pays up to 50% of the cost of these consultants when implementing the adjustment plan.

Who is eligible for assistance?
U.S. manufacturers that have experienced a decline in sales and a decline, or impending decline, in employment or worker hours may be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance. These declines must be the result of increased imports of directly competitive products.

I am not sure if my company is eligible. How can I find out?
There have been variations to these qualifications over the years that may increase your firm's potential for eligibility. The Western TAAC staff will help you determine if your firm is eligible, and can apply the latest interpretations to your company's circumstances. There is no charge for certification assistance.

Do you charge to help my company complete the application?
No. The help we provide to prepare the petition for certification is done at no charge.

What is the cost of the program?
The cost of the program is shared between the company and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The cost to the firm is 25% of the cost of the diagnostic analysis and adjustment plan, and usually 50% of the cost of implementation. The total amount of implementation assistance is based on the number of employees or sales revenue, with the government share capped at $75,000. Certification assistance is provided free of charge.

Is the information about my business going to be shared with the Internal Revenue Service or other government agencies?
None of the information you provide is disclosed to any other federal, state or local agency. All proprietary and financial information is exempt from the Freedom and Information Act. When a firm is certified, law require that the firm name be published in the Federal Register. It is the only information that is released to the public.

How much money can my firm get from the Western TAAC?
There is no money given directly to the company. The funds are used to subsidize the cost of a consultant to implement approved project(s). As described above, the total assistance is based on the number of employees or sales revenue. The program will pay up to 50% of the cost of these projects, with a maximum share of $75,000.

What is going to prevent my competitors from finding out my trade secrets or financial information?
As mentioned earlier, the Western TAAC is prevented from releasing information about your firm without your permission. Outsiders cannot access information because all proprietary and financial information is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Who decides which projects need to be done?
The preparation of the Adjustment Plan is done in close coordination with a firm representative. They will have a great deal of input in the document and review it prior to submission to the Washington staff for approval. No work will be preformed without the concurrence of the firm principal.

How long does it take before my firm can get started on consulting projects?
The average time is three to six (3-6) months. The certification process is required to be completed in sixty days after the petition is notarized and submitted. The preparation of the diagnostic analysis/adjustment plan can take two to three months to prepare and be reviewed by the firm depending on the complexity of the firm. It will take at least two weeks for the adjustment plan to be reviewed and acted upon by the Washington D.C. staff.

Can my company use the assistance money to implement the projects ourselves?
There will be no direct exchange of money or funds from the Western TAAC to the firm. All consulting work must be performed by outside, professional consultants.

How does my firm find the consultants? Who picks the consultants? What happens if my firm doesn't like the consultants?
The Western TAAC will prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will be sent to consultants interested in bidding for the job. The list of consultants will come from your firm, if you have any recommendations, and from the Western TAAC. Each consultant will be asked to submit a proposal with a not to exceed price. A firm representative, the Western TAAC Project Manager, and the Western TAAC Director will evaluate each proposal using the same evaluation worksheet and make a joint decision about the consultant selection. A three-party contract is signed by the firm, the consultant, and the University of Southern California (USC). It contains a clause that allow any one of these parties to terminate the contract with written notice.

How does the consultant get paid? Does my firm pay first and get reimbursed?
As part of the signed contract, the consultant agrees to bill the firm and the Western TAAC for its share of the cost. Before the Western TAAC pays its share, the consultant must verify that s/he has received payment from the firm.

Can my firm buy equipment?
No. The funds cannot be used for capital expenditure.

Can my company buy software for our new MIS or to improve our efficiency?
No. The funds cannot be used to purchase "off the shelf" software programs. However, your firm can use funds to customize any such software to adapt it to your firms needs.

Can my firm use the funds to attend trade shows?
No. However, the funds can be used to develop a new trade show display.

Can my company build molds and tooling with these funds?
The funds can be used in the design stage to develop new molds and tooling but not for the actual end products.

Can my firm use the funds for employee training?
Yes, the funds can be used for customized training of staff on site or off site. However, the funds cannot be used to subsidize the salary of employees.

My company wants to use TAA funds for ISO 9000 certification. How much will you pay?
The Western TAAC will pay its share of implementation costs for the training, document preparation, and the pre-assessment audit. We will also pay for the initial registration audit. Payment for subsequent audits will be the responsibility or your firm.

How can my firm use the funds?
Generally, the adjustment plan will specify several projects to be implemented by the firm. It is not necessary, however, to request more than one project. There are three things that cannot be funded by the Western TAAC : (1) loans or loan guarantees, (2) capital equipment purchases and (3) modifications to existing equipment.

Does my company have to do all the projects at the same time?
No. The projects can be performed sequentially in accordance with your priorities and your cash flow. Generally, we would like to have all projects completed within the two year period starting from the date of certification.

Will my company have to report every detail about our business to the government? For how long?
The Cost Share Agreement you sign requires your firm to provide follow up information to the Western TAAC for three years. A form will be provided to you to complete and sign. Only three items will need to be reported: (1) the current revenues, (2) the current employment level and (3) the total profits for the current year.
 
 
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