Kansas-based Garmin, maker of highly-rated global positioning systems (GPS), became temporarily lost in February 2011—with $1.5 million worth of its Marine Navigation GPS units stalled in Turkish customs. Buried somewhere in EU trade regulations was a requirement that Turkish customs officials cited as a justification to hold the devices. As U.S. officials put it, the Turks believed the regs “required that these products be tested and certified at a third-party lab recognized by the European Union.
Untrue, said officials at the U.S. International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Market Access and Compliance (MAC).
Contacted by Garmin, the ITA worked with Commercial Services officials the U.S. Embassy in Turkey to remind that country’s custom officials of a law that transcends all others: not the Ten Commandments, but U.S. trade regulation, in which it has been decreed that such units can be self-certified by an accredited lab in compliance with EU standards.
The Turkish customs officials smiled, nodded, accepted Garmin’s certification and quit their hold on the product, shall we say, cold Turkey. Recent shipments have gone through without challenge, and Garmin expects no additional trouble.
— Patrick Dooley