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Who’s Who, What’s That, and How Does It All Fit Together? . Trade Responsibilities in the Executive Branch. Marideth J. Sandler Sandler Trade LLC. Alphabet Soup. Alphabet Soup. POTUS NSC USTR TPRG/TPSC ACTPN APAC/ITAC LAC IPR FTA TIFA BIT GSP AGOA CBI Special 301 PWL WL FRN

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who s who what s that and how does it all fit together

Who’s Who, What’s That, and How Does It All Fit Together?

Trade Responsibilities in the Executive Branch

Marideth J. Sandler

Sandler Trade LLC

alphabet soup1
Alphabet Soup
  • NSC
  • USTR
  • LAC
  • IPR
  • FTA
  • TIFA
  • BIT
  • GSP
  • AGOA
  • CBI
  • Special 301
  • PWL
  • WL
  • FRN
  • DOC
  • BIS
  • IA
  • ITA
  • MAC
  • AD/CVD
  • NEI
  • FTZ
  • USDA
  • DOL
  • DOS
  • Treas



Executive Branch

Executive Office of the President:



president and ustr
Presidentand USTR
  • U.S. Constitution assigned authority over foreign trade to Congress; President (POTUS) got negotiation authority.
  • Congress then delegated to POTUSauthority to negotiate agreements to reduce tariffs within pre-approved levels.
  • President delegated to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) development and coordination of U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policies; and overseeing negotiations with other countries.
  • U.S. Trade Representative (Kirk) leads USTR. The USTRis an Ambassador and Cabinet member who serves as President’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson. National Security Council (NSC) helps POTUS oversee trade.
  • USTR is in the Executive Office of the President. Through an interagency structure (TPRG&TPSC), USTR coordinates trade policy, resolves disagreements, and frames issues for presidential decision.


ustr trade programs
USTR Trade Programs
  • Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): w/ 17 countries
  • Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs): 45 TIFAs
  • Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), Andean Trade Promotion Act (ATPA)
  • Special 301 (Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Review): Notorious Markets (>30), Priority Watch List (PWL): 12 countries, Watch List (WL): 29 countries.
  • Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT): with 40 countries
  • Consultation with 28 appointed industry and special interest advisory groups: ACTPN, APAC, ITACs, LAC
  • Issues Federal Register Notices (FRNs)


department of commerce
Department of Commerce
  • Mission: make U.S. businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad
  • Comprised of 12 different agencies (weather, patents, exports, fish management, textiles)
  • Key trade agencies:
    • Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
    • International Trade Administration (ITA)
    • Patent & Trademark Office (PTO)
    • U.S. Census Bureau (Census)


bureau of industry and security
Bureau of Industry and Security

Advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership, including to:

  • Regulate dual-use commodities, software, and technology through export control license requirements, policy, and processing
  • Implement anti-boycott provisions


international trade administration
International Trade Administration
  • Manufacturing and Services
    • U.S. industry competitiveness
    • Global market access (trade policy & negotiation)
    • Expand exports (National Export Initiative (NEI))
    • Advisory committee system (ITACs)
  • Market Access and Compliance (MAC)
    • IPR, quotas, standards, customs, trade agreements
    • Trade Compliance Ctr; Africa/Mid East/S. Asia offices
    • Rule of law in business program (Good Governance)
  • Import Administration (IA)
    • Enforce trade laws & agreements (textiles & apparel, AD, CVD, steel import monitoring, FTZs)


other key trade policy agencies
Other Key Trade Policy Agencies
  • Department of State (DOS)
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Treasury (Treas)
  • Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Ex-Officio: U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC or ITC): an independent agency
    • Administers U.S. trade laws within its mandate
    • Provides U.S. export and import data/Maintain Harmonized U.S. Tariff Code (HTSUS)
    • Does independent trade studies pertinent to FTAs, regulatory decisions, tariffs, U.S. competitiveness


interagency review process led by ustr
Interagency Review Process: Led by USTR

19 agencies provide advice to USTR in developing and coordinating implementation of U.S. trade policy; operates by reaching consensus on issues/decisions:

  • 90 Subcommittees (e.g., Special 301, GSP) recommend to:
  • Trade Policy Staff Committee (AUSTR*/DAS*): if consensus on the decision - is final determination; if not goes to…
  • Trade Policy Review Committee (Deputy USTR/Assistant Secretary): if consensus, is final decision; if not, goes to…
  • Principals (Cabinet): if consensus, is final decision; if not goes to the…
  • President for THE final decision


how it works ftas as an example
How It Works: FTAs as an Example
  • Usually a country requests an FTA; can be an industry or ITAC, too
  • Interagency consensus (impacts of a comprehensive FTA, etc.)
  • President informs Congress of intent to negotiate, followed by a waiting period (per TPA)
  • During waiting period: USITC report; Hill & advisory committee consultations; public comments
  • Administration prepares and internally approves proposed text; shares with Congress & advisory committees
  • Once FTA negotiations concluded: announcement, legal scrub, signing
  • Getting the FTAs through Congress: “little to do with agreement substance and everything to do with U.S. politics”
  • During course of FTA negotiation and especially after signing, Embassy and private sector associations lobby extensively on Hill


trade policy tips
Trade Policy Tips
  • “While delegating some authority, Congress in no way surrendered its trade authority.”
  • Ask questions – you’ll find out more than just the answer you are seeking.
  • Meet your deadlines.
  • Keep current: e-newsletters (agencies and companies), Facebook and twitter.
  • Know which agency really is in charge of a responsibility (despite what others may say).
  • What you see is not always what it is, so….
  • Keep asking questions and solicit opinions.


website resources
Website Resources
  • Glossary of Acronyms: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/trade-toolbox/glossary-trade-terms
  • U.S. Trade Representative (has e-newsletter)
    • http://www.ustr.gov/
    • http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/14press-releases/2011/september/ustr-press-office-week-ahead-september-18-25
  • Department of Commerce: www.commerce.go v
  • U.S. International Trade Commission: www.usitc.gov
  • Congressional Research Service: J.F. Hornbeck
  • Guide to U.S. Government: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/
  • Other:http://sandlertrade.com & www.wita.org