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The advisory committee system, established by the U.S. Congress in 1974, was created to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiating objectives adequately reflect U.S. public and private sector interests. The advisory committee system consists of 28 advisory committees, with a total membership of approximately 700 citizen advisors.
USTR's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs & Engagement (IAPE) manages the advisory committee, in cooperation with other agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency. IAPE is also designated as the state coordinator for the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement, and provides outreach to official state points of contact, governors, legislatures, and associations on all trade issues of interest to states.
IAPE frequently speaks with outside groups in order to build support for a robust trade agenda and creates materials for public distribution.