Interagency Role

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has primary responsibility, with the advice of the interagency trade policy organization, for developing and coordinating the implementation of U.S. trade policy, including on commodity matters and, to the extent they are related to trade, direct investment matters. Under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the U.S. Congress established an interagency trade policy mechanism to assist with the implementation of these responsibilities.  This organization, as it has evolved, consists of tiers of committees that constitute the principal mechanism for advising USTR as it develops and coordinates U.S. Government positions on international trade and trade-related investment issues. 

USTR executes its institutional interagency role through its chairmanship of these committees, each comprised of twenty-one member agencies, including the Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) at the Deputy/Under Secretary level and the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) at the senior civil servant level.

The Office of Trade Policy and Economics (TPE)/Policy Coordination is responsible for administering both the TPRG and the TPSC.  TPE/Policy Coordination convenes the TPRG and TPSC, coordinates all policy papers and negotiating documents, and advises the U.S. Trade Representative on how to resolve policy differences among the agencies, since all decisions require consensus.   In cases where the TPSC does not reach consensus on a topic, or if the issue under consideration involves particularly significant policy questions, TPE/Policy Coordination may recommend referring the issue to the TPRG or to Cabinet Principals.  TPE/Policy Coordination is also responsible for eliciting advice on behalf of the TPSC from the public on policy decisions and negotiations through public hearings and Federal Register notices, and ensuring all documentation and transcripts are available to ensure transparency.

You can find additional information on the TPRG and TPSC here.

Other major responsibilities of TPE/Policy Coordination include:  coordinating internal and interagency drafting and production of USTR’s major reports; management of all Government Accountability Office engagements involving USTR; coordinating USTR’s clearance on all pending legislation and testimony before Congress; coordinating USTR’s participation in the annual International Monetary Fund’s Article IV Surveillance consultations; and transmitting under the Case-Zablocki Act all trade agreements concluded by USTR to the State Treaty Office.