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Yesterday Ambassador Ron Kirk and Secretary of Commerce John Bryson attended a plenary meeting of the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs) at the Department of Commerce. They provided remarks and participated in a question and answer session with ITAC advisors. Remarks referenced the overall competitiveness of U.S. products, trade barriers, the benefits of the free trade agreements and President Obama’s commitment to enforcement.
With respect to enforcement, the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC) is intended to level the playing field for American workers and businesses by bringing a more aggressive “whole-of-government” approach to addressing unfair trade practices, and it will significantly enhance the capabilities of the United States to challenge unfair trade practices around the world. The ITEC will provide more resources to ensure that everyone is competing on a level playing field. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has a leading role in trade enforcement and will be appointing the ITEC Director.
Ambassador Kirk speaks to members at ITAC meeting
The remarks also focused on the wide range of U.S. trading partners and their effects on U.S. businesses, including comments on Japan, Canada and Mexico’s desire to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Ambassador Kirk emphasized that trade with Canada and Mexico topped $1 trillion last year, additionally he commented on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on March 15th.
Additional briefings were provided to the ITACs by USTR staff, including Tim Reif, General Counsel for USTR; Christine Turner, Assistant USTR for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; L. Daniel Mullaney, Assistant USTR for Europe and the Middle East; Barbara Weisel, Assistant USTR for the South East Asia Office; Chris Wilson, Assistant USTR for WTO and Multilateral Affairs; and Christine Bliss, Assistant USTR for Services and Investment.
The USTR and the Department of Commerce created the Industry Trade Advisory Center to jointly administer the work of sixteen ITACs, a Committee of Chairs, and over 375 industry executives.