USTR Releases Agency Transparency Principles

May 07, 2021

WASHINGTON – Ambassador Katherine Tai today released a set of transparency principles that establish the foundation for a high transparency standard for the day-to-day operations of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).  These Transparency Principles reflect the Administration’s commitment to comprehensive public engagement, including outreach to historically overlooked and underrepresented communities, as it develops and implements a trade policy that advances the interests of all Americans.  USTR will continue to build on these Transparency Principles, and identify additional opportunities for thoughtful and inclusive two-way communication with the American public.
“Our trade agenda will only succeed if it reflects the views, and serves the interests, of all Americans” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “These Transparency Principles make clear that USTR will engage new, and frequently silenced, voices to find innovative solutions and forge consensus. Importantly, the principles announced today are just a starting point as we build a broad-based and equitable trade policy.”
Ambassador Tai also announced the designation of General Counsel Greta Peisch as the USTR Chief Transparency Officer.  This role was created by the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 to engage with the public, advise the USTR and consult with the Congress on transparency policy, and coordinate transparency in trade negotiations.  As the Chief Transparency Officer, Ms. Peisch will lead the agency’s efforts to put the Transparency Principles released today into action, and to identify further opportunities for improving transparency in the development of U.S. trade policy. 

The principles released by USTR are:

  • USTR is committed to providing inclusive opportunities for the public to participate in the development of trade policy and trade initiatives, including changes in policy that affect existing trade programs.  USTR will seek public input with respect to new major trade initiatives when feasible even when not required by law. 
  • USTR will facilitate participation in trade policy development by a broad range of stakeholders.  In order to foster more inclusive and broader representation in terms of both geography and demographics, as well as stakeholder perspective, USTR will seek input using innovative and adaptable forms of communication, including virtual hearings and outreach, in addition to traditional means such as Federal Register notices. 
  • USTR will ensure its website contains up to date information on current trade initiatives and programs.  USTR press releases and other materials related to agency programs, initiatives, and negotiations will contain sufficient information to adequately inform the public and will link to available background information on the USTR website.
  • USTR will strive to ensure that the membership of federal advisory committees includes a wide variety of expert interests, reflective of the diverse stakeholder perspectives. 
  • USTR will adhere to the Guidelines for Consultation and Engagement adopted in October 2015.
  • USTR will periodically review and adjust these principles, practices, and the Guidelines for Consultation and Engagement to ensure that USTR provides full opportunities for communication and participation in development of trade policy by a broad and diverse range of stakeholders, including American workers, innovators, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, fishers, service suppliers, underserved communities, and community-based stakeholders.

The USTR Transparency Principles are also available on the USTR website here.