The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S.
Department of Commerce today announced that the agencies will seek to appoint an
environmental representative to a federally-chartered Industry Sector Advisory Committee that
advises the Administration on trade in chemical products ("ISAC-3 Chemicals & Allied Products").
The Administration also intends to initiate consultations with Congress to explore broader reforms
to the existing trade advisory committee system, established by the Congress under the Trade Act
This action reflects the commitment of the USTR and the U.S.
Department of Commerce to ensure that diverse stakeholders are represented in the
formulation of trade policy. The action is also a response to requests by environmental and other
non-governmental groups for greater participation in the development of U.S. trade policy, and to a
complaint filed in federal district court in Seattle that sought the inclusion of environmental
representatives on ISAC 3.
The Congress and the Administration have previously established a
variety of official advisory committees from which the Executive Branch solicits and obtains
advice from environmental, labor, and other non-governmental organizations. The President’s
Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) provides the U.S. Government with
broad advice on trade matters. ACTPN membership is drawn from chief executive officers
of agriculture, industry, labor, environmental, consumer and other groups. In addition, the
Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC) was established to focus on trade and
TEPAC, also a CEO-level committee, is primarily comprised of
environmental and non-industry interests. A Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) provides advice on
trade issues and labor. The LAC is administered by the Department of Labor and is composed
exclusively of labor union representatives.
The advisory committee system is one of a variety of mechanisms
through which the Administration seeks advice from interested groups and
organizations on the development of U.S. trade policy. In formulating specific U.S. objectives in major
trade negotiations, USTR routinely solicits written comments from the public via Federal Register notices, consults with and briefs interested constituencies, holds public hearings, and meets with a
broad spectrum of groups.