WASHINGTON (Feb. 29, 2012)—Making good on his promise in his State of the Union address, President Obama signed an executive order creating an Interagency Trade Enforcement Center.
“Robust monitoring and enforcement of U.S. rights under international trade agreements, and enforcement of domestic trade laws, are crucial to expanding exports and ensuring U.S. workers, businesses, ranchers and farmers are able to compete on a level playing field with foreign trade partners,” the executive order said.
“To strengthen our capacity to monitor and enforce U.S. trade rights and domestic trade laws à executive departments and agencies must coordinate and augment their efforts to identify and reduce or eliminate foreign trade barriers and unfair foreign trade practices,” it said.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will take the lead in coordinating formation of the center, in partnership with the departments of State, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, and the Treasury; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and any other agencies that the president or USTR may designate, the executive order said.
The center's director shall be a full-time, senior-level USTR official, and the deputy director a full-time, senior-level official of the Commerce Department, it said. The center shall be the primary forum for USTR and other agencies to coordinate enforcement of U.S. trade rights under international trade agreements and enforcement of domestic trade laws, it said.
Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, commended Obama for following up on the commitment he made, and urged the administration to make auto parts the center's top priority when it is up and running.
“There is strong evidence to suggest that the auto parts sector is not rebounding in the same manner as the automotive assembly sector, solely on the surge of Chinese imports,” Paul said in a prepared statement. “The American people and this administration have invested too much in our domestic auto sector to see it put at risk by reckless flaunting of trade obligations by China's government.”
The AAM is an alliance between the United Steelworkers and a number of U.S. manufacturing industries designed to promote policy solutions on international trade, energy security, health care and other issues important to both manufacturers and workers.