We think a new trade enforcement tool is needed that would give US companies an opportunity to seek Trade Enforcement Advisory Opinions from the International Trade Commission (ITC). We describe this proposal in an op-ed piece that was up on Politico today.
Our proposal is that Congress should expand its use of Section 332 beyond general investigations by enabling the ITC to issue Trade Enforcement Advisory Opinions regarding specific allegations of trade violations. The process would work like this: A qualified U.S. company would file a detailed petition with the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee requesting the ITC to determine whether a foreign country has violated a trade agreement in a specific way. The committees would review the petition and, upon agreement between the chairs and ranking members, would send the petition to the ITC to determine whether there is a “reasonable basis” to conclude that such a violation occurred. The ITC would review the claim, including providing opportunity for comment by the foreign government and other stakeholders and issue a determination within 120 days. All submitted materials and ITC determinations would be public, and the ITC’s determination would be advisory only, so it would not obligate the administration to initiate an enforcement action against a trading partner.
This proposal would provide Congress with an appropriate role in trade enforcement and would enable US companies to obtain timely and independent assessments of credible claims of a trade violation.