The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


USDA to be partner in Interagency Trade Enforcement

The Agriculture Department will be a partner in the new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center that President Barack Obama created by executive order today fulfilling a promise in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address, but Congress would have to provide money to make the unit effective.
Ron Kirk

Ron Kirk
Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary John Bryson will be in charge of the unit, which is designed to get tough with other countries over trade rules.

“This new trade enforcement unit will better enable USTR and the Department of Commerce to join forces — with the support and collaboration of partner agencies like Agriculture, Homeland Security, Justice, State, Treasury and the Intelligence Community — to ensure that America’s trading partners play by the rules,” Kirk said in a statement.

“It will help American workers and businesses compete and win on a fair global playing field,” Kirk said.

The ITEC will also be a forum to encourage greater participation among U.S. workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers in the identification and reduction or elimination of unfair trade practices and barriers, Kirk said.

Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget asks Congress to invest $26 million in the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to support the creation of ITEC, Kirk added.