United States International Trade Commission
|International Trade Commission|
|Formed||September 8, 1916|
|Preceding Agency||U.S. Tariff Commission|
|Jurisdiction||International Trade Issues|
|Employees||356 (as of Sept. 30, 2011)|
|Agency executive||Irving A. Williamson, Chairman|
The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) is an independent, bipartisan, quasi-judicial, federal agency of the United States that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches. Furthermore, the agency determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries and directs actions against unfair trade practices, such as subsidies, dumping, patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.
The USITC was established by the U.S. Congress on September 8, 1916 as the U.S. Tariff Commission. In 1974, the name was changed to the U.S. International Trade Commission by section 171 of the Trade Act of 1974. The agency has broad investigative powers on matters of trade. The USITC is a national resource where trade data is gathered and analyzed. This data is provided to the President and Congress as part of the information on which U.S. international trade policy is based.
Statutory authority for the Commission's responsibilities is provided primarily by the Tariff Act of 1930, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the Trade Act of 1974, the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.
In its own words, the mission of the Commission is to:
- Administer U.S. trade remedy laws within its mandate in a fair and objective manner;
- Provide the President, Office of the United States Trade Representative, and Congress with independent, quality analysis, information, and support on matters of tariffs and international trade and competitiveness; and
- Maintain the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
In so doing, the Commission serves the public by implementing U.S. law and contributing to the development and implementation of sound and informed U.S. trade policy.
The ITC's five operations include:
- Import Injury Investigations
- Intellectual Property-Based Import Investigations
- Research Program
- Trade Information Services
- Trade Policy Support
The USITC is headed by six Commissioners nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate. The formal commission is signed by the President and the U.S. Secretary of State. Commissioners are appointed by the President for 9-year terms, unless they are appointed to fill an unexpired term. Terms are scheduled to end 18 months apart. No more than three of the Commissioners may be of the same political party, and commissioners may not be reappointed after 5 years of service. The Chairman and Vice Chairman are designated by the President for two-year terms, and successive Chairmen may not be of the same political party. Only a Commissioner with more than one year of service may be designated Chairman.
The current Commissioners are (in order of precedence):
- Irving A. Williamson (Chairman) (D-NY; sworn in February 7, 2007 for a term expiring on June 16, 2014)
- Daniel R. Pearson (R-MN; sworn in August 8, 2003 for a term expiring on June 16, 2011)
- Shara L. Aranoff (D-MD; sworn in September 6, 2005 for a term expiring on December 16, 2012)
- Dean A. Pinkert (D-VA; sworn in February 26, 2007 for a term expiring on December 16, 2015)
- David S. Johanson (R-TX; sworn in December 8, 2011 for a term expiring December 16, 2018)
- Meredith Broadbent (R-VA; sworn in September 10, 2012 for a term expiring on June 16, 2017)
Commissioners are permitted to serve beyond the expiration of their term, until such time as their replacement has been sworn in. On September 10, 2012, F. Scott Kieff (R-DC) was nominated for a term expiring June 16, 2020 to replace Daniel R. Pearson.
Although the USITC is not a court, its administrative law judges conduct trial-type official administrative hearings. If a Section 337 Tariff Act complaint has at least three votes from its six Commissioners, an official investigative hearing will be assigned to an administrative law judge. Several dozen new ITC investigations are filed every year.
See also 
- Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
- Doha Round
- Generalized System of Preferences
- International Trade Administration
- Office of the United States Trade Representative
- United States Commercial Service
- World Trade Organization