Office of the United States Trade Representative
Seal of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Flag of the U.S. Trade Representative
|Headquarters||Winder Building 600 17th St. NW Washington, D.C.|
|Parent agency||Executive Office of the President of the United States|
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is the United States government agency responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy to the president of the United States, conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and coordinating trade policy within the government through the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) and Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG).
Established as the Office of the Special Trade Representative (STR) under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the USTR is part of the Executive Office of the President. With over 200 employees, the USTR has offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Brussels, Belgium. The current U.S. Trade Representative is Michael Froman, who assumed the office on June 21, 2013.
On October 11, 2012, the Washington International Trade Association (WITA) hosted a reception in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The event was held 50 years to the day that President John F. Kennedy signed the Executive Order creating the Office of the Special Trade Representative on October 11, 1962.
The head of the office holds the title of United States Trade Representative (USTR), which is a Cabinet-level position, though not technically within the Cabinet, as is the case with office heads not of US Departments but rather of offices contained within the Executive Office of the President. To fill the post, the President nominates someone for the position, and the appointment is then approved or rejected by a simple majority of the Senate. The United States Trade Representative and Deputy United States Trade Representatives (DUSTR) carry the title of Ambassador.
Michael Froman is the current US Trade Representative, with Michael Punke and Miriam Sapiro serving as Deputy US Trade Representatives. Ambassador Punke also concurrently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
On May 2, 2013, President Obama nominated Michael Froman to succeed Ambassador Ron Kirk as the U.S. Trade Representative. The United States Senate confirmed Froman on June 19, 2013, and he was sworn into office on June 21, 2013.
Office of WTO and Multilateral Affairs
The USTR participates in the World Trade Organization, which is currently in the Doha Development Round. This is partially managed by the USTR Office of WTO and Multilateral Affairs (WAMA). Relevant WTO agreements include the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Generalized System of Preferences.
National Trade Estimate
The National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (National Trade Estimate or NTE) is an annual series that surveys prepared by the USTR, which reports significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports. Since 1986, the NTE provides, where feasible, quantitative estimates of the impact of these foreign practices on the value of U.S. exports. Information is also included on actions taken to eliminate barriers. It is based on information provided by USTR, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and other agencies and sources.
The Special 301 Report
The Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the USTR under Section 182 as amended of the Trade Act of 1974. The Act states that the USTR must on an annual basis, by April of each year:
"identify those foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, or deny fair and equitable markets access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property protection, and those foreign countries identified under" this "paragraph that are determined by the Trade Representative to be priority foreign countries". The Act defines "priority foreign countries" as "those foreign countries that have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices that deny adequate and effective intellectual property rights, or deny fair and equitable market access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property protection, whose acts, policies, or practices described in" this "paragraph have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on the relevant United States products, and that are not entering into good faith negotiations, or making significant progress in bilateral or multilateral negotiations to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights".
The Uruguay Round Agreement Act furthermore states that countries may be identified under Special 301 "taking into account the history of intellectual property laws and practices of the foreign country, including any previous identifications" and "the history of efforts of the United States, and the response of the foreign country, to achieve adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights". It also states that compliance with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights does not include a country from being identified as denying "adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights".
In 2006, along with the International Intellectual Property Alliance, the USTR published a list of places where large-scale copyright infringement takes place in the Special 301 Report. Since 2010, the notorious markets report has been published as a separate report.
List of United States Trade Representatives
- International Trade Administration
- United States International Trade Commission
- United States Commercial Service
- Obama taps Penny Pritzker, Mike Froman for top economic jobs. CBS News (2013-05-02). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Senate confirms Michael Froman as trade chief – Politics standard used in IRS cases – Lawmakers urge changes to IRS accounting rule - POLITICO Morning Tax. Politico.Com (2013-06-27). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Statement by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman | Office of the United States Trade Representative. Ustr.gov. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Office of the United States Trade Representative. "Reports and Publications". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- Masterson, John T. (2004). International trademarks and copyright: enforcement and management. American Bar Association. ISBN 978-1-59031-359-6.
- Masterson, John T. (2004). International trademarks and copyright: enforcement and management. American Bar Association. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-1-59031-359-6.