United States International Trade Commission
|Formed||September 8, 1916|
|Jurisdiction||International Trade Issues|
|Employees||365 (as of Dec. 6, 2016)[needs update]|
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC, sometimes I.T.C.) 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 USITC's responsibilities is provided by the following legislation:
- Tariff Act of 1930
- Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933
- Trade Expansion Act of 1962
- Trade Act of 1974
- Trade Agreements Act of 1979
- Trade and Tariff Act of 1984
- Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988
- Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994
The U.S. International Trade Commission seeks 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 USITC's five operations are:
- Import Injury Investigations
- Intellectual Property-Based Import Investigations
- Research Program
- Trade Information Services
- Trade Policy Support
Commissioners terms are nine years, or when fill a vacated seat for the remainder of a term. Their terms are staggered to end 18 months apart. Commissioners may not be reappointed at the start of a new term unless they have served less than five years, although commissioners stay on past the end of their term until their successor is appointed and confirmed. No more than three of the Commissioners may be of the same political party.
The Chairman and Vice Chairman's terms are for two years, 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 commissioners are (in order of seniority):
- Rhonda Schnare Schmidtlein (Chairman) (D-Missouri; sworn in April 28, 2014, for a term expiring on December 16, 2021; Chairman, January 13, 2017 to June 16, 2018)
- David S. Johanson (Vice Chairman) (R–Texas; sworn in December 8, 2011, for a term expiring on December 16, 2018; Vice Chairman, August 11, 2016 to June 16, 2018)
- Meredith Broadbent (R–Virginia; sworn in September 10, 2012, for a term expiring on June 16, 2017)
- Irving A. Williamson (D–New York; sworn in February 7, 2007, for a term expiring on June 16, 2014)[needs update]
- F. Scott Kieff (R-Illinois; sworn in October 18, 2013, for a term expiring on June 16, 2020)
- Vacant (vacated by Dean A. Pinkert)
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 USITC investigations are filed every year. Judicial review is normally exercised by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. After the parties have had the opportunity to conduct fact and expert discovery to develop their respective legal positions, the ALJ (administrative law judge) holds a formal, evidentiary hearing, or trial. There is no jury: rather, it is a bench trial. About three months after considering the arguments of the parties, the ALJ renders an initial determination (ID). The full ITC reviews and may adopt, modify or reverse the ALJ's initial determination. The ITC's final determination is usually issued about four months after the ALJ's ID.
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Previous commissioners included:
- 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)
On January 4, 1985, a USITC decision in favor of Duracell was overturned by President Ronald Reagan. The case involved the import of alkaline batteries in competition with Duracell, the American manufacturer that developed them.
In January 2015 details from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack revealed the MPAA's lobbying of the USITC to mandate US ISPs either at the internet transit level or consumer level internet service provider, implement IP address blocking pirate websites as well as linking websites.
In January 2016 it became known, that the commission was charged with investigating the likely impact of the TPP on the U.S. economy and specific industries. It will calculate the estimated impact on gross domestic product, exports and imports, employment opportunities, and U.S. consumers.
- Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
- Doha Round
- Generalized System of Preferences
- Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations
- International Trade Administration
- Office of the United States Trade Representative
- United States Commercial Service
- "About the USITC". U.S. International Trade Commission. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- "New I.T.C. Investigations – Sec 337". Docket Alarm, Inc.
- "Recent Decisions from the United States International Trade Commission". Docket Alarm, Inc. USITC. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
- 39 Stat. 795
- 19 U.S.C. 2231
- 19 U.S.C. § 1330
- USITC Commissioners Biography List , USITC website
- Rhonda Schnare Schmidtlein, USITC Commissioner Biography
- David S. Johanson, USITC Commissioner Biography
- Meredith Broadbent, USITC Commissioner Biography
- Irving A. Williamson, USITC Commissioner Biography
- R. Scott Kieff, USITC Commissioner Biography
- "US International Trade Commission Section 337 Investigations: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions" (PDF). 2009.
- Blakeslee, Merritt. "A Survivor's Guide to Section 337 Investigations and ITC General Exclusion Orders". Recycling Times Magazine Issue 75.
- Hartman, Carl (January 28, 1985). "Court Asked to Overturn Reagan Ruling". Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- O'Brien, Chris (August 3, 2013). "White House overrules ITC trade ban on Apple iPhones, iPads". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Brandom, Russell (2 January 2015). "The MPAA has a new plan to stop copyright violations at the border". Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS President Obama May Require Federal Contractors to List Campaign Gifts The Washington Post, January 19, 2016, retrieved 14 January 2016