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Proposed Budget Would Strengthen Trade Enforcement, Eliminate USTDA, OPIC

Friday, March 17, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

President Trump recently released a blueprint for the 2018 budget that proposes to eliminate the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and significantly increase defense spending. The USTDA currently helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies, while OPIC is tasked with mobilizing private capital to help address critical development challenges.

Among other things, the budget blueprint proposes to strengthen the International Trade Administration’s trade enforcement and compliance functions, including antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, while rescaling the agency’s export promotion and trade analysis activities. The president is also seeking to advance his plan to strengthen border security by allocating $314 million to recruit, hire, and train 500 new Border Patrol agents as well as 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement law enforcement personnel, plus associated support staff, in 2018.

In addition, the budget would focus the Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs on ensuring that U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers while eliminating its “largely noncompetitive and unproven grant funding.”

In all, the budget blueprint requests $44.1 billion in net discretionary budget authority for the Department of Homeland Security, a $2.8 billion or 6.8 percent increase from the 2017 annualized continuing resolution level. $4.5 billion in additional funding would be for programs to strengthen the security of U.S. borders and enhance the integrity of the U.S. immigration system. The Department of Commerce’s budget would be reduced by 15.7 percent, from $9.2 billion to $7.8 billion, while the Department of Agriculture’s budget would be cut by 20.7 percent to $17.9 billion.

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