The Department of Commerce has announced the establishment of the Advisory Council on Trade Enforcement and Compliance to advise the department on matters relating to the enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws and foreign government compliance with trade agreements. Though created by the outgoing Obama administration, the ACTEC could find a role in the incoming Trump administration, which has pledged a renewed effort on trade enforcement and a larger role in trade policy for the secretary of Commerce.

According to the DOC, the ACTEC will provide advice on laws and government policies that deal with trade enforcement; identify and recommend programs, policies, and actions to help the DOC in its efforts to ensure that U.S. trading partners comply with their trade agreement commitments; and recommend ways that the DOC’s trade enforcement and compliance policies and programs can better support a strong trade and manufacturing agenda and enhance the commercial competitiveness of the U.S. In doing so the council is directed to survey and evaluate the trade enforcement and compliance concerns of its stakeholders, identify and examine specific trade problems that require attention, and recommend specific solutions to the problems and needs it identifies.

The ACTEC will consist of no more than 20 members (nominations for which will be solicited soon) representing U.S. entities involved in and significantly affected by imports and/or those that heavily export to, or operate in, countries with which the U.S. has trade agreements. All members must be U.S. nationals and will be selected based on their ability to carry out the council’s objectives in a manner that ensures the council is balanced in terms of points of view, demographics, industry sector, geography of both production infrastructure and product inputs, and company size. Members must also represent a broad range of products and services and be drawn from large, medium, and small enterprises, private sector organizations, and other entities such as non-governmental organizations, associations, and economic development organizations.

The DOC’s assistant secretary for enforcement and compliance will serve as the ACTEC’s executive director and will designate both the designated federal officer (who will serve as the council’s executive secretary) and a secondary DFO from among the employees of the International Trade Administration’s Enforcement and Compliance unit.

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