Administration officials have repeatedly said they are working to develop and implement a worker-centric trade policy, and an effort may be underway to ensure that approach extends well past the date President Biden leaves office.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has asked the International Trade Commission to conduct a two-part investigation on the potential distributional effects of goods and services trade and trade policy on U.S. workers by skill, wage and salary level, gender, race/ethnicity, age, and income level, especially as they affect underrepresented and underserved communities. USTR explained that “more and new research, data, and analytical tools are needed” to inform its work to “advance inclusive growth, economic resiliency, and competitiveness through sound and informed policy.”

USTR said the ITC should first issue within 12 months a report cataloguing available information on these effects. USTR directed the ITC to gather this information through (1) roundtable discussions among representatives of the affected communities, think tanks, academics and researchers, unions, state and local governments, non-federal governmental entities, civil society experts, community-based stakeholders, and local and national civil rights organizations, (2) a symposium focused on academic or similar research, and (3) a critical review of the economic literature on this issue, including the data limitations raised in these analyses.

Perhaps more significantly, USTR also wants the ITC to act within 12 months to expand its research and analysis capabilities so that its future advice on the probable economic effects of trade agreements and trade policies includes estimates of the potential distributional effects (including goods and services imports) on U.S. workers. Among other things, USTR wants the ITC to develop models capable of analyzing (1) the effect of expanded foreign market access on affected U.S. exporting industries and (2) the indirect effect on U.S. exports of intermediate inputs when final goods receive preferential access to the U.S. market.

For more information on trade policy development and implementation, please contact  Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

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