On February 28, 2012, President Obama signed an executive order creating an Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC) within the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). ITEC is designed to strengthen the United States’ capacity to monitor and enforce U.S. trade rights and domestic trade laws, and to enhance market access for U.S. exporters by coordinating efforts to identify and reduce foreign trade barriers and unfair trade practices. The new center is tasked with coordinating between the USTR, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on matters relating to enforcement of U.S. trade rights under international trade agreements and under domestic trade laws. ITEC will also consult with the Intellectual Property Enforcment Center regarding issues involving intellectual property rights. The Center’s Director will be a full-time senior-level USTR official, while the Deputy Director will be a full-time senior-level Department of Commerce official. The Center will also have an Intelligence Community Liaison, who will be a full-time senior-level Federal official recommended by the Director of National Intelligence. In addition to serving as the primary forum for the USTR and other agencies to coordinate on international trade enforcement matters and exchange information related to potential violations of international trade agreements, ITEC is also tasked with conducting outreach to U.S. workers, businesses, and other interested persons to foster greater participation in the identification and reduction of foreign trade barriers and unfair trade practices.
President Obama announced the creation of such a trade enforcement unit during his January 24, 2012, State of the Union Address.