The International Trade Practice Center on Bloomberg Law® provides in one comprehensive, time-saving resource.
By Brian Flood
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will remain a separate entity and will not be merged with another agency, said Jason Miller, the Trump transition team's communications director.
The announcement seemingly put to rest an idea floated by Trump on the campaign trail to consolidate all agencies and departments that handle trade policy into one “America Desk” within the Commerce Department.
“I can tell you that there's no talk of the U.S. trade rep's office being merged into Commerce,” said Miller during a conference call with reporters. “That still will be its own entity and they'll still be performing all the functions that the U.S. Trade Rep normally would do.”
However, Miller also said Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross will “direct much of the administration's trade policy.” Miller noted that Ross has worked closely with Trump in crafting the president-elect's trade policy, and touted the billionaire investor's deal-making prowess.
“A lot of the details between the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Rep's office are still being worked out,” Miller said.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is part of the Executive Office of the President and is responsible for developing U.S. international trade and investment policy, and overseeing trade negotiations. It's also the agency responsible for representing U.S. interests at the World Trade Organization.
Carla Hills, chief executive officer of the consulting firm Hills & Co. and former USTR for President George H.W. Bush, told Bloomberg BNA that she welcomed the decision to keep the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative intact.
The office should remain apart from the Commerce Department, she said. First, as a matter of protocol, the move would introduce complexity in U.S. trade relations with other countries. Given Commerce's wide range of subject areas, the commerce secretary cannot devote his/her full attention to trade, Hills said, but foreign trade ministers would be less amenable to meeting with a deputy.
In addition, Hills said the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative attracts personnel from the top echelons of other federal departments. She said she doubted whether such top-tier applicants would be as attracted to a subordinate position within the Commerce bureaucracy.
Finally, USTR has invaluable access to the president as a cabinet-level position, Hills said, which a Commerce deputy would lack.
Miller said Jovita Carranza, a former UPS executive who served as deputy administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush, is being considered for the position of U.S. trade representative. He also said Dan DiMicco, former head of steel-maker Nucor Corp., and Robert Lighthizer, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and a former deputy U.S. trade representative, “could possibly be in the mix.”
Trade was a central issue in Trump's campaign, where he repeatedly railed against past trade deals like the North America Free Trade Agreement and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership, as “job killers.” He has vowed to make smarter deals and step up enforcement against foreign countries, particularly China, that violate trade rules.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Flood in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)