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About the US government’s Trade Policy Advisory Committee system

posted 11-May-2004

US Trade Representative

USTR Trade Policy Advisory Committee System

The U.S. Congress established the private sector advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiation objectives adequately reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. Congress expanded and enhanced the role of this system in three subsequent trade acts.

The advisory committees provide information and advice with respect to U.S. negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before entering into trade agreements, on the operation of any trade agreement once entered into, and on other matters arising in connection with the development, implementation, and administration of U.S. trade policy.

The trade policy advisory committee system consists of 33 advisory committees, with a total membership of up to 1,000 advisors. Recommendations for candidates for committee membership are collected from a number of sources including Members of Congress, associations and organizations, publications, and other individuals who have demonstrated an interest or expertise in U.S. trade policy. Membership selection is based on qualifications, geography, and the needs of the specific committee. Members pay for their own travel and other related expenses.

The system is arranged in three tiers: the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN); six policy advisory committees; and 26 technical, sectoral, and functional advisory committees.

The President appoints 45 ACTPN members for two-year terms. The 1974 Trade Act requires that membership broadly represent key economic sectors affected by trade. The committee considers trade policy issues in the context of the overall national interest.

The six policy advisory committees are appointed by the USTR alone or in conjunction with other Cabinet officers. Those managed solely by USTR are the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC), and the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA). Those policy advisory committees managed jointly with the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, and Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency are, respectively, the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), Labor Advisory Committee (LAC), Defense Policy Advisory Committee (DPACT), and Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC). Each committee provides advice based upon the perspective of its specific area.

The 26 sectoral, functional, and technical advisory committees are organized in two areas: industry and agriculture. Representatives are appointed jointly by the USTR and the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, respectively. Each sectoral or technical committee represents a specific sector or commodity group (such as textiles or dairy products) and provides specific technical advice concerning the effect that trade policy decisions may have on its sector. The four functional advisory committees provide cross-sectoral advice on customs, standards, intellectual property issues, and electronic commerce.

List of Advisory Committees

USTR Administered Committees
- Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN)
- Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC)
- Trade Advisory Committee for Africa (TACA)

USTR and Environmental Protection Agency Administered Committee
- Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC) [charter (pdf, html), roster (pdf)]

USTR and Department of Labor Administered Committee
- Labor Advisory Committee (LAC)

USTR and Department of Defense Administered Committee
- Defense Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (DPACT)

USTR and Department of Agriculture Administered Committees
For further information concerning the following committees, contact the Foreign Agriculture Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

- Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (APAC)
- Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade (ATAC)
- in Animal and Animal Products
- in Fruits and Vegetables
- in Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts
- in Sweeteners
- in Grains, Feed and Oilseeds

USTR and Department of Commerce Administered Committees
For further information concerning the following committees, contact the Industry Consultations Program of the Trade Advisory Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The charters and rosters for each committee can be found at the following IFAC/ISAC websites.

Industry Functional Advisory Committee (IFAC)

- IFAC 1: Customs Matters
- IFAC 2: Standards
- IFAC 3: Intellectual Property Rights
- IFAC 4 Electronic Commerce

Industry Sector Advisory Committees (ISACs)

- ISAC 1: Aerospace Equipment
- ISAC 2: Capital Goods
- ISAC 3: Chemicals and Allied Products
- ISAC 4: Consumer Goods
- ISAC 5: Electronics and Instrumentation
- ISAC 6: Energy
- ISAC 7: Ferrous Ores and Metals
- ISAC 8: Footwear, Leather and Leather Products
- ISAC 9: Building Products and Other Material
- ISAC 10: Lumber and Wood Products
- ISAC 11: Nonferrous Ores & Metals
- ISAC 12: Paper and Paper Products
- ISAC 13: Services
- ISAC 14: Small and Minority Business
- ISAC 15: Textiles and Apparel
- ISAC 16: Transportation, Construction and Agricultural Equipment
- ISAC 17: Wholesaling and Retailing

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