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ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance Unit

December 21, 2018

Candice Appiakorang, Public Affairs Specialist in our Office of Public Affairs sat down with ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance Communications Director, Brooke Kennedy, to get an in-depth look into the importance of enforcing trade laws and ensuring compliance with trade agreements. Keep reading to find out how this office promotes the creation and maintenance of U.S. jobs and economic growth.

Brooke, thanks for joining me for this important discussion on the Enforcement and Compliance business unit within the International Trade Administration (ITA). Here at ITA we are focused not only on the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, but also ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. Your office leads this effort. Tell me about the Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) unit and your role?Legal signs

Thanks, Candice.  I am really excited to talk about the work of E&C, especially at a time when the importance of fair trade is covered in the media almost daily! 

First, let me say that, very simply, I see the role of ITA as helping U.S. companies participate effectively in the global trading system. In E&C, we carry out this mission by providing a suite of services that enhance the strength of U.S. industries and ensure fair competition both at home and abroad. 

To do this, our E&C team has four primary responsibilities:  enforcing the laws on dumped (sold at less-than-fair value) or unfairly subsidized imports, preventing unfair foreign trade barriers, ensuring compliance with trade agreements by our trading partners, and aiding U.S. manufacturers access the benefits of foreign-trade zones.  In short, E&C has the critical responsibility of making sure that international trade works for American manufacturers and workers. 

Let’s touch on each of E&C’s responsibilities a little bit more. What types of services does each team provide to U.S firms and exporters?

One of E&C’s core responsibilities, our bread and butter, is to examine allegations of sales at less-than-fair value and unfair subsidization, which we refer to as antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) investigations.  That means that when a foreign company dumps a product into the U.S. market at an unfair price or when a foreign government unfairly subsidizes a particular product, E&C investigates those practices and, when warranted, provides relief to a domestic industry by imposing a duty on imports.  Currently, we have 51 active investigations into allegations of dumping or unfair subsidization from countries such as China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.  E&C is also currently enforcing over 460 border measures on products ranging from steel and aluminum to olives and pasta.

E&C also provides advocacy and support for U.S. companies subject to foreign trade remedy actions like AD and safeguard proceedings, and we monitor foreign government compliance with international obligations.  Our E&C team works directly with U.S. companies to help ensure they are well-positioned to defend their interests and our team can even intervene with foreign authorities to protect the interests of U.S. exporters.  In 2016, our advocacy efforts helped lead to the termination of 27 foreign trade remedy actions, affecting approximately $374 million in U.S. exports. 

In addition, E&C makes sure foreign governments comply with the terms of our trade agreements.  Non-compliance often manifests itself as non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports and investment; E&C works with experts across ITA, both at headquarters and in the field, to end these barriers now and secure lasting changes to the offending laws, procedures, or practices so these barriers hopefully don’t occur again in the future.  Trade compliance means making trade agreements work for U.S. industry.

Last, but not least, E&C plays a key role in helping U.S. manufacturers access the benefits of the Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) program.  A FTZ is a special economic area in which manufacturers can operate with delayed or reduced duty payments on imports.  Our FTZs program helps level the playing field by reducing the costs of U.S. operations.  One of our best-known FTZs, for example, is BMW’s factory in South Carolina, which supports $5+ billion in exports annually – over half its production – and 10,000+ jobs.

If a business is interested in learning more, where would you suggest they go? 

If you believe your firm is facing dumping our unfair foreign competition, please contact E&C’s Petition Counseling and Analysis Unit at 202-482-1255.

If your firm or industry is facing a foreign antidumping or countervailing duty investigation, please contact E&C’s Trade Remedy and Compliance Staff at 202-482-3415.

If you need assistance with a foreign trade barrier or would like to report a foreign trade barrier, please contact the Trade Agreement Negotiation and Compliance Office’s hotline at 202-482- 1191.

For matters related to Foreign Trade Zones, please contact 202-482-2862.

For general matters, please contact our experts at the E&C Communication Office at 202-482-0063.