History of ITACs
History of the Industry Trade Advisory Committees
The Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs) are an integral link between industry and the United States Government. Jointly administered by the Department of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the ITACs provide a unique public-private forum to ensure industry has a voice in formulating the trade policy of the United States. The industry advisors serving on the ITACs provide valuable input as the Administration advances its trade agenda to improve economic opportunities for America’s businesses, workers, and consumers.
U.S. Government policy makers rely on our trade advisors to identify barriers and to provide advice on key objectives and bargaining positions for multilateral, bilateral, and regional trade negotiations, as well as other trade-related policy matters. As a result of these efforts, the United States is able to display a united front when it negotiates trade agreements with other nations. The United States’ negotiating position is strengthened because its objectives are developed with bipartisan, private-sector input throughout the negotiations.
The ITACs were established under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended. Congress wanted to ensure that trade negotiators were consulting with the private sector during trade negotiations. Following the private-sector advisors’ important contributions to the successful conclusion of the Tokyo Round of Trade Negotiations, Congress amended the Trade Act, and included a broader mandate for the ITACs under the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 and the Omnibus Trade and Tariff Act of 1988, as well as legislated counterpart programs at the Departments of Agriculture and Labor. The Trade Act requires the trade advisory committees to provide reports to the President, the USTR, and Congress on trade agreements. The ITACs must include an advisory opinion as to whether and to what extent the trade agreements promote the economic interest of the United States and achieves the applicable overall negotiating objectives as set forth in the Trade Act, and an advisory opinion as to whether the agreements provide for equity and reciprocity within a sectoral or functional area.
Commerce and the USTR created the Industry Trade Advisory Center to jointly administer the work of fifteen ITACs, a Committee of Chairs, and over 300 industry executives. The fifteen ITACs were created to reflect the manufacturing and services sectors of the U.S. economy, as well as issue-oriented matters that cut across all sectors.