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  1. Nicholas Gess
    1. Nicholas M. Gess
    2. Of CounselBingham McCutchen LLPPrincipalBingham Consulting LLC
    3. T +1.202.373.6218
  2. Brian Beglin
    1. Brian D. Beglin
    2. PartnerBingham McCutchen LLPPrincipalBingham Consulting LLC
    3. T +86.10.6535.2808
  3. Leiv Blad
    1. Leiv Blad Jr.
    2. Partner
    3. T +1.202.373.6564
  4. Chris Cox
    1. Chris Cox
    2. PartnerBingham McCutchen LLPPresidentBingham Consulting LLC
    3. T +1.714.830.0606
  5. Xiaowei Ye
    1. Xiaowei Ye
    2. PartnerBingham McCutchen LLPPrincipalBingham Consulting LLC
    3. T +86.10.6535.2818

President Establishes Interagency Trade Enforcement Center

March 2, 2012

Evidencing a strong stand on U.S. rights under international trade agreements and enforcing domestic U.S. trade laws, President Obama has issued an Executive Order creating the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC) within the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

Charged with coordinating matters relating to enforcement of U.S. trade rights under international trade agreements and enforcing U.S. domestic trade laws, the ITEC will consist of USTR and the following agencies:

  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Homeland Security

The Executive Order states that a senior-level official at USTR will serve as director of the ITEC, but will still report to the U.S. Trade Representative. Additionally, the Department of Commerce will assign a senior-level official as Deputy Director of ITEC, and an Intelligence Community Liaison will be detailed or assigned to ITEC. The funding and administrative support for ITEC will provided primarily by USTR.

Importance of the Order
This Executive Order is significant, not only for the breadth of authority concentrated in USTR, but also for the inclusion of the Intelligence Community and all of the assets that it brings to enforcement efforts. These could include electronic, including satellite, and human intelligence sources overseas. By coordinating efforts in one administrative function, the administration will likely see synergies that allow more coordinated and pinpointed efforts with access to greater intelligence and other information. Because the Department of Justice has both criminal and civil authority, investigations will also likely be more focused and can be more speedily processed. This may well lead to more prosecutions and related civil enforcement actions.

Overseas companies doing business in and with the U.S. will need to pay close attention to USTR and ITEC given the robust nature of their authority as well as the inclusion of agencies such as the Department of Justice, which have criminal prosecution authority.

The text of the Executive Order can be found at:

Authored by: Nicholas M. Gess

Circular 230 Disclosure: Internal Revenue Service regulations provide that, for the purpose of avoiding certain penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, taxpayers may rely only on opinions of counsel that meet specific requirements set forth in the regulations, including a requirement that such opinions contain extensive factual and legal discussion and analysis. Any tax advice that may be contained herein does not constitute an opinion that meets the requirements of the regulations. Any such tax advice therefore cannot be used, and was not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that the Internal Revenue Service may attempt to impose.

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