President’s 2013 Budget Aims to Boost Trade Enforcement

As part of President Barack Obama’s FY2013 budget blueprint, $26 million will be delegated to a new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center tasked with aggressively challenging other countries’ unfair trade practices.

The center, which Obama first announced in his State of the Union address last month, will seek to use international rules and U.S. law to challenge unfavorable trade policies, including intellectual property violations and subsidies other countries—specifically China—give to favored industries.

The funding would be channeled through the Commerce Department‘s International Trade Administration (ITA) and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR). Under the budget proposal, the ITA would get an overall $129 million increase in outlays for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, to $497 million. Most of that additional funding would go to the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Services, which promote investment and exports, as well as the Import Administration’s activities focused on enforcement. The ITA would be required to direct more than $11 million of that to monitor China’s compliance with trade laws. The USTR’s Office also would get a small bump up in funding–$4 million–with a proposed budget outlay of $53 million.

In his budget message to Congress, the President reiterated his proposal to consolidate six federal agencies in the field of trade and commerce to a single new department to help boost U.S. manufacturing and exports oversees. The agencies that may be affected are the business and trade functions of the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, The Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade Development Agency.

Please click here for more on that proposal.

Two years after launching an effort to double exports by 2015, the administration remains on track to meet that export goal as it continues to increasingly broaden its trade strategies to not only promote sales abroad, but also to aggressively enforce trade laws and lure more foreign companies to invest in the U.S.

Although trade often enjoys bipartisan support by Congress there is no guarantee Republicans will go along with the new spending in a tight budget year. However, the administration plans to move forward with the new Trade Enforcement Center regardless of congressional action on Obama’s spending requests.