United States International Trade Commission

International Trade Commission
Agency overview
Formed September 8, 1916
Preceding agency
  • U.S. Tariff Commission
Jurisdiction International Trade Issues
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Employees 356 (as of Sept. 30, 2011)
Agency executives
Website www.usitc.gov

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC, sometimes I.T.C.[2]) is an independent, bipartisan, quasi-judicial, federal agency of the United States that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches. Furthermore, the agency determines[3] the impact of imports on U.S. industries and directs actions against unfair trade practices, such as subsidies, dumping, patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.

Background and statutory authority

The USITC was established by the U.S. Congress on September 8, 1916, as the U.S. Tariff Commission.[4] In 1974, the name was changed to the U.S. International Trade Commission by section 171 of the Trade Act of 1974.[5] The agency has broad investigative powers on matters of trade. The USITC is a national resource where trade data is gathered and analyzed. This data is provided to the President and Congress as part of the information on which U.S. international trade policy is based.

Statutory authority for the USITC's responsibilities is provided by the following legislation:


The U.S. International Trade Commission seeks to:

  1. Administer U.S. trade remedy laws within its mandate in a fair and objective manner;
  2. Provide the President, Office of the United States Trade Representative, and Congress with independent, quality analysis, information, and support on matters of tariffs and international trade and competitiveness; and
  3. Maintain the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

In so doing, the Commission serves the public by implementing U.S. law and contributing to the development and implementation of sound and informed U.S. trade policy.

The USITC's five operations are:

  1. Import Injury Investigations
  2. Intellectual Property-Based Import Investigations
  3. Research Program
  4. Trade Information Services
  5. Trade Policy Support


The President nominates and the U.S. Senate confirms the six commissioners, who head the USITC. The President and the Secretary of State sign the formal commission.

Commissioners terms are nine years, or when fill a vacated seat for the remainder of a term. Their terms are staggered to end 18 months apart. Commissioners may not be reappointed at the start of a new term unless they have served less than five years, although commissioners stay on past the end of their term until their successor is appointed and confirmed. No more than three of the Commissioners may be of the same political party.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman's terms are for two years, and successive Chairmen may not be of the same political party. Only a Commissioner with more than one year of service may be designated Chairman.[6]

The commissioners are (in order of seniority):[7]


Although the USITC is not a court, its administrative law judges conduct trial-type official administrative hearings. If a Section 337 Tariff Act complaint has at least three votes from its six Commissioners, an official investigative hearing will be assigned to an administrative law judge. Several dozen new USITC investigations are filed every year.[2] Judicial review is normally exercised by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.[14] After the parties have had the opportunity to conduct fact and expert discovery to develop their respective legal positions, the ALJ (administrative law judge) holds a formal, evidentiary hearing, or trial. There is no jury: rather, it is a bench trial. About three months after considering the arguments of the parties, the ALJ renders an initial determination (ID). The full ITC reviews and may adopt, modify or reverse the ALJ's initial determination. The ITC's final determination is usually issued about four months after the ALJ's ID.[15]


Previous commissioners included:

On January 4, 1985, a USITC decision in favor of Duracell was overturned by President Ronald Reagan. The case involved the import of alkaline batteries in competition with Duracell, the American manufacturer that developed them.[16]

On August 3, 2013, President Barack Obama overturned the commission's decision in investigation No. 337-TA-794 that would have banned Apple Inc. from importing several of its older products.[17]

In January 2015 details from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack revealed the MPAA's lobbying of the USITC to mandate US ISPs either at the internet transit level or consumer level internet service provider, implement IP address blocking pirate websites as well as linking websites.[18]

In January 2016 it became known, that the commission was charged with investigating the likely impact of the TPP on the U.S. economy and specific industries. It will calculate the estimated impact on gross domestic product, exports and imports, employment opportunities, and U.S. consumers.[19]

See also


  1. "About the USITC". U.S. International Trade Commission. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  2. 1 2 "New I.T.C. Investigations - Sec 337". Docket Alarm, Inc.
  3. "Recent Decisions from the United States International Trade Commission". Docket Alarm, Inc. USITC. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  4. 39 Stat. 795
  5. 19 U.S.C. 2231
  6. 19 U.S.C. § 1330
  7. USITC Commissioners Biography List , USITC website
  8. Meredith Broadbent, USITC Commissioner Biography
  9. Dean A. Pinkert, USITC Commissioner Biography
  10. Irving A. Williamson, USITC Commissioner Biography
  11. David S. Johanson, USITC Commissioner Biography
  12. R. Scott Kieff, USITC Commissioner Biography
  13. Rhonda Schnare Schmidtlein, USITC Commissioner Biography
  14. "US International Trade Commission Section 337 Investigations: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions" (PDF). 2009.
  15. Blakeslee, Merritt. "A Survivor's Guide to Section 337 Investigations and ITC General Exclusion Orders". Recycling Times Magazine Issue 75.
  16. Hartman, Carl (January 28, 1985). "Court Asked to Overturn Reagan Ruling". Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  17. O'Brien, Chris (August 3, 2013). "White House overrules ITC trade ban on Apple iPhones, iPads". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  18. Brandom, Russell (2 January 2015). "The MPAA has a new plan to stop copyright violations at the border". Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  19. JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS President Obama May Require Federal Contractors to List Campaign Gifts The Washington Post, January 19, 2016, retrieved 14 January 2016

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 7/31/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.