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August 03, 2007 

Trade Enforcement Act of 2007 Introduced in Congress

Earlier this week Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Trade Enforcement Act of 2007, legislation intended to "significantly bolster the U.S. government’s trade enforcement abilities." While the full text of the legislation has not been released, the press release issued by the Senate Finance Committee states that Baucus-Hatch proposal would make the following changes to U.S. trade laws:

  • Amends section 701(a)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930 to clarify that the Commerce Department has the authority to apply countervailing duties to nonmarket economies like China.
  • Limits President's authority in China safeguard investigations by providing that the President may decline to provide relief only in extraordinary cases and only if the President determines that the relief would seriously harm U.S. national security or would have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy.
  • Overrides the Federal Circuit’s Bratsk Aluminum decision by providing that the ITC must make its material injury determination in antidumping and countervailing duty cases without regard to whether other imports will likely replace imports from the country under investigation.
  • Requires the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to provide an annual report to
    Congress identifying the most significant market access barriers to U.S. companies abroad
    and to take enforcement action to resolve them.
  • Creates a Senate-confirmed Chief Enforcement Officer to investigate and prosecute trade enforcement cases. It also establishes an interagency Trade Enforcement Working Group to advise USTR and authorizes $5 million for USTR’s enforcement responsibilities.
  • Sets up a WTO Dispute Resolution Settlement Commission of retired judges and international trade law experts to review WTO dispute settlement reports to determine whether they added to the United States’ obligations under the WTO or deviated from the standard of review.

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