The Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs) play a critical role as industry’s voice in developing U.S. trade policy. Through the ITACs, business leaders have an opportunity to work side-by-side with U.S. Government officials and trade negotiators in advising the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on industry specific issues related to, among others: market access, customs matters, foreign investment and intellectual property protection.
Commerce and the USTR jointly administer 13 industry specific and 3 functional ITACs, plus a Committee of Chairs – and consider these ITACs, and the advisors who serve on them – to be a vital part of the U.S. trade policy-making process. As an ITAC advisor, you would have direct access to policymakers and negotiators to offer industry positions on U.S. trade policy and negotiating objectives and you would serve as a critical link between the private sector and government.
ITACs typically meets an average of four to five times a year in Washington, D.C. and sometimes there are meetings outside the beltway. Some ITACs may meet more often, depending upon the work of the committee and the nature of the agreement being negotiated. Members pay their own travel and expenses to attend these meetings.
Please note that we are currently in the process of looking at ways to leverage our technological capabilities so that people can potentially join meetings via teleconference or video conference.
Currently, Commerce and USTR are in the process of recruiting for new members on all sixteen ITACs for the upcoming charter term which will begin in the late winter/early spring of 2010. This recruitment process will ensure a diverse membership among industry sectors, small, medium and large-sized companies, product lines, geographic areas and demographic groups. Although our recruitment efforts will be ongoing, we’re encouraging people to apply as soon as possible because members must be granted a Commerce Department security clearance (as they have access to confidential trade-related documents) and this process can take a few months.
Candidates applying for ITAC membership need to represent a U.S. manufacturing or service entity that trades internationally, or an association of such entities. Candidate must also demonstrate knowledge of their industry sector and trade policy issues relevant to the work of the ITAC to which they are applying. Candidates must be U.S. citizens who are not employees of a government entity, registered foreign agents, or federally-registered lobbyists.
People who are interested in becoming ITAC advisors need to send the following information to the Trade Advisory Center:
1) A nomination letter, stating the nominee’s international trade expertise and qualifications, from their company or trade association (can be self-nominating);
2) Their current résumé, demonstrating knowledge of international trade issues relevant to the work of the committee on which they would like to serve;
3) A profile of the sponsoring company or organization (if the nominee is a consultant, legal advisor, or trade association, a membership list or client list must be included and all non-U.S. entities that are clients or members must be identified, including members that are U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-held companies.); and
4) An affirmative statement that: a) the applicant is not a foreign agent; b) the applicant is not a federally-registered lobbyist, and if appointed, they will not be able to serve on as an ITAC member if they should become a federally-registered lobbyist; and c) the applicant meets all eligibility criteria.
These nominations should be sent to the Director of the Industry Trade Advisory Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4043, Washington, D.C. 20230. They can also be sent via e-mail to Advisory_Center@ita.doc.gov . Further information on the ITACs can be found on the ITAC Web Site at: www.trade.gov/itac  or by calling (202) 482-3268.
As we reach out to broaden the spectrum of represented voices, we think there’s a tremendous opportunity here to engage citizens in the trade policy-making process.