Obama establishes center to strengthen trade enforcement

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama on Tuesday signed an executive order establishing a center to coordinate federal trade law enforcement efforts.

The Interagency Trade Enforcement Center will work with the Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Treasury departments, as well as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to ensure U.S. businesses and workers are protected from unfair trade practices. It will reside in the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, the executive order stated.

“Robust monitoring and enforcement of U.S. rights under international trade agreements, and enforcement of domestic trade laws, are crucial to expanding exports and ensuring U.S. workers, businesses, ranchers and farmers are able to compete on a level playing field with foreign trade partners,” Obama wrote.

The president called for a unit to investigate trade violations as part of his State of the Union address in late January. "I will not stand by when our competitors don't play by the rules," he said at the time.

Obama requested $26 million for the center in his fiscal 2013 budget, according to a Commerce Department summary.

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