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The ITA is responsible for promoting U.S. industry interests in international trade. The agency provides market intelligence to U.S. exporters, ensures their access to international markets and enforces foreign compliance with international trade agreements—in part by regulating unfair competition provisions and enforcing rules governing dumped and subsidized imports from foreign countries. The agency develops and implements the government’s foreign trade policy and acts as an advisor for the same. 


Most functions performed by the ITA have their origins in the Bureaus of Statistics and Manufacturers in the Department of Commerce and Labor, established in 1903. The Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce was established in 1912 to develop and promote domestic manufacturing industries and related markets both in the U.S. and abroad.

The ITA was established in 1980 as a result of a reorganization of the government’s international trade functions—with the aim of creating a division for non-agricultural trade operations and assistance to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the coordination of trade policy. The reorganization created the Under Secretary for International Trade; consolidated existing Commerce Department exports promotion, export administration and trade policy programs; transferred the administration of the antidumping and countervailing duty laws from the Treasury Department; and transferred the foreign commercial functions from the State Department to the new Foreign Commercial Service. In 1984, responsibility for industry sector analysis was transferred to ITA from the Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.

Official ITA History


What it Does  

The “defining purpose” of the ITA is to help create economic opportunity for American workers and businesses through the promotion and regulation of U.S. interests in international trade and investment. The agency is responsible for promoting and protecting U.S. industry interests in international trade through various research, policymaking and enforcement activities. ITA is divided into four main units: The Market Access and Compliance (MAC) ensures what they call “fair trade” practices, monitoring industry access to overseas markets and attempting to eliminate barriers for U.S. companies in product and service export; the Import Administration enforces trade laws and foreign compliance with international agreements—in the interest of U.S. industry, and consults with industry and represents its commercial interests in trade negotiations and the policy process; the Manufacturing and Services unit is charged with increasing US exports and enhancing global competitiveness; The U.S. Commercial service is responsible for promoting trade and provides assistance for U.S. companies to start up in export activities and/or navigate foreign markets.
In its capacity as enforcer against unfair trade practices and dumping, the ITA investigates and determines whether merchandise is being sold in the US at less than fair value. In the interest of US industry, the ITA imposes “countervailance” duties to offset the effects of subsidies granted to foreign manufacturers by their governments.
Manufacturing and Services - The MAS unit is responsible for enhancing U.S. market position, access, and global competitiveness for U.S. industry and increasing its exports. Industry experts and economists working for the department develop and implement trade policy—with the aim of creating conducive conditions for U.S. business and economic growth. Researchers analyze trade data and economic policy, as well as domestic regulation, trade policy development and negotiations, and act as a contact point for industry input into the policy process. The unit also works with industry and government agencies to manage regulation.
Import Administration - is the unit responsible for enforcing trade laws and agreements to prevent unfair trade in imports and safeguard U.S. jobs and industry competition. It enforces U.S. unfair trade laws through administration of antidumping and countervailing duty laws, develops and implements other policies and programs to counter foreign unfair trade practices, and administers the Foreign Trade Zones and Statutory Import programs, as well as certain sector-specific programs.
Market Access and Compliance - MAC is responsible for ensuring a “level playing field” for American companies in the international market. The unit deals with trade barriers, policy issues, and regulates compliance of US trading partners with agreement obligations. MAC country desk officers specialize in commercial, economic and political climates in their assigned countries, focusing on complaint resolution and market access issues such as intellectual property and piracy, quotas, standards, customs, transparency and contracts, etc. The unit works cooperatively with the Commercial Service staff and other government agencies.
U.S. Commercial Service - is responsible for promoting U.S. industry in international trade. Trade specialists in more than 80 countries assist U.S. companies with export and global market sales. Services include market research, trade events, networking, counseling and advocacy.

Export Portal


Where Does the Money Go  

According to USA Spending, between 2000 and 2009, there was a total of $70,738,335 worth of contracts distributed. Most of the contracts going to Program Management, Telecommunications, Data processing and training services.
33.1% or $23,401,279 of all contracts was available for free competition while 0.2% or $167,532 was actions necessary to continue existing competitive contracts for continuity. The number of contractors for this period totaled 246 with 747 transactions. The largest amount of total expenditures in this period was recorded in 2004 with a total of $20,786,102. There were no records for 2001.
Top 10 Contractors
Daniel J Edelman Inc
Bae Systems PLC
The Mil Corporation
C I C Research Inc
Accenture Ltd
Bae Systems Information Technology LLC
Fujitsu Limited
Furmanite Corporation
Square One Armoring Services Co
Commonwealth Trading Partners Inc.
Top 5 Congressional Districts Where Work Has Been Performed
District of Columbia (Eleanor Holmes Norton)
Illinois 07 (Danny K. Davis)
Virginia 08 (Jim Moran)
Maryland 05 (Steny H. Hoyer)
California 53 (Susan A. Davis)
Daniel J. Edelman, Inc.: An independent global public relations firm founded in 1952. The firm specializes in dialogue, engaging NGOs, and enlisting credible spokespersons in the attempt to build brand names. Richard Edelman is the firm’s President and CEO.
Bae Systems PLC: A global defense, security and aerospace company headquartered in Rockville, MD. It delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services, with approximately 106,000 employees worldwide. Ian King is the current CEO. Maurice I. Long, Jr.
is the current President and Co-founder.
The MIL Corporation: Established in 1980 to provide agencies of the Federal government services in finance, information management, and quality assurance. Company benefits from multimillion-dollar contracts with 17 Federal agencies, including the U.S Departments of the Navy, Commerce, State, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture. Specialize in strategic business planning, process mapping, documentation and records control and auditing & resolution services among many others.
Contract Announcement
CIC Research, Inc.: Incorporated in 1965, the company is a marketing, economics and survey research firm. Based in San Diego, CA, the company provides expertise in the areas of marketing, economic, land use, financial analysis, survey design, data collection, coding, custom data processing, travel, tourism and events research, and full-service quantitative research.
Accenture, Ltd.: A global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Currently has more than 181,000 employees in over 52 countries. William D. Green is current Chairman and CEO.


Investing in Afghanistan


Under Chris Padilla’s leadership, the Bush Administration is currently pushing for an FTA with Columbia—a deal labor unions and most Democrats oppose. According to recent press reports, many believe that the administration will try to force Congress’ hand by introducing legislation to implement the deal to Congress under fast-track rules that would mean a vote under a strict time table and without recourse to amendments. See also CAFTA below.
Q&A with Chris Padilla (by Ian Swanson, The Hill)
Columbia FTA could harm working families (Opinion, America-in-Solidarity)
Bush Administration pushes for Columbia free trade deal (by Tom Steever, Brownfield Network)
The Bush Administration's Last Trade Policy Agenda Report (by Ross Korves, Truth about Trade & Technology)
The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is an expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to five Central American nations (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic. It was signed on May 28, 2004, and passed, not without controversy, in 2005. El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic have approved the Agreement. Costa Rica’s decision to approve it was controversial as opponents argued it would negatively impact certain vital national industries—and the country was awarded a 7-month deadline extension to implement required legislative reforms.
The debate over CAFTA is a part of the larger debate over the U.S. government’s neoliberal policies in international development, specifically through trade policy. The current administration’s emphasis on neoliberal socioeconomic development, in part to ensure national security, are widely criticized as highly destructive to the societies in which they are implemented, where privatization of industry and social services leaves society’s most vulnerable members without basic rights, driving down living standards and exacerbating the divide between rich and poor in liberalizing economies.
According to critics (and common-sense analysis), CAFTA is based on the same failed neoliberal policies that underlie the NAFTA model, severely damaging labor and environmental standards in the process of economic privatization and public sector deregulation. The agreement has met with strong resistance from both American citizens and foreign governments.
According to the U.S. government, CAFTA provides tariff reduction and new market access for U.S. consumer, industrial and agricultural products—as well as “unprecedented access to government procurement” in partner countries. Liberalization of partner-country service sectors (and financial services) is seen as a protective measure for U.S. interests and investors, and their intellectual properties. The government argues that the agreement addresses issues of government transparency and corruption, labor rights, and environmental protection.
Opposition to CAFTA (from the Public Citizen website)
Congressional Concern and Opposition
U.S. Civil Society Opposition
International Opposition
From the Right
More Than CAFTA Is at Stake in Costa Rica (by Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Miami Herald)
The Case for CAFTA: Consolidating Central America's Freedom Revolution (by Daniel Griswold and Daniel Ikenson, CATO Institute)
The ITA has an historical reputation in the international community of being unfairly biased, including in regards to its antidumping regulation of foreign governments/entities.

Bias in the International Trade Administration: The Need for Impartial Decisionmakers in United States Antidumping Proceedings

(by Michael Anthony Lawrence, Social Science Research Network)


Suggested Reforms  

Information on the ITA: Import Administration Assessment (OMB Assessment 2007)



Congressional Oversight  
Former Directors  

2007: Michelle O'Neill (acting)

2005-2007: Frank Lavin
2005: Peter Lichtenbaum (acting)
2005: Timothy Hauser (acting)
2005: Rhonda Kennam (acting)
2001-2005: Grant D. Aldonas

2001: Timothy Hauser (acting)
2000-2001: Robert LaRussa

1997-2000: David L. Aaron
1996-1997: Stuart Eizenstat
1996: Timothy Hauser (acting)
1995-1996: David Rothkopf (acting)
1993-1995: Jeffrey Garten
1992-1993: Timothy Hauser (acting)
1989-1992: J. Michael Farren
1987-1989: W. Allen Moore

1985-1987: S. Bruce Smart

1981-1985: Lionel H. Olmer

1980-1981:Robert E. Herzstein



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Table of Contents

Founded: 1980
Annual Budget: $420 million (FY 2009 estimate)
Employees: 1,536 (2001)

International Trade Administration
Sánchez, Frank
Under Secretary

An early Florida supporter and major fundraiser for President Barack Obama, Francisco “Frank” J. Sánchez received a recess appointment in order to assume the post of Under Secretary for International Trade, becoming the No. 3 person in the Department of Commerce, while taking over the International Trade Administration, which is tasked with promoting and protecting U.S. companies involved in exporting. He received his confirmation hearing on May 13, 2009, but questions were raised about a federal grant for a steel company he headed, and his confirmation vote was put on hold. Finally, Obama gave Sánchez the recess appointment on March 27, 2010.

Born June 16, 1969, in Tampa, Florida, Sánchez was the son of candy factory owner Francisco Sánchez, Sr. and Delia Sánchez, Sánchez obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Business and Spanish in 1982 and his Juris Doctor degree in 1986, both from Florida State University. He also received a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1993.
In 1984 Sánchez began working for the Florida Department of Commerce as director of its Caribbean Basin Initiative. Three years later, after earning his law degree,  he joined the law firm of Steel, Hector, and Davis in Miami, Florida, specializing in corporate and administrative law.
In 1992, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and took a position as consultant for Conflict Management Inc. (CMI). His work centered on negotiation strategy, labor-management regotiations and litigation settlement, and developing Latin American clients for company.
In September 1997, he and two partners created the CMI International Group, where his expertise was finding clients.
Twenty months later, Sánchez joined the Clinton White House as a special assistant to the president and chief of staff to the Special Envoy to the Americas Kenneth MacKay, focusing on economic integration and democracy issues in the Western Hemisphere. After fifteen months in that position, he spent the last five months of Clinton’s presidency as the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs in the Department of Transportation, where he developed aviation policy and oversaw international trade negotiations.
In 2001, Sánchez settled in back in Tampa as founder and managing director of Cambridge Negotiation Strategies, He also ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Tampa in 2003, in a campaign that included an awkward moment when it was revealed that most of the 74 companies he claimed as clients of Cambridge Negotiation Strategies weren’t.
In May 2006, Sánchez was hired on as CEO of Tampa-based Renaissance Steel, a position he held until it went bankrupt in November 2007. While he was heading Renaissance, it acquired a $500,000 federally-funded grant from the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa…of which he was member. Although Sánchez claimed that he was not personally involved in the deal, it was this incident that stalled his confirmation as head of the International Trade Association.
In April 2008, Sánchez joined the Tampa law firm of Akerman Senterfitt. Accodring to the financial disclosure statement he filed upon his nomination, Sánchez owned about 50 residential mortgages which brought him annual interest income of somewhere between $156,000 and $445,000, while drawing a salary of $52,000 from Akerman Senterfitt and $45,000 from Cambridge Negotiation Strategies.
Sánchez served as senior policy advisor to President Obama during the 2008 campaign, and was chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Council, providing policy support on issues pertaining to Latin America. He also bundled more than $500,000 in contributions for the campaign.
He has served on the boards of numerous civic and community organizations including the Tampa Chamber of Commerce (2004-2007), the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay (2004-present) and Bay Area Legal Services (2006-present). From 2005 to 2007, he was chairman of the board of the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding and its president and CEO from June 2006 until December 2007. The Foundation provides support for health, education and cultural programs non-governmental in Tampa, India and Africa. Sánchez has been a member of Leadership Florida, a creation of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, since 1989 and a member of The Tampa Club, a private social club, since 2001.
Among other political contributions, Sánchez donated $2,000 to Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000, $2,500 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004, $500 to Hilary Clinton in 2008 and $4,600 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Francisco Sanchez (International Trade Administration)
Francisco "Frank" J. Sanchez (WhoRunsGov, Washington Post)
Political Patronage Pays Off (Manufacturing & Technology News, pages 1, 9-11) (pdf)
Confirmation Hearing Details (pages 40-48) (pdf)
Sanchez's Experience as Business Owner Brief (by David Karp, St. Petersburg Times)
Padilla, Christopher
Previous Under Secretary

Christopher Padilla earned a B.A. and M.A. in international studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining the government, Padilla worked in international trade in the private sector for more than fifteen years—including international positions at AT&T and Lucent Technologies in marketing, business development, and government affairs. He was also Director of International Trade Relations at Eastman Kodak Company. Padilla joined the Bush Administration in 2002 as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public liaison, in which role he worked on CAFTA, the Australia Free Trade Agreement, and other initiatives. From 2005-2006, he was Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, focusing on U.S.-China policy, Latin America, Sudan and international economic matters. He was nominated by Bush and confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration on September 29, 2006, in which position he was responsible for U.S. policies governing the export of items controlled for national security and foreign policy reasons, for industry compliance with international treaties governing chemical and biological weapons and U.S. technological development of “defense-critical” products. Padilla was nominated by Bush in 2007 for the post of Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Padilla has also worked as a lobbyist and is a Bush supporter—see his campaign contributions for the 2004 presidential elections
Q&A with Chris Padilla (by Ian Swanson, The Hill)