The Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce (OCC-IC) provides legal support to the Under Secretary for International Trade, who heads the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), and to ITA’s Assistant Secretaries for Manufacturing and Services, Market Access and Compliance, and Trade Promotion. (Legal services for ITA’s Assistant Secretary for Import Administration are provided by the Office of the Chief Counsel for Import Administration.) The mission of ITA is to “create prosperity by strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements.” OCC-IC’s functions include the following:
1. Provision of Legal Advice
OCC-IC provides legal counsel with respect to ITA’s statutory, regulatory, and programmatic authorities, including:
- Monitoring compliance with international trade and investment agreements to which the United States is a party;
- Export promotion activities (including trade shows, trade missions, and other export promotion-related activities);
- Implementation of Transparency and Antibribery Initiatives;
- Implementation of U.S. trade laws (except antidumping and countervailing duty laws);
- Implementation of Title III of the Export Trading Company Act of 1982;
- Advocacy support for U.S. companies competing for overseas projects;
- Reconstruction and Stabilization (Iraq and Afghanistan); and
- Implementation of the Exon-Florio Amendment on foreign investment in the United States.
- Protection of the intellectual property rights of U.S. firms abroad
2. Negotiation and Enforcement of Trade Agreements
OCC-IC actively participates in the negotiation and enforcement of a variety of international agreements, including:
- Bilateral and multilateral trade agreements (such as the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements);
- Bilateral investment treaties; and
- Multilateral agreements on bribery in international business transactions.
3. International Trade and Investment Law
OCC-IC provides advice to ITA on laws, regulations, international agreements, and commercial practices in the United States and foreign countries affecting trade and investment, including those regarding:
- international investment,
- intellectual property rights,
- government procurement,
- antitrust and competition policy,
- international taxation,
- trade finance,
- foreign business practices,
- bribery and corrupt payments,
- customs, and
- international dispute settlement.
OCC-IC works closely with the Department of Justice and other agencies with respect to litigation relevant to ITA’s mission and responsibilities to which the U.S. government is a party or in which the U.S. government may otherwise express a view.