International Trade Commission plays important role assessing impact of policies

When the president or Congress needs to better understand the impact of potential tariff and trade-related decisions, they turn to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). An independent, nonpartisan federal agency, ITC is authorized to adjudicate intellectual property and trade disputes. ITC also maintains the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) used to consistently describe most world trade.

Overall, the ITC’s goal is to assess the effect of imports on American industry. In doing so, it regularly shares its findings in numerous topic-specific reports. ITC also prepares annual Year in Trade reports for Congress that summarize the operation of all U.S. trade agreement programs and publishes The Journal of International Commerce and Economics, an in-depth analysis of current economic, industry competitiveness and investment issues.

According to its published history, the ITC was established in 1916 under President Woodrow Wilson as the U.S. Tariff Commission to advise elected officials setting legislative policy on tariff and trade matters. The decision in 1974 to rename it the International Trade Commission was intended to “reflect the trend away from a strict reliance on tariffs to define U.S. international trade policy.”