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Overview of Trade Law

U.S. Trade Remedies law includes:

The United States and many of its trading partners use laws known as trade remedies to mitigate the adverse impact of the trade practices of foreign governments (which impacts U.S. domestic industries). These laws include:

  • U.S. antidumping (AD) laws (19 U.S.C. §1673 et seq.) which authorize the imposition of duties if the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce (ITA) determines that foreign merchandise is being, or likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value, and if the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) determines that an industry in the United States is materially injured (or threatened with material injury) or if the establishment of an industry is materially retarded, due to undervalued imports.

  • U.S. countervailing duty laws (19 U.S.C. §1671 et seq.) authorize the imposition of countervailing duties (CVD) if the ITA finds that the government of a country or any public entity has provided a subsidy on the manufacture, production, or export of the merchandise, and the USITC determines injury or threat

  • Market disruption laws authorize relief for import surges from communist countries (19 U.S.C. §2436). The USITC conducts an investigation, forwards recommendations to the President, and the President may act on the USITC’s recommendation, modify it, or take no action.

  • U.S. safeguard laws (19 U.S.C. §2251 et seq.) examines injurious import surges due to unfair foreign trade. For example, Section 201 (19 U.S.C. ch. 12) provides a mechanism for the ITC to investigate U.S. injuries and to issue recommendations for action to the President within 6 months. Given an injury determination, restrictive measures may be implemented by the President, such as import duties, quotas, and/or other assistance.

  • Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C § 1862) allows the Department of Commerce to investigate whether imports threaten to impair the national security of the United States and if so, to impose import restrictions.

  • Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. § 2411) vests the United States Trade Representative with authority to enforce trade agreements, to resolve trade disputes, or to open foreign markets to U.S. goods and services. The enforcement tools used are principally trade sanctions in the form of section 301 duties or quotas that are imposed on those foreign countries that either violate trade agreements or engage in other unfair trade practices.

These laws are designed to be consistent with U.S. international obligations under World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations.