Trade Enforcement
With a Keynote Address by USTR General Counsel Timothy Reif
AEI Program in International Economics
About This Event

The Obama administration has emphasized the importance of enforcement as a central element of its trade policy. In fact, the 2010 trade policy agenda released in March 2010 called for more vigilant enforcement of U.S. trade rights, enhanced monitoring, and, if necessary, the filing of new disputed cases with the Listen to Audio

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World Trade Organization.

At this AEI event, Timothy Reif, general counsel in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, spoke about the rationale and practical implications behind this approach. His remarks were followed by a panel discussion with leading trade experts: James Bacchus, chairman of the Global Trade and Investment Practice Group of Greenberg Traurig LLP; Marc Busch, professor of international business diplomacy at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; Warren Maruyama, partner in the Washington, D.C., offices of Hogan and Hartson LLP; and Alan Wolff, distinguished research professor at the Graduate School of International Policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. AEI resident scholar Philip I. Levy moderated.

Event Summary

Washington, March 16, 2010--Several experts gathered at AEI to shed light on the elements and implications of the enforcement aspect of the Obama administration's trade policy. AEI's Philip I. Levy introduced the discussion by asking how U.S. trade policy would be affected by enforcement of trade rights, enhanced monitoring, and filing new dispute settlements with the World Trade Organization (WTO), as called for in the 2010 Trade Policy Agenda recently released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

Timothy Reif, USTR General Counsel, delivered the keynote address. He outlined the key elements of the administration's strategic approach to enforcement--including the efficacy of interdepartmental early warning systems, regular reporting on bilateral and multilateral relations, as well as other tools used to effect vigilant trade enforcement--and discussed recent episodes in which enforcement was needed.

Warren Maruyama, former USTR General Counsel and current partner in the Washington offices of Hogan and Hartson LLP, said that he endorsed President Barack Obama's trade enforcement initiatives, but he pointed to the declining number of WTO cases to illustrate that it would be wise to recognize the WTO's limitations and "not to lose sight of the basic realities." He also noted that active enforcement alone will not enable Obama to meet his goal of doubling exports. "At most, enforcement is one component of a larger policy that addresses the value of the dollar, restores bipartisan support for trade, addresses distorted currencies, boosts U.S. competitiveness, and reforms our educational and tax systems," he said.

Alan Wolff, distinguished research professor at the Graduate School of International Policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, spoke about the key role of the dispute settlement system in the world trading system. He touched on domestic operational issues, including setting litigation priorities and improving intelligence and analysis, and operational issues abroad, including improving the performance of the WTO appellate body and providing for alternate dispute resolution.

James Bacchus, chairman of the Global Trade and Investment Practice Group of Greenberg Traurig LLP, agreed with Maruyama that enforcement is not a panacea, but just a small part of an overall trade policy. He also said, however, that the administration is right to place more emphasis on enforcement than there has been in the past, given that the United States has traditionally focused on defending WTO cases placed against it instead of bringing new cases to the WTO's attention. He also said that "if we want other countries to uphold their obligations to us, then we must be willing to uphold our obligations to them." He also said dispute settlement should almost always be the last resort and that "the great success of the system is the way in which the mere existence of the binding system encourages countries to comply with their obligations and furthermore encourages the resolution of disputes."

Marc L. Busch, adjunct scholar at AEI and professor of international business diplomacy at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, stressed the efficacy settling disputes early and said early settlement should be harnessed further. He recommended that the United States not get distracted by the emphasis on enforcement at the expense of early settlements. He explained that "a vast majority of full concessions are had in consultations, or at a panel stage before a ruling," which is why early settlement was more favorable to litigation. He further noted that "more care should be taken to better explain the USTR's dispute settlement 'scorecard' to the U.S. public so that they understand that even in cases in which the United States is the defendant, the early settlement option should be considered a success."

--Dharana Rijal

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Speaker biographies

James Bacchus is a chair of the Global Practice Group and the chairman of the Global Trade and Investment Practice Group, both of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig. Mr. Bacchus was, for eight years, one of the seven members of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. He was a founding member of the highest global trade tribunal, which serves more than 150 countries and judges international trade disputes involving more than 95 percent of all world commerce. He was twice appointed to the Appellate Body by consensus of the members of the WTO and was twice elected chairman of the Appellate Body by his six colleagues. He has judged more international trade disputes than anyone else in the world. Before going to the WTO, Mr. Bacchus served as a member of the U.S. Congress of the United States representing Florida; as a special assistant to the U.S. trade representative; and as a senior aide and adviser to the governor of Florida. He is the author of the book Trade and Freedom (Cameron May, 2004).

Marc Busch is an adjunct scholar at AEI. He is also the Karl F. Landegger Professor of International Business Diplomacy at the School of Foreign Service and associate professor in the government department at Georgetown University. His research and teaching focus on international trade policy and law. He is the author of Trade Warriors (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and various edited volumes. His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, the American Journal of Sociology, the British Journal of Political Science, the Fordham International Law Journal, International Organization, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of World Trade, and World Politics. He was previously an associate professor at the Queen's School of Business and, prior to that, an associate professor of government and social studies at Harvard University, where he was also the director of graduate student programs at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He has been awarded research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Harvard University, the John M. Olin Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Center for Social Sciences at Columbia University, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics, among others. He is coeditor of the journal Economics & Politics.

Philip I. Levy studies international trade and development at AEI. Before joining AEI, he handled international economic issues as a member of the secretary of state's policy planning staff (2005-2006), was senior economist for trade on the President's Council of Economic Advisers (2003-2005), and was a faculty member in Yale University's department of economics (1994-2003). An economist by training, he has experience in many international trade and development policy issues, including free trade agreements, trade with China, antidumping policy, welfare effects of globalization, U.S. foreign assistance policy, and economic development policy.

Warren Maruyama was formerly the general counsel for the U.S. trade representative (USTR) from 2007 to 2009. As USTR's general counsel, he oversaw World Trade Organization (WTO) and free trade agreement (FTA) disputes, participated in Doha round and FTA negotiations, and worked with congressional leaders on trade legislation and FTA agreements. He is currently a partner at the Washington, D.C., offices of Hogan and Hartson LLP. His practice focuses on international trade law and policy. He assists clients on a range of international trade matters, including U.S. trade policy; U.S. trade legislation; WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) disputes; and improved market access through bilateral, FTA, and WTO trade negotiations. Before joining the firm in 1993, Mr. Maruyama served in the White House Office of Policy Development for four years, helping to implement the Bush administration's international trade and investment initiatives, including the Uruguay round, Super 301, Steel Trade Liberalization Program, NAFTA, Enterprise for the Americas, and the 1991 renewal of the president's fast-track authority. Prior to serving at the White House, Mr. Maruyama served as associate general counsel of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 1983 to 1989. In that capacity, he negotiated trade agreements and served as the lead U.S. negotiator in the Uruguay round Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Negotiating Group from 1986 to 1989, helping negotiate a new framework for international subsidies disciplines. Mr. Maruyama also successfully litigated the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement disputes and participated in the final drafting of the House-Senate Conference agreements during the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984 and the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.

Timothy Reif is general counsel for the U.S. trade representative (USTR). As general counsel, he is responsible for managing the thirty-five-person office; conducting litigation at the World Trade Organization (WTO); and, under U.S. free trade agreements, providing counsel on all trade negotiations, working on legislative matters, and addressing agency administrative matters. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Reif was staff director and chief trade counsel for the Trade Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he advised the chair and members of the committee on all international trade matters and related legislation that came before the committee. From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Reif was chief democratic trade counsel to the committee. From 1993 to 1994, Mr. Reif was trade counsel to the committee, responsible for drafting major portions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Uruguay round WTO agreements, as well as developing legislative strategy for implementing the bills. From 1989 to 1993, Mr. Reif was associate general counsel in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Mr. Reif negotiated rules on unfair trade practices and dispute settlement for the NAFTA and Uruguay round, as well as bilateral and multilateral negotiations in aircraft, machine tools, semiconductors, steel, shipbuilding, and other sectors. He litigated and supervised litigation on more than ten cases under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, including the successful U.S. challenges to Airbus subsidies in 1991 and oilseed subsidies in 1989. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Reif served in the office of the general counsel at the U.S. International Trade Commission. From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Reif practiced law with Dewey Ballantine, concentrating on market access and dispute resolution in NAFTA and the WTO and implementation of key WTO agreements, such as the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. From 1985 to 1987, he practiced law in the Washington office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. He has also held teaching appointments at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and at Georgetown Law School.

Alan Wolff is a distinguished research professor at the Graduate School of International Policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He also serves as counsel at the international law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf and leads the firm's International Trade Practice. He served as U.S. deputy special representative for trade negotiations (1977-1979) in the Carter administration, holding the rank of ambassador, after having served as general counsel of the agency from 1974 to 1977. As deputy trade representative, he played a key role in the formulation of American trade policy and its implementation. From 1968 to 1973, he was an attorney dealing with international monetary, trade, and development issues at the Treasury Department. He is the chairman of the advisory board of the Institute for Trade and Commercial Diplomacy and is a member of the U.S. Department of State's Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy; the advisory committee of the Peterson Institute for International Economics; the board of the National Foreign Trade Council; the United States Council for International Business; the Council on Foreign Relations; and the American Society of International Law. He is also a board member of the U.S.-China Legal Cooperation Fund and of the National Trade Council Foundation. Mr. Wolff has coauthored books and published numerous papers on trade and U.S. trade law.

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