Four Areas for Congress to Exercise Trade Policy Oversight


The power to regulate trade rests with Congress, yet it is the executive branch that has developed and executed U.S. trade policy over the last six years—an arrangement that has yielded significant barriers to trade. In a new insight, Director of International Economic Policy Tori Smith addresses four major areas of trade policy where congressional oversight is needed.

Key points:

  • The Biden Administration has favored executive agreements which have focused on trade issues that the administration believes do not require a change in U.S. law and are ostensibly meant to sidestep congressional oversight.
  • Congress has the constitutionally granted power to regulate trade, and the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees should exercise oversight of the administration’s trade-related activities.
  • Oversight is especially needed in the areas of intellectual property waivers at the World Trade Organization, executive trade frameworks, outbound investment screening, and national security tariff investigations into carbon-intensive goods.

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