The U.S. Trade Representative has primary responsibility, with the advice of the interagency trade policy organization, for developing and coordinating the implementation of U.S. trade policy. Under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, Congress established an interagency trade policy mechanism to assist with the implementation of these responsibilities. The mechanism has three tiers: the National Economic Council located in the White House, the Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) and the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) - both chaired by USTR.
The Office of Policy Coordination is responsible for convening the twenty agencies that make up the Trade Policy Review Group and the Trade Policy Staff Committee to review policy papers and negotiating documents. The Office advises the USTR on how to resolve policy differences among the agencies, since all decisions require consensus. On average, the office negotiates agreement on 285 policy papers and negotiating documents annually, and chairs 54 TPSC and TPRG meetings. The Office is also responsible for eliciting advice from the public on policy decisions and negotiations through public hearings and Federal Register notices.
Other major responsibilities of the Office of Policy Coordination include: editing and production of USTR’s major reports; administration of Freedom of Information Act requests; management of all Government Accountability Office investigations involving USTR, and coordinating USTR’s clearance on all pending legislation and testimony before Congress.