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The Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade

The Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC) is a federal trade advisory committee composed of state and local officials appointed by President Bush. IGPAC was formed with the Trade Act of 1974, and participation has varied over the years based on state and local officials' concerns.

Inherent structural problems make IGPAC inadequate to the task of ensuring that state and local governments are provided a meaningful opportunity to give their prior informed consent before being bound to trade agreement rules. IGPAC members are selected by, and serve at the will of, the USTR. Even so, USTR is not required to respond to the committee's recommendations. IGPAC's comments to USTR are general, rather than covering state-specific commitments to trade agreement obligations. Only 22 states are currently "represented" on the 48-person committee. Furthermore, representatives from a state are not representing that state in an official capacity, but rather are appointed to represent general state and local interests.

Despite its shortcomings, IGPAC is one of the existing ways in which state and local officials can register their opinions with federal trade negotiators. These officials are increasingly taking advantage of this in order to voice their concerns over controversial "free trade" agreements.

    » trade | subfederal | igpac


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