• Budget Compromise Unlikely To Have Significant Impact On Trade Programs
  • May 10, 2011 | Authors: Gilbert B. Kaplan; Jeffrey M. Telep; Taryn Koball Williams
  • Law Firm: King & Spalding LLP - Washington Office
  • U.S. trade agencies operated under reduced budgets for half of the U.S. government’s 2011 fiscal year, and sources at these agencies do not expect funding cuts resulting from the final 2011 budget to significantly impair operations. The U.S. government operates on an October 1-September 30 fiscal year. A series of short-term continuing resolutions had been providing funding starting October 1, 2010. Congressional leaders agreed in principle on the 2011 budget late on April 8, hours before much of the federal government would have otherwise shut down. President Obama signed the budget on April 15, thus ensuring funding for all U.S. government operations through September 30, 2011. Under the terms of the budget agreement, all non-defense accounts were cut 0.2 percent from 2010 spending levels. Many agencies and operations had significantly deeper funding cuts.

    The budgets for the International Trade Commission and the Office of the United States Trade Representative were subject only to the 0.2 percent non-defense cut from their respective 2010 funding levels. The budget for the International Trade Administration, the agency within the Department of Commerce which houses most of the Commerce’s trade-related functions, was cut by an additional $5 million from its 2010 level. President Obama had proposed an $87 million budget increase for this agency in 2011, largely to fund activities related to his National Export Initiative. Because the agency has been operating at the 2010 budget level for half of the 2011 fiscal year, agency sources do not expect the reduced budget to impair operations, including the agency’s support of the National Export Initiative.

    Attention already is turning to discussion of the 2012 budget, which would fund the federal government from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012. President Obama again has proposed a significant increase in the International Trade Administration’s budget—about $70 million more than the 2010 level, or an increase of 16 percent. President Obama has proposed an increase of $3 million from fiscal 2010, or about six percent, for the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The International Trade Commission, which is an independent agency that submits its own budget proposal, has requested $87 million for 2012, an increase of $9 million, or around 16 percent, from fiscal 2010.