In addition to protecting investors and the integrity of the securities market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), along with the Department of Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and the Department of Agriculture, monitors and enforces the nation's trade agreements. Markets have become more complex, global, and technology-driven. At the same time SEC's workload is growing at a rate much faster than staffing. Workload and staffing imbalances have affected most aspects of SEC's regulatory and supervisory activities, from its inhouse technological capabilities to its enforcement actions against market participants. Other agencies that monitor U.S. trade agreements also face human capital challenges. Since the early 1980s, the United States has entered into several hundred trade agreements that have dramatically increased monitoring and enforcement workloads at USTR, Commerce, and Agriculture. This workload has continued to grow during the past two years as a result of major multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade negotiations. These agencies' efforts to monitor and enforce trade agreements are hampered by a lack of sufficient staff with appropriate expertise. Furthermore, they did not receive adequate support from other agencies and had difficulty obtaining comprehensive input from the private sector.
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