Recent developments in global trade have created human capital challenges for U.S. trade agencies. At least 17 federal agencies, with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as the lead, negotiate, monitor, or enforce trade agreements and laws. These agencies' strategies for effectively aligning their current and emerging needs in handling international trade functions and their human capital resources are critical to improving agency performance. GAO was asked to summarize its recent studies to illustrate important human capital challenges arising from current trade developments as U.S. trade agencies strive to negotiate, monitor, and enforce existing trade agreements and laws. For this testimony, GAO discussed the challenges that USTR, the Commerce Department, and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection are facing in light of three recent developments in international trade: (1) the increased importance of security, (2) the ambitious U.S. negotiating agenda, and (3) the shifting global trade environment.
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