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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, originally Office of the Special Trade Representative (STR), is responsible for developing and coordinating international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and leading or directing negotiations with other countries. It is headed by the United States Trade Representative (also USTR), a Cabinet-level official with the rank of Ambassador. The agency provides trade policy leadership and negotiating expertise on all matters within the World Trade Organization (WTO); trade, commodity, and direct investment matters dealt with by international institutions such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); export expansion policy; industrial and services trade policy; international commodity agreements and policy; bilateral and multilateral trade and investment issues; trade-related intellectual property protection issues; and import policy. The agency has administrative responsibility for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); Section 301 complaints against foreign unfair trade practices; unlawful and unfair import competition under Section 337; and import relief cases under Section 201. Five Members from each of the House and Senate are formally appointed under statute as official Congressional advisors on trade policy, and additional Members may be appointed as advisors on particular issues or negotiations.

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