A House committee on Monday unanimously passed out a bill that calls for the formation of an international trade commission.

HB39 would create the 11-member group, which would consist mostly of legislators, to promote international trade relationships but also study whether international trade treaties short-circuit the Legislature's activities.

Supporters said cities' and courts' activities also might be affected by those treaties.

"Trade agreements are going to become, I can predict with great confidence, an important arena that can affect state regulation in the future, and I think a commission needs to keep an eye on it," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful.

Allen noted that several states have international trade commissions or are considering establishing them.

"It (the bill) is getting into the idea of, how much regulation are we going to allow by trade agreements, and that we'd better start keeping an eye on this," Allen said.

"I am extremely supportive of trade. I couldn't put a finger in that dam and try and stop it. But I do think we need the commission looking at it, working cooperatively with industry to make sure that our regulatory authority is still there."

Ensuring that legislative authority is not affected "will not be easy, but to ignore it, I think, would be a mistake," she said.

The bill was recommended by the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee and supported by the Utah Attorney General's Office.

E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com