WIIT Elects New Leadership

Posted May 16, 2018

PRESS RELEASE | for immediate distribution, May 16, 2018

New President and Officers elected at Annual Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) announced its new leadership for the 2018-2019 term. WIIT’s newly elected President is Lisa Schroeter, Global Director of Trade & Investment Policy, The Dow Chemical Company.

“I am honored and privileged to lead WIIT as we continue our over thirty years’ work to promote trade and especially women’s role in driving progressive trade policy,” commented Schroeter.  “WIIT is a dynamic and influential organization focused on supporting development for women at all stages of their career, building life skills and serving as a dynamic and vocal community in support of trade liberalization.  There has never been a more crucial time to speak up on behalf of progressive and constructive trade policies that will deliver economic growth globally, advancing the interests of American companies, workers, small businesses.”

Schroeter is responsible for managing global trade policy and engagement for the Dow Chemical company.  In that role, she is responsible for driving the corporate agenda and advocacy strategy relative to trade negotiations, risk assessment for key foreign investment projects and advancing Dow’s commercial interests especially in emerging countries.  Prior to joining Dow, Lisa was the Executive Director of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD), responsible for coordinating and advancing an EU-US CEO common agenda in support of trade liberalization.

“I am excited to work with the women of WIIT in driving programming and discussions on key trade issues, but also in advancing the personal and professional development of our members, at all stages of their careers.  I am dedicated to driving increased advocacy and engagement from our members as we advance WIIT’s 30 years of heritage on trade education and professional development.

WIIT also announced its new Board of Directors. CLICK HERE to view them on the WIIT website.em

WIIT Announces Awardees for Significant Achievements in Trade

Posted May 16, 2018

PRESS RELEASE | For immediate distribution, May 16, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a dinner at the National Press Club, The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) presented its annual awards celebrating extraordinary leadership in trade.  “WIIT is honored to celebrate these women for their outstanding contributions and leadership in advancing international trade,“ said WIIT President Leslie Griffin.  “We are pleased to recognize women from across our trade community for their efforts to highlight the positive impact of trade on our economy, workforce, and global competitiveness.”

Awards recipients include:

  • “Woman of the Year” awardee Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds
  • “Business Legacy” awardee Orit Frenkel, Founder and President, Frenkel Strategies
  • “Government Service” awardee Sophia Lafargue, Chief of Staff, Office of Representative Greg Meeks (D-NY)
  • “Emerging Leader” awardee Shantell Isaac, Vice President, Coalition of Services Industries

WIIT also announced its member award recipients, who make an invaluable contribution in fulfilling the mission of WIIT, which is to promote trade and to promote women.

Member award recipients include:

  • “Lifetime Achievement” awardee Holly Vineyard, S. Department of Commerce
  • “Outstanding Member of the Year” awardees Nicole Podesta, International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, and Dana Stepnowsky, Wiggin and Dana LLP
  • “WIIT Outstanding Programming Section of the Year”: Customs, Logistics & Transportation Section Co-chairs Kristen Smith, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A, and Susan Zimmerman, UPS

WIIT’s mission is to promote the professional advancement of women in international trade and business and to raise public awareness of the importance of international trade to economic development. WIIT does this through: professional development opportunities, educational offerings and social activities for professional networking.

For media inquiries, please contact Mary Simpkins in WIIT’s management office at mary@rmkproductions.com



WIIT Charitable Trust Spring 2017 Winning Scholarship Essay: The FTA Between the U.S. and Oman: Boosting the American Auto Industry

The WIIT Charitable Trust scholarship program is designed to provide financial assistance to further educational objectives of women who are interested in international development, international relations, international trade, international economics, or international business. Winners receive a scholarship award of $1,500 and a free one-year membership to WIIT. For more information, please click here for details.

The Spring 2017 winner is Ms. Lindsay Penn with an essay titled “The FTA Between the U.S. and Oman: Boosting the American Auto Industry”. Ms. Penn is an undergraduate freshman studying International Studies at the University of Denver. Ms. Penn’s winning essay explored the results of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Oman and concluded that it had a net positive impact on the American auto industry. Ms. Penn’s international focus is on the Middle East; she has been studying Arabic since her freshman year of high school and plans to use the award to further her language studies. After graduation, Ms. Penn plans to enter the diplomatic corps, representing the United States in a country in the Middle East. Ms. Penn wants to show that women can change relationships between countries for the better, including through trade, which can be a vital force for improving bilateral economic relations

To view the full essay, please click here.


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

New U.S. Sanctions Targeting Russia Under CAATSA

New U.S. Sanctions Targeting Russia Under The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)

A Non-CLE, Off-the-Record Program
Proudly Presented by
The D.C. Bar International Law Community
In Cooperation With
The ABA Section of International Law and The Association of Women in International Trade

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Teleconference with In-Person Option

Baker McKenzie
815 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

Lunch will be provided for in-person attendees.

On August 2, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Among other things, the CAATSA imposes new sanctions on Russia that the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have been tasked with implementing. During this off-the-record program, officials from the State Department and the Treasury Department will discuss actions that are being taken to implement and enforce the new U.S. sanctions targeting Russia under the CAATSA.


Sandra Oudkirk
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counter Threat Finance & Sanctions, U.S. Department of State

Michael Dobson
Senior Sanctions Policy Advisor, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. Department of the Treasury


Alexandre Lamy
Senior Associate, Baker McKenzie

Olesya Sidorkina
Vice Chair, D.C. Bar International Law Community

To attend this program in person or via teleconference

EU and EU Member State Trade Controls Compliance for North American Companies – Reach Out Summit

This summit will be unique in bringing US, EU and EU Member States Regulators together with senior trade compliance executives both from the EU and North America for two days to network, discuss and inform.

The program will look at policy from a general EU and key Member States perspective and how this impacts North American importers and exporters. Plus key insights into how the EU works in conjunction with EU Member States.

Tired of attending conferences full of hot air and little substance with speaker lists acting as delegates? Nielsonsmith does things differently. Our tried and tested model is unique in the conference industry with expert speakers giving in-depth presentations to a room full of peers, there to discuss debate and enter into dialogue. Often lively and always informative, our conferences break the old age ‘death by power point’ cycle of dull box-ticking and ensure that our delegates, speakers and sponsors leave with new perspectives and networks.

Click here to request a brochure or to submit a registration form

WIIT Members can receive a discounted conference ticket. Click here for discount instructions



7th Global Economic Summit on Global Value Chains

7th Global Economic Summit on Global Value Chains: Accelerating MSME Growth, Development and Sustainability

Dates: February 22-24, 2018

Location: Mumbai, India

World Trade Centre Mumbai and All India Association of Industries invite WIIT members to participate in a forum exploring the ways international trade is increasingly being driven by trade in value added goods and intermediate goods as well as trade in services. Witnessing the rise of Global Value Chains (GVCs), stakeholders in developing countries typically want to see their countries more involved in value chains and moving to value-added activities within the chains over time. This phenomenon is fostering integration of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in value chains. The 7th edition of the Global Economic Summit will stimulate a multi-dimensional discussion on the opportunities and challenges for SMEs in connecting with the global value chains and the importance of women entrepreneurs and their contribution to economic development in a global context.

To learn more, visit www.ges2018.com or contact mktg1@wtcmumbai.org.

Georgetown Law’s Institute of International Economic Law 12th Global Trade Academy

Legal Foundations and New Directions: the WTO & Beyond in an Era of Globalization Backlash

Date: November 13-17, 2017

Venue: Georgetown Law, Gewirz Building, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW

The Global Trade Academy is a pillar of IIEL’s Executive Education curriculum with over a decade of experience in training government, NGO, international organization and private sector leaders the world over.  The 2017 Academy examines the legal foundations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its agreements, with a deep dive into the most cutting-edge global trade issues of the day and a focus on trade in an era of globalization backlash.

Until Friday, November 3, WIIT members receive an early bird discount if you specifically reference your WIIT membership when registering.

Global Trade Academy Brochure, Further Details & Program Online

Celebrating the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention at 20, the FCPA at 40 & Addressing the Challenges Ahead


Celebrating the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention at 20, the FCPA at 40 & Addressing the Challenges Ahead

The 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act paved the way for the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention requiring major exporting nations to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business.  Global enforcement has ratcheted up, spurring enhanced compliance.  As a result, bribery from a number of countries has been reduced in international trade and investment.  Yet, challenges remain, including securing consistent vigorous global enforcement and addressing solicitation, kleptocracy, and opaque offshore vehicles misused to hide illicit assets. What has been accomplished so far, and what is planned for the future in the fight against corruption in international business?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017  |  8:30-11:00 am

American University Washington College of Law
Claudio Grossman Hall, 4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW Washington DC


Stuart Eizenstat
Former Domestic Policy Advisor, President Carter, & U.S. Ambassador to the EU, Under Secretary of State & Commerce, Deputy Secretary of Treasury

Ambassador Eizenstat heads the firm’s international practice.  His work at Covington focuses on resolving international trade problems and business disputes with the US and foreign governments, and international business transactions and regulations on behalf of US companies and others around the world.

During a decade and a half of public service in three US administrations, Ambassador Eizenstat has held a number of key senior positions, including chief White House domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981); U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration (1993-2001).

During the Clinton Administration, he had a prominent role in the development of key international initiatives, including the negotiations of the Transatlantic Agenda with the European Union (establishing what remains of the framework for the US relationship with the EU); the development of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) among European and US CEOs; the negotiation of agreements with the European Union regarding the Helms-Burton Act and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act; the negotiation of the Japan Port Agreement with the Japanese government; and the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, where he led the US delegation.

Much of the interest in providing belated justice for victims of the Holocaust and other victims of Nazi tyranny during World War II was the result of his leadership of the Clinton Administration as Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State on Holocaust-Era Issues.  He successfully negotiated major agreements with the Swiss, Germans, Austrian and French, and other European countries, covering restitution of property, payment for slave and forced laborers, recovery of looted art, bank accounts, and payment of insurance policies.  His book on these events, Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II, has been favorably received in publications like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Business Week, and Publisher’s Weekly.  It has been translated into German, French, Czech and Hebrew.

Ambassador Eizenstat has received eight honorary doctorate degrees from universities and academic institutions.  He has been awarded high civilian awards from the governments of France (Legion of Honor), Germany, Austria, and Belgium, as well as from Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers.  In 2007, he was named “The Leading Lawyer in International Trade” in Washington, DC by Legal Times.  His articles appear in The New York Times, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy magazine, and Foreign Affairs magazine, on a variety of international and domestic topics.  Ambassador Eizenstat grew up and was educated in the public schools of Atlanta.  He is a Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and of Harvard Law School. He is married to Frances Eizenstat and has two sons and eight grandchildren.

John P. Cronan
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Justice

John Cronan serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. In that capacity, John assists the Assistant Attorney General in the supervision of the Criminal Division’s more than 600 federal prosecutors who conduct investigations and prosecutions involving fraud, FCPA violations, public corruption, cybercrime, intellectual property, organized and transnational crime, money laundering, child exploitation, and other matters. John also assists in the supervision of international matters, including the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, which handles mutual legal assistance requests and extraditions for the United States.

Prior to his current role as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, John supervised the national security unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan from May 2014 through August 2017. In that capacity, John supervised the investigation and prosecution of many defendants suspected of terrorism offenses, espionage, international narcotics trafficking, and international money laundering. Among other cases, John supervised the investigation and prosecution of Ahmed Rahimi, who was convicted of detonating a bomb in New York City in September 2016 and other terrorism offenses, as well as the investigation and prosecution of several other individuals for supporting ISIS. As a trial attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office, John prosecuted a wide-array of criminal and national security cases, including terrorism, export, and narcotics trafficking offenses. John prosecuted the terrorism trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, Usama Bin Laden’s son-in-law and a senior member of al Qaeda who served as the terrorist organization’s spokesperson after the September 11th terrorism attacks. John also prosecuted and convicted Abu Hamza al-Masri, a London-based terrorist leader who orchestrated global acts of terror; Faisal Shahzad for the attempted bombing of Times Square in May 2010; and several other defendants who provided support to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

John graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law and Policy Review. John clerked for the Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Drago Kos
Chair, OECD Working Group on Bribery

Mr. Drago Kos is the Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions. He used to be Commissioner and Chair of the Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) in Afghanistan. Between 2003 and 2011 he was the Chairman of the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). Between 2004 and 2010 he was the first Chairman of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption in Slovenia. He also used to be a Co-Chair of European Partners against Corruption. He used to be a soccer player and UEFA/FIFA referee and is now a UEFA/FIFA referee observer.

Daniel Claman
Principal Deputy Chief, Money Laundering & Asset Recovery Section, Department of Justice

Since 1998, Mr. Claman has specialized in international money laundering and forfeiture for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department, where he serves as Principal Deputy Chief of the International Unit of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section. He leads a team of attorneys responsible for the Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which litigates to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption. He participated as a U.S. negotiator for the Asset Recovery Chapter of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, has served as the legal expert on two Financial Action Task Force mutual evaluations, and has chaired the forfeiture working group of the OAS Experts Group on Money Laundering. Prior to joining the Criminal Division, Mr. Claman served as a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade & Financial Services, U.S. Council for International Business

Eva Hampl coordinates USCIB work on investment and financial policy issues. She is responsible for issues management, policy development, secretariat support to relevant USCIB committees and participating in membership development activities. Before joining USCIB in 2014, Hampl completed a GE fellowship in its Global Government Affairs and Policy division. Prior to her fellowship she served as a trade associate with the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.

Hampl also interned with the Trade Section of the Delegation of the EU to the United States, and she served as a law clerk to the Connecticut Superior Court. She has experience in investment and trade issues and has done research on transparency in WTO dispute settlement and investor-state arbitration under investment treaties. She holds a master’s of law in international and comparative law from The George Washington University Law School and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School.

Brooks Hickman
Analyst, OECD Anti-Corruption Division

BROOKS HICKMAN, as a member of the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Division, supports the Working Group on Bribery as it conducts peer-review evaluations to monitor the implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.  He is one of the main authors of the OECD’s 2016 stocktaking report, The Liability of Legal Persons for Foreign Bribery, which systematically compares the legal frameworks that the Working Group on Bribery’s members can use to hold companies liable for foreign bribery.

Before joining the Division, Mr. Hickman worked for a US law firm on commercial and investment arbitrations as well as white-collar criminal matters, including internal investigation and due diligence matters for companies subject to the US FCPA and the UK Bribery Act.  He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia and Virginia in the United States and is eligible to join the Barreau de Paris in France.

Heather Lowe
Legal Counsel & Director of Government Affairs, Global Financial Integrity

Heather Lowe serves as Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity, serving as both Legal Counsel for the organization while also spearheading GFI’s advocacy efforts in the U.S. and internationally. Ms. Lowe is active in the anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, and international tax reform communities, coordinating with civil society, government officials, and intergovernmental organizations in a variety of countries to promote policies to curtail illicit financial flows. Beginning in 2010, she was one of two civil society representatives participating in industry consultations on the international anti-money laundering guidelines known as the FATF Recommendations (recently opened to wider participation), has been actively involved in the OECD’s BEPS initiative, the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Working Group, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council on Transparency and Anti-Corruption. Her work with GFI has taken her to more than 35 countries.

Ms. Lowe is a leader within the civil society community working on illicit financial flows, serving as Vice Chair of the global Financial Transparency Coalition and as a member of the Steering Committee of the U.S.-focused Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition. She has presented at numerous international conferences and webinars on money laundering, corruption, and offshore tax evasion and avoidance. She is frequently quoted in mainstream press, such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, Reuters, and Bloomberg, and has appeared as a guest on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business News, the BBC, and RT TV, as well as various radio programs including several appearances on National Public Radio.

Ms. Lowe brings international legislative expertise and banking and finance law experience to her role, having worked as an aide to a British Member of the European Parliament in Brussels and as a banking and finance attorney at both Clifford Chance LLP in London and Bingham McCutchen LLP in Boston.

Leo Tsao

Assistant Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division, Department of Justice

Mr. Tsao is an Assistant Chief in the Fraud Section, Criminal Division, at the United States Department of Justice, where he supervises, investigates and prosecutes cases under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act against individuals and corporations. He also works closely with foreign law enforcement authorities on anti-corruption case and policy matters, including representing the Department of Justice at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Anti-Corruption Working Group. Prior to joining the Criminal Division, Mr. Tsao spent eight years as a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he prosecuted a variety of complex cases, including public corruption, securities fraud and narcotics trafficking. Mr. Tsao spent also spent five years at law firms in New York City and Washington, D.C., and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert Boochever for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Tsao received his law degree magna cum laude from Cornell Law School.

CLE credit will be available.

Registration is free but required.
Please go to: https://www.wcl.american.edu/secle/cle_form.cfm or email secle@wcl.american.edu


WIIT’s Anti-Corruption and Corporate Social Responsibility Program Section is Co-Chaired by: Kathryn Nickerson, U.S. Department of Commerce, Saskia Zandieh, Miller & Chevalier








U.S.-Indonesia Women’s CEO Summit

The US-ASEAN Business Council and the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce are pleased to invite you to the inaugural U.S.-Indonesia Women’s CEO Summit.

The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Indonesia is growing in geopolitical importance in both commercial and political sectors. Women now play key roles in Indonesia’s transformation from an aid dependent nation, to a 21st century entrepreneurial economic powerhouse. The position of the Indonesian woman is rapidly evolving from typically traditional to currently consequential. As women take leadership roles leading to major changes in the world’s largest Muslim country, challenges remain.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
08:00 AM – 02:30 PM

The Ritz Carlton
1150 22nd St, NW
Washington, DC 20037

As a cooperating organization, USABC Members may purchase a ticket at a reduced rate using the above link

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sri Mulyani Indrawati
Minister of Finance, The Republic of Indonesia


Confirmed Speakers

The US-Indonesia Women’s CEO Summit will bring together C-Suite women from both private sectors for a series of lively, open, and uniquely personal conversations focused on how they did it, how they do it and how they are planning for the future. We look forward to seeing you at this conference.

Please contact Artha Sirait at asirait@usasean.org and Mini Meraxa at mini@aiccusa.org with any questions.


9th Annual Global Services Summit

The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) is delighted to support The Coalition of Services Industries’ (CSI) annual Global Services Summit, a one-day event which brings together more than 300 key senior trade officials, policy makers, and business leaders from around the world to discuss current international trade issues, with specific interest in services. This year, the theme focuses on exploring the changing landscape of international trade and the core role that the U.S. plays in establishing the global rules of trade, highlighting the growth and benefits that services industries provide to the domestic and international economy. CSI is the primary policy advocacy association that works on behalf of the U.S. based global services industries in the areas of trade and investment in services.


Roberto Azevêdo
Director-General of the WTO

Wilbur Ross
Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce

Laura Lane
President of Global Public Affairs, UPS

And many more!

Tuesday, October 17. 2017
8:30 AM – 6:00 PM EDT

Grand Hyatt Hotel
1000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Nearest Metros: Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown

Please direct questions to Hera Abbasi: abbasi@uscsi.org





NAFTA: A Success Story for ADM and American Agriculture

Originally Published in the Fall 2017  WIIT Communique.

By Lorraine Riffle Hawley, Director for International Government Relations, Archer Daniels Midland Company

For more than a century, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has transformed crops into products that serve the vital needs of a growing world. Today, we’re one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, with more than 32,000 employees serving customers in more than 160 countries. With a global value chain that includes 428 crop procurement locations, 250 ingredient manufacturing facilities, 38 innovation centers and the world’s premier crop transportation network, we connect the harvest to the home, making products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses.

As our company moves food, feed and energy products from areas of production to those of consumption, we benefit from trade agreements that provide duty free access and ensure efficient movement of products across borders. Here in North America, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) represents one of the single most important trade agreements for our industry.

This regional trade agreement, which was implemented over 23 years ago, knit together the agricultural markets of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and enabled all three of our countries and our citizens to benefit from a complementary suite of food and agriculture output at largely zeroed tariffs. For our company, NAFTA deepened what was already an important relationship with both countries.

ADM has had a presence in Mexico for 60 years. Our company has made significant investments in Mexico and today handles a third of all agriculture imports into the country. ADM’s success in Mexico has been dependent upon key provisions with NAFTA. Reduction in tariffs and quotas in the Mexican corn market has led to increased market share for U.S. producers like ADM, and because of NAFTA the U.S. holds a dominant 52 percent share of the Mexican corn market—and 97 percent of Mexican corn imports come from the U.S. These exports are key for the Mexican agriculture economy since Mexico does not produce enough grains and oilseeds to meet domestic demand.

In Canada, ADM sources, stores, transports and processes crops such as wheat and oilseeds at a total of 42 facilities manned by more than 1,000 employees. These operations include wheat mills and bakery mix plants; oilseeds crushing plants and refineries; grain elevators; and plants that blend fertilizer and manufacture animal feed and feed ingredients. NAFTA has essentially created an integrated and interlocking marketplace for U.S. and Canadian food manufacturers, farmers and ranchers—and U.S. consumers benefit from the co-production of processed foods such as pet food, bakery products, breakfast cereals and pasta as well as wheat products.[1]

The depth and breadth of our business in both countries would not be possible without NAFTA. And it is not just ADM that has benefited from our integrated food and agriculture trade relationship. Farmers, ranchers, and consumers in each of our three countries have been winners, and our sector represents one of NAFTA’s greatest success stories.

Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. food and agriculture exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled—growing from $11 billion in 1993 to over $43 billion in 2016. In addition, the share of U.S. food and agricultural exports destined for Canada and Mexico grew from 19 percent in 1993 to 28 percent in 2016.[2] Because of the trade boon that NAFTA spurred, our industry grew to support 21 million full and part time on farm jobs. We also saw enormous growth in food and agriculture manufacturing. Today our industry employs about 2.1 million people and represents the single largest source of employment in U.S. manufacturing. Because of NAFTA, U.S. food and agriculture jobs and manufacturing centers did not leave America; they were created, expanded, and have flourished here at home.

NAFTA has been a source of economic opportunity in America’s heartland. The jobs and centers of food and agriculture output created by NAFTA have played a critical role in boosting incomes for millions of U.S. farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, and the opportunities derived from NAFTA continue to provide critical export markets that benefit America’s rural communities.

So, you’re probably asking “what does a NAFTA renegotiation mean for our industry and for the millions in America’s heartland who depend upon it for continued economic opportunity?” Well, we see the chance to create more opportunities.

NAFTA is now over 23 years old and due for updates that can improve the agreement while preserving its core benefits.

To start with, there are ways to improve the agreement through the removal of remaining tariffs, quotas, and non-tariff barriers. ADM and other agriculture industry stakeholders are asking for the inclusion of newer “21st century” provisions that can make trade more efficient and less costly for our industry. For example, we are advocating for more modern sanitary phyto-sanitary provisions (SPS) that can eliminate or expedite disputes when there are shipment delays for perishable agriculture products. One of the key provisions in a modernized SPS chapter would be a “rapid response mechanism” to address border delays and ensure that disputes are resolved expeditiously.

There are also significant gains that can be made by modernizing and adding to NAFTA’s energy chapter. ADM is one of the world’s largest ethanol producers, and we have seen firsthand how the energy landscape has changed dramatically over the last two decades. A NAFTA modernization represents a key moment to achieve regulatory convergence for renewable fuels, particularly E10 blended gasoline.

Finally, through the re-negotiation process, our negotiating teams can take into account the suite of technological advances that have been made over the last 20 years. Including provisions for e-commerce and electronic certification and allowing technology to drive more advanced customs procedures can make trade across our borders more efficient and seamless.

These are just some of the ways we can build upon the existing benefits of NAFTA and promote continued opportunities for American agriculture.

ADM is proud to be a part of the NAFTA success story and of our work across the NAFTA bloc to provide reliable, affordable and safe supplies of food, feed and renewable fuels. As NAFTA negotiations are ongoing, we acknowledge the great success that our company and our industry have enjoyed because of this important trade agreement—and we support efforts that will allow NAFTA to transition into the 21st century so that it can provide even more and better opportunities for America’s heartland.

1 U.S. Department of Agriculture
2 U.S. Census Bureau

About the Author: Lorraine Riffle Hawley is Director for International Government Relations for Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and is based in ADM’s Washington, D.C. government relations office.

She joined ADM in August 2011, and in her capacity as Director for International Government Relations, manages global government relations for ADM.

Prior to joining ADM, Ms.Hawley held several government relations positions at Chevron Corporation from 2002 until 2011 where she managed portfolios including those related to Africa, Europe, and Asia. While at Chevron, Hawley was nominated to participate in the U.S. Department of State Franklin Fellows Program. While serving as a Franklin Fellow, Hawley worked in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs Office of Economic Policy.

Ms. Hawley represents ADM as Co-Chair of the U.S. China Agriculture and Food Partnership. She also serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Poland Business Council and as a founding member and member of the board of directors of the American Romanian Business Council and Chair of the American Central Eastern European Business Association. Hawley joined the Board of Directors of the International Student House in December 2015.

In 2012, Ms. Hawley was appointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to serve on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Customs Matters and Trade Facilitation. The industry advisors serving on the ITACs provide valuable input as the Administration advances its trade agenda to improve economic opportunities for America’s businesses, workers, and consumers.

Ms. Hawley graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is a recipient of the University of Georgia’s “40 Under 40” award—an award presented by the University to outstanding young alumni.


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

What Rules of Origin Mean for North American Competitiveness

Originally Published in the Fall 2017  WIIT Communique. A similar version recently appeared on Above The Fold, the Chamber’s online platform.

By Jodi Hanson Bond, Senior Vice President, Americas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

A few weeks ago, trade negotiators from Canada, Mexico, and the United States wrapped up the first round of negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Negotiators met over the course of the five-day round to discuss 18 of the agreement’s potentially 30 chapters, but public focus centered on the opening remarks delivered by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer:

This is an historic day for the United States. Today, for the first time, we will start negotiating to revise a major free trade agreement. American politicians have been promising to renegotiate NAFTA for years, but today President Trump is going to fulfill those promises.

During the public forum, Amb. Lighthizer reaffirmed President Trump’s view that the NAFTA “needs major improvement,” and he stressed one issue in particular, saying, “Rules of origin, particularly on autos and auto parts, must require higher NAFTA content and substantial U.S. content.”

What does this mean, exactly? As negotiated, the current NAFTA mandates stringent rules of origin on products that seek to qualify for duty-free access into North American markets. For example, in the automotive sector, 62.5 percent of a car or truck must be produced in North America to qualify for duty-free treatment.

The U.S. administration is aiming to increase this percentage in an attempt to drive further production to North America.

Mexico and Canada have reservations about this approach. Amb. Lighthizer’s Mexican counterpart, Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, indicated,

It’s not good for American companies, it’s not good for Mexican companies. So I think that we should find other policy tools to really incentivize investment in our countries.

Minister Chrystia Freeland of Canada added,

We’re also very aware of the extreme complexity of rules of origin, and it’s going to be very important from the Canadian perspective to take very great care in any changes which are made to ensure they don’t disrupt supply chains. It’s a conversation we go into with goodwill and real interest in.

Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal editorialized, changes to the NAFTA’s rules of origin chapter could adversely impact North American competitiveness.

NAFTA’s rules of origin are currently the highest of any of the world’s free trade agreements, and even a modest increase may lead companies to reduce North American content as they opt to simply pay lower tariffs set forth by the World Trade Organization instead.

As the American Automotive Policy Council outlined in their submission to the USTR on the modernization of NAFTA, tighter rules of origin could:

  1. Stunt Export Growth: “As costs increase for U.S. automakers through less efficient source, those costs will be passed on to consumers. Foreign manufacturers located outside of the NAFTA region will not see their costs rise in the same fashion as U.S. automakers. This will give foreign automakers the competitive edge.”
  2. Challenge Producers to Meet Standards & Preferences: “Meeting different foreign auto standards and preferences, which deviate from the typical NAFTA market configuration, can be very expensive, especially for low volume exports. Meeting these needs may require auto parts made only in markets outside the NAFTA region (i.e. small diesel engines and manual transmissions for EU markets). Access to the most cost-competitive inputs to meet the unique and different requirements and consumer preferences from outside the NAFTA region helps keep the U.S. competitive in foreign markets.”
  3. Increase imports: “If a higher… (percentage) increases the cost of domestic automakers by a level greater than the U.S. import tariff, auto imports would then be provided a comparative advantage, thus incentivizing imports over domestically built cars.” Each of these outcomes could jeopardize investment, job creation, production, and economic competitiveness in North America– but there are steps negotiators could take to avoid those upshots.

First, the negotiators should focus on simplifying the NAFTA’s rules of origin, which are often too complex for the global supply chains that are essential to production. Officials from the three countries should consider whether steps can be taken to ease the administrative burden of rules-of-origin compliance.

Second, a modernized NAFTA should encourage more effective regulatory cooperation on future standards to avoid unnecessary divergence. Regulatory streamlining across the region will further facilitate trade and reduce unnecessary costs and administrative burdens.

Finally, negotiators should take care to ensure that our manufacturers are able to move data freely across borders to enable them to compete fairly to serve customers in North America and around the world.

As the Chamber has said before, we strongly believe the modernization of the NAFTA is a reasonable and achievable goal. However, ideas like raising the percentage in the rules of origin chapter is one reason companies regard these negotiations with trepidation that the outcome could endanger the rules that have made North America the most competitive place in the world.

About the Author: Jodi Hanson Bond is senior vice president of the Americas, International Affairs Division, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Her portfolio includes executive management of the U.S.-Argentina Business Council, the Brazil-U.S. Business Council, the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, and the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean (AACCLA). Bond is also President of the Chamber’s U.S.-Colombia and U.S.-Cuba Business Councils.

Prior to joining the Chamber, Ms. Bond was vice president of Global Government Relations and Country Management for the Motorola Corporation. Before that, she was appointed deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy and held positions with the law firms of Hopkins & Sutter and Foley & Lardner, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Washington State House of Representatives.

Ms. Bond holds a B.A. in politics from Whitman College and an M.A. in government from Johns Hopkins University. She studied comparative and international politics at the University of London. Bond serves on the Board of Directors of Fifth Street Asset Management (NASDAQ: FSAM), and Refugees International. She is also a member of the Economic Club of Washington and Women Corporate Directors.


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

To boost U.S. manufacturers, reworked NAFTA should promote the free flow of data

Originally Published in the Fall 2017  WIIT Communique.

By Yuri Unno, Director, International Trade Policy, Toyota Motors North America

When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994, lowering trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the Internet was in its infancy. Negotiators were rightly focused on tariffs and non-tariff barriers — not the free flow of digital data.

By lowering traditional trade barriers, NAFTA transformed the North American automotive market. Manufacturers such as Toyota responded by building vehicles at highly productive U.S. factories and distributing them across the region. Toyota’s U.S. operations, which support more than 136,000 jobs in the United States, have a trade surplus with Mexico to this day.

With the Trump administration now calling for a renegotiation of NAFTA, it is time to update the agreement with the free flow of digital data that the 21st century economy demands.

In the globally competitive automotive industry, America’s leadership in data science is a critical advantage for manufacturers such as Toyota, which built 1.4 million cars and trucks in the U.S. in 2016 and exported its vehicles to 34 countries. When countries restrict transfers of data to the U.S., they effectively prevent America from making the most of its advantage.

On July 17, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released a 17-page document outlining the Trump administration’s approach to overhauling NAFTA. The plan calls for rules that would prevent NAFTA countries from limiting cross-border data flows, requiring the use of local data centers or mandating the disclosure of digital source code.

These protections are clearly important for Internet companies that rely on customer data. But they are increasingly critical for automotive suppliers and manufacturers as well.

We agree with Cummins, the Indiana-based engine maker, which explained the importance of this issue during a July 18 hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Tom Linebarger, the CEO of Cummins, noted that the company now collects telematics data from engines in the field to assess their performance and make improvements. Restricting the transfer of telematics data is effectively a restriction on American innovation.

With the digitalization of the economy, “our ability to compete freely and not to be restricted by where we have to keep data and how we have to gather data will become more and more important,” Linebarger said. “Every manufacturer – it’s not just going to be computer companies and banks – is going to be worried about that.”

Telematics is just one example of why data transfers are so critical to the U.S. auto industry.

Toyota operates 14 manufacturing plants in North America, including ten in the United States, two in Mexico, and two in Canada. We anticipate investing an additional $10 billion in our U.S. operations over next five years. And many of the cars we assemble in the U.S. go to Mexico and Canada, which are vibrant and growing markets for our U.S.-built cars and trucks.

Because we have employees, customers and suppliers in all three countries, we rely on data transfers for vehicle service, marketing, sales, financing, human resources and more.

We are troubled to see more and more countries imposing such restrictions. That includes Mexico, which passed a law in 2010 restricting cross-data border flows and making it more difficult for us to access data on our Mexican customers, employees and business partners.

A renegotiation of NAFTA would be a perfect opportunity to create a template for a modern trade agreement that recognizes the importance of free data flows.

Digital trade was a major emphasis during the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The renegotiation of NAFTA presents another chance to create state-of-the-art protections for cross-border data flows that can be applied in future agreements.

Taken as a whole, the original NAFTA deal allowed Toyota to establish an integrated North American supply chain to support U.S. factories. Most vehicles assembled in Mexico contain extensive U.S. content, while U.S.-built vehicles often contain Mexican and Canadian parts.

This is a reason to take caution in the renegotiation. We believe changes to the rules of origin in NAFTA would be hugely disruptive, endangering the American jobs that support our supply chain. For the same reason, we strongly believe that NAFTA should remain a trilateral agreement. However, we also recognize that NAFTA is more than 20 years old and could benefit from being updated and modernized to incorporate state-of-the-art provisions.

We at Toyota stand ready to support USTR’s efforts to make NAFTA a better and stronger agreement that supports U.S. automotive manufacturing and jobs. Improved protections for cross-border data transfers would be the perfect place to start.

About the Author: Yuri Unno represents interests of Toyota on trade issues in front of the Executive Branch and to Congress, as well as Embassies in Washington and other key diplomatic places such as Geneva.
She also provides creative and precise advice and analysis to the company executives on international
issues that could affect Toyota’s U.S. and global operations.

Prior to joining Toyota in 1999, she worked as an Asia Analyst at G7 Group, a consulting firm providing policy analysis affecting financial investment. She wrote an analytical piece on the Japanese financial market, Nikkei and Yen trends for daily briefings, and managed publication of Japanese daily briefings to the international clients.

Ms. Unno received a Master of Arts from the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and Bachelor of Arts with honors in Political Science from Penn State Erie, the Behrend College.


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Modernizing Trade Agreements for the 21st Century

Originally Published in the Fall 2017  WIIT Communique.

By Chris Padilla, Vice President, IBM Government and Regulatory Affairs

Much has changed in the world since NAFTA was enacted over twenty years ago, and the stunning growth of the internet and e-commerce is perhaps the most striking development in international trade. In 1994 when the agreement took effect, less than one percent of the world’s population had access to the internet. Today, that figure is close to fifty percent, with over 3.5 billion internet users worldwide.[1] Moreover, from 2005 to 2014, global data flows grew by 45 times.[2] The digital revolution has enabled American businesses large and small to compete in ways that no one could have expected when NAFTA was first negotiated. As the global economy continues to evolve in this new digital era, governments must modernize trade agreements to address new threats to open markets, innovation and growth.

Modernizing trade agreements in the 21st century will require a focus on a new type of trade – on digital trade – on the ability of businesses and individuals to deliver products and services online and to manage their global business operations by moving data freely around the world. IBM strongly agrees with the administration’s recognition of the importance of digital trade for creating jobs and economic growth opportunities in the United States. We also strongly support making digital trade a major objective in the recently launched negotiations with Canada and Mexico.

Digital trade is not just a priority for the tech sector. All businesses that operate globally across all industries – from banks, to airlines, to manufacturers – rely on the free flow of data. The ability to use the internet to reach customers in markets around the world is especially important for small- and medium-sized enterprises that would otherwise miss out on these opportunities. Digital trade enables start-ups and small businesses, including the IBM ecosystem partners around the world who are using the IBM Cloud to embed Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities in their products.

In order to ensure that U.S. companies of all sizes can compete in this new era, the administration is pursuing strong digital trade provisions in a modernized NAFTA. This will ensure that data can flow freely across borders without burdensome requirements that limit opportunity and stifle innovation. It would prohibit the NAFTA partners from enacting arbitrary requirements for storing data locally, which can be particularly burdensome for small businesses. It also could enable broader cooperation on critical priorities like cybersecurity, and establish strong protections for software source code, algorithms and other valuable intellectual property. Strong digital trade provisions in a modernized NAFTA will also set a new, high standard for future trade agreements.

Digital trade also supports good new jobs. At IBM, much of our employment and revenue growth in the United States is in new areas based on data-driven innovation, such as artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and cloud-based solutions. We have thousands of job openings throughout the U.S in the areas of cloud computing, cyber-security, mobile technologies, and many others. These jobs depend on the ability of IBM to collect, transfer, process and store data across borders to serve our clients around the world.

The Benefits of NAFTA

NAFTA has brought many benefits to the U.S. economy – from manufacturing, to agriculture, to services. A modernized NAFTA can ensure that the benefits of NAFTA will continue to grow as digital commerce accounts for a growing share of our trade with Mexico and Canada.

Here are a few of the highlights of how NAFTA has enabled our economy so far:

  • Trade between our countries supports 14 million jobs in the United States.[3]
  • Canadians and Mexicans purchased $445 billion of U.S. manufactured goods in 2016, generating $37,000 in export revenue for every American factory worker.[4]
  • Under NAFTA, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38 billion in 2015.[5]
  • U.S. farms and ranches supply nearly 60% of Canadian agricultural imports.[6]
  • The U.S. services sector enjoys a significant trade surplus with both Canada ($27b) and Mexico ($9.6b).[7]
  • This is also the case when looking at the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. In 2015, the U.S. had an ICT services trade surplus of $635m with Canada, and a surplus of $826m with Mexico.[8]
  • From 1999 to 2015, the United States quadrupled its bilateral services trade surplus with Canada and doubled that with Mexico.[9]

Digital Trade Objectives for Modernizing NAFTA

While IBM supports the negotiation of a comprehensive trade agreement that covers the full range of trade issues covered in NAFTA and other U.S. agreements, we would like to highlight here a subset of those issues that are particularly important for enabling digital trade opportunities for American businesses and their workers.

  • Ensure the ability to transfer data across borders to conduct and manage business.
  • Prohibit parties from requiring local storage or processing of data as a condition of doing business in the country.
  • Ensure that companies do not have to share source code, algorithms, trade secrets or other intellectual property as a condition of market access.
  • Prohibit governments from imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions, including content transmitted electronically.
  • Ensure that U.S.-origin digital products, including software, receive non-discriminatory treatment relative to domestic-origin digital products in the partner countries.
  • Ensure that companies are not required to purchase and use local technology instead of technology of their own choosing.
  • Protect the use of encryption to meet consumer and business demand for product features that protect security and privacy while allowing law enforcement access to communications consistent with applicable law.

IBM, Trade and NAFTA

IBM is a global technology and innovation company headquartered in Armonk, New York. It is the largest technology and consulting employer in the world, with 380,000 employees serving clients in 175 countries. IBM’s expertise is in the intersection of technology and business, providing cognitive computing and cloud-based solutions that are changing the way the world works. IBM invests more than $5 billion each year in R&D and, for 24 consecutive years, has earned more U.S. patents than any other organization.

IBM’s operations around the world support manufacturing, software development, engineering, research, consulting and services jobs in the United States. From our founding over a century ago, IBM’s growth and success has depended on the ability to bring innovations to new markets. Today, about two-thirds of IBM’s revenues come from outside our original home market here in the United States.

Open markets and trade are essential to the success of IBM’s U.S.-based employees and clients – and to the success of each and every business across the U.S. economy. The negotiation of a modernized NAFTA will ensure that IBM and many other U.S.-based companies will be able to pursue growth opportunities in Canada and Mexico while establishing an important model for broader international digital trade rules.

1 United Nations, International Telecommunications Union. Time series of International ICT Data.
2 McKinsey Global Institute: “Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows.” March 2016.
3 U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “The Facts on NAFTA: Assessing Two Decades of Gains in Trade, Growth, and Jobs.” March 8, 2017.
4 U.S. CEO Letter to President Trump regarding NAFTA Modernization – dated May 25, 2017. (paywall link).
5 Ibid
6 U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “The Facts on NAFTA: Assessing Two Decades of Gains in Trade, Growth, and Jobs.” March 8, 2017.
7 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. International Data: U.S. Trade in Services. Release date: December 19, 2017
8 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. International Data: U.S. Trade in ICT and Potentially ICT-Enabled Services, by Country or Affiliation. Release date: December 19, 2016. Note: data only includes ICT services.
9 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. International Data: U.S. Trade in Services, by Type of Service and by Country or Affiliation. Release date: December 19, 2016

About the Author: Christopher A. Padilla has been Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs at IBM since April, 2009. He heads the company’s global government affairs function, leading a team of professionals in thirty-nine countries.

Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Padilla served as Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce, working to develop U.S. trade policy, promoting and reviewing foreign direct investment in the United States, supporting U.S. exports, and ensuring compliance with trade agreements and trade laws. Before serving as Under Secretary, he was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, where he was responsible for U.S. controls on items limited for export for national security reasons. From 2005-2006, he served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick. From 2002-2005, he was an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative, responsible for building public support for U.S. trade agreements. Mr. Padilla worked for more than fifteen years in the private sector prior to his government service, holding a variety of positions in marketing, business development, and government affairs at AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Eastman Kodak Company.

Mr. Padilla holds both a B.A. and an M.A. in international studies from Johns Hopkins University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He serves on the boards of the Information Technology Industry Council, the Council of the Americas, the US-India Business Council, and the YMCA of the USA. 


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

The Intangible Value of NAFTA

Originally Published in the Fall 2017  WIIT Communique.

By Karen N. Antebi, Economic Counselor for the Trade and NAFTA Office, Embassy of Mexico, Washington, D.C

A little more than three decades ago, after years of recurrent crises under a closed import-substitution model, Mexico changed its paradigm for growth and development. In 1986 Mexico jointed the GATT, but it was the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that truly marked the turning point. Since then, the agreement has anchored Mexico’s commitment to sound macroeconomic policies and free trade.

The Mexico of three decades ago was very different from the Mexico of today. Today, we are focused on actively engaging the global trading system, deepening our economic integration and strengthening the multiple industries that have flourished in global value chains fostered by the agreement.

The importance of NAFTA should not be minimized. It fully liberalized trade in all goods — including all agricultural products. It also liberalized trade in services and investment across the region, and established ground breaking disciplines in government procurement, competition policy, and intellectual property rights. Additionally, it recognized the need for labor and environmental protections. NAFTA became the model for trade negotiations to follow, and ushered in an unprecedented era of economic expansion across the globe.

NAFTA contributed to Mexico’s transformation on at least 3 fronts:

  • First, the agreement expanded trade and investment in ways that far exceeded expectations. It helped modernize Mexico’s productive plant: demonstrating that we can compete and compete successfully in world markets. Mexico went from being completely oil dependent (80%), to a manufacturing powerhouse.
  • Second, NAFTA transformed the U.S.-Mexico relationship from that of a ‘distant neighbor,’ to strategic partners for production and prosperity.
  • Third, and perhaps the most significant intangible contribution of NAFTA is the building transparent and accountable institutions which are key to strengthening the rule of law, empowering civil society, and facilitating an era of democratic reform.

Today, trade represents 63% of Mexico’s GDP. Mexico is the 9th largest importer in the world. And, with total exports reaching $374 billion, it is the 10th largest exporter worldwide and first in Latin America. World-class enterprises benefit from Mexico’s network of free trade agreements that provide preferential access to 46 markets, and view Mexico as a strategic partner in their operations for North America and worldwide. Additionally, Mexico’s ambitious structural reform agenda has undoubtedly set up prospects for higher growth, an expanding middle class, and a better-educated and more productive workforce.

Today, North America is one of the largest free trade area in the world; with a combined GDP of over $20 trillion (28% of world GDP) and almost half a billion people, our economies are profoundly intertwined. Since NAFTA, trade among the three partners quadrupled to reach $1.14 trillion (USD); and fifty percent is intraregional. North America accounts for 18% of worldwide exports, and 17% of the globe’s services trade.

However, the world economy and international trade have changed since NAFTA entered into force 23 years ago. Global competition has increased among regions, with a growing share of emerging markets participating in international trade. Likewise, digital flows, innovation, and knowledge, are driving the new world economy. Hence there is an opportunity to update the agreement.

Mexico is open to building on NAFTA’s success and updating it. Such improvements should rely on further liberalization, deepen economic integration and enhancing North American competitiveness. NAFTA 2.0 negotiations kicked off in Washington, D.C on August 16, and the second round was celebrated in Mexico early September.

Mexico has staked out four pillars to promote a more prosperous partnership in North America. NAFTA 2.0 should:

  • First, strengthen North American competitiveness by promoting greater transparency and regional cooperation in the trade of goods by enhancing customs procedures.
  • Second, foster a more inclusive regional trade and create a level playing field for small-and-medium sized enterprises through increased cooperation among NAFTA countries, anti-corruption measures, improving border infrastructure, harmonizing customs procedures, and incorporating a gender perspective.
  • Third, it should leverage the 21st century economy by capitalizing on synergies in the North American energy market, boosting the digital economy, and promoting the protection of intellectual property as well as access and integration for the financial services and telecommunications sectors.
  • Fourth, provide certainty for North American investment through the modernization of dispute settlement mechanisms, and enhancing the exchange of information between NAFTA countries.

Stakeholders across North America likely agree with these principles, since the sum of the North American partnership is greater than its parts. Only a strong and integrated North America can successfully compete with Asia, and produce benefits in our three countries. As the Wilson Center estimates 40 cents out of every dollar of goods imported from Mexico to the U.S. is actually “Made in USA”, 25 cents out of every dollar of goods that are imported from Canada are USA content, while only four cents out of every dollar from Chinese imports have “Made in USA” content.

Mexico and Canada purchase more manufactured goods from the U.S. than the next 10 countries combined. Together NAFTA partners are each other’s main suppliers. These integrated supply chains create jobs and stimulate economic growth. Mexico has become the United States’ second largest export market and second largest supplier. On average, Mexicans buy from the US twice the amount that Americans buy from Mexico. Given the pace of our growth, Mexico is slated to become the United States’ largest trading partner in the next five years.

An estimated 14 million American jobs depend on trade with NAFTA countries, including more than 5 million directly linked to trade with Mexico. There are nearly 200,000 export-related jobs created annually by NAFTA and export-related jobs pay an average salary of 7% to 15% more than the jobs that do not rely on trade, according to a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Encouragingly, most Americans know the truth behind trade: trade supports jobs, promotes innovation, and provides additional tools to face the challenges of the 21st century. According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ recent report on pro-trade public opinion, a majority of Americans (53%) believe that NAFTA is good for the U.S. economy. This is up from 42% in 2008. For the first time since 2004, a majority (57%) also believe that trade is good for creating U.S. jobs.

Mexico is committed to negotiate constructively to build upon NAFTA success. Working together, we can ensure that North America remains the most competitive and innovative economic region in the world whereby all three North American countries win.

About the Author: Karen Antebi serves as Economic Counselor for the Trade and NAFTA Office at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. where she leads Mexico’s trade advocacy and communication strategies with the US Congress, Administration, and private sector.

Before rejoining the Trade and NAFTA Office at the Embassy of Mexico in 2016, she spent the past three years at BSA |The Software Alliance leading the global license compliance advocacy program to encourage greater awareness of the importance of software compliance and digital risk among the C-Suite, governments and publicly listed companies. She also advocated on international trade and data issues, fair market access in government procurement, IP protection policies, and immigration reform.

As Economic Counselor at the Embassy and, previously, as Chief of Staff to Mexico’s Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Ms. Antebi has coordinated the interests of numerous departments and agencies at the highest levels of government in Mexico, the United States, the European Union, and abroad. She has a deep understanding of government decision-making processes and vast experience in setting a common agenda and securing support for specific policies from government agencies, trade associations, non-profit organizations, private sector leaders and members of the diplomatic community.

Ms. Antebi co-authored with Jaime Zabludovsky, “The Window to Europe: The Mexico–EU Free Trade Agreement” El Nuevo Milenio Mexicano. México: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (2004). She is multicultural and bilingual. Karen holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MA in International Policy Studies from Stanford University.


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

NAFTA: A Proven Model for Fostering Prosperity Through Trade Liberalization

Originally Published in the Fall 2017  WIIT Communique.

By Carrie Goodge O’Brien, Counsellor (Trade Policy), Embassy of Canada, Washington, D.C.

Consider, for a moment, a free trade zone that is the world’s biggest economic powerhouse.

Under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada, the United States and Mexico together encompass a vast economic zone that has under seven percent of the world’s population, but generates over one-quarter of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Since NAFTA came into effect in 1994, eliminating over time most tariffs on trade between the three countries, merchandise trade between them has tripled to some US$1 trillion a year.

Over these past 23 years, the NAFTA partners have created a deeply integrated regional market boasting a collective GDP of US$21.1 trillion and counting 480 million consumers. In 2016, the NAFTA partners accounted for a staggering 16 percent of global merchandise trade.

Canadian economists see the expansion of North American continental trade and investment as an engine of economic growth that has raised living standards for Canadians, Americans and Mexicans alike.

In fact, NAFTA underpins a trilateral trade relationship that is a model of trade liberalization for the world. It supports growth, innovation and well-paying jobs in all three countries. It has strengthened the rules and procedures governing trade and investment.

NAFTA has a proven track record of middle-class job creation. This virtuous circle between free trade and economic growth is a vital one for Canada because we have always been and will always be a trading nation.

Exports of goods and services currently account for about 31 percent of our GDP. Imports are vital inputs for our businesses. They fuel our national production, and provide our consumers with access to an array of products and services at competitive prices.

This trading tradition is no more evident than in the longstanding relationship between Canada and the United States across our 5,525 miles of shared border. Nearly US$2 billion worth of goods and services and some 400,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border every day.

Canadians and Americans cross that border to do business, travel, and see family and friends as part of a unique relationship forged between the two countries by their shared geography and deep, enduring economic and personal connections.

In 2016, Canada and the United States traded US$634.8 billion in goods and services in an exchange that was almost perfectly reciprocal. Almost 9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.

The United States sells more goods to Canada than it does to China, Japan, and the UK combined.

As impressive as the numbers seem, NAFTA is about more than the ramp-up in cross-border trade figures.

As Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chyristia Freeland said in mid-August just before the start of negotiations between Canada, the United States and Mexico on the modernization of NAFTA: “Trade is about people. It’s about creating the best possible conditions for growth, for jobs, for prosperity for individuals and working families.”

Millions of people in Canada, the United States and Mexico earn a living as a direct result of NAFTA. People are putting food on their table; parents are putting their kids through school, in large part because of a job that would conceivably not even exist were it not for trade and investment links that have strengthened under the agreement.

For Canada, NAFTA’s provisions empower our small and medium-sized businesses to seek and find success in new export opportunities outside the country. NAFTA also helps attract foreign investment to Canada. Sustained investment flows from the U.S. into Canada over the past two decades support that point.

In fact, one of NAFTA’s greatest strengths is that it frees up the three partners to make things together, reinforcing the global competitiveness and job-producing capacity of a highly integrated continental economy. Our manufacturers are stronger because of the efficiency of North American regional supply chains that have become vital to their way of doing business.

Pick a North American industrial sector that has an international market presence and you will see NAFTA at work. Vehicle components can cross the Canada-U.S.-Mexico borders several times before leaving the final vehicle assembly plant. The same applies to the materials and components that go into the aircraft we make together. The Canadian and U.S. steel industries are deeply integrated, with significant cross-border operations that make them more productive, efficient and competitive.

As important as NAFTA has been for Canada’s economy and the prosperity of our citizens, the agreement can be improved, including adapting to the profound technological change that is transforming the way we all live and work. From the rapid growth of Internet-based communications, digitization and automation, to the impending emergence of Artificial Intelligence, trade agreements can be updated to incorporate provisions that best allow us to take advantage of these remarkable innovations.

That is why it is essential that Canada is actively engaged with U.S. and Mexican friends to find ways to make this valuable trade agreement even better.

“Canada’s goal is and will remain to modernize NAFTA in a way that upholds Canadians’ interests and values and benefits the middle class and those working hard to join it in all three of our countries,” Minister Freeland said recently in Mexico.

For Canada, this is a practical aspiration based on more than two decades of experience under NAFTA, which has proven that trade liberalization can be a path to prosperity if it’s done right. Over time, Canadians have become supportive of NAFTA and are watching attentively as we take careful steps to improve it.

In August, Minister Freeland announced the formation of an advisory council made up of stakeholders from Indigenous peoples community, labor, business, cultural industries, the agricultural sector, and public life to provide input on the issues.

NAFTA is a complex agreement, and modernizing it will be a challenge. It is one Canada and Canadians are willing and able to take on.

About the Author: Carrie Goodge O’Brien is the Counsellor (Trade Policy) at the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C. In this capacity, Ms. Goodge O’Brien leads the Government of Canada’s engagement with U.S. interlocutors on a broad range of goods market access issues, including trade agreements, government procurement, and trade remedies.

Prior to joining the Embassy, Ms. Goodge O’Brien served as the Senior Counsellor to the Executive Director for Canada on the Board of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and was formerly a government procurement and goods trade negotiator for the Government of Canada. Since joining Global Affairs Canada in 2002, Ms. Goodge O’Brien has also served as a spokesperson and Trade Commissioner for arts and cultural industries.

Ms. Goodge O’Brien holds has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Trade from the University of Waterloo, and a Masters of Arts in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa.


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Renegotiating NAFTA – What is at Stake for American Business?

Originally Published in the Fall 2017  WIIT Communique.

By Rufus Yerxa, President, National Foreign Trade Council

In January of 1993 I assumed the role of Deputy U.S. Trade Representative responsible for finalizing and securing Congressional approval of the then recently negotiated NAFTA accord. President Clinton had just been elected, and he had decided not to accept NAFTA until Canada and Mexico agreed to sign side accords on labor and environmental issues. It was a controversial linkage, leading to contentious negotiations with our two NAFTA partners, with business, labor and environmental groups and with our own Congress! But eventually a sufficient consensus was found among all, and the deal – along with the side agreements—was approved.

Now President Trump has decided, like Bill Clinton before him, that the deal struck by his predecessors is inadequate and needs revisiting. Why is that more problematic for business than what happened in 1993? Of course, the contexts are entirely different. The issue in 1993 was whether to undo trade restrictions and accept more open trade with Mexico (we already had a free trade agreement with Canada), whereas today open trade is already the status quo, and the issue for negotiation is how it should be changed. But beyond that basic reality, there are two other major differences. First, it was accepted from the outset in 1993 that President Clinton fundamentally supported the idea of free trade agreements, but wanted to ensure they evolved in a policy framework that respected the rights of workers and the need for progressive environmental rules. It was also clear that the additional negotiations would focus only on those two issues, rather than reopening the underlying agreement. But in the present NAFTA 2.0 exercise, President Trump has made little effort to sell the virtues of open trade, and in fact seems to believe most free trade agreements are inherently bad for our economy. He articulates a different model, based on vague notions of economic nationalism, which suggests he wants a more managed form of trade that guarantees a positive trade balance. Given this predisposition, it is not surprising that many of the Administration’s proposals thus far seem to point in the direction of making NAFTA more restrictive rather than more expansive. Secondly, the Administration has made it clear this time that all issues are on the table, and has not narrowed the negotiating objectives to a discrete list of items, meaning this could open the entire agreement to renegotiation.

In such an environment, the obvious challenge for American manufacturers, agricultural interests and service providers is to demonstrate why our past trade agreements – especially NAFTA – have been so critical to our nation’s success as a modern, technologically advanced economy. In fact, America’s future success in maintaining good jobs and robust economic growth in a rapidly globalizing world economy – where automation is a fact of life and where 95 percent of the world’s consumers are abroad – depends heavily on our ability to open global markets, so that our increasingly efficient producers can expand sales rather than shrink their workforces. Trade agreements are central to that goal, and nowhere has that been more aptly demonstrated than in the case of NAFTA. Canada and Mexico are now our two largest export markets, and altogether they now pay $600 billion annually for American goods and services. Although our exporters still face some problems in these two markets, NAFTA has succeeded in eliminating all tariffs and significantly reducing non-tariff barriers in both Mexico and Canada. As a result, U.S. exports have increased by more than 350% in real terms since the agreement went into effect. The expanding markets for U.S. manufacturers, service providers and agricultural producers have contributed significantly to the bottom line for our companies.

But the gains from NAFTA go beyond our increased exports to these two markets. North American integration of our production platforms has helped our industries compete more effectively with producers in Asia, Europe and other regions. In the autos sector, for example, integrated production has lifted our export competitiveness, increasing U.S. exports of autos to over 2 million vehicles annually – more than five times the volume of exports prior to NAFTA. In our most technologically intensive sectors – such as capital goods, machinery, electronics and IT – the wide-scale integration of production in North America has been critical to maintaining US global leadership in innovation and technological development.

NAFTA benefits our economy in a variety of other ways. Our truck and rail transport companies have a huge stake in the vast movement of goods between our three markets, with more than 100 trains and 5,000 trucks crossing our northern and southern borders each day. Our farmers now export close to $40 billion to Canada and Mexico every year. Our banks, insurance companies and accounting firms have made huge gains selling to both Canada and Mexico, part of the reason we enjoy a $34 billion surplus in services trade with our NAFTA partners. Finally, American consumers benefit from a much wider array of goods available at lower prices – from Mexican avocados to Canadian beer.

NAFTA also has another important benefit: It has given us a much more prosperous, stable and democratic neighbor to our south. Until it began opening up in the 1980s and 1990s by joining GATT and signing NAFTA, Mexico was a one-party state with a highly protected economy, state ownership of most industries, widespread poverty and significant out-migration to the United States. Today, Mexico is a multi-party democracy with a growing middle class, a more open economy a thriving private sector and net in-migration from the United States. It is worth noting that few big developing countries have opened their economies to a powerful developed partner so completely. In fact, U.S. exports to Mexico now represent 20% of its GDP, a remarkably high percentage (by way of contrast, imports from Mexico represent only 1.8% of our GDP).

From the perspective of U.S. business, any effort to modernize and upgrade NAFTA must preserve these hard-won gains. While there are many ways the agreement can be improved – particularly in areas like digital trade, state owned enterprises and small business that were not meaningfully addressed when NAFTA was negotiated over 20 years ago – any final agreement that diminishes our existing access to these markets will have significant adverse effects on our U.S. operations, sales and employment.

We are now in the midst of a crucial debate about how best to expand growth and opportunity for Americans. Do we seek to do so through defensive measures that try to restore market share for a few domestic industries, or do we continue the march towards a more open world where American know-how, innovation and entrepreneurial skill will set the pace, and where our producers and workers will have a chance to sell to the 95% of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders? In the coming months, as the Administration’s effort on renegotiation of NAFTA unfolds, that question will need to be answered.

About the Author: Ambassador Rufus Yerxa is President of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), a trade association of over 200 companies dedicated to improving the competitiveness of U.S. industry on world markets. As president, he oversees NFTC’s efforts in favor of a more open, rules based world economy, focusing on key issues to U.S. competitiveness such as international trade and tax policy, economic sanctions, export finance and human resource management.

Mr. Yerxa has more than three decades of experience as a lawyer, diplomat, U.S. trade negotiator and international official. As Deputy Director General of the WTO from 2002 to 2013 he helped to broaden its membership and strengthen its role as the principal rules-based institution governing world trade. Prior to this, from 1989 to 1995, he served as Deputy USTR under both a Republican and a Democratic President, first as the Geneva-based Ambassador to the GATT (the predecessor organization to the WTO) and subsequently as the Washington Deputy. Earlier in his government career (1981 to 1989) he was with the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Trade. After leaving government service in 1995 and prior to joining the WTO he spent five years in the private sector, first as the Brussels-based partner with a major U.S. law firm and later as European general counsel for a Fortune 500 company.

Mr. Yerxa received his BA in political science from the University of Washington (1973), his JD from Seattle University School of Law (1976) and an LLB in international Law from the University of Cambridge in England (1977). He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, and is also a Visiting Professor with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

NAFTA Modernization and Border Adjustment Tax



WIT-Los Angeles and WIIT Washington, D.C., Partnering to Present

NAFTA Modernization

How Will it Impact US/Canada/Mexico Trade?

NAFTA renegotiation kicks off August 16 with an ambitious timetable and the stakes are huge. NAFTA has successfully integrated value chains that have made North America globally competitive, particularly with Asia. Sectors such as automotive and agriculture are urging negociators to do no harm.

At the same time, the renegotiation of the 23 year old Trade Program could use a refresh to address digital trade and e-commerce, virtually non-existent when NAFTA was first implemented in 1994.

This is the first of a special series jointly organized by WIIT-LA and WIIT. Future programs will cover areas such as agriculture, digital trade, e-commerce and government perspectives as the negotiations progress.

August 16, 2017
10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m | Registration and Networking
11 a.m.- 2 p.m. | Program and Luncheon

Conference Center, Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport Hotel
2640 N Lakewood Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90815


Patricia Elliot
Counsil & Senior Trade Commissioner at the Consultate General of Canada in Greater Los Angeles, will provide Canada’s perspective on the NAFTA modernization and new topics including eCommerce and Intellectual Property.

Richard Swanson
Director of Pacific South Network (Region) of the Office of Domestic Operations for the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service (US&FCS)


Address concludes with Fireside Chat and Q&A.
Panel of Industry Leaders to Follow.
Hear what NAFTA has mean to their industries
and where they think NAFTA can be improved. Includes Q&A.


Panel of Industry Leaders:
Ken Wengrod,
President & Co-Founder, FTC Commercial Group
Javier Martinez,
President & CEO, Martinez Brands
Daniel Guiterrez Topete, Managing Partner, Gutierrez, Diaz, Esparza, SC
Panel Moderated by Evelyn Suarez, Suarez Firm, Washington, DC

USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer gave notice to Congress on May 18, 2017 of the Administration’s intent to negotiate a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  The three countries are currently discussing the logistics for the talks to start August 16, 2017, the first possible day under the 2015 Trade Promotion Authority law.  As noted by House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Reichert “NAFTA has transformed the U.S. and North American economy.  It has reduced barriers to our exports and allowed American businesses to sell their goods and services more freely and competitively to markets around the world . . . Despite its success, NAFTA was negotiated more two decades ago, when the economic landscape looked very different. In 1994, the digital economy was in its infancy, Mexico had yet to undertake significant legal and regulatory reforms, and the North American supply chain had not yet fully developed.”

Hear from industry leaders in the automotive sector, agriculture and in retail about what NAFTA has meant to their industries and where they think NAFTA can be improved.  Representatives from the Mexican and Canadian governments will also offer their perspectives.  At the same time, House Republicans are seeking to impose a controversial border adjustment tax as part of a broader corporate tax plan.  Some say that the proposal would not comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.  Our industry panelists and Mexican and Canadian government officials will offer their views.

Members $45       Guests $65 

Click Here to View an Event Flyer







Conformity and Creativity In Rules Of International Arbitration

The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) is delighted to Co-Sponsor “Conformity and Creativity in Rules of International Arbitration: Should Arbitral Institutions Be Choosing a Path of Convergence?”, hosted by the Litigation Law Forum of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Join us for a conversation on how varied the future of International Arbitration rules will be, and how innovative the field ought to be moving forward.


Marinn Carlson, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Eloise Obadia, Partner, Derains & Gharavi
Janet Whittaker Partner, Clifford Chance LLP
Alexandra “Xander” Meise, Of Counsel, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP
Moderated by:
Theresa Bowman 
Associate, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP

Refreshments and appetizers will be provided.

WIIT members may pay $10 in advance for the event at: https://www.wbadc.org/calendar_day.asp?date=7/13/2017&event=1367

“De Minimis” Thresholds Are Not Trivial

Originally Published on TradeVistas on June 16https://tradevistas.csis.org/de-minimis-thresholds-not-trivial/

By Andrea Durkin

Big Things Come in Small Packages
Logistics providers say that their biggest challenge – and opportunity – right now is that customer orders are more frequent but smaller. Services like Amazon Prime Now have created an on-demand consumer expectation. Need glue for a school project? Have it on your doorstep in one to two hours with no shipping fee.

Goods are moving in and out of distribution centers faster than ever. Once you place an order, a pack has to be picked, so to speak. To fulfill smaller orders, pallets and cases are broken down to grab the small quantity needed. Trucks must be organized so multiple vendors can share the ride, cutting transport costs. The trend is prompting storage companies to rethink warehouse design and weigh the costs of human labor against automation.

From Toothpaste to Trading Cards
Because most everything can be found online and purchased in small quantities, most consumers don’t see much difference between buying toothpaste from CVS online or purchasing an Alex Galchenyuk hockey trading card from Canada on eBay. But when the product is shipped across an international border, the “de minimis” rule is in play. De minimis in international trade refers to the monetary value below which shipments entering the country are free from duties, taxes, or formal customs procedures.

American consumers have caught a nice break. Through the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement act of 2015, the United States raised the de minimis amount from $200 for commercial goods entering the United States to $800. The change not only lower the costs of international e-commerce (and other) purchases for American consumers, it also helps small businesses source inputs more flexibly for their products without incurring unnecessary costs and dealing with the extra paperwork. Back in 2011, even before the explosion of small purchases, the Peterson Institute estimated cost savings of $17 million annually across the 3.8 million shipments in commerce in the United States at that time.

Chump Change
The $800 de minimis threshold in the United States is more generous than most countries, which generally cap duty-free imports at a much lower value. Some governments are so stingy with their de minimis thresholds as to beg the question: why bother.

Government opposition to raising the de minimis threshold usually centers on concerns for the loss of government revenue, but empirical studies such as the one by the Peterson Institute show that the costs imposed on government customs agencies to collect taxes and duties on low-value items outweigh the revenue collected. Why keep the threshold low then? In part, because domestic retailers who are required to charge local sales or value-added taxes think that competing products imported duty-free put them at a disadvantage and they put pressure on governments to not raise the threshold.

NAFTA 2.0 – It’s the Least We Could Do?
Canada sets its de minimis threshold at just $20 Canadian dollars (US$15). In a study commissioned by the C.D. Howe Institute in 2016, economists concluded that increasing the de minimis threshold would be fiscally neutral or positive for the Canadian government, and clearly positive for Canadian consumers and businesses to the tune of somewhere between Canadian $202 million and $648 million.

With Canada’s cap for low-value duty-free shipments far below that of the United States, and Mexico’s at just $50, look for the de minimis threshold to be on the U.S. wish list for NAFTA 2.0.

Trade Policy for the Little Guy
Amazon, Etsy, and eBay all offer digital marketplaces with services to support small and medium-sized businesses advertise and sell their products online. Often these individuals and businesses are selling relatively low-cost goods and services to both domestic and international customers. Some 97 percent of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses selling on eBay are exporters. PayPal is another financial intermediary making cross-border sales accessible to businesses of all sizes.

With smaller sized transactions, administrative costs such as tariffs and customs fees make a big difference. Raising the de minimis threshold opens the door to many more small purchases, which consumers the world over are growing to expect as a fact of life, and which U.S. exporters are more than happy to oblige.

The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

WIIT Names Awardees for Significant Achievements in Trade

PRESS RELEASE | For immediate distribution, June 7, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Celebrating its 30th Anniversary at the George Washington University Marvin Center, The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) announced today its annual awards. “The WIIT Board is pleased to recognize these four extraordinary women for their outstanding work in international trade. These women are dedicated and accomplished trade professionals in their own rights who have played important leadership roles in business and in government,” said President Evelyn Suarez. “It’s an honor to award these impressive women for their roles in promoting a clearer understanding of international trade and expanding global opportunities for business.”

Awards recipients include:

  • “Woman of the Year” awardee Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner
  • “Business Legacy” awardee Carolyn Brehm, Vice President for Global Government Relations & Public Policy for The Procter & Gamble Company
  • “Government Service” awardee Florizelle Liser, President and CEO for Corporate Council on Africa
  • “Emerging Leader” awardee Natalie Kamphaus, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel to Congressman Dave Reichert, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee

WIIT also announced its member award recipients, who make an invaluable contribution in fulfilling the mission of WIIT, which is to promote trade and to promote women.

Member award recipients include:

  • “Lifetime Achievement” awardee Phyllis Derrick, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
  • “Outstanding Member of the Year” awardees Colleen Litkenhaus, Dow Chemical, and Linda Schmid, Trade in Services International
  • “WIIT Outstanding Programming Section of the Year” awardees Professional Development Section Co-chairs Rowan Dougherty, Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP, and Dana Leigh Watts, Covington & Burling, LLP

WIIT’s mission is to promote the professional advancement of women in international trade and business and to raise public awareness of the importance of international trade to economic development. WIIT does this through: professional development opportunities, educational offerings and social activities for professional networking.

For media inquiries, please contact Mary Simpkins in WIIT’s management office at mary@rmkproductions.com

WIIT Names New Leadership

PRESS RELEASE | For immediate distribution, June 7, 2017

President, Officers, and Board of Directors appointed at Annual Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) announced its new leadership for the 2017—2018 term. WIIT’s newly appointed President is Leslie Griffin, Senior Vice President of International Public Policy at UPS.

Griffin has helped to shape and participate in WIIT programming, contributed to its communications, and been active with WIIT’s membership development efforts. Prior to her role leading the UPS international policy team in Washington, DC, she served as Vice President of International Governmental Affairs for New York Life Insurance Company, and also served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman and CEO of New York Life International. Earlier, Ms. Griffin was Managing Director for Asian Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she worked with member companies across multiple sectors on trade policy priorities. She also served as Executive Director of the U.S.-Korea Business Council and the Hong Kong-U.S. Business Council.

“It is an honor to be able to lead WIIT and support our dual mission of promoting trade and promoting women. With a new Administration now shaping its approaches to U.S. trade policy, WIIT has an important role to play in being part of the dialogue, sharing the expertise of our many members, and contributing to a forward-looking strategy. International trade has been an important engine for U.S. economic growth and job creation and, thanks to e-Commerce, growing numbers of small- and medium-sized businesses are finding new opportunities through trade.”

“I am excited to work alongside our talented volunteers across the Washington, DC area, including our younger colleagues who will be the next generation of trade champions. In the organization’s 30th anniversary year, we celebrate WIIT’s wonderful legacy of trade education and professional development, which I will work to continue.”

WIIT also named its new Board of Directors, elected to a two-year term. CLICK HERE to view on the WIIT website.

The Court of International Trade: Trailblazer for Women in the Judiciary

Judge Genevieve Rose Cline

The history of the Court of International Trade (CIT) mirrors the very history of the Republic itself.   As our fledgling nation was establishing its roots, it gained the revenue necessary for its survival largely through tariffs on imports.  In 1789, the first tribunal to hear disputes over the imposition of these tariffs was born in the form of an executive branch institution called the Board of General Appraisers.  Tariffs remained the dominant source of government revenue through the 1950s, and over this time, the importance of tariff revenue was reflected in the role of the Board, as it transformed into an Article I and then Article III Court of the United States.

With the emergence of income taxes as the predominant source of revenue to the United States treasury, the role of the Court of International Trade did not diminish.  Indeed, as the United States became a dominant player on the world stage, the powers of the Court were expanded.  Antidumping and countervailing duties emerged as an important trade remedy in international commerce.  In 1980, the Court’s jurisdiction was expanded to include these important cases.  It was hoped that giving a federal court exclusive jurisdiction over these types of cases would release some of the major tensions that were developing with our trading partners in this area.  With the U.S. becoming the economic world leader, it was crucial for our judicial system to have a mechanism for handling these international trade disputes quickly and efficiently.  The U.S. Court of International Trade, as it stands today, is the tribunal that accomplishes this important function.

The Court’s history is intertwined with the history of the United States in other important ways as well.  As women became more active in the governing institutions of our young nation, the Customs Court (a predecessor to the CIT) welcomed the first female federal judge.  This was an important milestone because it paved the way for all the women judges who now serve in the federal court system.  Today, fully one third of federal judges are women.  All of them owe a debt of gratitude to Genevieve Rose Cline, who was nominated to serve on the bench in 1928 by President Calvin Coolidge.  She was well suited for a position on the Customs Court because she had already broken ground by serving as the first woman assigned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to be the appraiser of merchandise at the port of Cleveland, Ohio.   An active proponent of woman’s rights and the suffrage movement, she served for 25 years on the U.S. Customs Court.  Clearly, Judge Cline was a trailblazer who knew how to accept tough challenges and succeed.

Although a few other female judges followed Judge Cline in the district courts and the courts of appeals, the appointments of women were few and far between.  Indeed, for the entire decade of the 1950s, only one female federal judge was appointed.  Mary Honor Donlon was nominated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955 to the U.S. Customs Court.  She filled the vacancy left by Judge Cline.  Interestingly, that is not the only overlap between these two women.  In 1928, while Judge Cline was crashing through barriers to attain her “first” for women, Judge Donlon also achieved a “first” – she became the first woman partner at a Wall Street firm that same year.  Judge Donlon served for 22 years as a judge of the Customs Court.

In 1980, the Court changed its name from the Customs Court to the Court of International Trade, and soon thereafter the CIT had its first female judge.  Jane Restani was appointed by President Reagan to the Court in 1983.  She continues to serve on the Court as a senior judge today.  While she has many female colleagues at the present time, Judge Restani served for quite some time before a female judge joined her on the Court’s bench.  But then she welcomed two female judges at once.  President Clinton appointed Judges Judith Barzilay and Delissa Ridgway to the CIT in 1998.  It was another 15 years before this cadre of female judges would be joined by another, when Claire Kelly was appointed to serve on the Court by President Obama in 2013.  Finally, the Court’s newest female judge, Jennifer Choe-Groves, was appointed by President Obama just last year.

Many people are aware of the CIT’s important role in the international trade regime.  Fewer will know that it also has been a major tool of progress for women’s equality.  When Judge Cline initially entered into the federal judiciary, I am sure she could not have imagined a day when women would so uneventfully become confirmed as federal judges.   And, upon reflection, the vast majority of the progress occurred in the relatively modern era.  Judge Restani, who continues to hear cases at the CIT, labored as the lone female voice on the Court for 15 years.  Now, female judges are joining the bench with relative ease.  Half of the judges nominated to be judges of the CIT in the present century have been women, and, as such, one third of the Court as it is currently composed are female.


About the Author:  Tina Potuto Kimble | Clerk of the Court U.S. Court of International Trade – Tina Kimble is the Clerk of the Court of the U.S. Court of International Trade, where she has served since 2006. Prior to coming to the U.S. Court of International Trade, she was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, an attorney at the International Trade Commission, and an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP.


The views expressed by the author(s) of article(s) published in this newsletter are their personal views and should not be interpreted as the views of The Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) or its individual members. See full disclaimer here.

Creating Economic Opportunities for Women in the World’s Most Challenging Places | 2-15-17

The Center for International Private Enterprise
invites you to a panel discussion on:

Creating Economic Opportunities for Women in the World’s Most Challenging Places

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
2:00 – 3:30 pm


1211 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Refreshments will be provided

All over the world, myriad challenges make it difficult for women to become economically empowered. These impediments include societal constraints and unsupportive policy environments. Yet, the drive to improve their lives through entrepreneurship is strong in many women— even in some of the toughest places to get ahead. Panel speakers will share their experiences helping to create opportunity for women in Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, and will discuss best practices for building an environment where businesswomen can thrive.


  • Eli Webb, Country Director for Papua New Guinea, CIPE
  • Muzhgan Wafiq AlokozaiOwner, Impressive Consulting and Former President, Afghanistan’s Peace Through Business Network
  • Middle East Expert, to be confirmed
  • John MorrellRegional Director for Asia, CIPE (discussion moderator)