WITA Members Pop Up Briefing on the House Select Committee Hearing on U.S. – China Competitiveness and Trade




On Wednesday, May 17, the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party held a hearing titled, Leveling the Playing Field: How to Counter the Chinese Communist Party’s Economic Aggression

On Friday, May 19, trade experts discussed the hearing, and its implications for U.S. competitiveness and trade relations between the world’s two largest economies. 

Featured Speakers:

Peter Harrell, Attorney, Peter Harrell LLC; Non Resident Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; former Senior Director for International Economics and Competitiveness, National Security Council

Claire E. Reade, Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter; former Assistant US Trade Representative for China Affairs

Kelly Ann Shaw, Partner, Hogan Lovells and former Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council

Michael Smart, Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors; former Director for International Trade and Investment, National Security Council 

Clete Willems, Partner, Akin Gump; former White House Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economics


Speaker Biographies:

Peter Harrell is an attorney advising companies, investors, executives, and corporate boards on international legal, regulatory, and geopolitical risks. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

From January 2021 through 2022, Harrell served at the U.S. White House as Senior Director for International Economics, jointly appointed to the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. In that role, Harrell co-led President Biden’s E.O. 14017 supply chain resilience agenda; worked on the global digital, 5G, and telecommunications strategies, including U.S. negotiations with the European Union on the U.S.-E.U. Data Privacy Framework and work to address Chinese data security risks; served as the White House representative to the CFIUS committee; and worked on U.S. sanctions and export controls towards Russia during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Prior to joining the Biden-Harris Administration, from 2015 to early 2021 Harrell was an attorney in private practice and served as Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. From 2012 to 2014, Harrell served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. From 2009 to 2012 he served on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, where he was instrumental in developing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s economic statecraft agenda.

Earlier in his career, Harrell served on President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and as a reporter for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, DC.  

Harrell is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and holds a JD from the Yale Law School.

Claire Reade is Senior Counsel at Arnold & Porter. She provides clients with strategic counsel and assistance with major regulatory and governmental issues in the US and China, guides Chinese companies investing or operating in the US, and advises a broad range of clients on strategic and legal issues and policies related to other international matters, including trade negotiations, trade litigation, and dispute settlement under the World Trade Organization (WTO). She has more than three decades of experience handling international trade strategy, negotiations, and litigation.

Ms. Reade returned to the firm in 2015 after an eight-year tenure at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), where she served as the Assistant US Trade Representative for China Affairs (2010-2014) and Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement (2006-2010).

As Assistant US Trade Representative for China Affairs, Ms. Reade was responsible for managing US trade negotiations with China, developing core strategies, coordinating US interagency efforts, and leading successful efforts to eliminate key trade barriers. In her role as Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement, she was responsible for coordinating USTR efforts to ensure that China met its international trade obligations to the US, playing a leading role in nine WTO disputes, as well as the special safeguard action against Chinese tires.

Prior to joining USTR, Ms. Reade counseled US and foreign companies, industries, and governments on international market access issues. She also litigated in diverse US agency proceedings, court appeals, and in international dispute settlement fora, regularly representing clients on NAFTA and WTO-related goods and services matters. She has helped clients on a wide range of US trade law investigations, from countervailing duty and antidumping cases, to Section 301 cases and Section 201 safeguard actions.

Ms. Reade has frequently served as an outside lecturer, including at the Foreign Service Institute, National War College, and Washington area universities, and she is a well-known speaker at international trade events.

Kelly Ann Shaw is Partner at Hogan Lovells. As former Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, she brings to bear a deep knowledge of U.S. international trade, investment, and economic law and policy drawn from her extensive public service at the White House, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. Congress.

In her White House role, serving on both the National Security Council and National Economic Council, Kelly Ann led the Office of International Economic Affairs and played an instrumental role in a wide range of legislation, negotiations, and agreements, including the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the China Phase One agreement. As a senior adviser to the president on matters of international economic policy, including trade, investment, development, global economics, energy, and the environment, she was directly involved in almost every major economic decision made at the Trump White House.

Kelly Ann also has served as lead U.S. negotiator at the G7, G20, and APEC and led the U.S.-UK Economic Working Group. As Republican Trade Counsel for the Committee on Ways and Means, Kelly Ann played an important role in formulating U.S. international trade and investment law, policy, and strategy. In her role as Assistant General Counsel for USTR based in Geneva, Switzerland, and Washington, D.C., she represented the United States in more than 40 World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes and in negotiations. She also served as a lead lawyer, negotiator, and adviser in other important international negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Prior to her distinguished government service, Kelly Ann was in private practice in Washington, D.C.

Michael J. Smart is a Managing Director at Rock Creek Global Advisors, where he focuses on international trade and investment policy, including market access and regulatory matters. He also advises multinational companies on sanctions, supply chain policy, and trade-related climate measures.

Mr. Smart previously served as Trade Counsel on the Democratic staff of the US Senate Committee on Finance. In that role, he advised Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and members of the committee on various trade matters, including World Trade Organization negotiations and dispute settlement, free trade agreements, agricultural trade, and the trade aspects of legislation to address climate change.

Before joining the Finance Committee, Mr. Smart was Director for International Trade and Investment on the staff of the National Security Council at the White House. Mr. Smart focused on the Doha Development Agenda, trade in financial services, free trade agreements, and bilateral investment treaties. He also served as the lead White House staff for cabinet-level dialogues with Brazil and India.

Mr. Smart was previously an associate at the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, where his practice focused on international trade and investment policy and dispute resolution. He represented companies and governments in WTO, investment treaty, and NAFTA disputes. Earlier in his career, Mr. Smart was Legislative Director for former Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND).

Mr. Smart has appeared on CNN International, BBC News, Bloomberg News, and Channel News Asia and has been quoted in publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Politico, and Financial Times.

Mr. Smart is a member of the Executive Circle of the Institute of International Economic Affairs at The George Washington University and a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington International Trade Association. Mr. Smart received his BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University (Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude) and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center (cum laude).

Clete Willems is Partner at Akin Gump. He advises clients, including investors, trade associations and multinational companies, on international economic law and policy matters. With over 16 years of U.S. government experience, he offers clients strategic guidance and legal representation on trade, investment, finance, economic development, sanctions and energy, among other issues.

Before joining Akin Gump, Clete served in the White House as the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economics and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. This position was also part of the National Security Council. In this role, he was the lead U.S. negotiator at multilateral summits, serving as the President’s Sherpa at the G-7 and G-20 Summits and the lead negotiator at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. He was also deeply involved with negotiations with major U.S. trading partners, such as China, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Canada and Mexico. Clete also helped the administration achieve key legislative victories, including the passage of development finance reform legislation and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reform legislation.

Prior to joining the White House, Clete worked at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for eight years. Among other positions, Clete served as chief counsel for negotiations, legislation and administrative law, and legal advisor to the U.S. Mission to the WTO. He was heavily involved in both trade policy issues and WTO litigation.

Prior to joining USTR, Clete worked as counsel on the House Budget Committee and in multiple positions, including legislative director, for then-Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). In this role, he was successful in helping pass multiple pieces of trade and energy-related legislation into law.

In addition to being part of the firm’s public law and policy practice, Clete works closely with the international trade team on issues related to the WTO, CFIUS and sanctions. He has participated in over 30 WTO proceedings.

Kenneth Levinson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Washington International Trade Association (WITA). WITA is Washington’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum in the U.S. capital for the open and robust discussion of international trade policy and economic issues. WITA has nearly 5,000 members, and more than 170 corporate sponsors and group memberships.

Previously, Ken served as Senior Director for Global Government Affairs for AstraZeneca. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Ken served as Senior Vice President and COO at the Washington, DC consulting firm of Fontheim International. Ken started his career on the staff of U.S. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, where he served as the Senator’s chief advisor for international trade, tax, foreign policy, and national security. Ken received a Master’s degree in European History from New York University after doing his undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst. Ken also spent a year studying at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.