WITA Webinar: Discussion with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Chairman of the House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee




On Wednesday, Sept 23, WITA co-hosted a webinar with the American Leadership Initiative (ALI) with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Chair of the House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee. 

Mr. Blumenauer is planning the trade agenda for the next Congress, considering the expiration of TPA, TAA and GSP. He is looking at how to reframe the trade agenda to address labor, sustainability and other domestic concerns.

Welcome and Opening Remarks 
  • Kenneth I. Levinson, Executive Director, Washington International Trade Association
Remarks and Discussion
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Member, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Moderator: Dr. Orit Frenkel, Executive Director, American Leadership Initiative (ALI)
Followed by:
  • Q & A with Audience Moderated by Ken – Webinar attendees are encouraged to use the Q&A function on the Zoom app to submit their questions in real time.
Event Close

U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, represents Oregon’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A lifelong resident of Portland, Oregon, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) was raised in SE Portland and attended Centennial High School.

While still a student at Lewis and Clark College, Earl spearheaded the effort to lower the voting age both in Oregon and at the national level. He was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1972, where he served three terms and Chaired the House Education and Revenue Committee in 1977-78. In 1978, he was elected to the Multnomah County Commission, where he served for eight years before being elected to the Portland City Council in 1986. There, his 10-year tenure as the Commissioner of Public Works demonstrated his leadership with innovative accomplishments in transportation, planning, environmental programs and public participation that helped Portland earn an international reputation as one of America’s most livable cities.

Elected to the US House of Representatives in 1996, Earl created a unique role as Congress’ chief spokesperson for Livable Communities: places where people are safe, healthy and economically secure. From 1996 to 2007, he served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he was a strong advocate for federal policies that address transportation alternatives, provide housing choices, support sustainable economies and improve the environment. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee from 2001 to 2007, and vice-chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming from 2007 to 2010. He is currently a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman of the subcommittee on Trade and is a member of the subcommittee on Health.

These committee assignments give Earl a unique platform to promote critical issues like health care reform, Medicare for All, and the Green New Deal to combat global warming. His priorities also include healthcare reform, honest trade, financing critical infrastructure, building livable communities in a global economy, economic security for working families, protection of public lands, stopping gun violence, ending the prohibition of marijuana and criminal justice reform.

Dr. Orit Frenkel is the Executive Director of The American Leadership Initiative (ALI), a platform dedicated to developing policy initiatives to restore American global economic leadership in 2020 and beyond. In this capacity, she is working with members of Congress and their staff, as well as members of the think tank and business communities to develop smart new approaches to trade, development and diplomacy. 

Dr. Frenkel is also the is the founder and President of Frenkel Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in Asia policy and market access issues, trade policy as well as training programs for foreign government officials. She is a Senior Advisor to APCO Worldwide and to Asia Group Advisors, an ASEAN based consulting firm as well as an Adjunct Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Prior to starting the ALI and Frenkel Strategies, Dr. Frenkel was the Senior Manager for GE Global Government Affairs for 26 years. In that position, she was responsible for advising the GE businesses on government relations, trade, investment and CSR issues in ASEAN, North and Central Asia, as well as in the CIS countries. Orit’s extensive experience working with US and foreign governments, as well as with a variety of stakeholders, resulted in billions of dollars of GE sales. She worked with U.S. and multilateral financing institutions to obtain financing for GE’s transactions.

She led GE’s policy and advocacy on every trade issue including, TPP, KORUS, Russia and China WTO accession, Uruguay Round, NAFTA and other trade policy issues. She coordinated GE’s policy and strategy development, developed messaging and led coordination and consensus building among stakeholders in GE and the larger business community, trade associations, think tanks, and other stakeholders.

Dr. Frenkel started her career working in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where she was the Director for Trade in High Technology Products and Deputy Director for Trade with Japan and spent a 9-month detail working for Congressman Lee Hamilton. 

She is the author of numerous articles on trade policy issues, as well as a book on the negotiation of the US-Israel Free Trade Area. She has served on the board or Executive Committee of numerous trade associations, including the Emergency Committee for American Trade, US-ASEAN Business Council, the US-China Business Council, US-Japan Business Council, US-Russia Business Council, US-Kazakhstan Business Council, the US-Uzbekistan Business Council, the US-Kyrgyzstan and US-Tajikistan Business Council, and has led many ad-hoc coalitions and advisory groups.

Dr. Frenkel received a B.A. in Economics from University of Maryland (Phi Beta Kappa), an M.P.P. from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in International Economics from John Hopkins University.

Kenneth Levinson is the Executive Director 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 over 3,750 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 joined Fontheim after spending six years 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. Ken and his wife, the Reverend Donna Marsh, live in Bethesda, MD, with their two daughters.