De Maximus De Minimis Debate




On Friday, June 3rd, WITA held a webinar exploring the history of the de minimis provision and its evolution and discuss the implications of legislation included in the America COMPETES Act to amend it.

Featured Speakers:

Beth Henke, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, AEO Inc.

Victoria Lane, Vice President Corporate Compliance, Branch Manager Portland, Coppersmith Global Logistics

Marianne Rowden, Chief Executive Officer, e-Merchants Trade Council

Brenda Smith, Global Director, Government Outreach, Expeditors; and former Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Ben Wastler, Senior Director, International Supply Chain Policy, National Foreign Trade Council

Moderator: Scott Miller, Senior Mentor (Non-resident), Executive Education, Center for Strategic & International Studies


Beth Henke

Beth Henke is the Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer at American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. She directly oversees a team of seven lawyers and four non-lawyer professionals with responsibility for privacy and technology, M&A, business development, litigation, marketing, trade, government affairs, and global compliance. She also serves as a co-mentor with her General Counsel for AEO’s real estate attorney and IP attorney. In 2020, she completed the ACC’s Executive Leadership Institute, and she is currently pursuing an Executive Certification through the Wharton School’s Global CxO program.

Before joining AEO, Beth served as the Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President, Litigation for EDMC, a for-profit higher education group based in Pittsburgh, from 2014 to 2017. Beth joined EDMC to help lead the legal group tasked to resolve federal and state civil investigations as well as multiple qui tam actions. The team was able to resolve all of the matters in two years, and Beth was asked to remain at EDMC for a year to oversee implementation of the negotiated consent judgment. Prior to EDMC, Beth was a partner in Reed Smith’s Labor & Employment group and in Marcus & Shapira, a boutique firm in Pittsburgh that focused on outsourced general counsel work for a regional grocery chain.

At AEO, Beth serves as the Executive Sponsor of the REAL Black Alliance, AEO’s first Black ERG. She volunteers regularly with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and serves on the board of the East End Cooperative Ministry, which was founded in 1970 when local faith communities recognized that the impacts of poverty were too great for any one of them to address alone, as well as the ADL Regional Board for Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, where she assists the ADL in fighting hate for good.

Beth is a proud, lifelong resident of Pittsburgh. She attended Allegheny College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She and her husband are very recent empty-nesters, with a daughter starting her career in marketing in Denver and a son starting his sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh.

Victoria Lane

Victoria Lane is the Vice President Corporate Compliance and Branch Manager Portland at Coppersmith Global Logistics. Victoria has been working in the Customs Brokerage and Freight Forwarding industry since 1978. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest originating from Tacoma Wa, and has lived in Portland, Oregon for the last 50 years.

Victoria started in the industry working for an Importer, then migrated to Customs Broker in 1978, where she learned the business from the ground up in the accounting department, then moved to import documentation and away she went from that point. She started at Frank P. Dow Co., which then became F.W. Myers and then The Myers Group. She then moved in 1992 to Edward M Jones & Co where she studied and received her customs brokerage license in 1996. In 2002 Edward M. Jones & Co. became L.E. Coppersmith Inc where she is currently the Portland office Branch Manager. In 2010 she was promoted to the Corporate Compliance Manager for L.E. Coppersmith Inc.

Marianne Rowden

Marianne Rowden is the CEO and a Director of the E-Merchants Trade Council, Inc. (EMTC), a new global trade association for e-commerce entrepreneurs that was created to support simplification of trade, tax and transportation. EMTC facilitates dialogue among the E-Merchant worldwide community and global regulators. As CEO, she will be reaching out to her broad network of policymakers in the United States and at international institutions such as the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, the World Bank and UNCTAD to present positions that support the growth of e-commerce across all participants in the supply chain.

Ms. Rowden brings far-reaching experience in trade policy. She is recognized as representing her expansive network of unparalleled technical trade experts before congressional committees and their staff members, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and several other federal regulatory agencies.

Marianne has also collaborated with the World Customs Organization including taking on leadership roles within the Private Sector Consultative Group, serving three terms as Co-Chair of the WCO’s Work Group on E-commerce which has produced a Framework of Standards. She has strong, long term partnerships with international trade associations to align and solidify global thought leader on trade policy, and to develop many private sector standards, particularly related to online commerce. Among Ms. Rowden’s signature achievements is her international outreach to other trade association around the world, including the Export Council of Australia, ieCanada, INDEX, Japan Machinery Center for Trade and Investment. She became a founding member of the Global Shippers Alliance comprising over 25 national trade associations involved in international transport and trade.

Marianne Rowden most recently completing her tenure at AAEI on March 31, 2021. During her 12 years as President & CEO and 4 years as the Association’s General Counsel Ms. Rowden testified before Congress on trade legislation because of her extensive background from practicing law over 20 years concentrating in international trade and transportation regulatory compliance. As the CEO she was a strong advocate for the membership before regulatory bodies, coalescing and representing the technical expertise of a broad spectrum of companies. Among her signature achievements was her ability to create partnerships with like-minded associations globally to strengthen trade policy positions.

Ms. Rowden served as an Adjunct Professor at The John Marshall School of Law teaching U.S. import and export law, and speaks widely to U.S. and international audiences on trade issues, particularly the future of e-commerce at the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, UNCTAD, Tunisia E-Commerce High-Level Conference, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Japan Machinery Center for Trade and Investment, ieCanada, EFA European Forum for External Trade, Excise and Customs, the Council of Supply Chain Management, the Transportation Law Association, and the Transportation Law Institute.

Brenda B. Smith

Brenda B. Smith serves as the Global Director of Government Outreach at Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. She is responsible for Expeditors’ partnerships with government agencies and international organizations focused on supply chain regulation and trade facilitation.

Brenda has extensive experience in international trade and compliance and recently completed a 34-year career with the U.S. government, which included five years on Capitol Hill and responsibilities at the Department of Treasury and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

At CBP, Brenda served as the Executive Assistant Commissioner of Trade from 2014 until 2021. In this role, she led CBP’s trade mission, overseeing trade enforcement, security, and facilitation matters to enable legitimate trade, contribute to American economic prosperity, and protect against risks to public health and safety. She oversaw trade policy implementation, national compliance audits, management of trade data, and CBP’s regulatory processes for administering trade and border operations. She partnered with CBP’s IT experts to expand trade automation and analytics technologies through agile user-based processes and change management.

Brenda serves as part of Expeditors’ delegation to the World Customs Organization Private Sector Consultative Group and as a board member of the Association of Women in International Trade.

Ben Wastler

Ben Wastler is the Senior Director, International Supply Chain Policy at the National Foreign Trade Council. In this role, Ben handles customs, international trade-related regulatory, and key supply chain issues including counterfeiting, product safety, environmental sustainability, labor rights policies and illicit trade, trade facilitation, customs best practices, and other policies to support the resilience and stability of global supply chains. Ben joined the NFTC in June 2021 from the Office of Chief Counsel. Trade and Finance Section, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in Washington, D.C., where he served as an attorney. Prior to CBP, Ben worked at Crowell & Moring LLP, where he focused on antitrust litigation. Ben started his legal career at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, in its New York and Washington, D.C. offices, where he specialized in civil litigation and anti-corruption matters.

Ben is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he earned a B.S. in International Politics, and of Boston College Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the International and Comparative Law Review.

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a senior mentor (non-resident) with the Executive Education, focusing on leadership development programs for public- and private-sector executives. From 2012 until 2017, he held the William M. Scholl Chair in International Business at CSIS. The Scholl Chair focuses on key issues in the global economy, such as international trade, investment, competitiveness, and innovation. From 1997 to 2012, Mr. Miller was director for global trade policy at Procter & Gamble, a leading consumer products company. In that position, he was responsible for the full range of international trade, investment, and business facilitation issues for the company. He led many campaigns supporting U.S. free trade agreements and has been a contributor to U.S. trade and investment policy over many years. Mr. Miller was a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. Earlier in his career, he was a manufacturing, marketing, and government relations executive for Procter & Gamble in the United States and Canada.