WITA Webinar: The Korea-US Trade Agreement at 10 Years, featuring Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo




On Tuesday, March 15, WITA held a webinar looking at the past, present and future of US-Korea trade relations, on the 10th anniversary of the entry-into-force of the U.S. Korea FTA on March 15, 2012.

Featured Speakers: 

South Korea’s Minister for Trade Yeo Han-koo

Ambassador Mark Lippert, the former United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea

Nigel Cory, Associate Director, Trade Policy, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Maria C. Zieba, Assistant Vice President, International Affairs, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)

Clete Willems, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; former Deputy Assistant to the President for International Affairs

Moderator: Deanna Tanner Okun, Managing Partner, AMS Trade LLP; former Chair of the United States International Trade Commission (USITC)


Yeo Han-koo currently serves as South Korea’s Minister for Trade and is a veteran trade negotiator who has been involved in many of South Korea’s trade negotiations over the last two decades.

Prior to becoming Minister for Trade, Yeo served as a presidential secretary in the Blue House for President Moon Jae-in’s signature New Southern Policy and New Northern Policy. He also has extensive experience in the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy where he was appointed to multiple directorships over the past 25 years. Minister Yeo has also worked on climate issues, acting as the World Bank Group’s Senior Investment Policy Officer in the Investment Climate Department between 2010 and 2014.

While serving as the Director of the International Economic & Industrial Policy Bureau for the National Economic Advisory Council in the Presidential Office, Yeo also lectured at the KDI School of Public Policy in South Korea. He has also published multiple works in both English and Korean, including a Harvard Business School case study about the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and a chapter in the World Bank’s “Special Economic Zones.” Yeo has been awarded the International Finance Corporation Performance Award and an Achievement Award from the President of the Republic of Korea, along with many other accolades.

He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a BA in Business Administration from Seoul National University.

Ambassador Mark Lippert is a Senior Advisor and the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has had a distinguished career in the United States government that spanned approximately two decades and included series of senior-level positions across multiple agencies. From 2014-2017, he served as the United States ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Republic of Korea, based in Seoul. He previously held positions in the Department of Defense, including as chief of staff to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (2013-2014) and as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs (2012-2013), the top official in the Pentagon for all Asia issues. Lippert also worked in the White House as chief of staff to the National Security Council in 2009. Lippert served in the uniformed military. An intelligence officer in the United States Navy, he mobilized to active duty from 2009 to 2011 for service with Naval Special Warfare (SEALs) Development Group that included deployments to Afghanistan and other regions. From 2007 to 2008, he deployed as an intelligence officer with Seal Team One to Anbar Province, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Earlier in his career, Lippert served as a staff member in the United States Senate, where he worked on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for then-Senator Obama; the Senate Appropriations Committee State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee for Senator Leahy, and for other members of the Senate. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Iraq, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Basic Parachutist Badge. He is also the recipient of the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Public Service Award and the Department of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a B.A. in political science and holds an M.A. in international policy studies from the same institution. He speaks Korean and also studied Mandarin Chinese at Beijing University. Lippert is married to Robyn E. Lippert who serves as a senior vice president at UnitedHealth Group and has two children, Sejun and Sahee. They live in Washington, D.C. with their basset hound, Grigsby.

Nigel Cory is an associate director covering trade policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. He focuses on cross-border data flows, data governance, intellectual property, and how they each relate to digital trade and the broader digital economy. Cory has provided in-person testimony and written submissions and has published reports and op-eds relating to these issues in the United States, the European Union, Australia, China, India, and New Zealand, among other countries and regions, and he has completed research projects for international bodies such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the World Trade Organization. Nigel is a member of the United Kingdom’s International Data Transfer Expert Council. Cory previously worked as a researcher in the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to that, he worked for eight years in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which included positions working on G20 global economic and trade issues and the Doha Development Round.

Deanna Tanner Okun is the Managing Partner at Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP. Deanna is an international trade lawyer providing legal and strategic international trade policy advice to steer companies through the intersection where innovation confronts barriers, such as intellectual property theft, unfair trade practices, or regulatory hurdles.  

Deanna’s practice involves all aspects of unfair trade litigation and trade remedy advocacy. Her Section 337 work includes all stages of litigation at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) from pre-institution consultation to post-remedy enforcement with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). She also represents companies in Title VII antidumping and countervailing duty investigations before the ITC and Department of Commerce (DOC). In 2017, her client secured the first negative preliminary AD/CVD determination in over seven years. Deanna’s work in trade remedy proceedings on behalf of U.S. companies extends to previously rarely-used trade statutes, including Section 201, 232, and 301 investigations. Deanna participated in one of only two Section 201 investigations in the past twenty years, winning a successful remedy for her client. She works closely with contacts in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the government to create innovative solutions to her clients’ legal and business challenges.

Deanna has extensive experience as a top administrator, regulator, enforcer, legislative aide, and lawyer. She served two terms as Chairman during her twelve years of service as a member of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). During her tenure as a Commissioner, she ruled on hundreds of cases involving allegations of patent, trademark and copyright infringement as well as other types of unfair acts such as trade secrets. As Commissioner, she was involved in numerous antidumping and countervailing duty investigations and participated in almost all of the recent global safeguard investigations under the Trade Act of 1974, including investigations under Section 201 and the China-specific safeguard investigations under Section 421. Prior to her appointment to the ITC, she served as counsel for international affairs to U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Finance and Foreign Relations Committees, and practiced international trade law with a large DC-based law firm. During her tenure at the ITC, Deanna was nominated to be Deputy United States Trade Representative.

In 2012, Deanna was named the Outstanding Woman of the Year by the Association of Women in International Trade, a chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade. She has served on the Federal Circuit Advisory Council since 2013. In 2019, for the seventh consecutive year, Managing Intellectual Property named Deanna one of the Top 250 Women in IP. Deanna is also on the 2021-2022 USMCA Binational Panel Roster.

Clete R. Willems is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center. Mr. Willems is a Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where he advises multinational companies, investors, and trade associations on international economic law and policy matters. Until April 2019, Mr. Willems was Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economics and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. In this role, he was a key negotiator with foreign governments, including China and the European Union, and the President’s lead negotiator at the G-7, G-20, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. Prior to joining the White House, Mr. Willems was a trade negotiator and WTO litigator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). He also worked as Legislative Director for Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Mr. Willems graduated from the University of Notre Dame (BA) and Georgetown University Law Center (JD).

Maria C. Zieba is the Assistant Vice President of International Affairs at the National Pork Producers Council. Maria works on NPPC’s trade policy program focusing on opening, maintaining, and increasing market access for U.S. pork. 

Prior to joining NPPC, Maria was a trade policy manager for the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, where she worked on various trade issues affecting the dairy industry. 

Previously, she worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, managing capacity building projects aimed at increasing U.S. agricultural exports to emerging markets.

Maria serves as a Cleared Advisor on the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products, providing input to USDA and USTR on key issues affecting U.S. pork exports. She also serves on the board of directors for the Association of Women in International Trade and Farmers for Free Trade. 

Maria holds a master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside with a double major in Political Science-International Affairs and Spanish.