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On November 12th WITA looked at what the U.S. Presidential election might mean for American trade policy in the years to come, with a bipartisan panel of experts who served in senior roles in Congress and the Administration. Welcome and Opening Remarks
Welcome and Opening Remarks
- Kenneth I. Levinson, Executive Director, Washington International Trade Association
Remarks and Discussion
- Nasim Fussell, Partner, Holland & Knight; and former Chief International Trade Counsel, Senate Finance Committee
- Ambassador Robert Holleyman, Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP and President & CEO, C&M International; and former Deputy USTR
- Brian Pomper, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP; and former Chief International Trade Counsel, Senate Finance Committee
- Stephen P. Vaughn, Partner, King & Spalding; and former USTR General Counsel, and Acting USTR
- Moderator, Stephanie Lester, Senior Director, Government Affairs, Gap Inc.
- Q & A with Audience – Webinar attendees are encouraged to use the Q&A function on the Zoom app to submit their questions in real time.
Nasim Fussell is a trade attorney in Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., office. Ms. Fussell has a wealth of trade legislation and negotiation experience, having served in numerous trade-related roles in the public and private sectors.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Fussell was the chief international trade counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, serving under Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). She also served as deputy chief international trade counsel under former chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
Ms. Fussell worked with the Trump Administration on trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico (USMCA), Japan (U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement), China (China Phase One Agreement), the United Kingdom, Kenya, the European Union, India and Brazil, as well as negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), including on reform efforts, fisheries and e-commerce. Ms. Fussell led the Senate negotiations with the Trump Administration and U.S. House of Representatives on the USMCA Implementation Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in a divided Congress.
In addition, Ms. Fussell was trade counsel for the House Committee on Ways and Means, where she served under three chairmen. In this role, she helped coordinate with the Obama Administration on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, serving as staff lead on customs and rules of origin issues. As lead customs counsel, Ms. Fussell worked closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury on all customs matters before the committee. In this role, she worked on significant legislative achievements, including the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2015, Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 and American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016.
Prior to joining government, Ms. Fussell served in a variety of trade and public policy roles in the private sector for a global technology company, a major automobile manufacturer and a cross-sectional trade association. She started her legal career as a law clerk in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of the Chief Counsel for Import Administration.
Ambassador Robert Holleyman is the president and CEO of Crowell & Moring International and a partner in Crowell & Moring’s International Trade, and Privacy and Security groups. He advises clients on a range of trade and investment issues, including market access, global trade negotiations, tariffs, cross-border data flows, and privacy/cybersecurity, among other matters.
Ambassador Holleyman has significant trade, international business, economic policy, and legal experience from his service as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, as CEO of a highly successful information technology advocacy association, and work as counsel in the U.S. Senate. He served as Deputy United States Trade Representative from 2014-2017, with the rank of Ambassador.
In his most recent position, Ambassador Holleyman was responsible for U.S. trade and investment relations with Asia and with regional institutions, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. He led USTR’s negotiations with China, including the work of the annual Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and with India through the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF). In addition, Ambassador Holleyman was responsible for global trade policy in the areas of services, investment, intellectual property (IP), and innovation.
Ambassador Holleyman led the creation of a new Digital Trade Working Group within USTR to focus on trade policy and the digital economy and to advance U.S. negotiating priorities around digital trade. He developed and advanced USTR’s “Digital2Dozen,” a series of groundbreaking measures secured in the Asia-Pacific region that established rules promoting a free and open internet; expanded e-commerce; led to the free flow of cross-border data transfers; and enhanced cybersecurity, consumer privacy, competition in telecommunications networks, and disciplines to eliminate and prohibit barriers to new digital products and services.
Ambassador Holleyman served as a board member of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s global development financing institution. He represented USTR on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), reviewing foreign acquisitions of U.S. commercial entities for their impact on national security.
While in the private sector, Ambassador Holleyman was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN). He previously served as a member of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Services for the U.S. Department of Commerce and USTR. In earlier public service, Ambassador Holleyman was Senior Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Legislative Director and Assistant to U.S. Senator Russell B. Long (D-LA); and Judicial Clerk to U.S. District Judge Jack M. Gordon of the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans.
Ambassador Holleyman was President and CEO of BSA/The Software Alliance from 1990–2013, where he transformed an early stage enterprise into a global association representing the world’s software powerhouses across 65 countries with 16 foreign offices. At BSA, he positioned companies to address emerging standards, competition, IP, and innovation issues. Ambassador Holleyman has testified frequently before Congress and international bodies, and appeared in major media outlets in the U.S. and internationally on the topics of innovation, IP, emerging markets, export controls, encryption, cybersecurity, digital transformation, and cloud computing. He was named by Managing IP magazine as one of the “50 Most Influential People” in the intellectual property world, by the The Washington Post as a key private sector player in cybersecurity policy, and by Computer Reseller News as one of “20 To Watch” in the software industry. Previously, Ambassador Holleyman worked in commercial litigation with a law firm in Houston, Texas.
Ambassador Holleyman received his Juris Doctor degree from Louisiana State University Law School and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he was named its 2012 Distinguished Alumnus. He has studied at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, NM,an Honorary Trustee of the National Building Museum and has previously served as a board member of the Stephen Decatur House Museum and Food & Friends in Washington, DC. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the EastWest Institute and member of the Advisory Council at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Brian Pomper is a partner in the Public Law and Policy group at the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP. He was a founding partner of Parven Pomper Strategies Inc., a political strategy and government relations consulting firm focusing on moderate, centrist Democrats in the House and Senate, that was acquired by Akin Gump in 2010.
Prior to founding his firm, Pomper was Chief International Trade Counsel for then-Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on the Democratic staff of the Senate Finance Committee. In that capacity, he was responsible for advising on all aspects of the Finance Committee’s trade and development agenda, including oversight of ongoing trade negotiations, market access issues, international trade litigation disputes, and customs issues; drafting legislation, speeches, newspaper editorials, and memoranda; and developing and implementing national and state political strategies.
Pomper was involved in virtually every major international economic issue that arose during his four years on the committee staff, including the ongoing Doha Round of World Trade Organization trade negotiations; bilateral issues with China, Japan, Europe, Mexico, Canada, India, Russia, and other important trading partners; economic sanctions against Cuba, Burma, and Syria; extension and changes to trade preference programs, including the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Andean Trade Partnership Act (ATPA), the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); and numerous investment issues, including those surrounding Dubai Ports World’s proposed investment in a U.S. port.
He has worked on passage and implementation of nearly every trade agreement to pass the Congress since the Trade Act of 2002, including agreements with Chile, Singapore, Australia, Morocco, Central America (CAFTA-DR), Oman, and Bahrain. He also oversaw negotiations with many other countries, including Thailand, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Korea, and the countries of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). He played a key role in many other bills, including the SAFE Port Act, extension of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Vietnam, miscellaneous tariff legislation, and the American Jobs Creation Act. Pomper has also worked on a variety of proposals to enhance U.S. trade enforcement and on many international trade disputes, including those involving intellectual property protections in China, Russia, and elsewhere; the Boeing-Airbus dispute; the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute; the U.S.-EU dispute concerning international taxation; and unscientific standards and regulations on agricultural and biotech products, among others.
He is a frequent speaker and frequently quoted authority on international trade issues, and he is a trusted advisor to Democrats on international trade policy. Pomper worked on the staff of the Finance Committee from 2003 through 2006. From 1997 until 2003, he worked at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he focused on international trade, litigation, and intellectual property matters. Before entering private law practice, he served as a law clerk for the Hon. Sidney R. Thomas of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Billings, Montana.
He earned a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering with honors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree magna cum laude from the Cornell University Law School, where he was managing editor of the Cornell International Law Journal. He is also a member of the Patent Bar. He also serves on the faculty of The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management as an adjunct professor focusing on international trade policy and politics.
Pomper and his wife Anne Kim, Principal of the policy consulting firm Blue Sky Concepts LLC, reside in McLean, Virginia with their sons Alexander and Elliot.
Stephen P. Vaughn is a Partner in the International Trade Team of King & Spalding who works primarily on international trade litigation and policy matters. In April 2019, Stephen completed more than two years of service as the General Counsel for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). In that position, he managed a team of government attorneys representing U.S. interests in both trade negotiations and trade litigation. During two months in early 2017, Stephen also served as the acting U.S. Trade Representative. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on current U.S. trade policy, as well as one of the most talented U.S. trade remedy litigators.
Stephen draws on his experience in both government and the private sector to help clients navigate challenging U.S. trade policy issues. While at USTR, Stephen was directly involved in numerous significant issues, including the new U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA), actions undertaken by the United States against China pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, and efforts to revise the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. He also supervised U.S. litigation efforts before the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as litigation undertaken pursuant to other U.S. free trade agreements. Stephen represented the Administration in numerous meetings regarding U.S. trade policy with Congressional officials and officials from other countries.
Before working at USTR, Stephen spent almost two decades in private practice representing clients in high-profile trade matters. Much of his practice focused on injury issues in the context of antidumping and countervailing duty (AC/CVD) litigation. He has lengthy experience in complex trade litigation before the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and North American Free Trade Agreement binational panels.
During his time in private practice, Stephen represented clients in a number of trade policy matters, from enforcement of unfair trade laws to the role of trade issues in the context of climate change.
Stephen has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he co-taught a seminar on U.S. trade policy and the WTO.
Stephanie Lester is the Senior Director for Government Affairs at Gap Inc. In this capacity, she leads Gap Inc.’s government affairs team and manages the company’s relations with elected officials on the federal, state, and local levels. Ms. Lester was previously Vice President for International Trade at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). In that role, she advocated on behalf of the largest, most successful retailers on international trade, customs, and product safety issues.
From 2001-2006, Ms. Lester served as a professional staff member for the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. In that capacity, she advised members of the Committee on a variety of trade matters including free trade agreements, WTO negotiations on rules and dispute settlement, trade preference programs, U.S. trade remedy laws, and investment. Ms. Lester also worked as an international trade analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce and later served as the Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary for Import Administration.
Ms. Lester holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Multinational Business from Florida State University, and a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. Ms. Lester serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington International Trade Association and is currently Vice President.
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.