On Thursday, November 16, WITA hosted former United States Trade Representative Carla A. Hills for a virtual Fireside Chat with Ambassador Rufus Yerxa.
This webinar was part a series of one-on-one discussions with prominent figures in the trade world discussing the new paradigm in U.S. trade policy, and its implications for the U.S. and the World.
Ambassador Carla A. Hills, Chair & CEO, Hills & Company International Consultants; former U.S. Trade Representative; former Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development; former Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Ambassador Rufus Yerxa, Senior Advisor, McLarty Associates; former WTO Deputy Director General; former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative
Carla A. Hills is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hills & Company, International Consultants. The firm provides advice to U.S. businesses on investment, trade, and risk assessment issues abroad, particularly in emerging market economies.
Mrs. Hills served as United States Trade Representative from 1989 to 1993. As a member of President Bush’s Cabinet, Mrs. Hills was the President’s principal advisor on international trade policy. She was also the nation’s chief trade negotiator, representing American interests in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations throughout the world.
She led the U.S. negotiations in the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade talks, concluded the North American Free Trade Agreement, and entered into a large number of trade and investment agreements with countries all around the world.
Earlier, Mrs. Hills served as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Ford Administration (the third woman to hold a Cabinet position). She also served as Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
Over the past 25 years Mrs. Hills has served on a number of corporate boards of directors. She currently serves on the International Boards of J.P. Morgan Chase, Rolls Royce, and the Coca-Cola Company and is a member of the Board of Gilead Sciences. Mrs. Hills is also actively involved with a number of eleemosynary organizations, serving as Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, of the Inter American Dialogue, and of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Chair of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations; member of the Executive Committee of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and of the Trilateral Commission; and a member of the board of the International Crisis Group, among others.
Before entering government, Mrs. Hills co-founded and was partner of Munger, Tolles, and Hills, a Los Angeles law firm. She also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles Law School, teaching antitrust law, and co-authored the Antitrust Adviser, which was published by McGraw-Hill.
Ambassador Hills resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Roderick. They are the parents of four children and the grandparents of five children.
Rufus Yerxa is Senior Advisor at McLarty Associates. He has been a prominent figure in international trade policy for more than four decades. He served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative under two Administrations and spent more than a decade as Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). He has also served in the private sector as a trade lawyer and as head of a leading business association in Washington. His areas of expertise include the functioning of the WTO system and other international agreements, bilateral and regional economic relations, international investment matters and U.S. trade law.
Ambassador Yerxa began his government career as a lawyer with the U.S. International Trade Commission before joining the staff of the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as Staff Director of its Subcommittee on Trade.
From 1989 to 1995 he served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with the rank of Ambassador, first as head of USTR’s Permanent Mission to the GATT in Geneva under President George H.W. Bush and subsequently as Washington Deputy during the Clinton Administration. He was instrumental in negotiations to replace GATT with the WTO in 1995 and to create the original NAFTA accord (now USMCA).
After leaving government service he practiced law for a major U.S. firm in Brussels. In 2002 he was appointed to serve as Deputy Director General of the WTO. During his long tenure he helped to broaden its membership and strengthen various aspects of its rulemaking function.
From 2016 to 2021, he was President of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), a Washington-based industry association focused on expanding global markets for U.S. companies and strengthening the rule of law in world trade.
He was a Visiting Professor and Adjunct Professor with the Middlebury Institute for International Studies from 2013 to 2018, where he taught courses on international trade and the WTO system.
Ambassador Yerxa is a native of Washington State. He holds a BA from the University of Washington, a JD from Seattle University and an LLB in International Law from the University of Cambridge.