WITA Webinar Featuring:
Ambassador Jesús Seade, Undersecretary for North America, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, WTO Director General Candidate
Ambassador Rufus Yerxa, President, National Foreign Trade Council, and former Deputy Director General of the WTO
Wendy Cutler, Vice President, and Managing Director, Washington D.C. office of the Asia Society Policy Institute
Dr. Jesús Seade served as Ambassador of Mexico and Permanent Representative to the GATT from 1986 until his appointment to GATT in July 1993. He was Chairman of the GATT Committee on Trade and Development from 1991 to 1992 and earned a B. Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from UNAM in Mexico and a Ph. D. in Economics from Oxford University.
Dr. Seade has held various academic posts, including Professor and Director of the Economics Department at El Colegio de México (1980-83); and Professor of Public Economics and Director of the Development Economics Research Centre at the University of Warwick in England (1984-86).
Over the years, he has served as an advisor to various bodies of the Mexican Government, including the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He subsequently worked at the World Bank, first as Senior Economist in the Public Finance Division (1986-87) then as the Principal Economist at the Bank’s Brazil Department (1987-89).
From 1989 until his July 1993 appointment to his current position as a Deputy Director-General of the WTO, he served as Mexico’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the GATT and Chief Negotiator to the Uruguay Round Negotiations. He played an active part in the preparation of his country’s membership to the OECD.
Jesús Seade has written articles on micro-economic theory and policy for leading economic publications, particularly in the areas of taxation and competition theory and on policy, pricing and incentives and international trade. He has been elected to the boards of many professional journals and associations and is an Honorary Professor at the United Kingdom’s University of Warwick.
Ambassador Rufus Yerxa became President of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) in May 2016. As president, he oversees NFTC’s efforts in favor of a more open, rules-based world economy, focusing on key issues to U.S. competitiveness such as international trade and tax policy, economic sanctions and export finance.
He has more than four decades of experience as a lawyer, diplomat, U.S. trade negotiator and international official. He has been in key policymaking and management roles in Congress, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and also spent several years in private law practice and the corporate world. As Deputy Director General of the WTO from 2002 to 2013 he helped to broaden its membership and strengthen its role as the principal rules-based institution governing world trade.
Prior to this, from 1989 to 1995, he served as Deputy USTR under both a Republican and a Democratic President, first as the Geneva-based Ambassador to the GATT (the predecessor organization to the WTO) and subsequently as the Washington Deputy. Earlier in his government career (1981 to 1989) he was with the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Trade. He began his government career as a legal advisor with the U.S. International Trade Commission. After leaving government service in 1995 and prior to joining the WTO he spent five years in the private sector, including as the Brussels-based partner with the U.S. law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Rufus is a native of Washington State.
He holds a BA in political science from the University of Washington (1973), a JD from Seattle University School of Law (1976) and an LLB in international Law from the University of Cambridge in England (1977). He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, and is also a Visiting Professor with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).
Wendy Cutler joined the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) as vice president in November 2015. She also serves as the managing director of the Washington D.C. Office. In these roles, she focuses on building ASPI’s presence in Washington — strengthening its outreach as a think/do tank — and on leading initiatives that address challenges related to trade and investment, as well as women’s empowerment in Asia. She joined ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
Most recently she served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, working on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. In that capacity, she was responsible for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, including the bilateral negotiations with Japan. She also was the chief negotiator to the U.S.-Korea (Korus) Free Trade Agreement.
Cutler received her master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University.