To view the event video, click HERE.
Dan Anthony – U.S. Coalition for GSP
Stephanie Lester – Gap Inc.
Daniel Neumann, Sorini, Samet & Associates
Minister Prayoth Benyasut, Royal Thai Embassy
Eric Biel – Georgetown Law Center
Kim Elliott – Center for Global Development
Both Panels Moderated by Katrin Kuhlman – New Markets Lab
Minister Prayoth Benyasut serves as the Minister of the Office of Commercial Affairs at the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Office of Commercial Affairs is the representative office of Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce and is responsible for trade policy matters at both the multilateral and bilateral levels, with the aim of fostering greater trade between the United States and Thailand. From 2002-2008, Dr. Benyasut served as Consul (Commercial) and Deputy Director of the Office of Commercial Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy, Toronto, Canada. From 2008-2010, he was head of the Consumer Price Index Division, Bureau of Trade and Economic Indices Office of the Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Commerce, Thailand. From 2010-2012, he served as Acting Director of Bureau of Trade and Economic Indices. From 2011-2012, he was Director of the Office of Commercial Affairs Yala, Thailand and from 2012-2014, he served as Director of Bureau of Trade and Economic Indices. Dr. Benyasut, sponsored by the Royal Thai Government, received his Master of Science in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his undergrad degree from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Thailand. He also received the Master of Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Doctorate degree of Dental Surgery Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
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.
Eric R. Biel completed five years of service in January 2017 at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), where as Associate Deputy Undersecretary he led ILAB’s work on a diverse set of projects, including global supply chain issues and engagement with foreign governments and other stakeholders on a diverse set of international labor legal and policy matters. Since leaving government he has worked on projects with business, law, and non-profit groups, while speaking at several law and public policy schools on a range of business and human rights issues. From 2000-11, Biel held a variety of positions outside of government, including Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility at Burson-Marsteller; Deputy Washington Director and Senior Counsel at Human Rights First; and Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the Fontheim International consulting firm. Prior government service from 1990-2000 included Deputy Undersecretary for Trade Policy and heading the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning at the U.S. Department of Commerce; Executive Director of the bipartisan Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy; and Trade Counsel at the Senate Finance Committee. Before that, Biel was an attorney in private practice for five years. Since 2008, he has taught a course at the Georgetown University Law Center on “Human Rights at the Intersection of Trade and Corporate Responsibility” that examines a range of business and human rights issues. He has a B.A. degree from Johns Hopkins and a joint J.D.-M.P.A. degree from Yale Law School and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.