The Washington Foreign Law Society
Panel Discussion: Where do we go from here? What will U.S. Trade Policy under Biden look like and how will it be received by our friends and allies?
Tuesday, April 27th, 2021
from 5:30 to 6:30 PM ET
Trump’s “America First” philosophy and weaponization of tariffs against even our closest allies present tough issues for the Biden administration. With almost 100 days into the new administration at the time of this talk, how is President Biden’s trade policy shaping up? Biden has stated that he wants to work with allies to develop a coherent strategy on trade, especially in regard to China. However, Trump left Biden with a Phase 1 trade deal with China which includes high tariffs on most imports from China and complex problems, such as intellectual property protection and forced technology transfer, still unresolved. Trump also pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Will Biden seek to reengage in the successor agreement that the other countries reached – the Comprehensive & Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)? While Biden’s détente with allies is a positive sign, there are trade irritants with allies in both the east and west. In line with his pledge to work with allies, on March 5, 2021 the U.S. and Europe agreed to a four-month suspension of all tariffs imposed in the World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes involving aircraft producers Airbus and Boeing, committing to work to a permanent solution. But what will happen to the steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from our allies? And what will happen to the WTO which was left in disarray with blockage of appointments to the Appellate Body? The USTR has said that she will strive to restore U.S. leadership in the organization and work on much needed reform.
The conversation will address what we might expect from the new administration. The panelists will present their views on how U.S. allies in Europe and Asia might receive President Biden’s rapprochement.
Tomas Baert will enlighten us as to the European perspective. He is the Head of the Trade & Agriculture Section at the European Union Delegation to the United States. In this capacity, he is in charge of the planning, management and coordination of EU trade policy in the US. Prior to moving to Washington, DC in August 2018, Tomas was the Head of Unit for Trade Strategy at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade), where he led the team responsible for the 2015 Trade for All strategy and the 2017 Communication on a balanced and progressive trade policy to harness globalization. He also coordinated DG Trade’s work on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and the preparatory discussions on a future EU-UK trade relationship. From 2014 to 2016, Tomas was an assistant to Director General for Trade, advising on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and WTO negotiations.
Tomas holds an MSc from the London School of Economics (LSE) and an MA from the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), Belgium. He spent a term at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland and completed the Mastering Trade Policy program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Barbara Weisel will provide a perspective from Asia. She is currently a Managing Director at Rock Creek Global Advisors, an international economic policy advisory firm, where she focuses on international trade and investment policy and negotiations as well as market access, regulatory matters, and digital trade issues.
Ms. Weisel has more than 25 years of experience advancing international trade and investment initiatives in the Asia-Pacific. Notably, she served most recently as Assistant US Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific and as the US chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In addition, Ms. Weisel led bilateral FTA negotiations with Malaysia and Thailand, and as Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Bilateral Asian Affairs (Korea, Southeast Asia, and South Asia), negotiated FTAs with Australia and Singapore. She also was charged with monitoring and enforcing Asian countries’ compliance with World Trade Organization and other trade commitments and working with US companies to resolve specific issues in these markets. Earlier, Ms. Weisel served as the official responsible for managing global pharmaceutical regulatory issues and as Director for Japan Affairs.
Moderating the discussion is Evelyn M. Suarez, Founder of The Suarez Firm, PLLC, a boutique providing advice on customs and international trade matters. Ms. Suarez represents clients before all trade agencies, in litigation before the U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court and on legislative matters.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Douglass College, Rutgers University and her juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. She is a member of the DC Bar. She is proud to have received the Martindale-Hubbell Judicial AV Preeminent rating and is consistently listed in The Best Lawyers in America for International Trade and as a “Super Lawyer” in International Trade law in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers magazine.
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