June 25, 2012
News Release 12-072
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
WILLIAMSON NAMED CHAIRMAN OF U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION
President Barack Obama has designated Irving A. Williamson, a Democrat of New York, as Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) for the term June 17, 2012, through June 16, 2014.
Chairman Williamson was nominated to the USITC by President George W. Bush on September 7, 2006; renominated on January 9, 2007; and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 1, 2007. He was sworn in as a member of the Commission on February 7, 2007, for a term expiring on June 16, 2014. President Barack Obama designated him Vice Chairman for the term ending June 16, 2012.
Chairman Williamson has more than 40 years of experience in the international and trade policy fields. Prior to his appointment, he was for seven years President of Williamson International Trade Strategies, Inc., a New York-based consulting firm that advised clients on legal, policy, and regulatory issues affecting international trade and business. As a consultant, he worked with over 20 U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donor-funded projects, advising countries on World Trade Organization (WTO) accession, compliance, and participation; he has also conducted WTO and other trade-related training programs all over the world. Much of his work focused on trade with Africa and the Middle East.
From 1993 to 1998, Chairman Williamson was Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where he helped manage a 14-attorney office that was engaged in more than 30 dispute settlement proceedings. The office was named best government international law office in May 1997. In this position, he also served as chairman of the interagency Section 301 Committee, which investigated foreign trade barriers, and worked on implementing legislation for the WTO and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He served as acting general counsel for seven months. Chairman Williamson played a role in developing President Bill Clinton's Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa initiative and represented USTR in negotiations with the Congress on the African Growth and Opportunity Act legislation.
Following his USTR service, Chairman Williamson was Vice President for Trade, Investment, and Economic Development Programs at the Africa-America Institute in New York. From 1985 to 1993, he was the manager of trade policy for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Prior to that, he served for 18 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State.
Chairman Williamson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Brown University, a Master of Arts degree in international relations with an emphasis on African studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School. He is married to Cheryl A. Parham, has two children, Patrick and Elizabeth, and resides in New York City.
The USITC is an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement. Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for nine-year terms, unless they are appointed to fill unexpired terms. The Chairman and the Vice Chairman are designated by the President for two-year terms in those positions.