April 4, 2014
News Release 14-031
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


Irving A. Williamson, Chairman of the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), has announced that James R. Holbein has been named Director of the USITC'S Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements.

Holbein will oversee the Commission's office which is responsible for maintaining and publishing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), represents the United States in the work of the World Customs Organization in Brussels, and coordinates interagency work on statistical annotations in the tariff schedule. The office also provides advice on tariff legislation and on tariff provisions in trade agreements and manages a heavily used online database of tariff and trade information.

Holbein served as Secretary to the Commission from 2011 until his appointment. In that role, he oversaw the filing and maintenance of the agency's official records and the conduct of the Commission's public meetings and hearings. He joined the USITC in 2008 as the supervisor of the agency's Docket Services operations and was named Director of the Office of Docket Services when that office was established in 2010.

Prior to joining the USITC, Holbein was President of Global Trade Consulting LLC, managing projects for start-up companies in the cybersecurity and environmental technology sectors. He also provided services involving regional integration, international trade policy, and alternative dispute resolution to governments, companies, and non-government organizations. In addition, he participated on several panels under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Chapter 19, where he reviewed appeals of antidumping and countervailing duty determinations by NAFTA government agencies.

Previously, Holbein served for 10 years as the U.S. Secretary of the NAFTA Secretariat at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he managed an international trade dispute settlement process. Prior to that, he was a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State for 10 years, serving in Korea and Norway.

Holbein holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a juris doctor degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. He resides in Burke, VA, with his wife and two sons.

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.

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