June 20, 2016
News Release 16-072
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
Irving A. Williamson Becomes Chairman of U.S. International Trade Commission

On June 17th, 2016, Irving A. Williamson became Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).  He succeeded outgoing Chairman Meredith M. Broadbent, whose term expired on June 16, 2016.  Williamson, the senior Democrat on the Commission, became Chairman by operation of law in the absence of a Presidential designation.

A Democrat of New York, 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.  He previously served as Chairman of the USITC for the term June 17, 2012, to June 16, 2014.  He served as Vice Chairman of the USITC for the term June 17, 2010, to June 16, 2012.

Williamson has almost 50 years of experience in the international affairs and trade policy fields.  Prior to his USITC 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, 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.  As Deputy General Counsel, he worked on implementing legislation for the WTO and the North American Free Trade Agreement and also served as chairman of the interagency Section 301 Committee, which investigated foreign trade barriers. He served as acting general counsel for seven months.  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, 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 his Port Authority service, Williamson served for 18 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State.

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 makes determinations in proceedings involving imports claimed to injure a domestic industry or violate U.S. intellectual property rights, provides independent tariff, trade and competitiveness-related analysis and information to the legislative and executive branches of government, and maintains the U.S. tariff schedule.  Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for nine year terms, unless they are appointed to fill unexpired terms.

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