January 13, 2017
News Release 17-011
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
Rhonda Schnare Schmidtlein Named Chairman of U.S. International Trade Commission

President Barack Obama has designated Rhonda Schnare Schmidtlein, a Democrat of Missouri, as Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) for the Chairmanship term that will expire June 16, 2018.

Schmidtlein was nominated to the USITC by President Barack Obama on July 15, 2013; renominated on January 6, 2014; and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 6, 2014.  She was sworn in as a member of the Commission on April 28, 2014, for the term expiring on December 16, 2021.

Schmidtlein served as an expert consultant to the World Bank for the two years immediately prior to her appointment.  In that role, she provided expertise on projects that sought to strengthen audit and accounting regulation and oversight in countries with emerging markets.

From 2005-2011, Schmidtlein served as the founding Director of the office created to implement the international obligations of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).  The PCAOB is a regulatory agency created by Congress in 2002 to protect the interests of investors in U.S. capital markets and further the public interest in independent audit reports of U.S. public companies.  Before becoming the Director of the PCAOB’s Office of International Affairs, she served as Special Counsel to the Chairman of the PCAOB.

Schmidtlein served in the General Counsel’s office at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 1998 to 2003.   In that role, she represented the United States as Head of Delegation and lead counsel in disputes before the World Trade Organization and provided legal counsel in connection with the negotiation of numerous international trade agreements.

Earlier in her career, Schmidtlein was an Honors Program trial attorney in the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.  She also was an adjunct professor for legal research and writing at the George Washington University’s National Law Center.  She began her career as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Howard F. Sachs, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.

Schmidtlein holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a juris doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  Originally from Carrollton, Missouri, she resides in Washington D.C. with her husband, John, and two children.

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.  

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