I am Pradnya Desh, an international trade attorney and former USTR negotiator. I will be writing a monthly post on trade policy issues and their legal underpinnings. Even though I can’t promise to deliver as clever titles as Eric Schinfeld’s posts, I can promise my own brand of insightful coverage of trade policy issues that are relevant to our state.
First, an introduction. I was in international trade policy with the federal government for 12 years, mostly with the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and the State Department, before starting private law practice in Washington State with Desh Elliott International Law. From 2006-2008, I represented the United States as a diplomat (Trade Attaché) in the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. I represented the US in the WTO Committees on Import Licensing, Trade Policy Reviews, Trade and Development, Budget and others. During that time, I gained an inside perspective on trade policy and I will be sharing that with you.
For example, I remember one particularly late night at UNCTAD when we were negotiating the trade policy priorities that would govern work for several years to come. I can only imagine that the regular diplomats had turned in for the night, because the remaining diplomats in the room wanted UNCTAD’s trade policy priorities to reflect their view that the United States uses free trade agreements (FTAs) as a tool of aggressive colonialism. With subtle, diplomatic language as my only weapon, I beat them back. Such are the front lines of international trade policy. Fortunately, they are usually far more relevant. But I digress.
In the coming months, I will be keeping an eye on a number of issues. For example:
- The new International Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC) which President Obama proposed in the State of the Union address and created by Executive Order shortly after. It is supposed to improve enforcement of trade rules and make other countries (read: China) play more fair. It will be located in USTR with close cooperation from US Department of Commerce. Personally, I can’t wait to see how that is going to work, and whether Washington companies really will have a better avenue for making other countries comply with trade rules (read: China, again.)
- EU claims that the recent adverse WTO ruling covers the incentive package that South Carolina gave in 2009 to convince Boeing to put its second final assembly plant for the Dreamliner in Charleston.
- The Farm Bill debate in Congress.
- The new WTO consultations on Chinese export restrictions on rare earth metals.
- Progress in the Transpacific Partnership negotiations.
In the meantime, feel free to send me an email if there is an issue that you would like me to discuss in a post. And if you disagree with me, email me that too, or put it in the comments below. I am always up for a good debate, especially over a Washington wine, and most especially because I think that your comments will be more interesting and better reasoned than the anti-colonialism rhetoric leveled at me at UNCTAD.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice or as creating an attorney-client relationship. Do not rely on the opinions expressed in this post without discussing them with your attorney. Legal advice must be tailored to an individual company’s unique circumstances and this post is for general purposes only. I can be reached at (425) 646-2389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.