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National Association of Manufacturers Forms Trade Compliance Working Group

MeadWestvaco General Counsel Wendell L. Willkie to serve as chairman

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has announced the formation of an NAM Trade Compliance Working Group that will seek to work with U.S. government agencies to obtain full foreign country compliance with bilateral and international agreements.  

“The NAM seeks to level the global playing field for America’s manufacturers both by lowering foreign trade barriers and by obtaining more effective enforcement of our trade rights,” said NAM President John Engler.  “This new NAM working group elevates the priority of trade compliance and enforcement and provides a fast track for notifying the Administration of problems that we believe need to be addressed.

“This NAM initiative fits hand in glove with U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman’s new effort to obtain compliance with trade obligations and to enforce U.S. trade laws,” said Engler.  “We will work closely with USTR, the Commerce Department, and other agencies.”

Engler announced that the Trade Compliance Working Group will be headed by Wendell L. Willkie II, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the MeadWestvaco Corporation.  “Wendell is the ideal individual to head this group,” said Engler.  “Not only is he an extremely capable lawyer and a great leader, but also he brings the first-hand knowledge and experience that he gained as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Commerce during the George H. Bush Administration.  Wendell and I currently serve together on the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), which further enhances his role as an expert in trade policy.  He will provide strong leadership to this important NAM committee.”

“I believe NAM’s Trade Compliance Group can make a significant contribution to building support for more open trade policies by helping ensure that we get what we bargained for in our trade agreements,” said Willkie.  “Our efforts can help build confidence that others are living up to their obligations and not taking unfair advantage of U.S. firms,” he said.

Willkie pointed out that many smaller manufacturers that do not have offices in Washington D.C. need an easier way to raise their trade problems.  He noted that NAM staff supporting the working group would establish a trade complaint “hot line” to help NAM member companies utilize the compliance resources of the U.S. government.

“Our working group will be coordinating with offices in the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with an eye to developing a roadmap for companies when they encounter problems in international trade,” Willkie said.  “We will set up processes to work closely with the government offices responsible for enforcement, and we won’t hesitate to recommend improvements to the system if we believe that is necessary.”