The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is pleased to present the
2023 Washington Trade Symposium
Join USFIA in Washington DC to talk about the key issues and politics affecting the fashion industry. From forced labor enforcement to textile policy to the future of the China 301 tariffs, don't miss this opportunity to hear insights and solutions, and meet with key DC policy-makers.
Join USFIA tohear from insidersnetworkexpand your knowledgethis July in DC!
The Symposium runs from 9:00AM until 4:45PM
This agenda is preliminary and subject to change prior to the event.
8:30 AM to 9:00 AM
Registration & Networking
9:00 AM - Opening Remarks
- Julia K. Hughes, President, United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA)
- Michael Lambert, Executive Director of Global Trade and Compliance for Urban Outfitters, Inc. and Vice Chair of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA)
9:10 AM - Fireside Chat on the Next Steps in the Fight Against Forced Labor
Moderated by Julia Hughes, President, USFIA
- Robert Silvers, Under Secretary at Department of Homeland Security, Chair of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force
9:40 AM - The Washington Insiders on Trade Policy & Politics
- Scott McCandless, Partner in PwC’s Washington Tax Practice
- David Spooner, USFIA Washington Counsel and Partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP
10:25 AM - Perspectives on Textile Trade Policy in the Biden Administration
- Laurie-Ann Agama, Acting AUSTR for Textiles, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
- Jennifer Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, Department of Commerce
11:00 AM - Audit Fatigue in the Age of Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence
- Avedis Seferian, President & CEO, WRAP
11:30 AM - GSP: Renewal Status and Opportunities for Improvements
- Daniel Anthony, Executive Director, Coalition for GSP
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
1:00 PM - What’s On the Horizon for U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- John Leonard, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
1:30 PM - Today’s Customs Issues
- John Pellegrini, Customs Consultant, USFIA
- Erin Williamson, Senior Director of Customs Brokerage Product, GEODIS
- Bob Kirke, Executive Director, Canadian Apparel Federation
2:00 PM - 2:15 PM
2:15 PM - Trade and Sourcing Trends for 2023: Results of the Fashion Industry Benchmarking Survey
- Dr. Sheng Lu, Associate Professor at the University of Delaware Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies
3:00 PM - CAFTA Outlook: New Opportunities for Sourcing
- Ann Marie Brouillette, Director of Programs, Partnership for Central America
- Patricia Figueroa, Executive Director, CECATEC
3:30 PM - Exploring the Possibilities: Direct Tax Incentives to Change the Sourcing Landscape
Moderated by Maytee Pereira, PwC Customs and International Trade Co-Leader
- Mark Prater, Managing Director in PwC's Tax Policy Services
- Eric Shin, PwC Consumer Markets Tax Leader
- Matt Wallace, Partner in PwC's International Tax Services
4:00 PM - Best Practices and Warnings for Forced Labor Enforcement
- Anne Marie Lacourse, Global Trade Advisor, Sayari
- Bob Kirke, Executive Director, Canadian Apparel Federation
Anne Marie Lacourse
Global Trade Industry Advisor
Anne Marie Lacourse is an expert practitioner currently with Sayari Labs. She has 25+ years of demonstrated experience helping over 2000 companies embed international trade compliance into their global supply chains and commercial operations. Anne Marie has deep experience developing, implementing, and managing cross-border trade platforms to support multijurisdictional import and export regulations. She has managed three-quarters of a million classifications across nearly a billion shipments on every continent, (yes, Antarctica too). Ms. Lacourse’s extensive technical and practical knowledge across diverse regulatory schemes has been instrumental in completing nearly 1000 assessments and audits. And in the development of industry-leading commodity-based transaction signals for red flag identification and shipment diversion detection.
While at Vastera, Anne Marie was a key member of the team that developed the first commercially available Global Trade Management (GTM) platform. Technology later acquired by JPMorgan Chase which Ms. Lacourse utilized in day-to-day operations powering AML/TBML compliance for the bank’s international trade finance business. She has served as a U.S. State Department International Traffic in Arms Empowered Official (ITAR-EO). Ms. Lacourse is a member of the ACAMS Editorial Committee and contributing author on topics such as trade-based money laundering and managing global import and export controls for ACAMS Today and other publications. She speaks extensively at conferences on the mechanics of using transactional import and export data to signal TBML risk.
Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Mr. John P. Leonard is the Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) of Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Mr. Leonard oversees a diverse portfolio of trade enforcement, security, and facilitation to enable legitimate trade, contribute to American economic prosperity, and protect against risks to public health and safety. His work ranges from enforcing over 500 U.S. trade laws, to overseeing 14 trade agreements, to directing CBP’s seven Priority Trade Issues in collaboration with 49 partner government agencies.
Mr. Leonard has over 30 years of experience at CBP and the former U.S. Customs Service, first beginning his career as an Import Specialist in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1989. Since then, he has worked in various leadership positions at CBP, from 2013 to 2017 as CBP Attaché to Singapore, and prior to this as the Area Port Director of San Francisco. As Area Port Director, Mr. Leonard oversaw the CBP clearance of nearly 5 million passengers per year at San Francisco International Airport and over 400,000 cargo containers per year at the Oakland Seaport.
Mr. Leonard holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master's degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. He is a graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Dr. Sheng Lu
Associate Professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies
University of Delaware
Dr. Sheng Lu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware. He also serves as a consultant for the International Trade Centre (ITC) co-run by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN). With over 70 publications in academic and trade journals, Dr. Lu’s research focuses on the economic and business aspects of the textile and apparel industry, including international trade, trade policy, and the governance of the global apparel value chain. Dr. Lu received the 2014 Rising Star Award and 2019 Mid-Career Excellence Award from the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) to recognize his research and teaching excellence. He is also the multiple-time recipient of the Paper of Distinction Award at the ITAA annual conferences for his study on the textile and apparel specific-sectoral impact of mega free trade agreements. Several of his studies were cited by government reports such as the Congressional Research Service (CRS) studies prepared for members of U.S. Congress, U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) official assessment on the economic impacts of free trade agreements as well as the World Bank, International Labor Organization, and the United Nations research publications. Dr. Lu’s published works also have been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Thai and regularly featured by the media outlet.
Principal, WNTS Tax Policy Services
Scott McCandless is a principal in PwC’s Tax Policy Services (TPS) practice within the Washington National Tax Services practice. Prior to re-joining PwC in 2014, Scott served as Tax Counsel to Congressman Tim Griffin, a Member of the U.S House of Representatives, Committee on Ways & Means. Scott advised Congressman Griffin on a wide range of tax and trade matters including tax reform proposals.
Previously, Scott spent 2011 and 2012 serving as Tax Counsel to U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Senator Snowe was one of the senior Members of the Senate Finance Committee and Scott handled the Senator's broad portfolio of tax and trade issues.
Prior to joining Senator Snowe, Scott was a director in PwC’s Washington National Tax Services practice where he provided strategic advice as well as legislative, executive branch, and regulatory representation for domestic and international clients of PwC on a broad spectrum of issues including taxation and international trade, with a focus on energy tax policy. Scott has authored several articles published in Tax Notes regarding the energy tax titles in recent legislation and on broader energy policy.
U.S. Fashion Industry Association (USFIA)
Until January 2020, Mr. Pellegrini, who is no longer a member of the bar, was Senior Counsel at McGuireWoods LLP where his clients included multinationals, general merchandise retailers, importers, exporters, domestic and foreign manufacturers, commission agents, trade associations, and international marketing companies. Mr. Pellegrini’s practice focused on the regulatory and commercial aspects of international trade. He provided assistance with respect to government regulation of the import-export trade, duty planning, admissibility requirements, litigation in the United States Court of International Trade, representation before the various federal agencies that regulate trade in the United States, and the commercial aspects of international trade.
Customs and International Trade Co-Leader
Maytee Pereira is a Senior Managing Director in the Customs & International Trade practice, located in New York. She has over 30 years experience in the area of customs law and international trade matters and has assisted firm clients from myriad industry sectors including consumer and industrial products, Bioscience and Pharma, as well as apparel & textiles and footwear, involved in import/export activities in taking full advantage of both U.S. and foreign customs laws to minimize their import related liabilities while managing compliance with all applicable customs and export requirements. Maytee is particularly involved in developing and supporting customs valuation strategies that align to complex tax planning as well as in designing implementing streamlined global supply chain strategies aimed at minimizing overall duty expense for inbound and outbound clients as well as opportunities to leverage Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). She also assists clients in administrative proceedings and compliance audits before the U.S. Bureau of Customs & Border Protection (CBP), implementing Foreign Trade Zones and has preparing to participate in Customs programs such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), Duty Drawback, Importer Self-Asessment (ISA), Reconciliation and others.
Maytee has assisted companies from a wide range of industry sectors, including apparel and footwear, consumer electronics, pharmaceutical/life sciences, telecommunications and wholesale/retail proactively address customs appraisement issues and opportunities. She has assisted large multinational companies better understand and manage the interplay be transfer prices and customs value considerations and has helped global companies develop centralized customs valuations policies that are aligned to their transfer pricing policies and objectives in order to avoid “whipsaw” impacts. She has conducted global assessments of internal control procedures for trade compliance and has assisted companies in developing best in class trade compliance processes.
Maytee holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University, with majors in Economics and Political Science, a Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School, and is a Licensed Customs Broker
Managing Director, Tax Policy Services Practice
Mark Prater serves as a Managing Director in PwC's Tax Policy Services Practice in Washington, DC. In his role, Mark advises clients with respect to tax policy issues and tax legislation with a concentration on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Mark Prater graduated from Portland State University in 1981 with a B.S. in accounting. In the summer after finishing at Portland State, Mark worked on a governmental audit under the direction of a team from Coopers and Lybrand. He obtained a J.D. from Willamette University in 1984 and an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida in 1987. Mark became a member of the Oregon and Washington State bars in 1984 and a certified public accountant in Washington in 1986. He practiced with Touche Ross from 1984 to 1986 and a Portland law firm, Dunn, Carney et al. from 1987 to 1990. From January 1990 through November 1993, Mark served as a tax counsel on the Republican staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. In November 1993, Mark was promoted to Chief Tax Counsel on the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee and in January 2007, added the role of Deputy Staff Director of the Republican staff.
In September of 2011, Mark was selected as Staff Director for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, ("JSCDR") i.e. the Super Committee.
Mark retired from Federal service on May 22, 2018.
Mark frequently speaks to national professional tax organizations such as the American Bar Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Federal Bar Association, the Tax Executives Institute, and the Tax Council. Mark also speaks to state professional tax groups such as the Oregon State Bar, Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants, Iowa State Bar, Florida Bar, and the New York State Bar Association. In addition, Mark has guest lectured at undergraduate colleges, universities, and professional schools.
Avedis H. Seferian
President & CEO
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
Avedis H. Seferian joined WRAP in 2004 and became its President and CEO in 2012. He has extensive knowledge of social responsibility issues within the highly complex worldwide supply chains of the apparel, textile and footwear sectors. A recognized expert in the area of social compliance and responsible sourcing, Mr. Seferian was named by Assent Compliance as one of the Top 100 Corporate Social Responsibility Influence Leaders for 2020. He often speaks on topics in this field at different forums around the world and has contributed to many leading trade publications and news outlets. Mr. Seferian is the Chairman of the Executive Board (and a member of the Stakeholder Board) of the Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA) and sits on the Impartiality Committees of several audit organizations; he also served on the Board of Advisors of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
Mr. Seferian began his career working for a business research and development organization before migrating over to legal research. Prior to joining WRAP, he was with a small law firm in Washington, DC. Mr. Seferian has also taught in various capacities in the business and legal arenas, including as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College. He speaks five languages, has lived in four countries and holds three degrees from three continents - a Bachelor’s in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University in India; an MBA from the American University of Armenia; and a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center in the United States, where he was a Law Fellow and made the Dean’s List.
Mr. Seferian is a member of the American Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar. He resides in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife and their 2 sons.
Consumer Markets Tax Leader
Eric is a partner in PwC’s New York City office currently serving as the Lead Client Partner and Lead Tax Partner for Fortune 500 multinationals and advise on multiple areas of business consulting and tax, including value chain transformation, supply chain resiliency, global operating model, deals, and global tax structure optimization. In his current role as the US Consumer Markets Tax Leader, Eric is responsible for leading the firm’s subject matter specialists to deliver thought leaderships on critical industry issues and help clients navigate the fast evolving environment of Consumer Markets and uncertainties of legislative landscape around the globe.
Eric’s recent areas of focus have included advising clients on tax optimizing the transformation programs through global org redesign, supply chain reconfiguration/simplification, repatriation strategies, value chain optimization, cross boarder IP planning, IPO readiness, divestitures including design and implementation of Day 1 operating models, and assessing the value chain impact of ESG programs.
Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Carleton College. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans
Robert Silvers was confirmed by the Senate as the Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans on August 5, 2021. He is responsible for driving policy and implementation plans across all of DHS’s missions, including counterterrorism; cybersecurity, infrastructure security, and resilience; border security and immigration; international affairs; and trade and economic security.
Mr. Silvers previously served in the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama-Biden Administration as Assistant Secretary for Cyber Policy. In that role he oversaw private sector engagement, federal government incident response, and diplomatic outreach pertaining to cybersecurity and emerging technology. Mr. Silvers also previously served as DHS’s Deputy Chief of Staff, managing execution of policy and operational priorities across the entire Department.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Silvers was a partner at the law firm Paul Hastings LLP, where his practice focused on cybersecurity and data privacy, government security review of foreign investments, and investigations and litigation at the intersection of law and national security. After graduating law school, he clerked for Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Silvers holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He taught as an adjunct professor in the M.S. in Cybersecurity Risk and Strategy Program co-offered by the NYU Law School and NYU Tandon School of Engineering. A New York City native, Mr. Silvers lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and their two children.
Partner, International Tax Services
Matt leads PwC’s International Tax Services teams in New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Matt is also part of PwC’s integrated global structuring team, a national group of specialists providing holistic tax planning advice to multinationals. He has worked extensively with retailers – from specialty to big box - during his time with PwC.
Matt helps his clients solve complex international tax problems, helps the people on his teams develop as professionals, and helps his community through volunteer work and by making businesses stronger. Matt has spent his 18-year career working with multinationals on tax structuring, including advising on internal and external transactions, cross-border financing, large-scale value chain transformations, and tax attribute planning.
Matt is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences. He is a graduate from both The Ohio State University and from American University.
Senior Director of Customs Brokerage Product
Erin Williamson is the Director of Product Management in the Customs Brokerage Product Team. Erin is responsible for ensuring compliance of customs brokerage activities and supporting the US station brokerage operations.