Capital Exchange: Global Trade: Thriving in a New Era

Capital Exchange events feature candid conversations about how business and government can better collaborate to create jobs and economic growth. Featuring top lawmakers, CEOs and administration officials, Capital Exchange will focus on the confluence of policy, business and money. Events will cover such topics as Innovation and Regulation; Immigration Policy and the Economy; Finance, Markets and Banking in the Trump Era; The New American Labor Force.

Who should attend: Institutional investors, asset managers, government agency staff, BDMs, policymakers, congressional aides, lobbyists, think-tank leaders


Craig Allen

On July 26, 2018, Craig Allen began his tenure in Washington, DC, as the sixth President of the United States-China Business Council (USCBC), a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing over 200 American companies doing business with China. Prior to joining USCBC, Craig had a long, distinguished career in US public service.

Craig began his government career in 1985 at the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). He entered government as a Presidential Management Intern, rotating through the four branches of ITA. From 1986 to 1988, he was an international economist in ITA’s China Office.

In 1988, Craig transferred to the American Institute in Taiwan, where he served as Director of the American Trade Center in Taipei. He held this position until 1992, when he returned to the Department of Commerce for a three-year posting at the US Embassy in Beijing as Commercial Attaché.

In 1995, Craig was assigned to the US Embassy in Tokyo, where he served as a Commercial Attaché. In 1998, he was promoted to Deputy Senior Commercial Officer. In 1999, Craig became a member of the Senior Foreign Service.

From 2000, Craig served a two-year tour at the National Center for APEC in Seattle. While there, he worked on the APEC Summits in Brunei, China, and Mexico. In 2002, it was back to Beijing, where Craig served as the Senior Commercial Officer. In Beijing, Craig was promoted to the Minister Counselor rank of the Senior Foreign Service.

After a four-year tour in South Africa, Craig became Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia at the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. He later became Deputy Assistant Secretary for China. Craig was sworn in as the United States ambassador to Brunei Darussalam on December 19, 2014. He served there until July 2018, when he transitioned to President of the US-China Business Council.

Craig received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Political Science and Asian Studies in 1979. He received a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1985.

Thea Lee

Thea Lee joined EPI as incoming president November 1, 2017, and became president January 1, 2018. Lee has a longstanding relationship with EPI, having begun her career here as an international trade economist in the 1990s.

Lee is committed to EPI’s mission of building an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. To ensure that policymakers and advocates have the tools they need to fight and win key battles on behalf of working people, Lee is extending EPI’s reach through expanded engagement with the states and with progressive organizers.

Lee came to EPI from the AFL-CIO, a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women, where she served as deputy chief of staff. At the AFL-CIO, she built a long track record of conducting rigorous economic research, overseeing an ambitious policy agenda, and helping steer a large organization through change. Lee joined the AFL-CIO in 1997 as chief international economist, then assumed the role of policy director before becoming deputy chief of staff.

Lee has spent her career advocating on behalf of working families in national policy debates on issues such as wage inequality, workers’ rights, and fair trade. She is co-author of The Field Guide to the Global Economy, published by The New Press, and has authored numerous publications on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the impact of international trade on U.S. wage inequality, and the domestic steel and textile industries.

Lee has been a voice for workers in testimony before congressional committees and in television and radio appearances—including on PBS News Hour, Good Morning America, NPR’s All Things Considered and Marketplace, Fox Business, and the PBS documentary Commanding Heights. She has also served on the State Department Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, the Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee, and the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research, among others.

Lee holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Smith College. Lee lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and dog. She has one daughter, who teaches middle school in Brooklyn. She likes to cook, read, and travel.

Clete Willems

Clete Willems is the former Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and a member of the National Security Council,

In this role, he oversaw three directorates within the Office of International Economic Affairs at the National Security Council – International Trade, Investment, and Development (ITID), Global Economics, and Energy and Environment. These directorates lead White House policy and coordination on issues including the G7, G20, APEC, the international financial institutions, the OECD, sanctions, trade, and energy. On the global engagement front, Clete served as the President’s Sherpa for G7 and G20, and is a key negotiator on behalf of the President and the U.S. Government with foreign governments, including the EU and China, among others. Clete previously served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for ITID.

Prior to joining the White House, Clete served as Chief Counsel for Negotiations, Legislation, and Administrative Law at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where he focused on the enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws. He also held the positions of Legal Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the World Trade Organization and Assistant General Counsel at USTR. Prior to joining USTR, Clete worked as a Counsel on the Budget Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and as the Legislative Director for Congressman Paul Ryan.

Clete holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. Clete is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is happily married to Lisa Scheible Willems. They have a 1-year old son, Cletus Julian.

Kayla Tausche

Kayla Tausche is an on-air correspondent based at CNBC's Washington, D.C. bureau and focuses on the intersection of government and business. Her reporting appears on television and CNBC's digital platforms. She also serves as a fill-in anchor for the network's Business Day programming.

Most recently, Tausche was co-anchor of CNBC's "Squawk Alley" (M-F, 11AM-12PM ET) and focused on the big money backing technology and innovation. She has also covered the banking industry, as well as corporate finance and deals— and frequently breaks news. Since joining CNBC in 2011, Tausche has reported on a wide variety of high-profile stories, including the historic Brexit vote, the Facebook, Twitter and Alibaba IPOs, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the MF Global bankruptcy and the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. Tausche began her journalism career with posts at the Associated Press in Brussels, Bloomberg News in New York, and DealReporter in New York and London.

An Atlanta native, Tausche graduated with honors in business journalism and international politics from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was an Ameel J. Fisher scholar. She sits on the alumni board of the UNC journalism school.

Follow Kayla Tausche on Twitter @kaylatausche.






Global Trade: Thriving in a New Era
Tariffs, a new NAFTA, an ascendant China, Brexit. Amid all the variables and all the noise, one thing is clear: we’ve entered a new era of global trade. What policies and strategies will allow American businesses and the U.S. economy to thrive?


Event Concludes


Learn More