The AANHPI Roundtable Series provides an opportunity for students and young professionals to learn from public service leaders in our community in an intimate and conversational setting for one hour. Each roundtable features public service leaders from one organization and accommodates 25-30 attendees. This year, CAPAL is launching a series of monthly Roundtable discussions. These events will be held on a virtual platform. Registration is FREE for all attendees.
This session will feature the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative with Jamila Thompson, Daniel Lee, Jing Jing Zhang, and Charita Castro, PhD.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is an agency of more than 200 committed professionals with decades of specialized experience in trade issues and regions of the world.
We negotiate directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, to resolve disputes, and to participate in global trade policy organizations. We also meet with governments, with business groups, with legislators and with public interest groups to gather input on trade issues and to discuss the President’s trade policy positions.
USTR was created in 1962 and has offices in Washington, Geneva, and Brussels.
Jamila Thompson | Senior Advisor to the U.S. Trade Representative
Jamila Thompson serves as senior advisor to the U.S. Trade Representative. Ms. Thompson previously served as chief of staff to Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District, and deputy chief of staff for U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA). In addition to managing and developing the office’s policy team and operations, she was directly responsible for appropriations, budget, trade, tax, foreign affairs, human, civil, and voting rights, oversight, and other policy areas. Prior to joining Congressman Lewis’ office, Ms. Thompson worked as a legislative assistant for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). Before coming to Capitol Hill in 2001, she was a volunteer coordinator and translator for various non-profit organizations.
Ms. Thompson also served on the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Caribbean Community Affairs in Washington, D.C. and is a senior fellow and mentor with Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership. In Spring 2015, Goucher College named Ms. Thompson as one of the inaugural recipients of its Distinguished Alumnae and Alumni Award; Ms. Thompson also holds a Masters of Arts in Global Diplomacy from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Daniel Lee | Assistant U.S. Trade Representative
Daniel Lee serves as the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Innovation and Intellectual Property. As head of the Office of Innovation and Intellectual Property in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), he oversees the development and implementation of U.S. trade policy, including trade negotiations and
other engagement with foreign countries, related to intellectual property and innovation issues.
Lee previously served as a Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative and as a Director in the same office, leading engagement on intellectual property and innovation issues with Africa, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and parts of Latin America. In addition, he served as Director for Japan Affairs at USTR and also worked at the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Lee is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Jing Jing Zhang | Director of China Affairs
Jing Jing Zhang serves as Director of China Affairs at USTR, which is the office responsible for the development of U.S. trade policy with the PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. With respect to the PRC portfolio, Ms. Zhang oversees issues areas such as labor, the social credit system, and BRI activities in Africa and Latin
America. She co-manages the Taiwan portfolio with her colleague Tim Wineland. Additionally, Ms. Zhang also covers all issues related to Hong Kong and Macau. Prior to joining USTR in 2018, Ms. Zhang worked in the private sector for an international consultancy focused on government affairs strategy.
Charita L. Castro, PhD | Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Labor Affairs
Charita Castro, PhD is currently a Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Labor Affairs where she oversees its global forced labor and human trafficking portfolio, multilateral and regional fora concerning trade and labor (G7, G20, OECD, ASEAN, APEC, ILO), and trade-related labor issues in East Asia, including China. She has 20 years of federal government experience in senior policy, research, and management positions working collaboratively to deliver concrete results that improve the lives of workers and children, especially those in or at-risk of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.
Prior to USTR (2011 – 2018), Dr. Castro served as the inaugural Chief of Research and Policy for the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking at the U.S. Department of Labor, managing a 25-person staff of civil servants; overseeing a $80 million portfolio of international projects; supervising the publication of the Department’s three Congressionally-mandated and Presidential Directive reports on child labor and forced labor; and leading the development of the U.S. government’s Sweat & Toil and ComplyChain smartphone apps, the first-ever human rights focused mobile applications connecting the people and product components of supply chains for the federal government.
Dr. Castro began her federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow in 1999, and also served at the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Health and Human Services.
She received her Doctor of Philosophy in public policy from the George Washington University; Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis; and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Tulane University. From 2004 – 2005, she was a Fulbright scholar to the Philippines researching occupational safety and the impact of hazardous work on child laborers in agriculture. She is currently serving as one of 120 IF/THEN Women in STEM Ambassadors to promote the next generation of female scientists, and a life-sized 3D statue of her was featured at the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition to honor Women’s History Month in 2022.