Board of Management

Bryce Blegen

Bryce Blegen is CEO of Trusted Trade Alliance LLC, responsible for managing the organization’s global activities from its headquarters in Vancouver, Washington, USA. Mr. Blegen is also Managing Director of the Trusted Trade Institute and Senior Lecturer & Regional Representative, Americas, for the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies, Charles Sturt University. Previous positions include the role of president of one of the leading providers of global customs and trade software solutions, and 15 years of experience in senior legal and import- and export-compliance positions at two of the globe’s largest automotive and diversified electronics manufacturing groups, with postings in the US, Germany, and France.

Mr. Blegen’s work is focused in the areas of global import and export compliance, supply-chain security, and cross-border process optimization. He has been active in spearheading customs simplification and trade facilitation initiatives in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and China, working closely with trade associations and government officials. He served as co-chair of the 2008 and 2010 World Customs Forums at the World Customs Organization in Brussels and in Istanbul, as well as of the 2012 Global Customs Forum in Sao Paolo, Brazil. He is also a member of the International Customs Law Academy and the American Council on Germany. Mr. Blegen is a frequent speaker on customs and trade topics in the US and Europe.

Mr. Blegen received a Juris Doctor and a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Denver in 1989. He is admitted as an attorney in Illinois, the US Federal Courts, and the Court of International Trade. He is fluent in English and German.

Rogelio Cruz Vernet

Rogelio Cruz Vernet is the Managing Director, Latin America for Trusted Trade Alliance and Principal of Customs Trade Solutions Latin America, SC, a consulting firm focused on trade compliance and supply chain security in Latin America. He is also a Partner at the firm Basham, Ringe & Correa, SC in Mexico City. Mr. Cruz previously served as Mexican Customs Counsel for one of Mexico's largest companies in the automotive sector, where he was very active in spearheading customs simplification and trade facilitation initiatives in Mexico. Prior to joining Delphi, Mr. Cruz Vernet spent 12 years at Basham, Ringe and Correa as Senior Associate in the customs and international trade department in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico. He was admitted as an attorney in Mexico in 1994, and received a Law Degree from the La Salle University Mexico City. Mr. Cruz Vernet also has a Diploma in Tax Law from Universidad Panamericana and a Diploma of Legal Framework of Foreign Trade from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de México. Mr. Cruz Vernet is the Chair of Customs Committee of the of the largest of Mexico's bar associations, the Illustrious College of Advocates, and is a founding member of the Mexican Foreign Trade Executive Officers Institute. He is also a member of the Texas-Mexico Bar Association, and of the Mexican Bar Association. Languages: Spanish and English.

Areas of practice: Customs law and foreign trade, Fiscal-customs litigation, procedures against unlawful foreign trade practices (antidumping) and lobbying with respect to foreign trade legislation.

Prof. Dr. Hans Michael Wolffgang

Prof. Dr. Hans-Michael Wolffgang is a Member of the Board and Senior Advisor, Europe for the Trusted Trade Alliance. He is a co-shareholder and Managing Director of both the AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH and AWB Wolffgang & Harksen Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, based in Münster, Germany. Additionally, he is a co-shareholder of the affiliated AWA Foreign Trade Academy, where he specializes in customs and export control law, and a Professor of International Trade and Tax Law at the Institute of Tax Law at the University of Münster, Germany.

Prof. Dr. Wolffgang acts as an advisor to German and international enterprises concerning export and trade controls, international customs and other aspects of trade law and practice, and has written extensively on international trade law, customs law and export controls in Europe. His areas of specialization include regional trade associations such as free trade zones and customs unions throughout the world. In addition to his academic work, he has been the leader of expert teams providing technical assistance and capacity building to governments in Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Palestine, Serbia, Southern and Eastern Africa and elsewhere in relation to customs and excise and other international trade issues.

A former member of the German customs administration and former fiscal advisor to Germany's Federal Fiscal Supreme Court, Prof. Dr. Wolffgang is a board member of Centre of International Trade Law at the University of Münster. He also is an Editor of the World Customs Journal, Editor-in-Chief of the AW Prax, a leading journal of external trade and customs law in German-speaking countries, and the former chairman of the EFA European Forum for External Trade, Excise and Customs. He is fluent in English and German.

Prof. David Widdowson

Professor David Widdowson, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, for the Trusted Trade Alliance, is a specialist consultant in customs and international trade facilitation. He is the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies, Charles Sturt University, Canberra; founder and President of the International Network of Customs Universities; and an Advisory Group member of the World Customs Organization’s Partnership in Customs Academic Research and Development. David is also a Professor of International Trade and Customs Law, and Editor-in-Chief of the World Customs Journal.

David has over 35 years experience in his field of expertise. He served with the Australian Customs Service for 21 years, including seven years in the Senior Executive Service. As the highest-ranking senior executive responsible for compliance management, he introduced new cultural, operational and structural approaches to managing risk and compliance that are now regarded as international benchmarks.

David has undertaken a series of major reviews of border management throughout Asia, Australasia, the Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. He is the author/co-author of over 70 publications, including key World Bank/WTO Trade Facilitation, Border Management Modernisation and Risk Management publications. Among these is the World Bank’s border management modernisation reference and implementation guide, Risk-Based Compliance Management - Making it Work in Border Management Agencies.

Qualifications
David is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Export. He holds a PhD in Customs Management, a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. David’s doctoral thesis examines the use of risk management principles and practices by customs administrations to maximize both international trade facilitation and regulatory control. His research areas include Trade Facilitation, Regulatory Compliance Management, Risk Management and Supply Chain Security.

Senior Advisors

Luc Baetens

Based in Paris, Luc Baetens is Senior Advisor, International Supply Chain Optimization for the Trusted Trade Alliance. Luc is also Managing Director at the MÖBIUS Paris office and President of International Trade Flows, TTA’s French partner firm. He graduated with a Master of Science in Engineering at the Ghent University (BE) and with Master of Business Administration in International Management at Vlerick Leuven-Gent Business School. He joined the management consultancy MÖBIUS in 2000.

Over the past ten years, Luc Baetens has advised international companies in the redesign and improvement of their supply chains, both within Europe and globally. Luc specializes in the design of international production and distribution networks, in the improvement and implementation of supply chain organizations, and in the implementation of inventory optimization projects. His experience includes large-scale organizational change implementations. He has written several articles on supply chain related topics and is a regular speaker on supply chain seminars. A native of Belgium, he is fluent in English, Dutch and French.

Enrique Carlos Barreira

Prof. Enrique Carlos Barreira is Principal Advisor, Argentina, for the Trusted Trade Alliance, and a founder and partner at the noted law firm Barreira, Rodríguez Larreta, Sciutto Klot, Vidal Albarracín (BRSV) in Buenos Aires. Mr. Barreira started his career with Argentinian Customs, where he was instrumental in drafting what became the Argentinean Customs Code, and moved into the private practice of law. After leaving government, adding to a continuing record of distinction in representing the interests of his private-sector clients, Mr. Barreira served on a public-sector commission appointed to draft a Mercosur customs code, assisted Paraguay in a project to amend its customs code, and was appointed on several occasions by the Argentinean government as an arbiter at the Mercosur Arbitral Court.

Mr. Barreira is the author of the three-volume definitive commentary on the Customs Code of Argentina, is editor of the noted scholarly journal Revista de Estudios Aduaneros, and has been a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Buenos Aires for a number of years.

Fluent in Spanish and English, Enrique Barreira is a graduate in law of Buenos Aires University. He is a Member of the Argentinean Institute of Taxation Studies and of the Argentinean Institute of Customs Studies. He has been active in the Buenos Aires Bar Association for many years, most recently as Vice-President of the Taxation Law Commission, and is an active member of the Academia Internacional de Derecho Aduanero (International Academy of Customs Law). Mr. Barreira is a frequent speaker at conferences in Argentina, Europe and throughout the Americas.

Andreas Beckmann

Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance and a Managing Director at the AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH tax consultancy in Münster, Germany, Andreas Beckmann specialises in all questions pertaining to customs and the law governing preferential treatment: in particular, he advises companies on how to ensure that their internal processes satisfy customs law requirements. In addition, he has been involved in a number of projects dealing with preferential treatment thereby gaining a great deal of experience in this extremely complex area.

Besides his consultancy activities, Mr. Beckmann also lectures at the AWA Foreign Trade Academy GmbH and several chambers of trade and industry. A recognised customs expert, he has been involved in the development of the Authorised Economic Operator security concept in several Member States since 2005. He has also contributed to several publications including the practice guide “Export- und Zollmanagement” edited by Prof. Dr. Peter Witte. Prior to moving into consultancy, he was an officer with German Customs at the Main Customs Office in Münster, where he worked in a number of departments. In 2001, he joined HLB Dr. Schumacher & Partner GmbH in Münster where he advised clients in relation to customs and foreign trade. Mr. Beckmann has a degree in public accounting (Diplom-Finanzwirt), and a Degree in Business Management from the University for Technical Sciences. He is fluent in German and English.

Laura Carola Beretta

Laura Carola Beretta is an Italian Senior Advisor for the Trusted Trade Alliance specializing in EU trade and customs law and Swiss preferential trade regimes and origin matters. She is also Managing Partner of TLM – Trade Law Management Sagl, based in Lugano, Switzerland.

Free trade agreements, GSP regimes, tariff classification, rules of origin, customs valuation, origin marking, duty suspensions as well as exports controls and product conformity to EU standards are her specialties. Her core activities include performing compliance reviews and providing companies with in-house customized training, as well as giving advice on complex trade & customs issues under EU law.

Mrs Beretta has been identified as one of the leading trade and customs experts by the International Who’s Who Legal of Trade and Customs Lawyers.

She teaches in various post-graduate and executive programs at the prestigious SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. She is also member of the faculty of the Master in International Taxation at SUPSI, the Professional University School of Italian Switzerland.

Mrs Beretta has been active in EU funded technical assistance projects in the public sector advising developing countries’ governments and customs administrations with regard to major customs implications of free trade agreements with EU.

She is a frequent speaker on customs and trade topics at national and international level, Mrs Beretta has co-authored the first book ever published in Italy on rules of origin and has various publications in the trade field.

She holds a Ph. D in International Economic Law at Bocconi University, Milan, Italy.

Laura works in Italian, English and Spanish.


Pablo González Bianchi

Dr. Pablo González Bianchi is Principal Advisor, Uruguay, for the Trusted Trade Alliance, and lead partner at the noted law firm Gonzales, Bianchi y Asociados in Montevideo. Educated at the University of Uruguay, he has been a Professor at Montevideo University since 1998. Dr. González Bianchi has many years of experience as an attorney in corporate and private practice, with his primary area of focus on taxation, Customs and foreign trade, being one of the leading experts in this field of law in Uruguay. He is author of numerous works in the civil and commercial areas of law, with his book on Customs Valuation being widely recognized globally as one of the definitive works in the field. He is a Member of the Uruguayan Institute of Taxation Studies and a Correspondent Member of the Argentinean Institute of Customs Studies. He is a founder and active member of the Academia Internacional de Derecho Aduanero (International Academy of Customs Law).

In addition to his legal and consulting practice, Dr. González Bianchi has had a distinguished career as a lecturer at the University of Uruguay and at Montevideo University, at the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and at the Judicial Studies Center of Uruguay. A speaker of Spanish and English, he is a frequent guest speaker at conferences in Latin America and Europe, and is the author of numerous articles published in academic journals in Uruguay and beyond.

Carol Boyne-Lynch

Carol is a Senior Advisor for the Trusted Trade Alliance and the Managing Director of Crannagh & Co. Based in Ireland, she has over twenty years’ experience working with international companies in the area of Customs, Excise and International Trade. Previously, Carol was Head of KPMG Ireland’s Trade and Customs Practice as well as Vice-Chairman of KPMG’s European Trade Practice. Prior to KPMG Carol worked for over 8 years as a Manager in Customs and Trade in Price Waterhouse Cooper’s European Customs and Trade Practice.
She is a well-known and established expert in Customs & Trade taxes and, in this capacity, has been a guest speaker and advisor for a number of key industry bodies, speaking in Europe and the US. Carol has extensive expertise in the area of AEO and compliance and has worked with government on behalf of many clients since its introduction. She was the only consultant to participate in the EU’s pilot programme for the introduction of AEO in the EU, working with both HMRC and the European Commission.
She lists among her clients many of the Fortune 500 companies based in the US, Ireland and the UK. Carol is currently a member of the Institute of Tax and also sits on the Irish Revenue’s Customs Consultative Committee on behalf of the Chambers of Commerce. Carol holds an honours B.A. from Trinity College Dublin as well as a Masters from Cambridge University. She is a qualified Mediator with the Mediation Institute of Ireland and holds a Diploma in Executive Coaching and Training. She also holds a certificate from the Irish Management Institute (IMI) professional mini-MBA programme.

Michael Burton

Michael Burton is a Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance and a Member of the Washington, DC-based law firm Jacobson Burton PLLC. He has more than 17 years experience representing US and foreign clients on a wide range of issues related to compliance with and enforcement of US export controls (Export Administration Regulations and International Traffic in Arms Regulations), economic sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), antiboycott, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, anti-money laundering, and import laws. He counsels clients on complex trade controls issues, designs and audits corporate compliance programs, and has obtained numerous US government licenses authorizing transactions under these controls.

For his clients — ranging from Fortune 500 companies with novel trade controls challenges to smaller corporations without substantial in-house compliance resources — Michael develops compliance systems to identify, avoid, and mitigate international regulatory risks. He also conducts internal investigations, compliance assessments and due diligence, prepares voluntary disclosures, and defends and resolves enforcement actions before the US Departments of Commerce, Treasury, State, and Homeland Security.

Michael is the Immediate Past Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committee of the Section of International Law where he was Co-Chair for 2012-2014 and is a member of the OFAC Practitioners’ Group, NCITD, and AAEI. He also serves on the editorial board of the World Export Controls Review. Michael is listed in Chambers USA and Chambers Global for the practices of Export Controls and Economic Sanctions, and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Creck Buyonge


Creck Buyonge is the Regional Director, Africa for the Trusted Trade Alliance and Manager of the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Office of the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies, University of Canberra based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the University of Canberra. Prior to joining CCES, Creck was a senior manager in the Kenya Revenue Authority, including Deputy Commissioner (Policy & Legislation) in the Customs Services Department.

While at KRA, Creck was the Secretary to the Customs Valuation Appeals Tribunal, Project Manager in the East African Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, and Alternate Director to the Commissioner of Customs Services at the Board of the Export Processing Zones Authority. He was the principal contact for the African Union, World Customs Organization (WCO), WTO, World Bank, East African Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

He is a founding member of the WCO East and Southern Africa Regional Steering Group, and participated actively towards the establishment of the WCOESA Regional Office for Capacity Building. He has represented Kenya as a delegate to the WCO, specifically in the High Level Working Group on Capacity Building, the Task Force on Security and Facilitation of the International Trade Supply Chain, the Integrity Sub-Committee, the Policy Commission and Council. Twice elected as Vice Chairman of the WCO Permanent Technical Committee (2006/2007), Creck has attended numerous regional and international customs conferences and meetings as a participant and speaker.

Shannon Fura

Chicago-based attorney Shannon Fura is Senior Advisor to the Trusted Trade Alliance, and a founding partner in the international trade law firm of Page•Fura, P.C. With a background in import/export law, intellectual property and international affairs, she offers clients the diverse background and skills necessary to exercise compliance and ensure supply chain security in todays global market.
Ms. Fura brings more than 15 years of experience to her representation of clients in the international arena. Her counseling in the import area includes representing companies before U.S. Customs & Border Protection and other impacted federal agencies in Focused Assessments and other reviews of their import operations. In furtherance to that representation, Ms. Fura works with clients in the establishment, enhancement and monitoring of compliance programs, and provides counsel on transfer pricing and customs valuation, tariff classification, country of origin determinations and marking requirements, tariff preference program/free trade agreement eligibility, trade relief and remedies, foreign-trade zones and duty drawback, and customs enforcement matters, including civil penalty actions, investigations, seizures and liquidated damages cases. In addition to this work, Ms. Fura also actively represents companies in the area of border/supply chain security including developing and evaluating program qualifications under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism/WCO SAFE Framework.

In the export arena, Ms. Fura brings her extensive knowledge of the intricacies of U.S. export control laws to her representation of companies. Her work in this area extends to representation before the Bureau of Industry & Security, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Bureau of the Census, and includes the development of comprehensive Export Management Systems as well as performing self-assessments of companies existing export compliance programs and policies. Besides conducting comprehensive reviews/program development, Ms. Fura also provides advocacy for clients on individual commodity jurisdiction requests, export license applications, Technical Assistance Agreements/Manufacturing License Agreements, and deemed export and re-export controls and compliance. She also, where necessary, counsels clients on the submission of voluntary self disclosures and issues of export enforcement.

Ms. Fura obtained her Juris Doctor at IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, and has a M.A. in International Transactions from George Mason University. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois and before the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, and is a Licensed Customs Broker.

Eduardo Garcia-Godos

Eduardo Garcia-Godos is Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance and a Partner at Comercia Consulting, based in Lima, Peru. Qualified as a Peruvian lawyer, Eduardo’s practice is focused on trade facilitation and customs in Peru and the Andean region, advising public regulatory bodies and private companies on trade-related procedures, process optimization, as well as customs matters. He was previously Trade Facilitation Component Leader of the USAID Projects Facilitando Comercio and Standards Alliance. He represented Peru in international trade agreements negotiations while an officer at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR), and is past President of the Commission for Elimination of Bureaucratic Barriers at Peru’s INDECOPI. In the private sector, he was member of law firms in the practice of international trade and corporate law. Mr. Garcia-Godos is a lecturer in foreign trade in Peru and abroad, and has been a frequent speaker and panelist in international events related to trade facilitation.
Eduardo Garcia-Godos obtained his law degree from the Universidad Católica del Perú (1996), and his Master’s degree on International Economic Law (LL.M. 2001) from the University of Warwick (UK), and has completed Post-graduate studies in Buenos Aires, Seoul and Geneva. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

Dr. Nathalie Harksen

Dr. Nathalie Harksen is Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance, Managing Director at AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH tax consultancy, and a founding partner in the law firm of AWB Wolffgang & Harksen Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH. She advises multinational companies on customs and foreign trade law, with particular emphasis on VAT, excise taxes and Incoterms. Dr. Harksen has published widely on customs and taxation issues and is an experienced trainer for the AWA Foreign Trade Academy. She holds seminars throughout Germany for the management staff of major German exporters.

Located in Münster, Germany, she graduated in law at the University of Münster, Germany and completed her Masters degree at the University of Lyon, France. She wrote her doctorate in taxation law. A qualified German lawyer (RA), Dr. Harksen specialises in the customs and taxation implications of cross-border transactions. A native German speaker, Dr. Harksen is fluent in English and French.

David Hayes

David Hayes is Senior Advisor, UK and European Export Controls to the Trusted Trade Alliance and Director and Co-Owner of David Hayes Export Controls, the UK-based consultancy. He has many years experience in export controls, from the varied perspectives of regulator, head of compliance for global companies and now as an independent consultant. After leaving the UK DTI Export Control Organization in 1999 he joined TRW Aeronautical Systems (later Goodrich) where he was responsible for export compliance globally. In 2003 he moved to the Rolls-Royce Group, as Corporate Head of Export Controls. He worked regularly with the Rolls-Royce Main Board and was instrumental in establishing the Board Exports Committee to improve governance in this high-risk area.

Since 2007, David has provided services to a rapidly expanding international client base, ranging in size from small businesses to global multi-nationals and encompassing very diverse industries and technologies. David is a widely recognized expert in his field and a regular speaker at national and international export control events, as well as a regular contributor to professional publications. He was also the UK export control subject matter expert for US Consultants Booz Allen Hamilton Inc on the Transatlantic Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP) Phase II. In addition, he is a guest lecturer on MSc programs run by Nottingham and Southampton Universities.

David is involved in many export control fora, both nationally and internationally and has regularly given evidence to UK Parliamentary Select Committees on export control issues. David is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a qualified pilot of both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. He also spent several years as an Intelligence Officer in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, specializing in air defense and electronic warfare.

Dr. Carsten Höink

Dr. Carsten Höink is Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance, a Managing Director, at AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH tax consultancy, and a Managing Director at AWB Wolffgang & Harksen Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Münster, Germany. Qualified as a German Attorney (RA), Dr. Höink offers consultancy in VAT, the optimization of VAT-related processes and supply chain management. He provides consultation and support in VAT-related aspects of external taxation audits and criminal tax proceedings.

Before joining AWB, Dr. Höink was a partner at a Big4 auditing firm, specializing in indirect tax services. He lectures at the University of Münster and at the Federal Academy of Finance in Brühl, Germany. In addition, he appears as a speaker and trainer for various seminar providers including the AWA Foreign Trade Academy. Dr. Höink has also authored a number of publications on excise law and co-authored a number of commentaries to VAT and income tax law. He is fluent in German and English.

Doug Jacobson

An experienced international trade lawyer based in Washington, DC, Doug Jacobson is a Senior Advisor to the Trusted Trade Alliance, assisting clients on a wide range of issues relating to laws and regulations associated with international trade transactions. Doug serves as principal outside international trade counsel to a number of U.S. and non U.S.-based multinational companies that produce medical, electronic, industrial, consumer and aerospace products.

With respect to export matters, Doug counsels clients on compliance with U.S. and multilateral regimes governing the export of dual-use items, software, technology, defense articles and humanitarian products. He assists companies in understanding and navigating the complex rules set forth in the U.S. Export Administration Regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the various sanctions regulations administered by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). He also represents companies in enforcement proceedings conducted by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security and the Office of Antiboycott Compliance, the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and OFAC. He represents clients before U.S. Customs and Border Protection in focused assessment audits, penalty investigations and enforcement actions. Doug also has substantial experience representing producers, importers and other interested parties in antidumping and countervailing duty investigations and reviews conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission, and in advising and training companies on compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Doug is the author of a number of articles on international trade topics and is the editor and publisher of International Trade Law News (www.tradelawnews.com), a Web-based compilation of news and information on export controls, customs and other international trade issues. Doug is active in a number of international trade organizations, and is a former Co-Chair of the Export Controls Committee of the American Association of Exporters and Importers.

Doug received a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin (1983), a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Washington University in St. Louis (1987), and a Juris Doctorate from the American University's Washington College of Law (1990), where he was an editor of the American University Law Review. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Maryland Bars and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.


Zhaokang Jiang

Zhaokang Jiang is the managing director of GTC Trade Lawyers in China (with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen), and is Principal Advisor, China & East Asia, for the Trusted Trade Alliance. He works with multinational clients in key business areas including IT, aerospace, retailing, energy, chemical, automotive, medical, electronics, textile, E-commerce and consumer products. His areas of expertise include resolving customs and international trade compliance issues, increasing business efficiency through formulation of supply and trade chain compliance strategies in China, South Korea and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr. Jiang focuses his services on customs, import and export, intellectual property rights, foreign exchange regulation, supply chain security and facilitation, foreign direct investment, e-commerce, trade remedies, and international tax law issues. He has represented a number of major international corporations before government agencies on matters related to customs valuation, classification, transfer pricing and customs valuation, product safety, free-trade zone and other customs bonded operations, processing trade programs, import and export requirements, due diligence for customs
and international trade, customs audit, customs and trade compliance programs, IPR, foreign exchange, FDI, international tax, and supply chain security and facilitation.

Mr. Jiang is a former officer of the Chinese Customs Service. Throughout his tenure with the Chinese Customs Service, Mr. Jiang acted as a customs representative for numerous trade negotiations, including the Sino-U.S. intellectual property rights agreement. He led the task force for 2000 Customs Law revision, and drafted the regulations on Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights and other major Chinese Customs and trade regulations, including those covering Customs valuation, administrative rulings, civil penalties, inward processing trade, Customs bonds, customs bonded areas, customs regulation of express couriers, antidumping, countervailing duties and safeguard measures. While with China customs, he was responsible for reviewing penalty cases and other decisions. Additionally, Mr. Jiang has served as an international consultant with the U.S. Customs Service, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program in projects focused on Customs and foreign trade law reform, Customs modernization and trade facilitation in China. He also had experience working for a US-based law firm in Washington, DC and Beijing, and, while based in Singapore,
as Customs and Trade Counsel, Asia-Pacific in a major multinational company. He was selected in 2008, 2009 and 2010 by Asia Law and Practice as the Leading Regulatory and Government Practice Attorney in the Asia-Pacific Region, and in 2010 by Asia Law and Practice as the Leading Transfer Pricing and Customs Valuation Attorney in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Fluent in English and Mandarin, Mr. Jiang received an LL.B. from the East China College of Law and Political Science in Shanghai, and LL.M. degrees from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing and Yale Law School in New Haven, CT, USA. He is a member of the China Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar, and the US Customs and International Trade Bar Association. Mr. Jiang chairs the Customs and Trade Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in China and was also the director of the China Chamber for International Commerce. He is currently also an advisor to the Project of Trade Facilitation and International Trade Center Expansion of the Shanghai Municipal Government.

Gabriel Kurt

Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance, a Managing Director at AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH, and a Managing Director, AWB Wolffgang & Harksen Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, Gabriel Kurt is based in Hamburg, Germany. Qualified as a German Attorney (RA), Mr. Kurt offers consultancy in a wide range of customs fields, namely foreign trade law, criminal matters as well as excise law. In particular, he advises corporate clients on process design and supply chain management as well as excise taxes. Gabriel Kurt also represents clients at administrative and judicial proceedings. He is also lecturer at the MCA Master’s Program in Customs,Taxation and International Trade Law at the University of Münster, covering the Trade Compliance area, and is an experienced trainer for the AWA Foreign Trade Academy. Before joining AWB, Gabriel Kurt worked for two Big4 auditing firms in Germany and Austria specialising in customs and international trade. He is fluent in German and English.

Santiago Ibáñez Marsilla

Dr. Santiago Ibáñez Marsilla is Principal Advisor, Spain, for Trusted Trade Alliance. A consultant and professor of tax law at the University of Valencia (Spain), he is an expert on customs valuation and, more broadly, in matters related to customs duties. He has extensive experience in public and private-sector consulting projects in the field of customs and tax in his native Spain as well as in several Latin American countries.
Prof. Ibáñez has been Visiting Professor at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, Catholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy, the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation, Netherlands, and the University of Florida, USA. He has published a number of books and articles on customs law, both in Spanish and international journals, and participates regularly in international conferences. In 2008 he was awarded the IDEA Prize by the Fundación Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (a foundation of the Regional Government of Valencia) in recognition for his outstanding research in customs law. He has created the website www.derechoaduanero.com as a reference for the Spanish-speaking customs world.
He is a founding member of the Academia Internacional de Derecho Aduanero (International Academy of Customs Law), contact person at the University of Valencia of the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU), and member of the European Association of Tax Law Professors (EATLP). Fluent in English and his native Spanish, he obtained degrees in law and economics, an LLM in Tax Administration, and his PhD from the University of Valencia.

Matthias Merz

Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance, a Managing Director of the AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH, and co-founder, Managing Director and CEO of the AWA Foreign Trade Academy, Matthias Merz is located in Muenster, Germany. Mr. Merz specialises in European and US export control law, customs law and assisting clients in establishing and maintaining compliant trade processes and operations. This includes training, control plans, related aspects of global trade controls and AEO certification. Matthias Merz has lectured widely in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mr. Merz is certified quality management coach, certified by the Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Traffic in Nordrhein-Westfalen/ Germany. He has also been certified as a quality manager for professional training institutes by CERTQUA GmbH Bonn.

He is fluent in German and English.

Arthur O’ Meara

Senior Consultant for the Trusted Trade Alliance and Principal of Chicago-based O’Meara and Associates, Mr. O’Meara brings with him almost 20 years’ experience in international trade and trade compliance management. Based in the Chicago area, his focus is on the development of compliance programs and training tailored for the corporate environment in the areas of import/export/export and defense controls compliance, freight terms, transfer pricing, classification (under ECCN, USML and HTS), service provider management, strategic use of terms and conditions in international commerce, and US supply-chain security programs, such as the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the Importer Security Filing (ISF). He has extensive experience in assisting US importers to achieve and maintain C-TPAT status and has managed US Customs and Border Protection C-TPAT validations in the North America, Europe and Asia. He is also well-versed in US export and defense controls and has many years’ experience in implementing these compliance requirements in the multinational corporate environment.

Mr. O’Meara is a frequent speaker in North America and Europe, both at public conferences and at seminars. Recent events included conferences sponsored by the International Compliance Professional Association (ICPA), the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI), the American Conference Institute (ACI), the Kane County Bar Association of Illinois (KCBA), International Trade Association of Greater Chicago (ITA/GC) and others. He is the President of the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago, and is a US Licensed Customs Broker. He obtained his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago.

Jeremy Page is Senior Advisor to the Trusted Trade Alliance and a founding partner attorney in the Chicago-based international trade law firm of Page•Fura, P.C. With extensive experience in import, export, taxation and general accounting, he provides counseling, strategic planning and advocacy to companies of all sizes engaged in conducting global business. Mr. Page has more than 23 years of experience working in the international trade arena. During that time, he has represented companies on the full gamut of import/export issues, including representation before U.S. Customs & Border Protection, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Bureau of the Census on legal and regulatory compliance. He has also represented his clients' interest before the U.S. Congress on issues specific to their individual needs.

From an import perspective, Mr. Page's work has included developing and implementing comprehensive compliance programs designed to meet the exacting reasonable care standards of the Customs Modernization Act, as well as to satisfy internal corporate self-governance requirements. As part of that representation, Mr. Page has conducted scores of internal reviews, developed customized compliance manuals and supporting procedures, and performed training of key personnel throughout the organizational structure. He has also represented companies before both U.S. and foreign import agencies in their performance of Focused Assessments and other audits undertaken for legal and regulatory compliance purposes. Finally, he also actively counsels clients on discrete import issues, including transfer pricing policies and practices, general customs valuation, tariff classification and tariff engineering, free trade agreement and preference program eligibility/compliance, country of origin determinations, foreign-trade zones, duty drawback, and prior disclosures and investigative/enforcement proceedings.

Mr. Page is also actively engaged in advising companies on the development and implementation of supply chain security programs designed to comply with Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), Partners In Protection (PIP), WCO SAFE Framework/Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) and other accepted global security guidelines. In addition to this representation, based on his extensive business background and training, he advises companies on their sourcing, production and purchasing planning, including the drafting and review of agreements in support of clients' global activities.

Where exports are concerned, Mr. Page's background is likewise as extensive. In addition to creating and maintaining companies' Export Management Systems/Technology Control Plans, Mr. Page provides counsel on the full range of export, re-export and deemed export issues confronting today's multinationals. That representation includes performing compliance audits and other evaluations of clients' compliance programs, as well as representing companies on issues involving commodity jurisdiction, export licensing and control, deemed export/re-export program development and enhancement and sensitivity training. It also entails representation before BIS, OFAC, DDTC and Census on voluntary self disclosures and/or enforcement proceedings.

Mr. Page is a frequent speaker at both trade association and other venues, and has performed extensive public and private sector training in such areas as import controls and compliance, export management, NAFTA and other preference programs and foreign-trade zones.

He obtained his Juris Doctor (Cum Laude) from IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School Of Business. He is admitted to practice law in the States of Ilinois and Florida and before the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Jose Antonio de la Puente

Jose Antonio de la Puente is Senior Advisor, Trusted Trade Alliance and a founding partner at Comercia Consulting, based in Lima, Peru. Qualified as a Peruvian lawyer, he advises Peru-based and international clients on trade remedy procedures (focused on Brazil, Andean Community, and Panama), rules of origin (Andean Community and beyond), technical barriers to trade and non-tariff measures. He also consults with governmental agencies and international organizations on the design and implementation and execution of development and export promotion programs.
Jose Antonio was previously an officer at Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR), where he negotiated international trade agreements in the areas of trade remedies, competition, investment and services. He has been a member of the Dumping and Subsides Commission of INDECOPI., has contributed to several publications focused on trade law, and has been a panelist in numerous conferences.
Jose Antonio de la Puente has a degree in law from the Universidad Católica del Perú (1994) and obtained his Master in Law (LL.M.) degree in 2001 from the University of Chicago Law School. He has completed post graduate international courses at Georgetown University, the WTO, OAS, and other multilateral institutions. He is fluent in English as well as his native Spanish.

Omar Rached

Senior Advisor, Brazil for the Trusted Trade Alliance and Managing Partner at AIV Customs Auditing Ltd., a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based company specialized in the audit and review of company compliance in import and export activities, Omar Rached is an attorney specialized in international trade, customs and taxation. In addition to his law degree, obtained from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas, he has a Master’s (MSc) in Logistics and Supply Chain from the University of Westminster, London, UK. In addition to his consulting activities, he teaches courses in the field of customs regulations at São Paulo University (UNESP).

Mr. Rached’s career includes experience in the field of both Brazilian and US commercial law, including litigation in the field of foreign trade. He managed the in-house import and export compliance activities of Embraer, and participated actively in the development and deployment of Brazil’s industrial bonded warehouse special regime, known as RECOF. As a consultant, Mr. Rached provides support to companies in their import/export operations. He is a certified auditor of company processes for Brazil’s express customs clearance program known as "Linha Azul/Blue Line", and pioneered the program’s standards for auditor training and company reporting. Mr. Rached is Director of the Brazilian branch of the International Trade Institute (ICI). He is fluent in Spanish and English in addition to his native Portuguese.

Bertrand Rager

Bertrand Rager is Principal Advisor, France for Trusted Trade Alliance via its French partner firm, ITF, and is an attorney admitted to the Paris bar, with a senior partnership with a noted Paris-based law firm. He has a distinguished record as an advisor to some of the largest multinationals, and specializes in customs and VAT issues. Mr. Rager is also qualified as a French chartered accountant, and has a unique combination of industry and consulting experience, having worked with Ernst and Young, Arthur Andersen, and in a major player in the automotive industry. Educated at Paris University in economics and geopolitics, he is fluent in English and German, in addition to his native French. As the only French member of the German Aussenwirtschaftsrunde and the UK’s Customs Practitioner’s Group, Bertrand Rager brings a uniquely European perspective to the clients of the Trusted Trade Alliance.

George S. “Sam” Sevier

George S. "Sam" Sevier is a Senior Adviser to MK Technology and to the Trusted Trade Alliance, focusing on the Western Region, Asia-Pacific, and Defense Trade with special reference to munitions export controls the U.S. Defense and State Departments under the ITAR and other authorities. He is a retired Colonel (USAF) and a former member of the Defense Department's Senior Executive Service. As of June 2010, he was appointed to the post of Chair of the reorganized Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG) in the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). He plays a key leadership role in this important forum for interchange between DDTC and organizations public and private affected by the International Traffic in Arms Act (ITAR).

Prior to his retirement from the U.S. Government as a member of the elite Senior Executive Service, Sam Sevier was Deputy Director of the Defense Department's Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) from 2003-2005. Before that he worked for Westinghouse's Electronic Systems Division as Vice President, International Business and Washington Operations. Following the Division's acquisition by Northrop Grumman, he was a Director of the International Business and Electronic Systems Sector with offices in Baltimore and Rosslyn, VA from 1994 to 2003; he retired at the end of December 2002 to take the position at DTSA.

From 1986-1994, first Colonel Sevier and then Mr. Sevier served as the Chief of the Weapon Systems Division, in the Defense Department's Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), overseeing most of the major foreign military sales program competitions during that time.

Colonel Sevier's Air Force career covered over 30 years, starting in 1956 as an enlisted electronic technician in UHF-VHF Radio Maintenance and ending with his retirement in October 1990, while at DSAA.

During his eight years at Westinghouse and Northrop Grumman, Sam Sevier was active in the Washington, DC international business community and in the industry associations that serve it. He was Chairman of the U.S.-ROC Economic Council's Defense Industrial Committee; of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council's Defense and Security Working Group; of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Export Controls Committee, Chairman-National Defense Industries Association (NDIA) International Committee; and of the National Security Industrial Association (NDIA)International Committee's Export Sub-committee. He was a member of the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) Export Controls Committee; of the U.S.- NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG); of the State Department's Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG); and of the IEEE Computer Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Air Force Association, and the Association of Old Crows.

Sam Sevier remains an active member of the NDIA, the Society for International Affairs (SIA), the Air Force Association and the Association of Old Crows. Upon return to his home base, in May 2005 he was appointed to the Western Washington University College of Business and Economics Board of Visitors.

A native of Bellingham, Washington, Mr. Sevier received his bachelor's degree from Western Washington University with concentrations in Math, Electronics and Economics in 1964. He received a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 1977. He also completed additional post-graduate work in Computer Science and in Industrial Technology at East Texas State University in 1977-78 and 1983-84.

Geoff Short

Associate Director, Asia-Pacific for the Trusted Trade Alliance, Geoff Short is a specialist international trade lawyer. A highly acclaimed trade advocacy consultant, Geoff is based in Sydney, Australia. Geoff has over 30 years experience in his areas of expertise, including senior positions in government and private enterprise, dealing with legal aspects of international trade.

His career has included positions as Director, Legal Branch, Australian Customs Service; Senior Consultant in indirect tax with global accounting firm Touche Ross (now Deloitte); and Partner with international law firm, Baker & McKenzie - experience which has enabled him to develop a comprehensive knowledge of international trade regulation along with expert government relations skills.

Geoff maintains extensive business and government networks within Asia through regular client assignments in the region and through his active membership of key regional and international business councils. He advises numerous multinational corporations on their market access and trade compliance strategies across a range of industry sectors including agriculture, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, construction and industrial goods.

He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the University of Canberra and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is a Governor of the American Chamber of Commerce and is Deputy Chairman of the Chamber’s Trade and Government Committee. He is also a member of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, the Law Council of Australia, the Australia-China Business Council, the Australia-India Business Council and the Australia-Vietnam Business Council.

Geoff holds Bachelors degrees in Law and Economics from the Australian National University and a Master of Laws from the University of Technology, Sydney. He is admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, a Solicitor of the New South Wales Supreme Court and as a Barrister of the Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of Australia.

Erol Ulusoy

Dr. Erol Ulusoy, founder and owner of the Ulusoy Law Firm in Istanbul, Turkey, is Principal Advisor, Turkey, for Trusted Trade Alliance. Admitted as an attorney in Turkey in 1990, his specialties include advising clients on commercial, securities and corporate law with a focus on customs and trade matters, including those related to the EU-Turkey Customs Union. He acts as an expert advisor to the Turkish commercial courts on customs and transport law matters and represents clients in matters before the Turkish Customs Administration and other agencies, as well as representing clients in litigation matters via his law firm. In addition to his legal and consulting practice, Dr. Ulusoy has had a distinguished academic career, lecturing at the Universities of Bielefeld and Muenster in Germany and at Marmara University, where he is an Associate Professor.

Dr. Ulusoy graduated from the University of Ankara and obtained his Doctorate in Law from the University of Vienna. In addition to his native Turkish, he speaks German and English.