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. He is also Regional Manager, Americas, for the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies, University of Canberra. Previously, he was President of MIC Customs Solutions, a provider of global customs and trade software solutions. At Delphi Corporation, Mr. Blegen served as Global Customs Counsel and Regional Director of Customs, Europe for four years starting in early 2001. Before joining Delphi, Mr. Blegen spent 10 years at Robert Bosch, as Senior Counsel in the company’s corporate legal department at Bosch’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, and prior to that as Manager, International Trade and Assistant General Counsel for Bosch’s North American operations.

As one of the few U.S. attorneys specializing in global customs compliance and trade issues, Mr. Blegen 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 is co-chair of the International Policy Committee of the American Association of Exporters and Importers, has been a member of the Legal and Transition/Software Committees of US Customs and Border Protection’s Trade Support Network since 2004, and served as co-chair of the 2008 World Customs Forum at the World Customs Organization in Brussels. He 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 has been admitted as an attorney in Illinois since 1990, and 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 Chevez and Cruz Vernet, SC in Mexico City, responsible for the firm’s customs and trade practice. Prior to Chevez, he had served as Mexican Customs Counsel for Delphi, 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 designated legal advisor to and responsible for the coordination of the Customs and Logistics Committee of the Mexican Foreign Trade Council (COMCE), Northeast Chapter, in Monterrey, 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.

Hans-Michael Wolffgang

Prof. Dr. Hans-Michael Wolffgang is Senior Advisor, Europe for the Trusted Trade Alliance, and is a co-shareholder and partner of the AWB Tax Consultancy Ltd., based in Münster, Germany and a senior advisor and consultant to MK Technology, export control consultancy services based in Washington D.C.

He is a professor of international trade and tax law and head of the Department of Customs and Excise which forms part of the Institute of Tax Law at the University of Münster, Germany. Additionally, he is a co-shareholder of the affiliated AWA Foreign Trade Academy, where he specializes in customs and export control law. The AWA is a leading training institute for international trade and has affiliates in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland.

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 Editor-in-Chief of the AW Prax, a leading journal of external trade and customs law in German-speaking countries and the chairman of the EFA European Forum for External Trade, Excise and Customs.

Prof. Dr. Wolffgang has written extensively on international trade law, customs law and export controls in Europe. His areas of research include regional trade associations such as free trade zones and customs unions throughout the world. 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. 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.

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, University of 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 30 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 cargo management systems throughout Asia, Australasia, the Pacific and Africa and has gained extensive knowledge and experience in many countries through customs modernization studies, capacity building programs, policy reviews, trade facilitation reviews, risk management, compliance management, and change management programs, IT systems development, legislative reform programs, self-assessment regimes, organizational and structural reform programs, business process reengineering and training, education and development programs.

Qualifications

David is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. 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.

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

After graduating with a degree in public accounting (Diplom-Finanzwirt), Andreas Beckmann was employed 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. In addition, successfully graduated with a Degree in Business Management at the University for Technical Sciences.

Andreas Beckmann specializes 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 recognized customs expert, he has been involved in the development of the Authorized 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.

Laura Carola Beretta

Laura Carola Beretta is Principal Advisor, Italy, for the Trusted Trade Alliance, and a senior consultant in Trade and Customs Law and Management and of counsel at Marino & Associati, a leading Italian Tax Consultancy and Law firm based in Milan, Italy. She works closely with clients and trade associations on technical customs and trade issues. She assists her clients in setting out customs compliance assessment, compliance improvement plans and runs in-house seminars. Origin, origin marking, tariff classification, free trade agreement implementation and global duty savings strategies are her specialties.

Mrs. Beretta teaches International Trade & Customs Law at the Operations and Technology Management Unit of Italy’s prestigious SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy, where she also coordinates research and seminars highlighting the impact of the major developments in trade law and customs regulation on the business world. She is active in technical assistance projects in the public sector, advising developing countries’ governments and customs administrations with regard to major customs implications of free trade agreements.

Mrs Beretta is a frequent speaker on customs and trade topics at national and international level. She has been co-author of the first book on rules of origin published in Italy and has published extensively on customs and trade matters.

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.

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.

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.

John Howard

John Howard is an Associate Director, Middle East & North Africa for the Trusted Trade Alliance and is an Associate Director and Manager, Middle East Affairs, in the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies at the University of Canberra, Australia. He has over 40 years experience in border management and customs administration and his areas of expertise include border security, interagency border management, risk management process mapping, cargo process modelling, and trade facilitation.

John has worked extensively in the Middle East on border management and security projects, in the Greater Mekong Sub Region (GMS) on cross border facilitation initiatives, with ASEAN customs administrations on development of a cargo processing model and with AusAID in Cambodia on implementation of risk management. He has undertaken a number of missions on behalf of AusAID and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assess border operations in the GMS region.

He was the Customs Attaché at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. from 1987 until 1991 and on his return to Australia worked on major projects such as Advance Passenger Information (API) and the development of new maritime and cargo security initiatives.

John holds a Master’s degree in International Customs law and Administration from the University of Canberra.

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 currently is the 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.

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

Member of the Board with the Trusted Trade Alliance, and educated in the law at the University of Muenster where he has taught law and related subjects, since 1997 Matthias Merz has been the Managing Director (CEO) of the well-known AWA Foreign Trade Academy training institute. Based in Muenster and known by its German title AWA AUSSENWIRTSCHAFTS-AKADEMIE, the AWA is a leading organizer of export controls, customs- and tax-related seminars and compliance training in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary. Offices are located in Muenster and Munich in Germany, in Linz (Austria) and next to Zurich in Switzerland.

Matthias Merz has lectured extensively on european and US- Export Controls, Customs Law and company compliance programs in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and in the United States.

The AWA is co-located with AWB Steuerberatungsgesellschaft (Tax and Foreign Trade Law Consultancy) and TTA Europe in Muenster in Germany. The AWB was co-founded in 2005 and headed by Matthias Merz and Prof. Dr. Wolffgang as partners. In addition to customs and tax matters, the AWB assists clients to establish and maintain Trade Compliance processes and operations, including training, Control Plans, and related aspects of global trade controls as well as structures to comply with the AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) challenges. With the related Law firm AWB Wolffgang & Harksen Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH also consultancy on questions regarding European and US-exportcontrols are covered.
With his base in the AWA and AWB in Muenster, since 2000 Matthias Merz has been Managing Director of AWA SUISSE GmbH, based near Zurich, and since 2001 of AWA AUSTRIA GmbH in Linz. Since 2003 he also manages AWA HUNGARY in Budapest. The AWA branches provide training and seminars in each of the before mentioned countries.

Matthias is certified quality management coach, certified by the Ministery of Economy, Energy, and Traffic in Northrine-Westfalia / Germany. He is also a certified quality manager by CERTQUA GmbH Bonn for professional training institutes.

Matthias speaks and writes in german and english language.

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.

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.

Allan Suchinsky

Allan Suchinsky, President, ITD Associates and a Senior Advisor to the Trusted Trade Alliance and MK Technology, is a leading authority in the field of defense and dual-use trade. Located in the Washington, DC area, he has unparalleled experience in counseling and training representatives of industry and government on export licensing requirements and procedures and assisting companies in developing compliance programs acceptable to the US Government. His clientele ranges from both US and foreign defense contractors to agencies of the US Government. Mr. Suchinsky served as Licensing Division Chief at the U.S. Department of State's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). While at the Department of State, Mr. Suchinsky played an instrumental role in drafting the current version of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which governs the commercial defense trade. He also represented the Department of State on numerous interagency trade security working groups, served as DDTC's primary liaison to the intelligence community, and was a key participant in high-level negotiation of numerous government-to-government strategic trade and security agreements.

Mr. Suchinsky is a graduate of Binghamton University of the State University of New York and served in the U.S. Army. He is a member of various trade groups, such as the Association of Old Crows and the National Defense Industrial Association, and previously served on the Board of Directors of the Society for International Affairs, a defense-trade educational organization.

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.

Jurgen Zacny

A Senior Advisor for the Trusted Trade Alliance, Mr. Jurgen Zacny is also the principal consultant with the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies in the subject of export control of defense and strategic goods. Mr Zacny has recently retired from the Australian Department of Defense. After 24 years in the Australian Army, Mr Zacny joined the Australian Public Service where he was the project director for various major Army acquisition projects and subsequently involved in the governance aspects of major defense projects.
Prior to his retirement from 2001 to 2009, Mr Zacny was the director of the Australian Government’s strategic goods export control licensing authority. He was responsible for the complete licensing and support operations that ensured exports of military and dual-use goods and technology were properly authorized and in accordance with extant legislative requirements. Trained as an electronic engineer, and an experienced Army engineering officer, Mr Zacny was also the technical authority for assessing whether goods for export were in fact controlled under Australian legislation. Training and outreach in export control was also managed and conducted by Mr Zacny, ensuring exporters were aware of their obligations and had an appreciation of the process and assisting in compliance with government requirements.
More recently, Mr Zacny has been responsible for the benchmarking of the Australian defense export control system and subsequent development of new legislation to bring Australia into line with world’s best practice. He was also involved in the negotiations with the US for the recently signed Treaty on Defense Trade Cooperation, and, until his retirement, was managing the development of new legislation to enable the implementation of the Treaty.