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Employee Highlight: Laurie-Ann Agama

Laurie-Ann Agama is Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Economic Affairs, supporting trade and economic analysis for the development and implementation of U.S. trade policy and the enforcement of trade agreements.

Dr. Agama joined USTR in 2004, having previously served as Director in the Office of African Affairs. Before that, she was an Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington D.C., conducting research and economic analysis and providing trade advice to the USTR and Congress. She holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from McGill University, and is an International Career Advancement Program (ICAP) Fellow.

Through extensive research, analysis, and meetings with experts and stakeholders, Dr. Agama is a leader in her field, and she ensures our U.S. trade policies benefit workers, businesses, and consumers.

“Trade plays an important role in supporting jobs, economic growth, development, and improving people’s lives and I am proud of the work we are doing at USTR to achieve these goals. I love traveling to different states and countries to learn more about trade and how it affects communities, and then leverage that information to shape trade policy.”

The exchange of information, helps her develop a better understanding of the challenges faced by companies, especially Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and minority businesses that need technical assistance and help building trade capacity.

Other African American officials at USTR inspired Dr. Agama, such as Ambassador Ron Kirk, Commissioner Irving Williamson, Rosa Whitaker, Florie Liser, Connie Hamilton, and Patrick Coleman. She worked with, and learned from them all over the past two decades. Each leader successfully advanced the US trade agenda, strengthened U.S. trade relations with major trading partners, and developed and implemented sound U.S. trade policies to expand trade, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

“Black History Month is a time to learn more about and celebrate the achievements, accomplishments and contributions of African Americans and recognize their central role in U.S. history and the future. Democracy, like public policy, is a collective endeavor. We need to celebrate all contributors.”

When looking ahead, Dr. Agama says she’d like to serve as an inspiration to young people from underrepresented groups considering a career in trade, economics, international relations, and public service. She firmly believes that increased equity and inclusion is critical for developing better research, and policy outcomes.

“I am particularly excited about the efforts underway at the American Economics Association (AEA) to address the lack of diversity in the Economics profession and attract talented young scholars while developing a pipeline of trained, economic professionals from all backgrounds.”

Editor note: this blog post is part of our Black History Month series highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of Black employees at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.