Office of the United States Trade Representative


USTR Portman Announces New USTR Staff

WASHINGTON - United States Trade Representative Rob Portman today announced changes to the USTR staff.

“We’re putting together a great team here,” said Portman. “I am pleased that Matt and Jim are continuing their tenure here in an enhanced role and that we’re bringing Justin on board at this critical juncture in our global trade negotiations.”

Matt Niemeyer – Counselor

Mr Niemeyer who led the Agency’s successful efforts for passage of the free trade agreements with Central America and the Dominican Republic, Australia, Chile, Morocco and Singapore will become one of USTR’s principal advisors.

He was appointed Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs in April 2003 and in this position has been in charge of coordinating USTR’s communications with Congress, scheduling frequent meetings on all trade-related matters of interest to members, and providing a conduit for members to express their concerns about ongoing trade negotiations. Mr Niemeyer previously served as the deputy in the office.

Before joining USTR, Mr Niemeyer was deputy political director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He also served as the manager of grassroots programs for the Independent Insurance Agents of America and as a legislative assistant and political consultant for House Rules Committee Chairman Gerald B. Solomon.

Mr Niemeyer has spent much of his career in politics, working in two election cycles at the National Republican Congressional Committee and as a staff assistant in the state office of U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Mr Niemeyer has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University.

James E. Mendenhall – General Counsel

James E. Mendenhall was appointed to the position of Acting General Counsel in February 2005 and now becomes the permanent General Counsel.  He is responsible for supervising all trade litigation and the legal aspects of the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements.  Mr Mendenhall oversees a staff of over 25 attorneys.

From 2003-2005, Mr Mendenhall served as the Assistant USTR for Services, Investment, and Intellectual Property.  In that position, he oversaw the negotiation of the services, investment, and intellectual property chapters of numerous free trade agreements, including those with Australia, Bahrain, and Central America and the Dominican Republic, as well as the services negotiations that are part of the Doha Development Agenda. From 2001-2003, Mr Mendenhall served as Deputy General Counsel of USTR, where he oversaw various trade policy initiatives and litigation matters.

Prior to joining USTR, Mr Mendenhall was a partner in the law firm of Powell, Goldstein, Fraser & Murphy L.L.P., specializing in international trade and investment policy and litigation.

Mr Mendenhall graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School and with Highest Honors from the University of Notre Dame.

Justin McCarthy – Assistant USTR for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison

Mr McCarthy will lead the domestic outreach efforts to state and local governments, the business and agricultural communities, labor, environmental and consumer groups and advancing USTR priorities at external events. He will also be responsible for improving the public's understanding of U.S. trade policies through education and strategic communications initiatives. In addition, his office manages the U.S. trade advisory committee system.

Since 2003, Mr McCarthy has served as Director of Government Relations for Pfizer.  Prior to that, he was Assistant Director of Government Relations (2001-2003).  During his time at Pfizer, Mr McCarthy was responsible for international trade, intellectual property and tax issues.  In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Mr McCarthy served as Co-Chair of the Business Coalition for U.S.-Central America Trade which was charged with ensuring Congressional approval of DR-CAFTA.

Before joining Pfizer, Mr McCarthy was Legislative Director for Mayer, Brown & Platt's international trade practice (1998-2001).  Mr McCarthy also served on the staff of Representative Thomas W. Ewing (R-IL) where he handled trade and tax issues (1995-1998). 

Mr McCarthy earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Stonehill College. 


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