WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today announced Dawn Shackleford as the Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She replaces Karl Ehlers, who retired in May. Ms. Shackleford has filled a number of key roles at USTR, including most recently as Assistant United States Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs.
“Dawn has demonstrated great skill and expertise across multiple positions at USTR,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Her diplomatic experience and judgement will be invaluable as we engage our trading partners and resume our work to enhance U.S. economic cooperation in Southeast Asia and across the Pacific.”
The Office of Southeast Asia and Pacific Affairs is responsible for USTR’s trade and investment relations with the countries of Southeast Asia, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. The office works to advance the agency’s priorities regionally through initiatives with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and coordinates regional and multilateral engagement.
Kent Shigetomi will serve as Acting Assistant United States Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs once Dawn Shackleford assumes her new role. Ms. Shackleford’s full bio is below:
Dawn Shackleford, Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific
Dawn Shackleford is the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In this capacity, she is responsible for developing and implementing U.S. trade policy with countries of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand, as well as U.S. trade policy engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the ASEAN-United States Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement.
Ms. Shackleford previously served as the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs from 2016 to 2021. In this role, she was responsible for coordinating U.S. trade policies in the WTO and other multilateral forums and was the functional lead for multilateral and bilateral work on technical barriers to trade, good regulatory practices, customs and trade facilitation, trade remedies, industrial subsidies and government procurement. In 2020 and 2021 Ms. Shackleford was elected into an international leadership position as the first female chairperson of the Trade Committee of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
She was the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for India, Nepal and Bhutan in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from 2014 to 2016. In this capacity, Ms. Shackleford led negotiations on bilateral trade issues with India and was responsible for managing the U.S. - India Trade Policy Forum.
Ms. Shackleford previously served as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs from 2009 to 2014 and was the lead U.S. negotiator for the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. She also served as the lead negotiator on the customs and trade facilitation chapter of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement, WTO accession negotiations and was a senior advisor on issues pertaining to the WTO and its standing committees. She was the U.S. Representative to the OECD Trade Committee and a lead advisor on trade issues concerning the UN and other international organizations.
She joined USTR in 2004 serving as a Director in the Office of WTO and Multilateral Affairs and served as a lead negotiator on the government procurement chapter in the U.S. FTA negotiations with Oman and the United Arab Emirates. She also worked on various WTO, APEC, G20, UN and NAFTA trade policy issues.
Prior to her work at USTR, Ms. Shackleford served as a policy analyst within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and in the Department of the Navy from 1998 to 2004 and as an adjunct professor at American University's School of International Service from 2003 to 2005.
She holds a Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Politics from the University of California in Santa Cruz, and also studied at the National University of Ireland in Galway, and Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany.