2018 Annual Conference Keynotes

Trade Policy Update and Perspective: A View from Washington

Christopher Wenk

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

With trade seeming to dominate the headlines, Christopher Wenk from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will provide a unique perspective and outlook for where trade policy and specific trade agreements are headed with the Administration and Congress.

Christopher W. Wenk, Executive Director of International Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is responsible for promoting the Chamber’s international trade agenda, including bilateral free trade agreements, multilateral negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with the administration, on Capitol Hill, and in the business community. Since joining the Chamber in 2007, Wenk played a leading role in successful campaigns to win bipartisan congressional passage of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. He also led the Chamber’s efforts to secure Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, among other trade initiatives.

Wenk plays a key role in the Chamber’s efforts related to the work of the Geneva-based WTO, and serves as staff executive for the Chamber’s International Policy Committee and Trade Task Force which develop policy positions and recommendations on international trade and investment.

Previously, Wenk was director of international trade policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), where he advocated on international trade issues with the administration and Congress, worked to formulate positions on trade issues, and managed industry group coalitions. Before joining NAM, Wenk worked on Capitol Hill for the House Small Business Committee, Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Dave Camp (R-MI), and interned at the Delegation of the European Commission in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Klowden

The Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics and California Center

Kevin Klowden is the executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics and California Center. He specializes in the study of key factors that underlie the development of competitive regional economies (clusters of innovation, patterns of trade and investment, and concentration of skilled labor), and how these are influenced by public policy and in turn affect regional economies. On a national level, he is heavily involved in issues of capital access for small business, including serving on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Finance Advisory Committee as co-chair. He also helps to coordinate the Partnership for Lending in Underserved Markets initiative with the U.S. Small Business Administration, which focuses on funding for African-American and Latino small businesses. His areas of expertise include technology-based development, capital access, infrastructure, the global economy, media, and entertainment.

Klowden was the lead author of “Strategies for Expanding California’s Exports,” which examined the vital role trade and exports play in the state economy, and its underperformance relative to the country over the past decade. Further work on trade and investment has included “A Golden Opportunity with China: How California Can Become an Even Bigger Destination for Chinese Foreign Investment.”

Klowden is a frequent speaker on state fiscal issues and has served on multiple advisory boards on business growth, economic development, and infrastructure. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and London School of Economics.

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