Last week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala named her four deputy director generals, including Angela Ellard of the U.S., Anabel González of Costa Rica, Ambassador Jean-Marie Paugam of France, and Ambassador Xiangchen Zhang of China.
This is the first time in WTO history that more than one of the deputy director generals are female.
The U.S., as a significant financial contributor to the WTO, has traditionally held one of the deputy roles. Prior to American Angela Ellard’s appointment, Alan Wolff of the U.S., served as a deputy under Director General Roberto Azevêdo. While Wolff took a more traditional political path to the position, Ellard’s route as a Capitol Hill staffer is unique.
Ellard, a Tulane Law graduate, was most recently the Republican chief trade counsel on the House Ways and Means Committee. She served as Republican staff director of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee as well as chief Republican trade council since joining the staff in 1995. Prior to working on the Hill, Ellard was in private practice, specializing in trade litigation and policy.
Her appointment, supported by the Biden Administration, is a refreshing example of bipartisanship in Washington. Ellard served as U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s Republican counterpart for many years prior to her nomination and confirmation earlier this year.
In another bipartisan show of support, House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) said: “Angela Ellard is a great choice for one of the new WTO deputy directors-general…Throughout her nearly three decades on the Ways and Means Committee, she has skillfully negotiated trade deals and crafted our nation’s trade policy while gaining a sophisticated understanding of the opportunities available and the challenges facing the WTO.
“I look forward to working with her, as well as the director general, to resolve the committee’s long-standing concerns with the WTO… I wish her the very best in this new endeavor and thank her for her commitment to public service.”
In her many years as the Republican staff lead on all things trade in the House, USA Rice often worked closely with Ellard, including meetings during the annual Government Affairs Conference and in consultations during active trade negotiations. Ellard will be a powerful ally as USA Rice works with other commodity groups alongside the U.S. government to seek agricultural reforms at the WTO over the coming years.