Former USITC Chairman Joins the Cato Institute

December 2, 2013

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Daniel R. Pearson, former commissioner and chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission, has joined the Cato Institute as a Senior Fellow in Trade Policy Studies.

Nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003 and confirmed by the Senate, Pearson served for 10 years on the Commission and was chairman from 2006 to 2008.  His extended tenure at the US ITC – which, among other functions, is responsible for determining whether U.S. industries are injured by imports in antidumping, countervailing duty, and safeguards cases – ended in October.  During his tenure, which included votes on several hundred investigations and reviews, Pearson earned a reputation as a principled free trader, voting against the imposition of duties more often than any other commissioner.

“We are thrilled that someone with such experience and expertise on some core Cato trade issues, who is highly regarded in the trade community for his intellect and integrity, will be joining our team to help us make the case for free trade,” said Dan Ikenson, director of Cato’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies.  “He will bring new perspectives, fresh arguments, and even greater credibility to our extensive body of work on antidumping policy and agricultural trade.”

As chairman, Pearson oversaw the agency’s 370 employees and $80 million budget. He also managed the research program on global and bilateral trade issues, which included studies on trade in manufactured goods, services and agricultural products, as well as research concerning major trading partners, such as China, Japan, the European Union, India and Brazil.

Prior to his appointment at the USITC, Pearson served first as a policy analyst and then as assistant vice president for public affairs at Cargill, Inc, where he managed the company’s trade policy concerns, including agricultural negotiations in the World Trade Organization, China’s accession to the WTO, and the U.S.-Mexico sweetener dispute. As agricultural legislative assistant in the office of Sen. Rudy Boschwitz from 1981-1987, Pearson developed and promoted the first legislative proposal to decouple commodity supports from production – an issue that remains topical to this day.

Pearson holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree, both in agricultural economics, from the University of Minnesota.  He has traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents.