Marideth Joy Sandler Marideth Sandler is the Chief Executive Officer and International Trade Advisor of Sandler Trade LLC. Ms. Sandler’s work is fueled by her passion to make international trade happen – especially with developing-country producers and U.S. artisans. She has a unique combination of unparalleled knowledge of U.S. import preference programs and import/export overall, hands-on experience with more than 80 emerging markets, effective public speaking on an international basis, and advanced training and trainer certification in microfinance. She also brings to the firm high-level advocacy, project management, and policy development experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Ms. Sandler’s projects at Sandler Trade LLC include:
- working with the Embassy of Kosovo and wine reviewers from Virginia Wine Time to help expand Kosovo’s wine industry, including a live tasting of wines via Twitter
- assisting the Royal Thai Embassy to form the first-ever coalition of emerging-market economies to advocate to Congress to extend duty-free treatment of developing-country exports to the United States. She is also assisting the Embassy to continue duty-free treatment of key exports;
- obtaining financing for Caribbean Crafts, a socially conscious artisan production and marketing firm in Haiti, to rebuilding its production facilities after the January 2010 earthquake;
- advocating on the behalf of an Indonesian exporter and its U.S. importer to retain the duty-free treatment of the products, which included providing written comments, testimony, and analyses to U.S. federal agencies and Congressional staff;
- assisting Aid to Artisans, a globally recognized organization with a sustained track record of helping artisans access global markets, to evaluate the tangible impacts of its assistance and to provide microfinance and Fair Trade expertise;
- assisting the Clinton Foundation’s Haitian Artisans Initiative to develop a plan to rebuild and strengthen the sector;
- seeking to obtain duty-free entry and financing for a Sri Lankan firm that recycles plastic bottles into commercial cleaning supplies; providing strategic guidance to individual developing countries regarding worker rights issues;
- assisting Fair Trade and other importers of artisanal and agricultural items to be aware of and meet U.S. and other markets’ evolving consumer safety, agricultural and other import standards; and
- examining mechanisms so that microfinance borrowers, including those of Sharia-compliant institutions, can sustainably export their products to U.S. and other markets.
- providing stratetic marketing assistance to Sorrell Custom Boots (Guthrie, OK), an award-winning custom bootmaker of Western boots.
Prior to her return to the private sector in 2010, Ms. Sandler served as the Executive Director of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in the President’s Office of the U.S. Trade Representative under both President Bush and President Obama. As Executive Director, Ms. Sandler managed the U.S. program that provided duty-free entry for an annual average of $27.5 billion in imports, during her tenure, from two-thirds of the world’s economies. Ms. Sandler made outreach to producers, artisans, and government an essential aspect of her work and worked to ensure that the GSP played a vital role for U.S. manufacturers and wholesalers as well as for U.S. companies seeking to export their inputs, equipment, and products abroad. Ms. Sandler is an honors graduate of Harvard University with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She holds a second Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University. Ms. Sandler is also a globally certified (with distinction) advisor to microfinance institutions.
Gordana S. Earp, Senior Trade Director, joined Sandler Trade LLC in January 2013. Mrs. Earp is truly an exceptional addition to the firm. Committed to “make trade really happen,” Mrs. Earp focuses on helping companies minimize barriers to trade, expand their exports, make use of opportunities under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and preference programs, and improve the efficiency of global supply chains. In her work, she will continue to pursue her passion for promoting free and fair trade and helping small businesses expand their participation in the global market.
Mrs. Earp has held senior positions in the U.S. government where she was responsible for formulating U.S. international trade policies and leading trade negotiations on a wide variety of topics at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of Treasury, and the Department of Commerce.
Most recently, as Senior Trade Policy Advisor at the Department of Treasury, Mrs. Earp participated in U.S. FTA negotiations, including fourteen Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating rounds focusing on market access, customs, rules of origin, tariffs, regulatory coherence, small business, and supply chain issues.
Previously, Mrs. Earp was involved in negotiations and the implementation of most U.S. FTAs, including Korea, Peru, Panama, Chile, Singapore, as well as CAFTA-DR. She represented the Treasury Department in the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) on a broad range of topics, including examination of a U.S. – EU FTA, Russia’s WTO accession, China’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, ATPA, WTO dispute settlement, 337, localization, and other issues.
She has in-depth knowledge of customs issues, having worked closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on preferential rules of origin and preference claims procedures and other customs provisions under U.S. FTAs and participated in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement negotiations. She was the U.S. chair of the NAFTA Rules of Origin Working Group and the Executive Director of the Treasury-CBP private sector advisory committee on Commercial Operations of the U.S. Customs Service (COAC).
During her seventeen years at USTR, Mrs. Earp held various positions, as follows:
- Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Industry, where she coordinated U.S. steel trade policy, including safeguard investigations, represented the United States at the OECD Steel Committee, and was the lead U.S. negotiator in the U.S.-Japan Housing Deregulation Initiative and in APEC initiatives to remove barriers to U.S. exports of construction materials;
- Deputy Assistant USTR for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, where she led trade and investment agreement negotiations with the region;
- Director for Korean and Southeast Asian Affairs, where she led U.S. negotiations on intellectual property, market access, customs, investment, and other issues;
- Assistant Chief U.S. Textiles Negotiator.
- Mrs. Earp began her career as a Trade Specialist at the Office of Textiles and Apparel at the Department of Commerce.
Mrs. Earp graduated from George Washington University with M.A. in International Affairs. She was an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and won the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award.
Mr. Prince Mbanefo is the Global Trade Advisor at Sandler Trade LLC. He focuses on providing advice and strategy to small business owners in developing countries who seek access to the U.S. market, to U.S. companies seeking to access export markets, and to all exporters needing to know pertinent regulations relating to foreign market entry and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Since joining Sandler Trade LLC, he has worked on several projects including being the major researcher for the Coalition of Small Batch Importers’ written comments and testimony before the Consumer Product Safety Commission that advocated the small batch importer “third-party testing” carve-out for meeting lead content, phthalates and ASTM F-963 specifications. He is also the key researcher for a “new product” petition to be submitted this month with a Brazilian law firm as part of the 2011 GSP Annual Review.
Mr. Mbanefo has a Master of Laws in International Economic Law and Policy from the University of Barcelona where he focused on international trade law, trade and development, international finance, competition/antitrust and investment law. He earned his BA (cum laude) from American University in communications, legal institutions, economics and government.
Having lived and travelled in different parts of the world, Mr. Mbanefo has had the opportunity to interact with people of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. His background and experience as a well-rounded and culturally aware individual expands Sandler Trade LLC team in vital ways.
Mr. Rómulo Cabeza is an International Trade Advisor with Sandler Trade LLC. He is part of the firm’s team that focuses on the Generalized System of Preferences, trade regulations, and data monitoring. Rómulo is also interested in helping companies from developing countries access the U.S. market. Romulo previously held positions with the World Bank and the United States International Trade Commission. His background in trade policy has made him particularly interested in helping developing economies navigate the U.S. regulatory process. His experience with data management provides extensive and cost-effective opportunities to assist Sandler Trade LLC’s clients in all aspects of quantitative analysis pertinent to imports, exports, and costly import claim problems for GSP-eligible products entering the U.S. market.
Rómulo holds a Masters Degree in International Relations and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He also holds a bachelor degree in political science from Amherst College where he founded Peruvian Education Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides educational access to high achieving, needy students in Lima, Peru.
Rómulo speaks Spanish and English and has a working knowledge of French and Turkish.
Ms. Yasmine Rouaï is a Global Trade Specialist with a regional concentration in Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Prior to joining Sandler Trade LLC, Ms. Rouaï was a consultant and operations analyst at the World Bank’s Maghreb Department and Social and Economic Development Group MENA Region for five years where she worked on economic development and trade issues affecting the region. During her tenure, Ms. Rouaï conducted research and analysis on a wide range of economic issues in the region such as private sector development, subsidy reform, trade barriers and policies and financial reform. Ms. Rouaï was a research team member for the 2009 World Bank MENA Development Report “From Privilege to Competition: Unlocking Private-Led Growth in the Middle East and North Africa.” Ms. Rouaï also worked on reports on trade and foreign direct investment policies in the region. Most recently, she was with the Maghreb Unit as an Operational Analyst where she worked, among other responsibilities, on the overall portfolio of World Bank activities in the Maghreb. Ms. Rouaï also worked on the Tunisia Interim Strategy Note (ISN), which outlined the World Bank’s strategy in the country in the fluid and evolving context in Tunisia after the Arab Spring.
Ms. Rouaï holds both a Master of Arts in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and a Master of Science in Finance from Johns Hopkins University. She received her Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University in International Affairs with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. She has lived in Algeria, Spain, and France. In addition to her travel experience, she is proficient in French and has a working knowledge of Spanish.
Ms. Rouaï has brought to Sandler Trade LLC an extensive experience in the MENA region, a deep understanding of development and trade issues, and outstanding analytical skills. Combined with her interest and dedication to our mission to “make trade really happen” for our clients in developing countries, she is truly a unique asset to our firm.
Martin N. Sandler, Father of Marideth J. Sandler, served as President Emeritus of Sandler Trade LLC until his death on November 24, 2011. Mr. Sandler initiated the concept of trade, not aid, when he founded the American Israel Chamber of Commerce in 1958 to develop business and ongoing commercial relationships between Israel and the United States. The Chamber, under by Mr. Sandler’s leadership, has grown into a national network of what is now 12 state and regional offices across the United States. In 1959, Mr. Sandler also created the Hotel Corporation of Israel to fund and construct the first four-star hotel in Israel and signed on Sheraton Hotels to manage it as the company’s first overseas property. Mr. Sandler graduated in accounting from the University of Minnesota, after which he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a Lieutenant JG and Gunnery Officer. Mr. Sandler also served as President of ERO Industries, Inc., founded the Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation (GIRF), and supported Thresholds, a mental health service organization, by purchasing a vocational facility for disabled adults in Rockford, IL.
For more information, call us at 1.202.776.0650 or email Marideth Sandler at firstname.lastname@example.org