USA Rice Welcomes New International Trade Policy Director

⋅ BY DEBORAH WILLENBORG

Karah Fissel has joined USA Rice as the new director for international trade policy. Karah will manage the International Trade Policy Committee and its subcommittees, and her first week will be spent traveling to Costa Rica for the International Promotion Planning Committee meetings.

Most recently, Karah served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) where, since 2020, she oversaw regional coverage of first, Central America and then, Mexico. She was instrumental in coordinating USDA strategy for the U.S.-Mexico agricultural trade relationship including liaising with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) during the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute settlement panel with Mexico regarding measures related to biotechnology. She also led USDA efforts to address trade barriers, including on rice, and enforce bilateral trade commitments amid increasingly protectionist policy actions in Central America.

Prior to joining FAS, Karah served at USTR in both the Offices of Agricultural Affairs and the General Counsel where she worked on various trade issues including the Generalized System of Preferences, disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and negotiations of the USMCA Chapter on Intellectual Property.

Karah graduated from James Madison University where she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science. In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, and advising young women leaders of the Alpha Sigma Tau national sorority.

“USA Rice staff have worked with Karah over the last six years through her roles at USDA and USTR,” said USA Rice president and CEO Peter Bachmann. “I believe she will make a great addition to our team at a time when we’re exploring the many opportunities for growing our exports in global markets.”

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