WASHINGTON — Felicia Pullam, director of outreach for the U.S. Commerce Department’s SelectUSA program, has been named deputy assistant secretary for textiles, consumer goods and materials at Commerce.
Pullman succeeds Joshua Teitelbaum, who stepped down from his post in early August and joined the public law and policy practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he is counsel focusing on international trade.
In the deputy assistant secretary job, Pullman will oversee Commerce’s Office of Textiles & Apparel, working closely with the fashion industry on a range of international trade issues, including apparel and textile imports, export promotion, Made in America initiatives, domestic manufacturing challenges, short-supply petitions under free-trade agreements and trade barriers.
Pullam has previous political and industry experience. Prior to joining Commerce, she advised Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on foreign affairs, including trade and investment partnerships.
She also lived in Asia for close to a decade managing APCO Worldwide’s corporate responsibility practice for a broad region encompassing China, India and other countries. Pullam assisted clients to develop strategies for stakeholder engagement and sustainability, among other areas.
While her political appointment comes at the end of the Obama administration, Pullam will hold the position at Commerce at a time when the administration is making a last push for Congressional approval of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and is in negotiations on a massive trade deal with the European Union known as the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership trade deal.
TPP includes the U.S., Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Chile, Brunei and New Zealand and would encompass nearly 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
Augustine Tantillo, president and chief executive officer at the National Council of Textile Organizations, said the industry “looks forward to Felicia continuing the Obama administration’s position on critical issues like yarn forward rules of origin as we negotiate agreements like TPP.”
The TPP includes a yarn-forward rule of origin, which requires apparel be made of fabric and yarns supplied by the U.S. or other TPP partner countries to qualify for duty-free benefits when shipped back to the U.S.
“With her background at the Commerce Department, she understands the importance of market access for American brands and retailers,” said Julia K. Hughes, president at the U.S. Fashion Industry Association.