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The White House on Friday announced that President Joe Biden will appoint The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (The National Center) President and CEO Chris James (Eastern Cherokee) to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

The Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations is an advisory committee established to provide overall policy advice to the United States Trade Representative on matters arising in connection with the development, implementation, and administration of the trade policy of the United States. The advisory committee will provide advice on negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before entering into trade agreements, the impact of the implementation of trade agreements, matters concerning the operation of any trade agreement once entered into, and other matters arising in connection with the development, implementation, and administration of the trade policy of the United States. 

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James, who heads The National Center - the Native American organization that focuses on economic development in Indian Country, is among 44 others named to the advisory committee on Friday. James' appointment allows for a Native American to sit at the table to provide expertise in the Indigenous economy, Native American policy, supply chains, and rural economic development. His expertise is enriched by his personal experience, having grown up with his family's businesses on the Qualla Boundary, the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

“It's truly an honor to serve the Biden administration in this capacity. I am deeply committed to supporting innovative trade strategies that will strengthen both our Native and national economies," James said to Native News Online in an email on Saturday. “American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian business owners should have access to international markets and the policies governing international trade. I will use this position to ensure our community always has a seat at the table for these discussions.”

Under his leadership, The National Center has flourished, tripling its revenue and expanding its reach significantly. James spearheads both the Reservation Economic Summit, the world's largest conference focused on Native American economic development, and the Native Edge Institute series, which equips entrepreneurs with essential skills for success. His tenure has seen a heightened emphasis on international Indigenous trade and connecting Native businesses with corporate America.

Prior coming to The Center, James held senior roles in the U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration. In these capacities, he led initiatives like Supplier Pay and Startup in a Day, both designed to enhance business efficiency and entrepreneurship. Supplier Pay focused on accelerating payments to small business suppliers, while Startup in a Day aimed to streamline the process for entrepreneurs to start a business in just one day.

Aside from his appointment to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. James will preside over The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development's RES, Indian Country's largest economic development conference, in Las Vegas beginning March 11-14, 2024.

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About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].