Rufus Hawkins Yerxa (born 1951) is an American lawyer and former U.S. government and international official. He is currently President of the National Foreign Trade Council. He served as Deputy United States Trade Representative during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton Administrations, and served for 11 years as Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Yerxa holds degrees from
- University of Washington (B.A.), 1973
- University of Puget Sound (J.D.), 1976
- Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (LLB, International Law), 1977
From 1977-81 he was legal advisor to the chairman of the International Trade Commission. From 1981-89 he was a staff member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, serving as staff director of its Subcommittee on Trade and later as Assistant Chief Counsel of the full Committee.
From 1989 to 1995 he was a Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR), serving first in Geneva as U.S. ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and subsequently as Deputy USTR in Washington. He played a key role in the Uruguay Round Negotiations, and was later responsible for overseeing the Clinton Administration's efforts to obtain Congressional approval of both NAFTA and the WTO Agreement. After leaving government service In the mid-1990s, he was a resident partner in the Brussels office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where his practice focused on international trade and European regulatory matters.
In 2002 he was appointed to serve as Deputy Director General of the WTO, a position he held until 2013. During this time he was also a lecturer on U.S. trade policy at the World Trade Institute (WTI) in Berne. After retiring from the WTO he joined the faculty of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California as a visiting professor.
- President Clinton's nomination of Yerxa to be a Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, clinton6.nara.gov, March 18, 1993.
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