Skip to main content

Susan C. Schwab

Back to Faculty & Staff

Ambassador Susan C. Schwab became the United States trade representative on June 8, 2006. As USTR, she was a member of the president's cabinet and served as the president's principal trade strategist, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. From October 2005 until her confirmation as USTR, Schwab served as deputy trade representative. 

During her tenure, Schwab successfully concluded bilateral FTAs with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea; several agreements were ratified by the US Congress (Bahrain, Oman, Peru) or entered into force (CAFTA). She launched the initial TransPacific Partnership negotiations and engaged in the Doha Round talks at the WTO. In her trade enforcement role, Schwab was able to settle a two-decade long dispute with Canada over soft-wood lumber, and launched and/or worked to resolve trade disputes with China, the European Union and others, primarily related to market access, intellectual property and illegal subsidies.

Schwab served as dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy from 1995 through 2003. Before joining the administration, she held the position of president and CEO of the University System of Maryland (USM) Foundation and USM vice chancellor for advancement. Schwab formerly served as director of corporate business development at Motorola, Inc., where she handled strategic planning and negotiation in China and elsewhere in Asia. Schwab also served as assistant secretary of commerce and director general of the US & Foreign Commercial Service during the administration of George H.W. Bush. 

Schwab spent most of the 1980s as a trade policy specialist and then legislative director for Senator John C. Danforth (R-Mo.), playing a key role in numerous US trade policy initiatives, including landmark trade legislation that Congress enacted in 1984 and 1988.  Previously, Schwab served as a trade policy officer in the US Embassy in Tokyo. Her first job was as an agricultural trade negotiator at USTR. 

Schwab is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Strategy Group, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration ( NAPA ), and a trustee of The Conference Board. She is the author of Trade-Offs: Negotiating the Omnibus Trade Act, (Harvard Business School Press, 1994), as well as articles on U.S.-Japan trade relations, trade politics and public policy education. She serves on the boards of Boeing, Caterpillar, FedEx and Marriott.

She holds a BA from Williams College, a master’s from Stanford University, and a PhD from The George Washington University. 

Areas of Interest
  • Trade policy
3 Credit(s)

Interplay between government and private interests in shaping official actions that affect international trade. Policy tools available to influence balance, magnitude, and composition of imports and exports. Evolution of executive, congressional and quasi-judicial government institutions under increased U.S. international trade exposure and trade deficit. Restricted to students in a major in PLCY.
Schedule of Classes

Recommended as prerequisite(s): PLCY620, PLCY640 and PLCY641

Faculty: Susan C. Schwab