The ACMA Logo, 4 shapes blue, red, black and light blue, with ACMA, on in each shape. Underneath reading American Commerce Marketing Association.


HOME --> ACMA’s Beltway Report – Biden Transition Paves Way for Changes in Trade Policy

Four Shapes, dark blue square, red circle, black square, light blue square, used as a background image.

ACMA’s Beltway Report – Biden Transition Paves Way for Changes in Trade Policy

Dear Industry Member:

The ACMA has been paying close attention to the announced nominations for cabinet level officials, particularly those that concern future trade policy. Below, we provide some backgrounders on the new nominees. Once the new Biden Administration takes effect and work begins, we’ll provide our insight as to how they could impact your business.


New Leadership at USTR: Katherine Tai
First, President-elect Joe Biden has nominated House Ways and Means Committeeb80b3573cc9e4fc0add9f8de18520255 trade lawyer Katherine Tai (at right) as U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). If confirmed, Tai would be the first woman of color and first Asian American to hold the role. Remember, the U.S. Trade Representative is a Cabinet-level position within the Executive Office of the President.

Tai’s career at USTR first began in 2007 as an associate general counsel. In 2014, she was named chief counsel for China trade enforcement, overseeing disputes between Washington and Beijing at the World Trade Organization. She left that role in 2014 to join House Ways and Means and in 2017 was named chief trade lawyer for Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) Before her USTR career, Tai worked at Baker & McKenzie and Miller & Chevalier as an attorney. She also clerked for U.S. District Courts in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

Incoming Secretary of Commerce: Governor Gina Raimondo
713cb372f2af28be78fc281f6c015074Second, President-elect Biden has nominated Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo (at left) to serve as secretary of Commerce. Raimondo was in the running to serve as Biden’s running mate, head of the Treasury Department, or the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. Ultimately, she was chosen for Commerce based on her experience with China policy.

Her father lost his 28-year factory job in Providence when watchmaker Bulova closed U.S. operations and moved to China. She promised as Commerce secretary that she would “come together with working families and business” to help “empower entrepreneurs” and “spur good paying jobs.”

Raimondo is a former venture capitalist who worked at a fund backed by Bain Capital. She also started her own venture firm in Rhode Island where she worked before being elected general treasurer of Rhode Island in 2011. She was elected governor of Rhode Island in 2014 and served as head of the Democratic Governors Association in 2019.

Biden’s Future on Trade
Many industries and foreign governments are already pressuring President-elect Biden for tariff relief. But the president-elect has said new trade talks will have to wait until he and his team determine the best path forward on domestic stimulus.

More importantly, his team needs time to review Trump’s trade policies writ large before lifting any duties, particularly those under Section 301. And that could take time. Sources close to the transition process have indicated that USTR has actively prevented career staff from meeting with the Biden trade team. This could materially affect how quickly the new administration addresses existing tariff policy or any new policy implementation.

Key Dates Ahead

  • Jan. 20: Biden sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
  • Jan. 25-29: World leaders meet virtually for event hosted by the World Economic Forum, traditionally held in Davos, Switzerland.
  • February: Hearings and confirmation votes on Biden’s cabinet nominees, including USTR-designate Katherine Tai.
  • February: Biden will most likely make the first major speech of his presidency to a joint session of Congress, indicating the direction his administration will take on trade policy.
  • Mid-February: Semi-annual deadline for USTR to announce any changes to current retaliation on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods in the Airbus-Boeing aircraft subsidy dispute.
  • Feb. 28: Deadline for USTR to release its annual report on the president’s trade agenda. This would be the first such report of Biden’s presidency.

Engage with ACMA on Trade Policy

If you need to understand what relief may be relevant to you, ACMA members are encouraged to reach out to Lynn Noble (513-608-4749 for a free consultation with our experts. If you are not an ACMA member, please click here to join now.

Please continue to keep us advised as to how we can help you in this extraordinary time.

Samir N. Kapadia
Principal & COO, The Vogel Group, on behalf of the ACMA

This update has been provided in consultation with our Washington, DC-based government affairs and global business advisory firm, The Vogel Group –

Share On Social


Follow Us

The ACMA Logo for the 17th Annual Forum, 4 shapes blue, red, black and light blue, with ACMA, on in each shape. Underneath reading 2024 National Forum.

17th Annual National Forum Registration Page


Capitol building photo, taken at night.

Postal Fund Donations


Catalog Industry Action Funds


Support ACMA’s Industry Action Funds

You can assist with specific areas of ACMA’s program of work by providing much-needed resources dedicated to a particular issue. Our Industry Action Funds are segregated accounts held by ACMA, made available as a “war chest” to deploy on specific issues that impact direct and remote marketers and their suppliers — eliminating the time and effort needed to raise funds in the heat of battle.

Please note that your contributions to ACMA Action Funds will not be used for any general ACMA “corporate purposes” other than a 5% service fee on funds raised and administered. Non-ACMA members are always eligible to make one-off donations. Such contributions support our network of consultants on whom we depend to advocate for the interests of direct and remote marketers and their suppliers. These funds are only used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses of the specific issues outlined below. Large volume donors may be considered for Steering Committees of each Fund. Click here for more information on how the funds are distributed and used.

Want a discount? Become a member! Or log in if you are a member.
SKU: catalog_industry_action_funds Category: Tag:


Restricted Status: Each Fund will be separately administered as restricted under the direction of the ACMA Board of Directors by the ACMA Treasurer and our association accountant. An elected Officer from the Executive Committee or the ACMA Board will authorize disbursements. Details on expenditures will be made available to any material contributor on request. Restricted funds may be released only upon authorization of the benefactor or in the event the contributing entity is defunct, by vote of the ACMA Board.

Use of Funds: Moneys from each fund may be used for hiring lobbyists, economists, attorneys, consultants, public relations or government relations personnel, conducting research or other surveys highlighting positions favorable to cataloging, supporting coalitions or other groups allied to our positions, paying for advertising aimed at influencing elected officials or other stakeholders, organizing grass roots outreach, education or advocacy in support of public policy positions or for other tactics favorable to ACMA policy positions. Money raised will not be used to support any political candidate or political party; these moneys must come from a Political Action Committee.

Lynn Noble

President & Executive Director

New Member Development & Acquisition; Postal Affairs

Lynn Noble is ACMA’s Vice President, Industry Relations, having joined the ACMA in May 2015, following an extensive direct marketing career in private industry as well as the US Postal Service. He is responsible for leading the membership development efforts for the ACMA through new member acquisitions and providing enhanced member value.

Throughout his career, Lynn has held key marketing & sales positions with several leading direct marketers, as well as several high-level management positions with the US Postal Service.

In 2009, at the request of the ACMA, the US Postal Service initiated a new position of Catalog Manager to lead the Service’s efforts to stabilize and grow the catalog industry. Lynn returned to the USPS to lead those efforts and was instrumental to developing a stronger industry partnership between the Postal Service and the catalog industry. Serving as the product manager for catalogs, Lynn helped to raise the awareness of catalog-specific business challenges within the executive ranks of the USPS. During his tenure, the ACMA and catalog companies enjoyed a collaborative and progressive environment that produced more stabilized rates and inclusion in key USPS promotional opportunities.

Just prior to joining the ACMA Lynn was the USPS’s Manager, Strategic Account Operations, leading a team of senior sales professionals who focused exclusively in the Catalog, Mail Order, and E-commerce arena. In addition to his Postal positions, Lynn previously held key positions with leading direct marketing companies, including Cox Target Media, Market Logic, Catalina Marketing,, and Advantage Direct.

Paul Miller

Vice President & Deputy Director

Association Matters, Marketing / Communications, Membership Relations

Named Vice President & Deputy Director in January 2010, Miller came to the ACMA following a lengthy career of more than two decades following the catalog/multichannel/e-commerce/retail businesses. Reporting to ACMA president & executive director Hamilton Davison, Miller oversees marketing and communications, membership development, and organizes and oversees ACMA’s National Catalog Forum, while working with Davison on most of ACMA’s postal-related efforts.

Miller started his career as a reporter with Catalog Showroom Business, following a form of retailing that was led by the likes of the Service Merchandise and Best Products retail chains.

After several years of editor/reporter roles with business magazines that followed the toy and gift industries, Miller was named associate editor of Catalog Age magazine (now Multichannel Merchant) in 1986. He rose up the ranks at Catalog Age over the next 18 years to be the magazine’s senior news editor.

Beginning in the late ’80s, Miller became Catalog Age’s postal beat reporter, where he’d follow key postal events and pull out the key catalog mail-related issues for readers. During that time, he attended many Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meetings and National Postal forums.

After leaving Catalog Age in 2004, Miller consulted with several catalogers and multichannel suppliers for a time, he was named news/website editor at Commercial Property News. Less than a year later, he was asked to take the reigns at Catalog Success (now All About ROI) where he served as editor-in- chief from 2006 till the end of 2009.


Mike Plunkett

President & Executive Director

Washington, legislative, lobbying matters

ACMA appointed Michael K. Plunkett as its President and Executive Director in January 2024, succeeding founder Hamilton Davison. Mr. Davison moved on to own and run a company. Mr. Plunkett brings years of executive leadership experience having been the President and CEO of the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) since 2017.  In the newly-formed dual role, he will continue his current role with PostCom and the two organizations will operate separately.

During his tenure, PostCom has continued to lead the mailing and shipping industry on policy and regulatory matters and to work with Government agency partners to advance issues of importance to members. Mr. Plunkett is also President of the Delivery Technology Advocacy Council, a nonprofit launched in 2020 to concentrate on delivery and logistics technologies.

Prior to PostCom, Mr. Plunkett accumulated more than 25 years Postal experience with the United States Postal Service in numerous executive roles in operations, marketing, product development and pricing.  As a leader within the Postal Service’s management team, Mr. Plunkett developed a well-earned reputation for innovation by leading efforts to develop pricing agreements for domestic services and in the development of the forever stamp and the priority mail flat rate box.

Mr. Plunkett has testified on pricing and policy issues before the Postal Regulatory Commission and Congressional subcommittees.  He has authored and presented papers on postal policies, economics, and operations for National and International conferences.

Mr. Plunkett holds Masters Degrees in Business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Sloan Fellow. He earned a Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Finance from the Pennsylvania State University.