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Blog Category: Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez

Pushing for Progress in the Middle East and North Africa

(Photo: ©  WEF)

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Secretary, Department of Commerce

Recent events have reaffirmed just how extraordinary this period is for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  The Arab Spring has generated a lot of hope for people across the region. However, it’s also presented a number of questions that need to be answered, many of which center around economic issues like unemployment and slow growth. 

As the World Economic Forum (WEF) put it, “Recent shifts in the Arab world, coupled with an economic contraction at the global level, have created renewed urgency for decision-makers across the region to address the unfolding economic situation.”

So, it’s fitting that, this past weekend, King Abdullah of Jordan hosted a WEF event to address job creation. World leaders gathered to discuss pressing issues including the advancement of youth and women, the impact of social media, and, of course, U.S.-Arab relations.

Our Biotech Trade Mission in China: Developing Prosperous Partnerships

Sánchez, officials at DiaCarta signing ceremony

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.”

That’s a proverb I learned during my recent trip to China, where I led a delegation of 19 U.S. biotech companies on a trade mission. Today marked the end of our journey. But, I’m confident that the steps we took will help these firms generate new opportunities in the region.     

As I get ready to depart, I’m struck by the huge possibilities in the country. China’s biotech sector is growing roughly 25 percent a year. Its market is huge in terms of sales and clinical trial opportunities, as well as potential investment. And, China’s enormous consumer base and impressive economic growth further reinforce the importance of the market for U.S. firms.

New Friendships and New Opportunities to Do Business in Brazil

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez inaugurating the U.S. Pavilion at the Offshore Technologies Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration

Today I had the honor of inaugurating the U.S. Pavilion at the Offshore Technologies Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The pavilion is giving more than 80 U.S. firms the opportunity to exhibit their products and services to potential buyers in Brazil and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere.  The pavilion also supports a Department of Commerce–certified trade mission that was organized by the state of Louisiana along with that state’s Committee of 100 for Economic Development.

Why Brazil? There are a lot of reasons for U.S. companies to look for business here, especially in the energy sector. Economically, Brazil is on the rise. It is the world’s seventh largest economy and in 2010 posted a real GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent. This strong growth is sure to continue in the long-term. One factor in that growth will be Brazil’s oil and gas sector, buoyed by the recent discovery of offshore oil reserves in the Santos Basin. The discovery of these reserves is good news for the United States—both for the potential market it represents for U.S. sellers of energy products, technologies, and services as well as for the likelihood that that it will make Brazil a stable and secure source of energy for the United States in the future.

Spotlight on Commerce: Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. SÁnchez Cutting a Ribbon at Trade Show in 2011

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

I consider myself a lucky guy. 

Every day, I have the privilege of serving the American people as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.  It is a tremendous honor to be able to give back to a country that has given so much to me.

My story is the American story.  My grandparents and father were immigrants from Spain; they believed in the American Dream, and worked hard to achieve it. 

We lived in Tampa, Florida.  Growing up, I learned a lot of lessons that serve me well today.  Through my father, who used to run a candy factory in Spain, I was able to learn how important small- and medium-sized businesses are to a community’s development.  My mother worked as the Director of one of the first Head Start programs in the country.  She wanted all children to get the best possible start in life and dedicated her time to helping others.  That’s why she is my hero.

Six Cities, Ten Days and Hundreds of Businesses

Sanchez is on a tour of a manufacturing facility

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration

From Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Albuquerque to Walnut Creek, I spent last week traversing the Southwestern United States talking to small businesses, textile manufacturers, exporters and rural communities about the positive impact exporting has on our economic stability and potential to put people back to work.

During this trip, I met with leaders from more than 150 businesses to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative and how important it is for small- and medium-sized businesses to expand their markets through exporting. I also reinforced the importance of leveraging the public-private partnerships that will foster investment, support communities and assist rural businesses to succeed, expand and create jobs.

In New Mexico, I spoke to businesses about the importance of the APEC economies, which have generated nearly 200 million new jobs and 70 percent of overall global economic growth during the past decade. APEC members increasingly represent the global economy of the 21st century.

U.S. Seaports Join ITA in New Partnership to Increase Exports

Department of Commerce and American Association of Port Authorities sign memorandum of intent

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Just this week I traveled to the Port of Oakland to launch a new and exciting partnership.  The International Trade Administration (ITA) and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) have entered into a new partnership to promote exports. During an event hosted by the Port of Oakland, Kurt Nagle, President of the AAPA and I signed a joint memorandum of intent to collaborate to help expand the reach of our export education efforts. This effort supports the National Export Initiative, President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2014. 

This was my first visit to the Port of Oakland and it is very memorable. The Port is the primary point of exit for exports from Northern California and its agricultural industries. Notably, it is the largest U.S. export port for wines handling over 52 percent of all U.S. wine exports (by value) in 2010.

On top of that, Oakland is the third-largest U.S. West Coast port for containers.  It is the United States’ 17th-largest export port overall and Oakland is one of the few U.S. seaports whose exports exceed their imports; nearly fifty-five percent of Oakland’s total cargo tonnage is exports. 

U.S. seaports are a critical conduit for most U.S. merchandise trade, with more than $455 billion in exports flowing through America’s sea ports in 2010.

Spotlight on Commerce: Kevin Kurland, Bureau of Industry and Security

Photo of Kurland

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Kevin Kurland is Acting Chief of Staff for Export Administration and Director, Office of Technology Evlauation at the Bureau of Industry and Security

As a member of the White House Task Force on Export Control Reform (ECR), I have been fortunate to play an integral role in helping further the president’s vision for “Winning the Future.”  The interagency Task Force was directed by the president to build and help implement a blueprint for a new system that addresses current national security and economic challenges.  In April 2010, Secretary Gates announced the results of the Task Force efforts – a single control list, single licensing agency, single information technology platform and single primary export enforcement coordination agency – which agencies and the Task Force have been busily working toward for the past 15 months.

My role on the Task Force stems from my current positions of Acting Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration and Director of the Office of Technology Evaluation in the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).  These positions have exposed me to national security and economic issues across the Bureau and Department-wide.

U.S. Companies and Technology on Display at the 2011 Paris Air Show

Boeing 777

Guest Blog by Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

This week I have had the privilege of attending the 2011 Paris Air Show, the largest aerospace industry show in the world. Since arriving on Sunday, I’ve participated in numerous industry events, met with CEOs, governors, ministers, members of congress and association representatives.

Yesterday, I presided over the opening ceremony for the U.S. Pavilion with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye, Alabama senator Richard Shelby, and Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley.  More than 200 U.S. companies are displaying their innovative and forward-thinking technology here.

The U.S. aerospace industry is a strategic contributor to the economy, national security, and technological innovation of the United States The industry contributed $78 billion in export sales to the U.S. economy in 2010 and is important to achieve the goals of the President’s export initiative.

The aerospace sector in the United States supports more jobs through exports than any other industry.

Earlier today I witnessed a signing ceremony between Boeing and Aeroflot, Russia’s state-owned airline. Aeroflot has ordered eight 777s valued at $2.1 billion, and the sales will support approximately 14,000 jobs in the United States.

Enhancing Trade in Latin America: Opening Opportunities

Sanchez on podium

Guest blog b y Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Today I am honored to be speaking at the Association of American Chambers of Commerce at the Latin America Conference in Cartagena, Columbia. I shared with the hundreds of participants that the United States will continue its decades-long effort to increase economic integration throughout Latin America, including the passage and implementation of pending trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.

Latin America is our fastest-growing export market. The United States exports three times as much to Latin America as we do to China. We enjoy significant bilateral trading relationships with most of the countries in the region, and exports to these countries will soon support more than two million U.S. jobs.

Currently, 84 percent of U.S. trade within Latin America is covered by free trade agreements. Passage and implementation of new trade agreements with Colombia and Panama is an Obama administration priority for 2011, and are expected to support tens of thousands of jobs in America.

President Obama has made his commitment to the free trade agreements with Panama and Colombia clear because he believes that the future of the United States is inextricably bound to the future of the people of the Americas.

Panama is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, expanding 6.2 percent in 2010, with similar annual growth forecast through 2015. Exports of U.S. goods to Colombia are expected to increase by more than $1.1 billion once the agreement is fully implemented.

Initiatives such as Pathways to Prosperity and the Americas Competitiveness Forum – two important programs supported by the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration – are critical to improving economic integration that will benefit every nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Trade between countries in the Western Hemisphere is important to all of us, supporting millions of jobs and bettering the lives of our people.