Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We covered a speech by Commerce Department Undersecretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez earlier this week at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.
An anxious group of graduate students and – for some reason – a large contingent of press from Taiwan wanted to know about some big policy issues, including the TransPacific Partnership Agreement. The Taiwanese press asked questions about the state of affairs between the United States and Taiwan on beef trade and the status of the Trade and Investment Agreement.

Mr. Sánchez responded that he knew nothing about the beef issue and was aware of the TIFA agreement, saying that TIFAs are "good things". The undersecretary has always been open to the press – especially Washington Trade Daily – but has been difficult to contact. It’s not because of disinterest, but because he spends much of his time out of the country.

But what Commerce’s chief international trade official really knows about i selling US goods and services abroad. He had just returned from a selling mission late last week from Japan and Vietnam.

Mr. Sánchez is probably the most "traveling" Commerce Department overseas salesman in history.

Here’s a run-down of his selling missions over the past two years (and I may be missing a few) –

earlier this month – a business visit to Vietnam and Japan;

late February – a mission to India;

earlier in February – a trip to Afghanistan;


December – participation in a democracy forum in Indonesia;

November – headed up a clean energy mission to India;

earlier in November – trade mission to the United Arab Emirates;

October – accompanied a biotechnology mission to China and Hong Kong;

September – participation in the U-Turkey Business Council meeting;

June – participation in the Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade in China;

June – a visit to Colombia and Brazil;

early June – a visit to Spain to participate in an Ibero-Latin American business forum;

early May – a business visit to Honduras;

May – a post-Obama visit to Brazil;

early April – an education trade mission to Vietnam and Indonesia.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Sánchez.

Jim Berger

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