Under Secretary of Commerce, Francisco J. Sanchez, Speaks about Free Trade

Under Secretary of Commerce, Francisco J. Sanchez, Speaks about Free Trade

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Maha Neouchy
October 15, 2012

The Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco J. Sanchez, spoke to fall 2012 interns as the featured speaker for TWC's October 15th Simpson-Mineta Leadership Series (SMLS). During the event, he discussed what first sparked his interest in public service and the duties of his current position at the International Trade Administration (ITA).


Sanchez began the event reminiscing about his involvement with the Boys & Girls Club of America, one of the first community activities he participated in as a 10-year-old. At the age of 18, he became involved with Bob Graham's campaign for the Governor of Florida. Graham was someone Sanchez saw as both "progressive and environmentally conscious" but who "didn’t have a prayer." Sanchez ended up "taking a calculated risk and following his heart" by choosing to work on Graham's campaign. This decision paid off when Graham ended up winning the 1984 election, opening Sanchez's first door in the world of politics.



Since the election, Sanchez has meshed the realms of public service and business into a successful career. In 2009, he was appointed by President Barack Obama as the Under Secretary of Commerce, where he leads over 2400 employees in over 72 countries and leads efforts to improve the current global business environment. Throughout the course of his position, he has witnessed change at a rapid pace. With advances in technology and the ownership of smart phones, tablets and other devices by more than 50% of the world population, increased communication has created a deep change in business. According to Sanchez, this has made "the world a lot smaller and the opportunity to participate in the global market that much easier."


Beginning his position less than four years ago, Under Secretary Sanchez has helped 15,000 U.S. businesses, about 95% of which are small businesses, create nearly 50,000 new export transactions. When President Obama first came into office, he realized that the U.S. and countries all over the world were suffering with the loss of 800,000 jobs every month. Over the course of 12 months, the U.S. economy witnessed the loss of over 8 million jobs before any of Obama's economic policies could even take effect. That is why in early 2010, Obama launched the National Export Initiative creating 2.1 trillion dollars in new U.S. exports and over 10 million jobs last year alone. This has made the Under Secretary "a big believer in exports and a big believer in trade."



Sanchez also discussed many of his major duties as the Under Secretary of Commerce including his role in:


  • Helping all businesses engage in exports
  • Engaging with counterparts around the world and reducing barriers for the benefit of both, the U.S. and partner countries
  • Implementing trade agreements, which reduce barriers for both the U.S. and U.S. Counterparts (countries include Panama, South Korea and Colombia)



These efforts are predicted to create 13 billion dollars in new exports and the creation of over 100,000 new jobs. It is also speculated that the large creation of new jobs will not only take place in the U.S., but also in the countries where trade agreements are being implemented.


At the end of the event, Under Secretary Sanchez took questions from 4 fall interns. Students included:


  • Herrick Smith, TWC Science, Technology and Society Program intern and a student at the University of North Florida, asked about the competitive advantage of the U.S. vs. other countries and what the U.S. is doing to level the playing field.


  • Arielle Leipham, TWC Advocacy, Service and Arts Program intern and a student at Grand Valley State University, asked about how "tax breaks are calculated for corporations/small business to ensure that the U.S. remains fair when it comes to subsidies."

  • Derek A. Cantu, TWC Political Leadership Program intern and a student at Bradley University, asked "How would do U.S. go about developing trade policy for the European Union member countries?"


[View photos of the event on our Flickr channel]

[View all clips of the event on our Youtube channel]

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