U.S.-Mexico Dialogue Expands Economic Cooperation

Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez poses for a photo with Assistant Secretaries across four different U.S. cabinet agencies and Mexican officials in Washington, D.C., on April 11, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

The United States and Mexico share many similar interests and concerns. We are also at a very special state in our economic relationship. President Obama has called it a moment of opportunity. Others have said this is Mexico’s moment.

Having personally worked with Mexico in the private sector for almost three decades and now at the U.S. Department of State, I am thrilled by the Obama Administration’s focus on deepening and elevating our already close cooperation on economic issues. Mexico, a major regional power that actively engages on global economic issues, offers huge possibilities for increased economic cooperation. It is in both our interests to increase economic integration among the NAFTA partners in order to make our economies more competitive.

Just looking at the numbers, it is easy to see why we focus on the economic relationship. The United… more »

Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss

Soybeans are harvested on a farm near Pergamino, Argentina, July 14, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

On February 19, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs along with the Office of Global Food Security and the Foreign Service Institute will host the conference “Food Security and Minimizing Postharvest Loss.” Government officials, representatives from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and foreign diplomatic corps will discuss the issue of postharvest loss, focusing on Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Postharvest loss is collective food loss along the production chain, from harvest and handling to storage and processing to packing and transportation.… more »

Ensuring Diamonds Are Truly Conflict Free

Miners pan for diamonds near Koidu in northeastern Sierra Leone near the Guinean border, June 2004. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

U.S. Kimberley Process Chair Ambassador Gillian A. Milovanovic and the rest of the U.S. Kimberley Process (KP) team achieved a significant number of successes during the annual KP Plenary, November 27-30, 2012, which took place at the Department of State, in Washington, D.C. On January 1, South Africa will take over from the United States as Chair as the KP marks its 10th anniversary. The Kimberley Process is a voluntary effort to prevent diamonds that fuel rebel movements’ activities from entering into the global supply chain, thereby creating confidence in an industry that supports millions of workers in mining, cutting and polishing, wholesale, and retail trade. The KP includes 80 countries, as well as observers… more »

U.S. To Host Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 19, 2012

On November 27-30, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez and Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, Chair of the Kimberley Process, will host the annual Kimberley Process Plenary. The Plenary will take place at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC. The attendees will discuss a range of topics related to the mining and trading of rough diamonds.

The United States holds the Kimberley Process Chairmanship in 2012. The Kimberley Process is a joint government, industry, and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.

Assistant Secretary Fernandez; Ambassador Milovanovic; the Honorable Susan Shabangu, Minister for Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa; Mr. Eli Izakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council; and a representative of the Civil Society Coalition will deliver opening remarks on Tuesday, November 27 in the Loy Henderson Auditorium room from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. A press conference at the conclusion of the meeting will take place on Friday, November 30 in room 1107 from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. Both events are open to credentialed members of the media. MORE

Meeting of the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 2, 2012

The Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP) will meet on Wednesday, October 3 at 2:00 p.m. in room 1107 of the Harry S. Truman Building. Hosted by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez and Committee Chairman Theodore Kassinger, the meeting will last until approximately 4:00 p.m. and is open to the public.

The committee, which meets on a routine quarterly basis, serves the U.S. Government in a solely advisory capacity concerning current issues and challenges in international economic policy. The topic of the October 3 meeting will be U.S.-Egypt relations. The discussion will focus on U.S. Government economic-related assistance for supporting Egypt’s democratic transition and how the U.S. Government can assist U.S. businesses operating and seeking to do business in Egypt.

The public may attend this meeting as seating capacity allows. Admittance to the State Department building will be by means of a pre-arranged clearance list. To be placed on this list, please provide your name, title, company or other affiliation if appropriate, valid government-issued ID number (i.e., U.S. Government ID [agency], U.S. military ID [branch], passport [country], or driver’s license [state]), date of birth, and citizenship to the Office of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy by fax (202) 647-5936 (Attention: Ronelle Jackson), e-mail (jacksonrs@state.gov), or telephone (202) 647-9204 by close of business on Tuesday, October 2. (For authority to request personal information, see the public notice for this meeting at 77 Fed. Reg. 57180.)

Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, Jose W. Fernandez, delivers remarks on Arab Spring on July 23, 2012.  [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez Traveling to Tripoli, Libya
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 24, 2012

Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez is on travel in Tripoli, Libya, from April 23 -24 to meet with government officials and business representatives and to support thirty American companies taking part in the first major U.S. trade mission to Libya in the post-Qadaffi era.

On April 23, Assistant Secretary Fernandez gave keynote remarks at the Oil and Gas Libya Trade Show about the expanding U.S.-Libya commercial relationship and Libya’s important progress in moving towards a thriving democracy and market economy; he also met with U.S. and Libyan business people and members of civil society. On April 24, he is conducting bilateral meetings with the Government of Libya, meeting with administrators and students at Tripoli University, and holding a press conference prior to departure.

For updates, follow Assistant Secretary Fernandez on Facebook and Twitter @EconEngage.

Panama Trade Promotion Agreement: Leveling the Playing Field
A cargo ship sails through the Panama Canal in Panama City, March 3, 2009. [AP File]

About the Author: Jose W. Fernandez serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs.

On Thursday, April 28, Panamanian President Martinelli visited the White House and met with President Obama to discuss next steps with regard to the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. This visit and the Trade Promotion Agreement build on a tradition dating back to 1906, when President Teddy Roosevelt traveled to Panama — becoming the first U.S. president to leave the country while in office.

President Roosevelt was traveling to inspect the progress of U.S. construction of “the path between the seas” that would become the Panama Canal. The United States operated the Panama Canal for over 90 years, establishing close and enduring people-to-people contacts. In 1999, Panama became the owner and operator of the Canal, but our strong ties and shared history continue to bind us — the United States remains the Canal’s largest beneficiary. Approximately two-thirds of the… more »