Wilson Center Experts
Francisco J. Sánchez serves as Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce, a post he was appointed to by President Barack Obama in 2009.
As Under Secretary, Sánchez leads the International Trade Administration, an organization of 2400 employees with offices throughout the United States and in 72 countries. Sánchez leads the efforts to improve the global business environment by helping U.S. businesses compete abroad.
As one of the architects of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), with the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014, Sánchez directs programs and policies that promote and protect the competitiveness of American businesses. Under his leadership, working with partners in government, ITA has helped reach significant export milestones. In 2011, U.S. exports reached a record $2.1 trillion in total value supporting nearly 10 million jobs, an increase of 1.2 million since 2009.
During his tenure, Sánchez placed a special focus on export promotion. Since 2009, ITA successfully has assisted approximately 15,000 companies, resulting in nearly 47,000 export successes. He also put a priority on ensuring that American businesses can compete on a level-playing field globally. Sánchez re-energized and refocused ITA’s Advocacy Center, which has helped companies win international government contracts totaling approximately $160 billion dollars, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, since the beginning of the Obama Administration. He has also strengthened relations with priority markets, playing a leading role in advancing the U.S.–Brazil Commercial Dialogue, the U.S.–Turkey Business Council, the U.S.–Indonesia Commercial Dialogue, the U.S.–India Commercial Dialogue, and China through the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
Sánchez has a long and distinguished career in both the public and private sectors. During the Clinton Administration, he served as the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Sánchez previously served in the White House as a Special Assistant to President Clinton, and Chief of Staff to the Special Envoy to the Americas.
In addition to his public service, Sánchez spent more than 15 years working with several leading consulting companies on projects involving negotiation strategy and training, most recently as a partner with CMPartners. Among his private-sector achievements, Sánchez served as a consultant to the President of Ecuador in negotiations that led to the resolution of a long-running border dispute with Peru.
Sánchez was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine and also one of the top Hispanics nationwide by Poder Magazine. Sánchez is on the board of directors for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. He has been awarded the National Point of Light Award and the Governor’s Point of Light Award for Outstanding Community Service. In 2010, he was named to the National Hall of Fame for the Boys and Girls Club of America.
A native of Florida, Sánchez obtained his B.A. and J.D. from Florida State University. He also received a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.