Hispanic Net was honored to host a briefing with Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Michael Camuñez. The event took place at the Quadrus Conference Center on San Hill Road in Menlo Park, a frequent venue for Hispanic Net events. Asst Secretary Camuñez’ main responsibilities are to help grow U.S. market access in foreign markets, working to double our exports and overall trade and investment relationship with key trading partners under the President’s National Export Initiative. The main purpose of his visit was meet with Silicon Valley executives and companies to discuss the President’s trade policy agenda, how it affects the Valley and its interests and establish ongoing communication channels for further input.
Among discussion points was the background and complexities associated to with international trade. His example covered products comprised of components and manufacturing processes from several countries. His take on such structures was to capture the highest value of the entire process for US companies.
International trade and employment was also a topic of discussion as well. He cited President Obama’s goal to double US international trade as among his targets for the future. The state and trends of world economies were part of the factors shaping his strategy. The greatest long-term growth potential is occurring on the Asian continent. It also poses potential competition challenges as well. He also delved into the importance of Canada and Mexico, our two largest trading partners. Asst. Secretary Camuñez detailed the impact of China on our economy and as a trading partner.
Following his remarks, a candid Q&A session ensued. As frequently occurs in such Hispanic Net briefings, the questions are respectfully frank. Attendees shared their experiences with international markets and business including access problems. Issues of IP protection, anti-competitive practices and means of promoting in foreign markets were discussed. While all questions and concerns could not be immediate addressed at this briefing, the direct connection to the Asst. Secretary was established for Hispanic Net member access.
Prior to assuming his role at Commerce, Mr. Camuñez served in the White House from the beginning of the administration as Special Counsel to the President in the Office of the White House Counsel as well as Special Assistant to the President, advising the President and senior White House Officials on issues related to executive nominations and appointments in the domestic cabinet and independent agencies. With these contacts, he asked about other issues, outside of trade topics, that he could channel back to the appropriate areas of the administration. These included some expected areas such as immigration, education, tax reform employment development as well as suggestions on how the administration could foster high-value ventures in places such as Silicon Valley. Following this briefing, Asst. Secretary Camuñez engaged a number of the attendees to address their specific concerns and solicit their input on current matters.
Note: Prior to joining the administration, Mr. Camuñez was a partner in the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he was a founding member of the firm’s Diversity Task Force. He represented Fortune 500 companies in a range of matters involving domestic and international commercial disputes. He also advised U.S. companies doing business abroad in Latin America and Europe on corporate compliance, anti-corruption, and the risks associated with foreign investment and multinational business transactions.
He transitioned to the private sector after serving as Senior Policy Advisor for National Service from 1993 to 1995, and helping to launch AmeriCorps, President Clinton’s signature service initiative.
In 2010, Poder Magazine named Mr. Camuñez as one of the "top 75 most influential Hispanics in politics, business and the arts” in the United States. The first in his family to attend college, Mr. Camuñez is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School. The link to his bio is http://trade.gov/press/bios/camunez.asp