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WASHINGTON — Francisco Sánchez, undersecretary of international trade at the U.S. Commerce Department, who has promoted U.S. apparel and textile production under a Made in America campaign for the past few years, on Tuesday told employees at the International Trade Administration, which he oversees, that he will be stepping down this fall, according to an internal memo.
Sánchez, who was named to the post by President Obama in late-March 2010 in a recess appointment, said he will be returning to the private sector, but did not give any further details. He also told employees he will stay on until “later this fall” to oversee the consolidation of ITA from four business units into three and participate in the first SelectUSA Summit in Washington on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 that will bring together leading public and private sector officials from around the world to discuss the benefits of investing in the U.S.
Sánchez has also had oversight of textile and apparel import issues at the Office of Textiles and Apparel and the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, which includes decisions on antidumping and countervailing duty cases.
Sánchez helped lead Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. He told employees Tuesday that exports have increased 41 percent since the launch of the NEI in 2009, also noting that ITA has helped 22,000 companies export $190 billion during that period.
“Designing the President’s National Export Initiative was one of our first acts together and it helped put ITA on the map as a valuable player in the economic arena,” he said. “The NEI guided us to increase our trade promotion efforts and enhance our policy work.”
Sánchez received high marks from all segments in the fashion industry during his tenure.
The Obama administration placed the fashion industry squarely in the middle of its initiative to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and Sánchez toured several U.S. apparel and textile factories across the country, promoting the industry.
In June, he led a delegation of 20 U.S. textile companies to Mexico City, where the Mexican government held a workshop outlining new procedures that could lessen the burden and costs of audits that have cost some U.S. textile producers thousands of dollars and forced some companies to stop exporting to Mexico.