Christopher A. Padilla Confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration

October 17, 2006

On September 29, 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed Christopher A. Padilla as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration. In this capacity, he will be the second highest ranking official in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. Mr. Padilla replaces Peter Lichtenbaum who left the post in February.

Mr. Padilla has held a variety of trade-related positions. Mr. Padilla was Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison under Ambassador Robert Zoellick and then served as Chief of Staff to then Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick. Prior to beginning his government service, Mr. Padilla worked in the private sector in international trade. In addition, he was active in U.S. export control matters, particularly with respect to U.S.-China trade.

In his statement before the Senate Banking Committee on September 27, 2006, Mr. Padilla said that the "primary mission" of the Bureau of Industry and Security is to "protect U.S. national security by denying sensitive technologies" to those who pose a threat to the United States. He expressed a desire to encourage civilian trade with countries such as China, while guarding against the "uncertainties" associated with military modernization. He acknowledged the need to focus not only on countries but also on customers operating within countries and across national borders. Mr. Padilla intends to "increase cooperation between BIS and the intelligence community," and to provide information to exporters regarding transshipment concerns and trustworthy and suspect customers. While he expressed support for multilateral controls, Mr. Padilla recognized that there may be instances in which the United States must act unilaterally. Finally, Mr. Padilla pledged to ensure that the BIS licensing process and treaty compliance programs remain "transparent and efficient."

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s International Trade Regulation and Compliance Practice Group is
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© 2006 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

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