No Room at the Library?? Walk Over to Morse!

Did you know that rooms A200-A201-A202-A203-A204-A205 in the Morse building have been kept open from 6pm to 11pm every Sunday through Thursday since the end of last semester? 

Morse Building

In fall 2008, Student Council received a number of complaints that there wasn’t enough room to study on campus. In response, a new policy was created: to keep additional rooms in the Morse building open for students.

The Morse building is only a short walk from the library. The classrooms are small in size, perfect for group study sessions or a few individuals studying alone. These rooms are already open at night, so you don’t have to reserve them or call Security to open them up for you.

Even though there have been many announcements on FirstClass and via emails from SC representatives, most students still don’t know about this new policy. So spread the word.


Ambassador Dan Mozena Speaks on Angola`s Challenges, Prospects

By Damon Shulenberger

On Friday, April 3rd the MIIS community had the opportunity  to join a “fireside chat” with US Ambassador to Angola Dan Mozena, an event coordinated by MPA student Olga Lopo and sponsored by the Afro Club, Global Majority and the Conflict Resolution Club. The well-attended talk covered topics ranging from post-conflict reconstruction, democratization, business and trade opportunities, as well as environmental issues facing Angola.  

Ambassador Mozena and his wife Grace, who accompanied him on this visit to Monterey, originally come from agricultural backgrounds in the Midwest and are veteran Peace Corp volunteers who served in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In the Foreign Service for 28 years, Mozena served as Ambassador to Zambia and as the Director of Southern African Affairs in Washington D.C. prior to his current position.

Mozena began his talk by describing Angola`s historical background over the past 60 years, which came across as unremittingly bleak.  From the war for independence beginning in 1951, through the 1973 civil war and independence in 1975 when “the Portuguese walked out on Angola”, up through the abortive 1992  Presidential elections that led to 10 years of further bloodshed ––conflict was almost continuous.  Mozena described what was left behind in 2002, after all those years of war as “hard to imagine”, with one of the highest number of landmines in the world scattered throughout the country and almost complete destruction of roads and rails.  Vast areas outside the coastal cities of Luanda and Benguela were depopulated––either because people fled because they were afraid for their lives or because the government forcibly removed them in scorched earth campaign which, “as horrible as it was, succeeded and eventually led to the end of the war.”  

Since 2002 Angola has successfully relocated millions of internally displaced persons and resettled over 400,000 refugees from neighboring countries––the US alone providing Angola with half a billion dollars in food aid.  In the capital city of Luanda, Mozena can see reconstruction proceeding at a “feverish” pace,  23 cranes building new skyrises visible from his office alone.   

President dos Santos shares Mozena`s  commitment to an Angola that is peaceful, secure, prosperous, healthy and democratic, having told him at their first meeting, “you get to work with my government and make that vision a reality.” As one sign of progress, by 2015 Angola is slated be landmine safe, with no landmines where people are living in concentrations and remaining landmined areas well demarcated.  To Mozena then, Angola is a “phoenix, a brand new country seven years old.”

Admittedly, as one of the world`s poorest countries, the challenges which Angola faces are enormous.  Disease is rampant, with ebola, polio and malaria claiming untold lives and 1/5 of children dead by age five. However, great strides are being taken to cut the death rate from malaria in half by 2010. Angola has also been successful in keeping the lid on HIV/AIDS, with a prevalence rate for adults aged 15-49 a relatively low 21%. 

Lack of infrastructure in Angola is a major obstacle to progress.  Mozena describes a taxing experience for foreign visitors arriving at the airport where “if you survive the experience with baggage intact there are no taxis… and if you did have a taxi, where could it possible take you, as its impossible to have a hotel.”   Rebuilding infrastructure is hampered by the fact that Angola lost two generations to war; ”it`s so much easier to build a building than it is to build a nurse, medical technician and a teacher.”  To help create a more internationalized society, Mozena is involved in setting up a program through which Peace Corps volunteers will be able to teach English at secondary schools throughout Angola.

The US has been highly involved in helping Angola create the foundations for a democratic, civil society.  Mozena is proud of the fact that the US was invited to help set up parliamentary elections in 2005-2006, providing election observers to Angola and other forms of support. Preparations are now underway for the first presidential elections since 1992. Concurrently, a process of decentralization is taking place in which power is being shifted from Luanda to provincial municipalities and an independent media is being promoted to “make the election playing field less tilted.” 

If successful, the Presidential election will mark a significant break away from a status quo in which the same party has held power for 40 years and the same president for 30 years. Further, it will mark a break from the tragic legacy of the first elections in Angola in 1992, which precipitated “ten ugly, devastating years of civil war.”  

On the economic front, Mozena recounted his dogged and ultimately successful efforts to convince the Deparment of Commerce to set up a permanent presence in Angola to help US businesses and investors navigate a system where starting a business is “almost impossible.”  Twice a year Angola and the US have a dialogue on problems concerning attracting investment to Angola, including the mundane but critical issue of getting visas and work permits.  In addition, a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) has been negotiated that is currently awaiting Obama`s signature and the US import-export bank has opened up a line of credit to Angola for some $120 million.

Why is Angola of particular strategic interest to the US––even more so than neighboring Zambia or Lesotho?  One reason is that militarily, Angola is seen as the key to stability in central and southern Africa.  Having one of the largest, most professional armies in Africa gives it potential in international peacekeeping operations. However, the US`s interest  lies primarily in its gas and oil reserves. 

With a production capacity of 2 million barrels of oil a day, Angola is the US`s sixth largest source of oil (and China`s primary source).  The wealth generated from oil sales creates the potential for large scale US trade and investment with Angola, such as the sale of Boeing airplanes.

Despite initial government confidence that “it won`t affect us because we don`t know what a subprime loan is,” the global recession and corresponding drop in world oil prices have had a substantial negative impact on the Angolan economy. Government revenues are down by 50% from a year ago with a corresponding budget decrease of 30%. While ongoing infrastructure projects are continuing, new ones will start only if they bring their own outside financing.  The Angolan government has some 20 billion dollars “in a big bag down at reserve bank,” but it refuses to use those rainy day funds for budget suport. Instead it is using about $1-2 billion a month to pay interest on loans.  Mozena recently asked the finance minister, “how does this work, paying interest at such a high rate?” The minister insisted that in a couple months the situation would stabilize and “they wont have to do that anymore.”

With 80% of Angola`s GDP derived from oil and gas, and most of the rest from diamonds, Mozena sees a fundamental need for economic diversification to agricultural sectors.  With a tradition of being the world`s 4th largest coffee exporter prior to the civil war and blessed with “good, but not great” soil, Angola has the potential for increased  trade in cotton, sugar and coffee.  Significantly, despite 30% government budget cuts, certain sectors such as health and education will see no cuts, and the agricultural budget is slated to increase by some $400 million.  

As a way of getting around EU tariff structures that favor former-colony African and Caribbean country banana producers over Central American producers, Chiquita is moving into Angola, having been offered a guaranteed market of some 7.7 million crates of bananas for 15 years. 

Responding to a question about the possibility of Chiquita`s uneven human rights and labor record in Central America being transferred to Angola, Mozena expressed hope that it had learned lessons from past experiences. He gave as an example US oil companies operating in Angola.  Learning from largely self-created problems associated with Niger River Delta operations, US oil companies in Angola are focused on “partnering in a real way with people, doing real things for real people––not just handing a suitcase of money to a minister.” Mozena visited Soyo where they are building a large LNG plant, expecting to hear complaints from locals that the company had made lots of promises they weren`t living up to.  He was surprised to hear tribal leaders as well as the provincial governor say “this is fabulous, they`re creating jobs and doing outreach.”  Mozena himself visited one oil company-funded project at a Catholic mission Capindo, which involved the installation of new plumbing in a girl`s orphanage. Mozena was also impressed by a structure to capture snakes and turtles that get impacted by the LNG plant and relocate them.  Touring oil rigs, he found “not a drop of oil in the water” and is encouraged by imminent plans to end the environmentally harmful practice of oil flaring. 

Despite some success in limiting the environmental  impact of foreign-invested oil projects, Mozena finds that compared with Zambia and Namibia (where, in particular, “environmental management is world class”) Angola`s record is abysmal.  Mozena says that “Angola has failed to appreciate the beauty of nature for beauties sake––not to mention its potential for tourism––and is actively destroying it as we speak.” One example he gives is Kisama National  Park, where “elites are building enormous lakeside houses  in the middle of the park”.  Mozena was dispirited to sit with one “very high official” and realize that while he was saying the right things on the environment, he had no real passion invested in it. Unfortunately, Mozena has no power but that which his passion and the bully-pulpit of his position as ambassador affords him in getting out the message on protecting Angola`s environment.  

The most pointed question of the afternoon came from MIIS Professor Philip Morgan of the School of International Policy Studies, a specialist in International Development, Capacity Building and African issues.  Commenting that part of the story of US investment has to do with Angola`s “heavy duty socialist legacy and whether they are serious about liberalization,” Morgan asked Mozena to clarify the distinction between state-owned and private enterprises in Angola.  Mozena answered indirectly, recounting how the Pope in his visit to Angola the previous week told President dos Santos that government officials “must be careful about personal money and money of the state”, suggesting “that in reality the lines are very fuzzy indeed.”  Professor Morgan commented that ”there is a kind of general public admonition that enterprise needs to be public, needs to spread capital formation around and create job opportunities––but at the moment, this is largely in hand of a few”.  

Speaking of the relationship between the political sector and the military, Mozena admits that he has “never known so little in 27 years as a diplomat as I know about it in Angola”. However, he does stress that the civilians are firmly in control in Angola––even if very closely linked with military.

Asked about the Chinese investment presence in Angola, Mozena noted that it is immense and that China “is not an enemy of the US”.  In fact, he considers the Chinese ambassador to Angola to be one of his best friends. Naturally, the US and China are often competitors when it comes to acquiring resources in Angola. With that in mind, Mozena tells Angolan officials to consider three things when deciding whom to grant contacts to: the transferring of knowhow to Angola, the creation of substantial local jobs and getting top quality for the dollar. With regards to China on these three counts, he admits, the answer is usually “I`m not sure.”  

In his experience as US Ambassador to Zambia from 2001-2004, Mozena found that the Chinese “cut too many corners.” He perceived that Zambians “had had it with the Chinese because they manifested a total disregard for human life. Zambians were unimpressed when their people were getting killed underground because the Chinese were cutting out more of support columns that hold up walls of the mines to get the last copper ore out.”

Mozena also remarked how struck he was by the respect which Angolans gave to US advice and support, given the US`s involvement in Angola in the 1980`s. (At that time the US was involved in supplying munitions to armed political groups in Angola as part of their proxy war against communism and the Soviet Union.)

In closing, Mozena mentioned the Pope`s recent visit to Angola.  He commented that “you`re seeing about 5 pounds less of me than before… we sat out melting in the sun at the outdoor mass and it was fabulous.” Mozena was impressed by the fact that the Pope “pulled no punches” when it came to addressing corrupt officials and the hoarding of government resources.  He was also relieved that the issue of HIV/AIDS did not arise in Angola as it had earlier in the Pope`s African trip, when the Pope declared his well known position on condoms.  Mozena says that “in Angola we consider condoms an important part of our preventive methods.”

Throughout his 90 minute talk, Ambassador Mozena spoke on Angolan issues in a manner that came across as both sincere and engaged. He often reached beyond diplomatic language to honestly address the serious challenges facing Angola, as well as to point out ways in which a positive path moving forward can be achieved.  We at MIIS sincerely hope that Mozena will have a chance to encourage us with stories of the success of Angola`s democratization, economic diversification, health and environmental programs on the occasion of his next visit to MIIS.

The First Green Leadership Award Winner

Congratulations to Rachel Christopherson: 

The First Green Leadership Award Winner

Translation and Interpretation Non-Degree Coordinator Rachel Christopherson has been selected as the first Green Leadership Award Winner. The contest, sponsored by the Environmental Task Force, recognizes peer-nominated MIIS community members who go out of their way to embrace environmental responsibility in their work and personal lives. Rachel was not only nominated by her peers – she actually nominated 3 people herself. She credits IEP students, particularly Max Perelman, for pushing her towards a more environmentally friendly life and work-style. In particular, Rachel has worked to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles and disposable cutlery used during campus events. She says that the Institute has supported her efforts to buy glassware, ceramic plates, and silverware. Moreover, she now buys environmentally friendly disposables from companies such as Passion Purveyors when no other options are available. Taking that logic a step further, Rachel has invested in Mason jars to use at home parties and even with visiting student groups. In addition, Rachel makes the half-hour trip to MIIS from her Seaside home by bicycle whenever possible. She volunteers with the Aquarium, for local parks and sick neighbors, for ocean education programs for local middle schools and for local organizations by fundraising with her Samba/African music band.

In the future, Rachel hopes to install a rainwater catchment system to meet the water needs of the huge vegetable garden she tends at home.

Nominations are being accepted every month for the Green Leadership Award. To nominate a member of the MIIS faculty, staff or student body, please click here. Winners will receive a $15 gift certificate to a local, environmentally friendly store of their choice.  

by Emily Sloane

Upcoming MIIS Conference “Trade and the Environment: The Value Proposition of Greening a Business“

By Damon Shulenberger

Most conferences and events held at MIIS feature keywords such as “nuclear“ and “sustainability“ that make it clear which campus organization is putting them on.  What then to make of the upcoming conference ”Trade and the Environment: The Value Proposition of Greening a Business“? 

Considering the current merging of the business, trade and environmental policy programs into the Graduate School of International Policy and Management, the interdisciplinary theme may not be entirely accidental. Given the conflux of business, environmental and trade strategies the Obama administration is employing to stimulate the US economy through “greentech” it may even be trendy.  Consider as well the background of International Trade and Commercial Diplomacy Club President and conference organizer Melissa Nguyen.  Having spent considerable time with the Peace Corps on the South Pacific island country of Vanuatu, she is currently working on an international trade policy/ business dual degree.  To her, the idea of blending of business, trade and environmental issues into one potent brew is quite possibly a no-brainer. 

Nguyen was kind enough to furnish us with an official description of the conference: 

“The Value Proposition of Greening a Business” is an interdisciplinary conference meant to engage the international business and MIIS academic communities in a conversation about international trade and the environment. We will discuss the current economic and political implications of approaching business ventures from an environmentally conscious perspective. Recent trends to implement methods in sustainability, climate change, clean tech, green business, and corporate social responsibility at the international level will be the discussion buzzwords of the day.  This dynamic event aims to inform the MIIS community and beyond of efforts being made to increase the visibility of the link between trade and environment issues.  This event is co-sponsored by the International Trade and Commercial Diplomacy Club, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Net Impact Monterey Chapter, and the Monterey Bay International Trade Association.

Beyond the buzzwords––why the focus on trade, business and the environment? Nguyen explained that she worked last year on the trade club-sponsored “Business Strategies with China” conference. Though event was a success, she felt at the time that it focused too much on trade and didn`t go far enough in “creating an interdisciplinary feel on campus”. Nguyen got the idea of expanding the conference to include the environment primarily because of the myriad of local green resources––both on campus and throughout Northern California–– available to tap into.  

Keynote speaker former-ambassador Alan Wolff will kick the conference off with a talk on “International Trade & Climate Change: Opportunities & Risks”.  Wolff was US Trade Representative (USTR) deputy director during the Carter administration and has enjoyed an extensive relationship with MIIS over the years. It was he who introduced Geza Feketekuty of the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to MIIS in the early 1990`s, indirectly leading to the creation of the Commercial Diplomacy program.  

  Another MIIS relationship to be renewed through the conference is with panelist Dawei Cheng.  A Master of Arts in Commercial Diplomacy graduate of MIIS and Fullbright Scholar, Cheng is currently Chief Expert at the Beijing WTO Affairs Center. Cheng participated in the “China business” conference last year and this year will be attending as part of a delegation of four members of the Beijing WTO Affairs Center.  According to Corey McAveeney, in charge of conference logistics and promotion, this presents MIIS the opportunity to build stronger ties with the Beijing center.  Indeed, she hopes the conference will be instrumental in establishing lasting relationships between all conference participants and the Monterey Institute.  

Scheduled sessions:

I.The WTO and Global Environmental Policy – This panel will address the current policy issues regarding international trade and the environment. Areas of discussion include: environmental standards, multilateral agreements conflicting with the WTO, climate change and whether agricultural subsidies lead to sustainable agricultural production.

Moderated by Nevin Rosaasen, MAITP


Dr. Dawei Cheng 

Dr. Timothy Josling, professor of agriculture at Stanford University. Formerly of London School of Economics.

Dr. Jason Scorse, MIIS professor, IEP and advisor to the Joint US-China Cooperation on Clean Energy (JUCCE).

Dr. Lyuba Zarsky, MIIS professor, IEP.

Moderator and first year trade policy student Nevin Rosaasen was kind enough to provide a preview of the questions that will be asked of panelists participating in this session. Cheng will be asked about the “race to the bottom“ that occurs when certain countries have comparative advantages in the production of goods or services by maintaining lower environmental standards.  Zarsky will be asked about the often problematic––yet potentially constructive––interaction between international trade agreements and environmental issues. Scorse will be asked to unravel the complicated world of carbon trading and tax systems and point towards an integrated global policy on carbon emissions. Josling will be asked about developed country agricultural subsidy programs and and their effects on sustainable agricultural practices.


II. Green Trends in Silicon Valley – This panel will discuss how private, public, and non-profit organizations headquartered in the innovation hotbed of the U.S. are incorporating sustainability and corporate social responsibility in their operations.

Moderated by Elizabeth Rogers, MAIEP


Dr. Bruce Paton, adjunct professor at the MIIS Fisher School of Business, and board chair of the organization Sustainable Silicon Valley.  

Ken Pearlman, founder of Ocean Shore Ventures, a venture capital organization that funds renewable energy projects.

Brett Galimidi, a partner at the Social Venture Technology Group, focusing on social returns on investment.


III. Greening Your Supply Chain – This panel will discuss how businesses are addressing transparency and accountability measures within global and social-cultural standards when implementing socially responsible supply chains.

Moderated by Clayton Snyder, MAIEP/MBA


Randy Kritkausky, founder of ECOLOGIA (ECOlogists Linked for Organizing Grassroots Initiatives and Action), a company private, non-profit organization providing information, training, and technical support for grassroots environmental groups.  Focus on international standards for socially responsible supply chain management.

Dr. Charles Fishel, senior lecturer at San Jose State University, founder of Abundant Biofuels. Former MIIS professor.

Nicole Basset of Patagonia 

Closing remarks will be from the executive director of the WTO Beijing Affairs Center, Dr. Zhong Qing on “Trade Policy Regime in China: An Environment Protection Perspective”.

Don`t neglect to mark down this exciting and free annual event down in your calendar.  We are expecting to fill the Irvine Auditorium so register online at to reserve a conference packet and seat.


The Value Proposition of Greening a Business

When: Friday, April 17 2009

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Where: Irvine Auditorium

Monterey Institute of International Studies

460 Pierce Street

Student Council ELECTIONS 2009-2010 Positions

Below are the responsibilities for the positions on Student Council. Nominations will be accepted through The Foghorn from March 30 – April 10. (Yes, you can nominate yourself). Nominee speeches will take place on April 16 from 12 pm – 1 pm on April 16 at the Samson Center. The election will take place from April 16 – April 24. Finally, winners will be announced on April 24 at 6 pm at Happy Hour at the Samson Center. Nominations accepted on Doodle.

The President shall have the general responsibility for coordinating the activities of the Student Council and for directing and publicizing the affairs of the Student Association. S/he shall preside at all Student Council meetings. The President shall be the lead representative of the Student Association in dealings with Monterey Institute’s faculty and staff, and with the community. S/he shall be the officially appointed student representative at meetings of the Monterey Institute Boards of Trustees.


The Treasurer shall be the custodian of the Student Association’s funds. S/he shall keep all financial records, disburse funds, and present monthly and annual accounts of financial status of the Student Association to the Student Council and the Student Association. The Treasurer shall chair the Budget Committee and has the power to disburse otherwise unallocated amounts no larger than $250 a month upon the unanimous approval of the Executive Officers, but must report any such allocations at the next Student Council meeting. S/he is also the signing officer of all Student Council’s budgetary expenses and reimbursements. S/he shall preside at Student Council meetings in the absence of the President and Vice-President.

Program Representatives
Program Representatives shall provide leadership by representing their Programs on the Student Council and coordinating various projects and activities within their Programs that will further the purpose of Student Council (see Article IV of the Constitution). They shall represent the Student Council members of their respective Programs in meetings with the Academic Deans of the Monterey Institute. Program Representatives shall present monthly and annual accounts of their activities to the Student Council and the Student Association. They shall also assist the other Officers in the administration of the Student Association.

CI (Conference Interpretation)

IEP (International Environmental Policy)

IPS (International Policy Studies)

MBA (International Business)

MPA (Public Administration)

TESOL/TFL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages)

T & I (Translation & Interpretation)

T/TLM (Translation & Localization Management)

Nominations accepted on Doodle.

For more information on Student Council positions or to read the Student Council Constitution, visit the Student Council First Class conference. Further questions can be directed to Addi Matthews (2nd Year MPA Rep), Luniya Msuku (1st Year IPS Rep) or Ashley Arrocha, Director of Student Affairs.

Mary O` Brien of Seagate Talks on Export Compliance

By Damon Shulenberger

On Friday, March 22 Mary O`Brien, Trade Compliance Manager at Seagate Technology in Scotts Valley spoke at a Trade Club lunchtime discussion on the issue of export compliance. 

Working currently in the private sector, O`Brien has had a long career in government. Starting in the Social Security Administration, she had minimal exposure to trade issues during her first dozen years in Washington. She said one of the benefits of a government job is that it is relatively easy to switch departments and she was able to successfully apply for a job at the Commerce Department in export compliance. 

One of the things O`Brien enjoyed about working in that field was the ability it afforded her for travel to places like Russia, India, Pakistan and Yemen. For example, she travelled to inspect a Pakistani scientific institute because there was a proposed export to the facility where Pakistan developed its nuclear weapons.  She recalled driving through a dry brown landscape to the facility and remarking on a couple of hills that seemed strangely green. As they drove closer these turned out to be anti-aircraft weapons arrayed on the hills to protect the facility from aerial attack.

After returning to Washington in 2001, O`Brien became an export control officer for the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) in the Commerce Department. The FCS runs commercial offices around the world out of US embassies.  O`Brien recommends the FCS as a stop on a career in international trade because one gets to learn a lot about how a region`s trade operates.  When O`Brien was in the UAE with Commerce, her job was 50% Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and 50% FCS work. Because FCS is involved in trade promotion and BIS in trade security, O`brien sometimes found herself “walking a fine line.” On the FCS side she often worked with US companies looking to expand their opportunities into the UAE, particularly because the UAE has a lot of money,  they “love the newest toys” and they have Iran directly across the Strait of Hormuz. While Iran is the UAE`s largest non-oil trading partner they clearly have some significant security concerns.  

The FCS is concerned about numerous front companies in the UAE that divert high technology goods imported from the US to Iran.  In her two years in the UAE O`Brien visited in excess of 200 companies, targeting companies that had applied for a US export license; for example if a US company wanted to send them sensitive (non-munition) products––a machine tool or a mass-spectrometer––they needed to go through a FCS screening beforehand.  O`Brien also inspected companies after products had been shipped, making sure the products were being used for their stated purposes. She would ask the company, “Okay, show me the product and show me where you are going to use it.” Or–– “if you don`t have it, whose got it?” O`Brien categorized about 30% of the companies she inspected as “not being on the up and up”. She recalled one company trying to set up an elaborate wood-working facility in order to justify ordering machine tools: “There wasn`t even sawdust on the floor––the company had gone someplace and bought some pre-finished carved doors and some blanks. Those were sitting in there, and they had a big long lathe and some Pakistani workers using the lathe, but it was nowhere near a functioning enterprise.”  O`Brien guessed the intended destination of the products to be a third country and their export license application was turned down. 

If companies are deemed to be untrustworthy they are put on the Commerce Department`s “unverified” list which is a list of companies that haven`t cooperated with US checks. There are about 13 companies on that list specifically because they would not cooperate with O`Brien or because she found they had sent product to Iran. 

After leaving the UAE O`Brien went back to the US and started looking at private sector employment opportunities.  She found there to be many companies out there that had trade compliance departments and could use her expertise, from weapons makers to auto companies. She finally decided to go with GE`s jet engines department, which is heavily regulated by the Department of State. While Commerce has jurisdiction over the export of commercial and dual-use technologies, State has jurisdiction over munitions. Working with GE she developed an appreciation of the hurdles companies have to go through to get an export license from the State Department.  

Take a situation in which a company such as GE wants to set up a joint venture with a French company using the advantages of both companies to develop a fighter jet engine.  First, they have to obtain permission from State to share enough technical information in the negotiations to even come to a contract. Then, after signing the contract, they have to get a technical assistance agreement that allows the GE people to consult with the French people on whether the engine is being built to specs. They also have to get a manufacturing licensing agreement which allows GE to provide certain information to the French company so that the French company can manufacture the contracted parts.  On top of that, they need State Department licenses in order to physically send goods from the US to France in order make the engine. For one transaction that`s four licenses–– pages and pages of documentation that can take 6-8 months to process. Further, if the French company hires Polish workers, one part of the technical assistance agreement needs to be drafted to cover the transfer of technical knowledge to those non-French workers. This is why O`Brien believes that companies that fall under the jurisdiction of State Department export regulations offer attractive places to work in terms of job security.  However, she found dealing with all the licenses frustrating and overwhelming––it is one of the reasons she now resides at Seagate.

Companies whose products fall under the jurisdiction of Commerce export compliance licenses have a much easier time of it than those whose products fall under State jurisdiction.  Many Commerce regulated products don`t require license––in the past 18 months since O`brien started working at Seagate only two items have required export licenses. 

Seagate does have to worry about whether exports are going to “bad” places. As it expands its business model to international direct sales Seagate has had to carefully screen customers to make sure they aren`t diverting product to countries like Iran.  This is because, as in the case with exports to the UAE, Commerce non-license rules apply only to trade with friendly countries.

There are also some possible military application issues O`Brien must deal with in her position.  Seagate makes a line of ruggedized hard drives designed to withstand heavy impacts in cars. The ruggedized hard drives have a possible dual military use in artillery vehicles. The rule is, as long as the same model of hard drive that is sold for commercial purposes is utilized militarily, it falls under Commerce jurisdiction. Modifications to these drives for military customers are problematic because as soon as you make a modification for any military entity it is subject to cumbersome International Trafficking and Arms regulations (ITAR)––i.e. State Department jurisdiction. 

In closing her informative presentation, Ms. O`Brien gave attendees specific job-hunting advice for the private sector and  pointed out that although she prefers the living in California, Washington DC offers so many opportunities in trade compliance generally that it`s a very worthwhile place to make a stop for a few years.

What would you do if you could do it all again?

The Foghorn Investigates

By Maureen Daniel-Fura

What would you do if you could it all again? After asking myself the same question in my chapter two, task seven in the Artists Way workbook by Julia Cameron I set out to ask some of our MIIS community the same question. Their answers are fun and inspiring and shall I say a little unexpected. I hope their answers not only entertain but get you asking the same questions of yourself.


What I’m doing now…only from the start!

Max Perelman, Dual-Degree: MBA/ IEP
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