CalChamber Hosts U.S. Department of Commerce Official

Ian Steff (left), U. S. Department of Commerce, talks about market access and other international issues at an October 25 CalChamber-hosted meeting. At right is CalChamber Second Vice Chair Mark Jansen of Blue Diamond Growers. Photo by Sara Proffit

The California Chamber of Commerce hosted a small meeting of business representatives, federal trade officials and state legislative liaisons on October 25 to discuss the current international business landscape with Ian Steff, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Co-hosts for the event were the CalChamber Council for International Trade and the Northern California District Export Council (DEC). The District Export Councils (five in California and 60 nationwide with a total of 1,500 members) contribute leadership and international trade expertise to complement the U.S. Commercial Service’s export promotion efforts.

The same week, Northern California hosted the 10th Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) during which about 75 foreign government and business leaders looked at a variety of sites related to innovation and entrepreneurship. Participants included CalChamber Board member Mark Jansen of Blue Diamond Growers and the Turlock Manufacturing Plant.

Steff currently serves as acting assistant secretary for global markets and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

In that capacity, he oversees approximately 1,400 trade and investment professionals based in more than 100 U.S. cities and 70 markets around the world and is responsible for executing the Trump administration’s plans to foster growth in U.S. jobs, exports, and investments.

October 25 meeting attendees discussed ongoing negotiations for various free trade agreements, the recently completed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the U.S relationship with China, tariffs, U.S. involvement and dealings with the World Trade Organization and the BUILD Act—which will streamline and strengthen U.S. development finance tools by establishing a full-service U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC).

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

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Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California.