LOS ANGELES, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, announced that Michael C. Camuñez has joined the firm as president of ManattJones Global Strategies LLC, the firm's international consulting subsidiary, providing strategic advice and advocacy to help clients identify opportunities and resolve problems in the international marketplace, with a particular emphasis on Mexico and Latin America. He will also be a partner in Manatt's Government & Regulatory Policy Division, working in these dual roles from the firm's Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Los Angeles offices, establishing ManattJones' West Coast presence to help clients there take maximum advantage of important new commercial and investment opportunities in high-growth foreign markets from Latin America to Asia.
Camuñez held several high-level federal government positions from 2009 to 2013. He most recently was assistant secretary of commerce for market access & compliance in the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He oversaw a global portfolio, managing six regional and policy deputy assistant secretaries and a staff of over 220 international trade specialists responsible for bilateral trade and investment relations with more than 180 countries. He led a number of new bilateral initiatives with key trading partners in emerging and developed economies, but he is most widely recognized for playing a critical role in rebalancing U.S. economic policy toward Mexico, wherein he helped lead efforts to update and modernize a range of initiatives to deepen U.S.-Mexico trade and investment. He led numerous trade and policy missions to Mexico and the border region to promote North American competitiveness, and he was the principal architect of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, which he helped President Barack Obama formally launch in Mexico in May 2013.
In addition to his service as assistant secretary, Camuñez served concurrently as a commissioner on the U.S. Helsinki Commission, managing the administration's engagement to advance key economic priorities at the Vienna-based, 57-member Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe. Prior to joining the Commerce Department, Camuñez was a senior member of the White House staff, where he worked as special counsel to the president in the Office of the White House Counsel; additionally, he was special assistant to the president, and he advised the president and senior White House staff on key presidential appointments in the domestic cabinet and independent agencies.
"Having someone of Michael's caliber and unique experience in the political, legal, economic and international arenas is a major coup for Manatt," said George David Kieffer, chair of the Government & Regulatory Policy Division. "His work in the Obama Administration advising on international trade policy gives him insight and perspective into cross-border business that will be a tremendous asset to our clients — here and around the globe."
ManattJones Global Strategies was founded by former ambassadors Charles "Chuck" Manatt and James Jones. Its professionals offer a unique blend of extensive political, diplomatic and international business experience, assisting clients with solving key market access problems and with the development and implementation of strategies for government relations, market and political risk assessment, public affairs, due diligence, and strategic intelligence. The firm also assists foreign companies interested in investing and pursuing joint ventures and strategic acquisitions in the United States.
In his role as president of ManattJones Global Strategies, Camuñez will provide strategic consulting and advocacy for clients, helping identify new opportunities in the international marketplace. His initial focus will be assisting clients with U.S.-Mexico business development. Over time, he will extend that reach to other key growth markets in Latin America, such as Colombia, Chile, Peru and Panama, and other emerging markets.
"Michael is an extraordinary leader with a proven track record of accomplishment," said James R. Jones, chairman of ManattJones Global Strategies and the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who, among other achievements, helped secure the passage of the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement. "We share a passion for public service, international relations and business — the same passions that brought my friend Chuck and I together to launch ManattJones. Michael's work to address and solve problems for American companies abroad, and his deep experience helping lead the U.S. government's efforts to open new markets for American goods and services, has afforded him knowledge and relationships that make him an invaluable resource for our existing and prospective clients. In particular, his close work with the Mexican government leading the effort to design and develop the new U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue gives him an understanding of this critical relationship that will make a major difference for companies doing business across our southern border. I look forward to working with Michael."
Camuñez received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School. Before joining the Obama Administration, he was a partner at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he represented a range of Fortune 500 clients in complex matters, including cross-border disputes. Some of his civic and community leadership positions include his membership on the Pacific Council on International Policy and his service as a former commissioner of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. He is the past president of the Mexican American Bar Foundation and past chair of the California Public Service Commission, then known as California Volunteers. He previously served as a senior policy adviser in the first term of the Clinton Administration, where he was an integral member of the leadership team that launched the AmeriCorps national service program.
"I am thrilled to be joining Manatt, which has been a powerhouse in the government relations and strategic counseling space at the local, state and federal level, and to have the opportunity to continue my efforts to deepen cross-border trade and investment through the incredible platform offered by ManattJones," Camuñez said. "We're witnessing historic reform and tremendous economic growth in Mexico and other key markets in Latin America, making it an especially promising time to do business there. I believe ManattJones' physical presence in Mexico, together with the deep relationships and expertise that Ambassador Jones and I can bring, will help our clients succeed and take full advantage of these extraordinary opportunities."
Camuñez is the second major figure to join the Manatt Government & Regulatory Policy Division in the past few weeks. Kathleen Brown, former California state treasurer and recently a partner at Goldman Sachs, joined the firm in September.
About Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, is one of the nation's leading law and consulting firms, with offices strategically located in California (Los Angeles, Orange County, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Sacramento), New York (New York City and Albany) and Washington, D.C. The firm represents a sophisticated client base — including Fortune 500, middle-market and emerging companies — across a range of practice areas and industry sectors. For more information, visit www.manatt.com.
Lawrence Martinez, (310) 231-5443
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
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