Commerce Official Looks to Explore New Trade Opportunities in Chile

Walter Bastian
Over the course of his career in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Walter Bastian has seen the U.S.-Chile trade and investment relationship evolve dramatically.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, Walter Bastian, will travel to Chile December 2-3, 2014, to explore ways of building new bilateral trade opportunities.

While in Chile, Bastian will meet with government officials and private sector executives as he seeks to build upon the strong U.S.-Chile commercial relationship through facilitating participation of U.S. companies in the development of Chile’s energy sector, supporting U.S. investment in the country, and seeking new opportunities for U.S. and Chilean businesses to take advantage of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement.

Over the course of his career in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Walter Bastian has seen the U.S.-Chile trade and investment relationship evolve dramatically.  Trade and investment between the two countries has grown exponentially and become much more diversified, now involving a wider range of products and companies. Since the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took effect on January 1, 2004, total trade in merchandise has more than quadrupled to almost $28 billion dollars in 2013, and services trade has almost tripled to over $4.8 billion dollars in 2013.  U.S. direct investment in Chile has grown to over $41 billion dollars. The United States is Chile’s second largest trading partner, and Chile is the United States’ fifth largest trading partner in Latin America.

Walter M. Bastian

As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Bastian is responsible for developing programs, policies and strategies designed to strengthen the United States’ commercial position in the Western Hemisphere.

Previously, Mr. Bastian headed the Office of Latin America and the Caribbean and established and directed the Latin America/Caribbean Business Development Center. The Center was responsible for transforming the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative into business opportunities for U.S. firms.

Before joining the Department of Commerce, Mr. Bastian worked in the corporate trust department of a Washington bank and served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Mr. Bastian graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor’s in Science in Foreign Service. He also holds a Master’s degree from Creighton University in Nebraska. Mr. Bastian has received numerous awards for his work, including the Department’s Silver Medal for his work in designing economic reconstruction programs following hurricanes in Central America and the Caribbean. More recently, Mr. Bastian received the Presidential Rank Award, which recognizes his exceptional service to the American people over an extended period of time and his relentless commitment to excellence in public service. This award is the most prestigious recognition afforded to career professionals.