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International Affairs Committee Discusses Trade, Global Economic Policy, Nuclear Disarmament, Sister Cities

By Jocelyn Bogen
January 28, 2013

International Affairs Committee Chair Oakland Mayor Jean Quan began the session by welcoming members of the committee and making several key announcements. She invited and encouraged mayors to participate in the World Cultural Economic Forum to be held May 1-3 in New Orleans. The World Cultural Economic Forum will highlight the role of culture as a key economic and social force driving the creation of innovative and vibrant cities.

Quan also shared highlights of her recent mission to China as well as plans for an upcoming meeting on women entrepreneurship.The committee heard from United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk. The Ambassador discussed many of the recent achievements of his office, in carrying out the President’s vision of a more robust, responsible, and responsive trade policy. These include bilateral free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea; advancing the ambitious goals of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks; and improvement in the U.S. relationship with the World Trade Organization.

The Conference of Mayors has long had strong policy supporting nuclear disarmament and ultimately support for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Mayors for Peace North American Coordinator Jackie Cabasso, an international organization of more than 5,000 mayors across the world seeking nuclear disarmament, gave the mayors an update on the Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign.European Union to the United States Ambassador João Vale de Almeida briefed mayors on the European Union, the global financial crisis, and the central importance of trade to the economic health of the world’s nations.The committee concluded with remarks from Sister Cities International President and CEO Mary D. Kane, who shared new initiatives and plans for 2013 and emphasized the importance of everyday citizen diplomats in promoting peace and prosperity around the world and the powerful impact of citizen'to-citizen exchanges. Kane set forth strong vision for strengthening sister city relationships and her commitment to continuing to work closely with mayors.