The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2014 - page 34

counting was a protracted process, Banda acknowledged her
defeat, and the rule of law has prevailed.
Here is another example, from our consulate general in Basrah,
where I recently completed a year of service as energy officer. One
of our highest priorities is keeping Washington abreast of develop-
ments in southern Iraq’s energy sector, where exports of more
than 2.5 million barrels of oil per day account for 90 percent of the
country’s total oil production and the vast majority of its national
Having built a wide-ranging net-
work of active contacts in the energy
sector, I was able to influence stake-
holders both in and out of govern-
ment. Our most recent analysis of
southern Iraq’s oil sector summarized
an entire year’s worth of field visits and
data collection into a succinct argu-
ment for Iraq’s need to hire an outside
project management firm to meet its ambitious oil expansion
plans. That reporting directly contributed to our leadership’s abil-
ity to craft a set of policy recommendations to help stabilize Iraq’s
economy and simultaneously ensure a less volatile world market
for oil.
Since joining the Foreign Service in 2005, Christopher Markley Nyce has
served as an economic officer in London, Managua and Lilongwe.
The Three Amigos:
South Korea, Colombia and
Panama Trade Agreements
By Ivan Rios
Embassy Windhoek
To get the United States out of a deep recession, the Obama
administration used many tools when it took office in 2009. It
was a time of high unemployment
and despair, of bailouts and stimulus
packages. It was a time for the National
Export Initiative and international
trade to be added to the policy tool-
box. And it was a time when trade
agreements were awaiting congres-
sional ratification, involving the three
amigos: South Korea, Colombia and
Panama. Economic and political
reporting, without a doubt, advanced the cause of ratifying those
pacts, which now benefit businesses large and small and people in
many countries beyond the four signatories.
In July 2010, I arrived in Bogota as the new trade officer. I had
the good fortune to be at the right place at the right time. We
wanted to do all we could do to persuade Congress to ratify the
trade agreement between Colombia and the United States. But
what could we do?
U.S. President Barack Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos shake hands after a bilateral meeting at the margins of the
Summit of the Americas in April 2012 in Cartagena, where they announced the Free Trade Agreement’s date of entry into force.
Courtesy Embassy Bogota
Unlike journalists,
reporting officers must
be perpetually building
our network of contacts.
—Christopher Markley Nyce
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