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Madison Committee
on Foreign Relations

America’s Trade Policy: ‘Global Rules’ vs ‘Might Make Right’

  • Thursday, April 25, 2019
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • The Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St


  • For MCFR members (Individual, Family, or Student). To register free guests, have guest names and email addresses ready before continuing.

This event is co-sponsored with the UW International Division

For 70 years after WWII, the United States led the development of ‘Global Rules’ for international trade.   But as traditional manufacturing jobs disappear, and foreign countries catch up to US standards of living, people are questioning whether this system of Global Rules continues to serve US interests.

Wisconsin Alum Ambassador David D Nelson draws on his decades of experience working on international economic policy with the US government and the private sector to lead a discussion about the pros and cons of Global Rules for American trade policy.

Ambassador Nelson promoted US economic and business interests during 7 overseas assignments, including as Ambassador to Uruguay.  He also served in senior positions in the Economic Bureau of the State Department, leading at various times the offices responsible for Global Debt Policy, and for Economic Sanctions and Fighting Terrorist Finance.   He led preparations for a G8 Summit from the National Security Council.  He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Finance and Development, and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Economic Bureau.   During the first half of 2009 he was the senior economic official in the Department, fulfilling the responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary for Economics, and of the Undersecretary for Economics.  He has six years of experience leading GE policy interests in Latin America, and currently leads a consulting firm, Global Business Policy-DC.   

Ambassador David D. Nelson is the founder, CEO and principal of Global Business Policy-DC.  He brings 30 years of experience working on international economic issues from the U.S. Department of State and six years of experience managing GE government relations related to Latin America, Canada and Western Europe.

That breadth of experience provides a deep understanding of how the policy-making
apparatus of the federal government works, and domain expertise in a variety of relevant issues. Prior to his assignment as Ambassador to Uruguay, he was the senior Economic official in the State Department (Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs). He served as a negotiator for G-20 and G-8 agreements, led the office responsible for global finance and for rescheduling of official debt (Paris Club), and led the office managing Sanctions and efforts to combat terrorist finance. He served on the National Security Council, coordinating inter-agency preparations for a US-hosted G8 Summit. During postings to US Embassies in Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, Germany and Spain, he worked on trade, finance, energy and support for US business.

During his six years at GE, Ambassador Nelson effectively translated that domain expertise into
specific actions to support business opportunities. He led creation of a US-Mexico CEO Dialogue, chaired by the GE Vice Chairman, and involving Cabinet-level officials from both governments. He led GE engagement on NAFTA — identifying and promoting specific proposals for the negotiations. He led the successful GE re-entry into Cuba after 60 years absence. He was the founding chairman of a business coalition, collaborating with the Inter American Development Bank and Chambers of Commerce throughout Latin America to advise regional governments on energy policies.

Ambassador Nelson has a Masters degree in Economics (U-Maryland) and a BA from the
University of Wisconsin (Economics and International Relations - 1978). He is fluent in Spanish
and has conversational German.

Members, do you have questions about registering?  Check out our "Registration Tips For Members".

Contact us at:

PO Box 803
Madison, WI 53701

We would like to give special thanks to our Institutional Member, the UW International Division.

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