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ECONOMICS REPORT - Carlos Gutierrez, Nominee for Commerce Secretary - 2004-12-10

Broadcast: December 10, 2004

I’m Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Economics Report.

President Bush says his choice for the next secretary of commerce, Carlos Gutierrez, understands business from bottom to top. Until his nomination, Mister Gutierrez was chief of the food company Kellogg. But, as the president noted, Mister Gutierrez took his first job there as a truck driver in Mexico City.

Carlos Gutierrez is fifty-one years old. He was born in Cuba. He lived there until he was six. His parents exported pineapples from the island. However, the family members fled the communist takeover led by Fidel Castro. They came to the United States in nineteen sixty, but later moved to Mexico.

That is where Mister Gutierrez started at Kellogg in nineteen seventy-five. He quickly rose to supervisory positions in the Latin American, Canadian, United States and Asian-Pacific divisions. In nineteen ninety-eight, he became president of the company. The next year he became chief executive officer.

Mister Gutierrez is seen as a supporter of open trade. Under his leadership, Kellogg asked Congress to open United States markets to lower-priced foreign sugar. That has not happened. A Kellogg official called the current situation “the worst form of protectionism.”

Kellogg is a major seller of processed food products. It is the world's largest maker of breakfast cereals.

Mister Gutierrez won praise as head of Kellogg. Sales and profits increased. The price of Kellogg stock rose nearly one hundred percent.

Mister Gutierrez expanded production in Mexico and closed the Kellogg factory in Battle Creek, Michigan. That is where the company started. The move saved money. But Michigan lost more than five hundred jobs. The company still has its headquarters in Battle Creek. Kellogg announced that James Jenness will be its next chairman and chief executive officer.

Carlos Gutierrez must be confirmed by the Senate to replace Donald Evans, who resigned.

Congress created the Department of Commerce in nineteen-oh-three. The budget this year is more than six thousand million dollars.

The Commerce Department supervises trade and intellectual property rights in the United States. And it helps American businesses compete in world markets. The department also includes the Census Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This VOA Special English Economics Report was written by Mario Ritter. I'm Gwen Outen.