Former Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative
Mickey Kantor, formerly Secretary of Commerce and United States Trade Representative, is a partner in Mayer Brown LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Chicago. Kantor represents companies in corporate and financial transactions on a worldwide basis. Kantor is based in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.
Kantor serves as a senior advisor to Morgan Stanley. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of CB Richard Ellis. He also serves on the Advisory Board to ING Americas. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of Fleishman Hillard and the International Advisory Board of Oilspace.
He is a Board member of the Capital Markets Commission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a Board member of the National Equal Justice Library. He is a member of the Board of Visitors for Georgetown University Law Center, the Advisory Council of the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress and a trustee of the International Commercial Diplomacy Project. He also serves as a member of the Board of Councilors that the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication. He serves as a member of the Board of the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Drug Strategies, Inc. He was formerly a member of the Board of Directors of Korea First Bank, Pharmacia Corporation and Monsanto Company.
Kantor is a distinguished advisor at the Council for Biotechnology. He formerly served as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Federation of Korean Industries. He also serves on the Mayor of Shanghai’s WTO Advisory Committee.
In January 2001, Kantor received the Order of the Southern Cross from the Brazilian Government.
Kantor joined President Clinton’s first cabinet on January 21, 1993 as the United States Trade Representative. He was the President’s chief advisor on international trade policy.
Among the successful initiatives were negotiations resulting in the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) and its side agreements on labor and the environment, helping to work with Congress for the passage of the NAFTA implementing legislation. He served as chief negotiator to the 117-nation Uruguay Round to create the world’s largest trade pact and convened three successful APEC meetings of leaders of the Asia-Pacific region containing the world’s fastest growing markets.
He also led trade initiatives as part of the Summit of the America’s in Miami in 1994 which resulted in the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and he worked with the European Commission to establish the trans-Atlantic business dialogue.
Kantor worked with President Clinton to conclude more than 200 agreements to expand trade, including an auto and auto parts agreement with Japan and bilateral agreements in areas ranging from textiles to protection of intellectual property rights.
United States Secretary of Commerce on April 12, 1996. As Secretary of Commerce, Kantor carried forward President Clinton’s mandate to provide economic opportunity for American workers and businesses. At the helm of the Department of Commerce, Kantor worked to generate new jobs through increased exports and expanded markets abroad, to create a strong civilian technology infrastructure to promote sustainable development, to spur entrepreneurship, to stimulate the economic development of distressed communities throughout the nation and through the regular reporting of vital statistical information, economic data and census data, to assist the private sector in keeping America strong and competitive.
In November 1997, Kantor delivered the Elihu Root Lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations entitled “U.S. Trade Negotiations: Lessons Learned; Lessons Applied”.
Kantor’s prior law practice includes 17 years at the firm of Manatt, Phelps, Phillips & Kantor in Los Angeles. He also practiced for several years as a legal services attorney.
Kantor served as national chair for the Clinton/Gore ’92 Campaign and as a member of the Transitional Board of Directors. He has a long history of public service, including membership on the Christopher Commission, which was formed in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. During the Carter Administration he was on the board of the Legal Services Corporation. Kantor has been a board member of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Center for Law in the Public Interest, the California Commission on Campaign Financing and was the founder of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Mr. Kantor also has served as consultant to the American Bar Association Special Committee on Crime Prevention and Control, the White House Conference on Children and the National Legal Aid Defender Association.
Among the numerous awards given to Kantor have been the William O. Douglas Award, the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Public Service Medal from the Center for the Study of the Presidency, the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award from the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation, the Robert Sargent Shriver Jr. Award for Equal Justice, Barnard College’s Frederick A.P. Barnard Award and the Maynard Toll Award from the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee on August 7, 1939, Kantor received a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1961. After four years of service as a naval officer, he went on to study law at the Georgetown University Law Center and received his degree in 1968.
Kantor is married to Heidi Schulman, has three children, Leslie, Douglas and Alix and three grandchildren, Ryan, Jackson and Zack.