C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus, was the founding director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (formerly the Institute for International Economics) from 1981 through 2012. He is a member of the President's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations, a member of the Advisory Committee to the Export-Import Bank, and co-chairman of the Private Sector Advisory Group to the United States–India Trade Policy Forum, comprising the trade ministers of those two countries.
Dr. Bergsten was assistant secretary for international affairs of the US Treasury during 1977–81. He also functioned as undersecretary for monetary affairs during 1980–81, representing the United States on the G-5 Deputies and in preparing G-7 summits. During 1969–71, starting at age 27, Dr. Bergsten coordinated US foreign economic policy in the White House as assistant for international economic affairs to Dr. Henry Kissinger at the National Security Council.
Dr. Bergsten was chairman of the Eminent Persons Group of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum from 1993 to 1995, authoring its three reports that recommended "free and open trade in the region" as adopted at the APEC Leaders' summits in 1993 and 1994 and now being pursued through the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He was chairman of the Competitiveness Policy Council created by the Congress from 1991 through 1995; its 12 members included corporate CEOs, labor union presidents and Cabinet officers who were appointed by the president and the congressional leadership. He chaired the "Shadow G-8," comprising top economic and foreign policy experts from the G-8 countries, which advised those governments on their annual summits during 2000–2005.
Dr. Bergsten was the most widely quoted think-tank economist in the world during 1997–2005 (the latest period for which such data are available). He has been cited as #37 of the top 50 "Who Really Moves the Markets?" (Fidelity Investment's Worth) and as "one of the ten people who can change your life" by USA Today.
Dr. Bergsten has authored, coauthored, edited or coedited 42 books on international economic issues including Bridging the Pacific: Toward Free Trade and Investment between China and the United States (2014), The Long-Term International Economic Position of the United States (2009, designated a "must read" by The Washington Post), China's Rise: Challenges and Opportunities (2008), China, The Balance Sheet: What the World Needs to Know Now About The Emerging Superpower (2006), The United States and the World Economy: Foreign Economic Policy for the Next Decade (2005), and The Dilemmas of the Dollar (2d ed., 1996). His latest Policy Briefs for the Peterson Institute are "Currency Manipulation, The US Economy, and the Global Economic Order" (December 2012) and "The Coming Resolution of the European Crisis: An Update" (June 2012). His latest of 18 articles (the second most by any author) in Foreign Affairs was "Why the Euro Will Survive: Completing the Continent's Half-Built House" (September/October 2012). His recent op-eds include "Five Myths about the Euro Crisis" (Washington Post, September 2012), "Time for a Fightback in the Currency Wars" (Financial Times, September 2012), "An Overlooked Way to Create Jobs" (New York Times, September 2011), "Why the World Needs Three Global Currencies" (Financial Times, February 2011), "Obama Has to Tell Beijing Some Hard Truths" (Financial Times, November 2010) and "What Obama Can Offer India" (Washington Post, October 2010).
The Peterson Institute for International Economics, which Dr. Bergsten directed for its first 32 years, is the only major research institution in the United States devoted to international economic issues. It has a staff of about 50, moved into its award-winning building in 2001, averages half a dozen publications per month and holds at least one conference or policy meeting every week. The first comprehensive survey of 5,465 think tanks around the globe selected the Institute as tied for "Top Think Tank in the World" in 2008 (with the Brookings Institution). The British intellectual magazine Prospect, whose ratings are called "the think tank Oscars" by the BBC, listed it tops in the world (outside the United Kingdom) in 2011.
Dr. Bergsten has received the Meritorious Honor Award of the Department of State (1965), the Exceptional Service Award of the Treasury Department (1981), the Legion d'Honneur from the Government of France (1985) and the Order of the Polar Star from the Government of Sweden (2013). He has been named an Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (1997) and a Global Advisor to the President of the Republic of Korea (2009). He received MA, MALD, and PhD degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010, and a BA magna cum laude and honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Central Methodist University.
Foreign Policy Magazine The China Conundrum[subscription required] Article | June 3, 2013 Clyde Prestowitz discusses how some experts, including C. Fred Bergsten in his Stavros Niarchos Foundation lecture, have recently questioned the fundamental assumptions that guide US policy on China.
Wall Street Journal Bergsten Warns of Currency Wars in Peterson Valedictory Speech May 16, 2013 The Wall Street Journal assesses C. Fred Bergsten's recommendations for systematic reforms to address the global currency wars. Bergsten spoke during the Peterson Institute's twelfth annual Stavros Niarchos Foundation Lecture.
Washington Post Presidential Debate: 7 Foreign Policy Questions that Should be Asked…and Probably Won't Article | October 22, 2012 Given the opportunity to pose a question to the presidential candidates during the foreign policy debate, C. Fred Bergsten would ask: Developments in the world economy, especially the euro crisis and the slowdown in China, could have major negative effects on our own economy and ability to create jobs. What would you do to get both Europe and China to provide stronger support for global growth and stability?
Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics Currency-War Fears Are Overblown, Bergsten Says Op-ed | October 1, 2012 C. Fred Bergsten discusses the differences between central banks embarking on quantitative easing and countries taking measures to intentionally lower exchange rates.
PricewaterhouseCoopers APEC CEO Survey APEC CEO Interviews: Critical Business Issues Video | July 2012 C. Fred Bergsten is featured in PricewaterhouseCoopers' APEC CEO Survey report for his outlook on APEC's regional economic integration.
NBC Nightly News Family Net Worth Drops Nearly 40 Percent Video | June 11, 2012 A new report from the Federal Reserve states that the average American family’s net worth declined 39 percent between 2007 and 2010, from $126,400 to $77,300. C. Fred Bergsten tells NBC News' Anne Thompson that these numbers help explain why the economic recovery has been so modest and why it remains so fragile.
NPR | Morning Edition US Politicians See Opposite Messages in Euro Crisis Interview with article | May 23, 2012 C. Fred Bergsten says that the United States has more time than Greece to figure out its deficit problems because the United States can still finance its budget deficits easily at low interest rates.
PBS NewsHour How Europe's Turmoil Rattles World Markets Video with transcript | May 15, 2012 C. Fred Bergsten sits down with the NewsHour's Ray Suarez and former US Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns to discuss Greece's political turmoil and how this instability is affecting economies worldwide.
The Diane Rehm Show Apple and Working Conditions in Overseas Factories Audio | April 2, 2012 NPR's Tom Gjelten guest hosts a discussion on international labor standards in light of reports of labor issues at Foxconn, a major manufacturer of Apple products in China. C. Fred Bergsten, coauthor of China's Rise, joins Auret van Heerdon, Fair Labor Association; Robert Scott, Economic Policy Institute; and Judy Gearhart, International Labor Rights Forum, in the radio show.
Prakash Loungani Blog Interview with Fred Bergsten: Will the Euro Survive? February 29, 2012 Calling C. Fred Bergsten "the founder of the world's most influential think tank on international economics," Prakash Loungani of the IMF interviews Bergsten on his views on the euro and his proposal for a G-2, among other topics.
Financial Times Founder Steps Down as US Think-Tank Head January 25, 2012 | by Alan Beattie "...has...become one of the most familiar figures on the international economics circuit ... [at] what has become one of the most influential economics think-tanks in the world."
"Over the past few years, the institute has been named as the world's first or second most influential think-tank on international economics...."
The Hill Bergsten to Step Down from Peterson Institute January 25, 2012 | by Erik Wasson "...a towering figure in Washington economic policy circles...."
"...possibly the foremost Washington think tank on trade policy."
"Bergsten...is especially known for his expertise on international currency issues...."
Wall Street Journal At One Think Tank, Two Opposing Views on the Euro-Zone Outlook Article | January 19, 2012 The Wall Street Journal covers the Peterson Institute event in which two opposing views on the outcome of the euro area crisis were presented. Simon Johnson and Peter Boone presented dire predictions, while C. Fred Bergsten and Jacob Funk Kirkegaard remain more optimistic.
NPR: The Diane Rehm Show Greece and the European Debt Crisis Audio | November 3, 2011 C. Fred Bergsten (PIIE), Desmond Lachman (American Enterprise Institute), and David Wessel (Wall Street Journal) discuss Greece and the European debt crisis.
NPR How Did The Eurozone Come About? Audio with transcript | August 16, 2011 C. Fred Bergsten discusses the history of euro, the euro area, and what it means for 17 countries to share one currency.
Bloomberg Bergsten Says United States Must 'Phase In' Budget Cuts over Time Video | August 8, 2011 C. Fred Bergsten discusses the Standard and Poor's downgrade of the United State's debt rating to AA+ from AAA. Bergsten says, unlike the debt deal reached by Congress, what is needed is a deficit reduction plan with specific, credible budget cuts that would be phased in over time so as to not only bring real deficit reduction but do so in a way that would not harm the current fragile economy.
CNBC Dollar Domination Video with transcript | May 11, 2011 C. Fred Bergsten explains why an orderly, gradual decline of the dollar will strengthen US trade—and the manufacturing sector—and rebalance the trade deficit with China.
CNBC Bergsten on CNBC: Dollar Domination Video with transcript | May 11, 2011 C. Fred Bergsten explains why an orderly, gradual decline of the dollar will strengthen US trade—and the manufacturing sector—and rebalance the trade deficit with China.
Council on Foreign Relations The Budget Deficit and US Competitiveness Article | May 6, 2011 Elimination of the fiscal imbalance, and preferably the maintenance of a modest surplus, is imperative to avoid further severe deterioration of the international economic position of the United States, says C. Fred Bergsten in an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations. Other economists interviewed include Maya MacGuineas, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; Sebastian Mallaby, Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and Council on Foreign Relations; Daniel Mitchell, Cato Institute; and Greg Ip, The Economist. C. Fred Bergsten is the editor of The Long-Term International Economic Position of the United States.