Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista (born April 1, 1947 in Mexico City) is a Mexican politician and current rector of the Universidad de Las Américas.
Upon assuming power in December 2000, President Vicente Fox chose him to serve as his Secretary of Economy. In January 2003, following the resignation of Jorge Castañeda, Derbez took over as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a position that he held until President Vicente Fox's term ended on December 1, 2006.
He was one of the contenders seeking the vacant position of Secretary General of the Organization of American States. He withdrew and Chile's Interior Minister José Miguel Insulza won the position.
Since January 2007, Luis Ernesto Derbez has been the General Director of the Centre for Globalization, Competitiveness and Democracy at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Santa Fe, and Secretary for International Affairs of the PAN. Between January 2003 and December 2006, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico; and between December 2000 and December 2002, he was the Minister of Economy. From July to November 2000, he chaired President-elect Vicente Fox transition team, which defined Mexico's 2000-2006 economic and social programs.
Prior to joining Fox's Presidential campaign team in 1997, Derbez had a distinguished professional and academic career working for the World Bank Group, the Inter-American Development Bank, Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies and Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey. He also did consulting work for some of Mexico's leading private sector companies such as Alfa, Vitro, Visa, and FEMSA. As head of the Ministries of Economy and Foreign Affairs, Derbez has vigorously increased the country's presence in world business and political affairs.
As Minister of Economy, Derbez was in charge of Mexico's international trade negotiations. In 2001, he finalized the trade agreement between China and Mexico which allowed China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and led the Mexican team which defined the terms for a Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and Japan; in 2004 the FTA was signed. At the 2001 WTO's Ministerial Meetings in Qatar he was a member of the Director's Team which successfully negotiated the start of the Doha Development Round. Following his participation, Derbez became the Chairman-elect for WTO's 2003 Ministerial Meeting. As such, during 2002 and 2003 he co-chaired preparatory Ministerial Meetings in Mexico, Sydney, Geneva, Sharm-el-Sheik, and Paris. In September 2003, Derbez chaired the WTO Ministerial Meeting which produced the so named Cancun Text that served as the basic text for follow up negotiations at the 2005 WTO's Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting. During that period, Derbez also played a key role in the successful outcome of the U.N. International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico, where developed nations agreed to contribute 0.7% of its GDP in development aid by the year 2015. Derbez also chaired the 2002 APEC Meeting in Los Cabos, Baja California.
In domestic issues, as Minister of Economy, Derbez proposed ten industrial policy programs for key sectors of the Mexican economy. By 2005, over $10 billion in new investments were attracted by those programs in the automotive, electronics, and maquiladora industries, allowing the nation to regain some of its presence in world markets despite the failure to reach structural economic reforms sought by the Fox government. He also created the Undersecretariat for Medium and Small Enterprises, and launched the successful Microcredit program PRONAFIM, which by 2005 had financed over 1.5 million microcredits.
As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Derbez has strengthened Mexico’s bilateral and multilateral relations with the USA and Canada. Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a key player in the negotiations to improve NAFTA. Its work has led to a program entitled Security and Prosperity Agreement (ASPAN for its acronym in Spanish), launched in 2003 in Waco, Texas, by the three leaders of the North American countries. One of the major results of ASPAN was the constitution of a private-public Competitiveness Council which is defining sector specific policies to standardize the region's economic environment. Derbez has also played a key role in shaping the migration reform debate in the US by organizing and leading a group of 10 Latin American countries (from Mexico to Ecuador), which has presented a common position in discussions with key Senators and Representatives of the US Congress.
Reversing a 15-year trend, Derbez has refocused Mexico's policy towards Latin America. At the sub-regional level, increased cooperation with the seven Central American countries has resulted in the creation of the Mesoamerican Group, which currently defines common sub-regional policies in energy development, border security, fight against organized crime, and regional infrastructure. Under Derbez's leadership, Mexico gained associated status in the Andean Countries Group and MERCOSUR, while at the same time signed a strategic, political, and economic alliance with Chile. On the other hand, he gave high priority to the Asia Pacific region. In addition to the FTA with Japan, Mexico created a Ministerial Level Commission with China, the only one of this kind that China has. Under his leadership, Mexico initiated negotiations agreements with India's government in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors.
While representing Mexico at the UN Security Council during the Iraq crisis, Derbez realized that a major overhaul of the UN system was required. In 2004, Mexico invited 15 nations to form a group called Friends of the Reform, to propose administrative and organizational changes for the UN. He also organized another 16 nations into a group named United for a Consensus, to propose reforms to the UN Security Council. The proposals of both groups played a major role in the reform decisions approved by the UN Assembly on September 2005.
Derbez was a member of the Board of Directors of PEMEX and Pemex International (PMI), Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext), and Mexico's Science and Technology Council (CONACYT). In 2001 and 2002, he was Chairman of the Board for Exportadora de Sal, S.A. and Transportes de Sal, S.A., joint ventures between the Mexican Government and the Mitsubishi Corporation.
Derbez is a member of Sigma Xi and Phi Kappa Phi, and was granted by Iowa State University its Distinguished Achievement Alumni Award in 2006, the first time ever given to a non-US national. He has published many articles and book chapters, and has lectured extensively in many countries. He speaks fluently Spanish, English and French.
Born in 1947, Derbez is married and has 2 daughters. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí (1970). He was awarded the Fulbright-Haynes Scholarship and completed a master's degree in Economics from University of Oregon (1974). He finished a Ph.D. in Economics at Iowa State of Science and Technology (1980).Bachelor's degree in economics, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí
Master's degree in economics and industrial organization, University of Oregon, United States
Doctorate in economics, Iowa State University, United States