Two Senior U.S. Officials to Visit Taiwan to Discuss Marine Conservation Issues from January 22-25

Ambassador David Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries Russell Smith III will visit Taiwan from January 22-25, 2015.

While Ambassador Balton and Deputy Assistant Secretary Smith are in Taiwan, they will deliver speeches to the Taiwan-based Chinese Society of International Law (CSIL) and will hold discussions with a range of Taiwan officials and civil society representatives on international fisheries and marine conservation issues of mutual concern.

Ambassador Balton has been Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries since 2009.  He previously served for 6 years as Director of the Office of Marine Conservation in the Department of State.  In that capacity, he was responsible for coordinating the development of U.S. foreign policy concerning living marine resources and overseeing U.S. participation in international organizations dealing with the conservation and management of these resources.  Ambassador Balton also worked for 12 years in the Office of the Legal Adviser in the Department of State.  His international law practice covered such areas as the law of the sea, human rights and international claims.  Ambassador Balton negotiated numerous treaties and other international agreements on fisheries, marine mammals and other matters pertaining to the marine environment.  Ambassador Balton received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1981 and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Smith came to NOAA from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where he was the director for International Environmental Policy and Multilateral Environmental Agreements since 2006.  He joined USTR in 2002 as a deputy director in the Office of the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Prior to that, he had many years of experience at the U.S. Department of Justice and in private practice.  He holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Yale.