C. Fred Bergsten is nonresident senior fellow and director emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, of which he was founding director from its creation in 1981 through 2012. He was the most widely quoted think-tank economist in the world for the eight years such data were compiled and was called "one of the ten people who can change your life" by USA Today. Dr. Bergsten was assistant secretary for international affairs of the US Treasury (1977–81), functioned as undersecretary for monetary affairs (1980–81, including as G-5 deputy and G-7 sherpa) and was assistant for international economic affairs to Dr. Henry Kissinger at the National Security Council (1969–71). He was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations in 2010 and 2014 and reappointed by President Trump in 2018. He is a member of the board of directors of the Peterson Institute, the Center for Global Development, and the Trilateral Commission.
Dr. Bergsten was chairman of the Competitiveness Policy Council, created by the US Congress, from 1991 to 1995. He was chairman of the APEC Eminent Persons Group from 1993 to 1995, writing its three reports that proposed the creation of "free and open trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region" as adopted by the first two APEC summits and endorsed by all subsequent summits and now being partially implemented via the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
He is the author, coauthor, or editor of 47 books on a wide range of international economic issues including The United States vs. China: The Quest for Global Economic Leadership (Polity Books, 2022), A Path Forward for NAFTA (2017), Currency Conflict and Trade Policy (2017), International Monetary Cooperation: Lessons from the Plaza Accord After Thirty Years (2016), Bridging the Pacific: Toward Free Trade and Investment Between China and the United States (2014), and The Long-Term International Economic Position of the United States (2009). His latest shorter publications from the Institute include China and the United States: Trade Conflict and Systemic Competition (2018), Trade Balances and the NAFTA Renegotiation (2017), TPP and Exchange Rates (2016), India's Rise: A Strategy for Trade-Led Growth (2015), Addressing Currency Manipulation Through Trade Agreements (2014, as now being implemented in the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement), and The Coming Resolution of the European Crisis (2012).
Dr. Bergsten has received the Meritorious Honor Award of the Department of State (1965), Exceptional Service Award of the US Treasury Department (1981), the Legion d'Honneur from the Government of France (1985), an honorary fellowship in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (1997), the Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award from the Fletcher School (2010), the Order of the Polar Star from the Government of Sweden (2013), the World Trade Award of the National Foreign Trade Council (2013), the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2014), Swedish American of the Year for 2014, and the First Class of the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit "Gwanghwa Medal" of the Republic of Korea (2017). He was elected to the American Academy of Diplomacy (2018).