President Obama’s decision to make 15 recess appointments contributed to the Administration’s trade agenda by filling several top trade-related spots.
- Eric L. Hirschhorn: Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce
- Francisco “Frank” J. Sánchez: Under Secretary for International Trade, Department of Commerce
- Michael Punke: Deputy Trade Representative – Geneva, Office of the United States Trade Representative
- Islam A. Siddiqui: Nominee for Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued several news releases welcoming the new USTR appointees:
“USTR Kirk Welcomes Deputy USTR Michael Punke“, excerpt:
Michael Punke will be a valuable asset as WTO Ambassador as USTR works to conclude a balanced and ambitious Doha Round of trade negotiations that will benefit American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers. Michael will also work on behalf of American businesses and entrepreneurs at the WTO – helping USTR to remove trade barriers, increase exports, and support well-paying jobs here at home.
I am proud to officially welcome Isi Siddiqui as USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator. He brings to this office incredible agricultural expertise built over years of work in both the government and private sector, and can be counted on to stand up for American farmers, ranchers, and families in all our negotiations – from the Doha round talks to bilateral discussions. If we want to double American exports in the next five years, we have to seize every opportunity to grow agricultural exports, as well as exports of goods and services. Isi is going to make sure we don’t leave any of those opportunities on the table.
Kirk’s hometown paper, The Dallas Morning News, reported the appointments, “Obama recess appointments include help for trade ambassador Ron Kirk,” citing Kirk’s recent objections to the vacancies made in a recent speech at the National Press Club:
At some point, this begins to strain our credibility and the good will that we have worked so hard to regenerate around the world, because the world believes you don’t care. You don’t have an ambassador in Geneva, how can you be serious about the Doha Round?
The Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) had blocked the nominations of Siddiqui and Punke to apply pressure on U.S. trade negotiators to address a dispute over Canada’s handling of Kentucky tobacco.
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