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Overview:

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) functions as the President of the United States’ lead negotiator on all international trade matters. The USTR specializes in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade and investment issues; expansion of market access for American goods and services; international commodity agreements; and negotiations affecting U.S. import policies. Over the past 40 years, free trade has become a major foreign economic policy goal of the US, and the USTR has been front and center in negotiations to remove trade barriers worldwide. Labor unions, environmentalists and consumer organizations have argued that “free trade” rarely amounts to fair trade and that the USTR has often functioned as a tool that serves the interests of the leaders of U.S. corporations.

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History:

The origins of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) reside in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which required the President to appoint a Special Representative for Trade Negotiations and established an interagency trade organization to make recommendations to the President on policy issues arising from trade agreements. The following year, President John F. Kennedy created a new Office of the Special Trade Representative (STR) within the White House and designated two new deputies, one in Washington D.C., and the other in Geneva, Switzerland. Through the mid-1960s, STR took the lead for the U.S. in the Kennedy Round of multilateral trade negotiations held under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

 

In the 1970s, Congress substantially expanded the responsibilities of STR, making it responsible for the trade agreements programs under the Tariff Act of 1930, the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, and the Trade Act of 1974. The 1974 act also made STR directly accountable to both the President and the Congress for these and other trade responsibilities. Through Executive Order 11846, President Gerald Ford elevated the Special Trade Representative to cabinet level.

 

In 1979 a reorganization plan consolidated and further broadened STR’s duties, and renamed it the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). It was assigned overall responsibility for developing and coordinating the implementation of U.S. trade policy; designated as the principal adviser to, and chief spokesperson for, the President on trade agreements and trade policy and as adviser on the impact of international trade on other government policies; and made responsible for asserting and protecting “the rights of the United States under all bilateral and multilateral international trade and commodity agreements.”

 

In 1988 the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (pdf) reinforced the USTR’s duties and added that it coordinate trade policy with other federal agencies, advise on non-tariff barriers, international commodity agreements and other matters relating to the trade agreements program, and serve as chairman of the Trade Policy Committee. The 1988 legislation also dictated the USTR should be the senior representative on any body the President establishes to advise him on overall economic policies in which international trade matters predominate and that the USTR should be included in all economic summits and other international meetings in which international trade is a major topic.

 

The Uruguay Round Agreements Act, enacted in 1994, specified that the USTR had lead responsibility for all negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the WTO Agreement vastly expanded the USTR’s responsibility for implementation and enforcement of international trade terms on the American side.

 

The Trade and Development Act of 2000 (pdf) created within the USTR the positions and Assistant United States Trade Representative for African Affairs. The principal function of the Chief Agricultural Negotiator is to conduct trade negotiations and enforce trade agreements relating to United States agricultural interests and products. The Assistant United States Trade Representative for African Affairs serves as the chief adviser to the U.S. Trade Representative on issues of trade and investment with Africa and serves as coordinator and point of contact within the administration on such issues.

 

History of the United States Trade Representative

History of the Winder Building, Home to USTR's Washington D.C. Headquarters

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What it Does:

Part of the Executive Office of the President, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) develops and coordinates U.S. international trade, commodity and direct investment policy and oversees negotiations with other countries. The head of USTR is the U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet member who serves as the President’s principal trade adviser, negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues. The USTR also serves as vice chairman of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), is a non-voting member of the Export-Import Bank, and a member of the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies.

 

The USTR specializes in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade and investment issues; expansion of market access for American goods and services; international commodity agreements; negotiations affecting U.S. import policies; oversight of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and Section 301 complaints against foreign unfair trade practices, as well as Section 1377, Section 337 and import relief cases under Section 201, as well as trade, commodity, and direct investment matters managed by international institutions such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); trade-related intellectual property protection issues; and World Trade Organization (WTO) issues.

 

The USTR consults with other government agencies on trade policy matters through the Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) and the (TPSC). These groups, administered and chaired by USTR and composed of 19 federal agencies and offices, make up the sub-cabinet level mechanism for developing and coordinating government positions on international trade and trade-related investment issues. The TPSC is the primary operating group. Supporting the TPSC are more than 90 subcommittees responsible for specialized areas and several task forces that work on particular issues. If agreement is not reached in the TPSC, then issues are taken up by the TPRG. The final tier of the interagency trade policy mechanism is the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the President. The NEC deputies’ committee considers memoranda from the TPRG, as well as important or controversial trade-related issues.

 

Working with the Private Sector

Congress established the private sector advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiation objectives adequately reflect American commercial and economic interests. Congress expanded and enhanced the role of this system in subsequent trade acts, most recently the Trade Act of 2002. The advisory committees provide information and advice with respect to U.S. negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before the government enters into trade agreements.


The trade policy advisory committee system consists of 28 advisory committees, with a total membership of up approximately 700 advisers. Recommendations for candidates for committee membership are collected from a number of sources, including members of Congress, associations and organizations, publications, and other individuals who have demonstrated an interest or expertise in U.S. trade policy. Membership selection is based on qualifications, geography and the needs of the specific committee. Members pay for their own travel and other related expenses and must obtain a security clearance.
 

Under the Trade Act of 2002, each advisory committee is required to prepare a report on proposed trade agreements for the administration and Congress. The system is arranged in three tiers: the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN); four policy advisory committees; and 28 technical and sector advisory committees. The President appoints up to 45 ACTPN members for two-year terms. The 1974 Trade Act requires that membership broadly represent key economic sectors affected by trade. The committee considers trade policy issues in the context of the overall national interest. The USTR administers the ACTPN.

The policy advisory committees are appointed by the USTR alone or in conjunction with other cabinet officers. USTR solely manages the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC). Those policy advisory committees managed jointly with the Departments of Agriculture and Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency are, respectively, the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), Labor Advisory Committee (LAC), and Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC). Each committee provides advice based upon the perspective of its specific area.
 

The 28 sector and technical advisory committees are organized in two areas: industry and agriculture. Representatives are appointed jointly by the USTR and the secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, respectively. Each sector or technical committee represents a specific sector or commodity group (such as textiles or fruits and vegetables) and provides specific technical advice concerning the effect that trade policy decisions may have on its sector.
 

Working with Congress

Since its creation, the USTR has maintained close consultation with Congress. Five members from each house are formally appointed under statute as official Congressional advisers on trade policy, and additional members may be appointed as advisers on particular issues or negotiations. Liaison activities between the agency and Congress are extensive.

 

The USTR provides detailed briefings on a regular basis for the Congressional Oversight Group, a new organization composed of members from a broad range of congressional committees. In addition, USTR officials and staff participate in hundreds of congressional “conversations” each year on subjects ranging from tariffs to textiles.

 

USTR Organization

The USTR has offices in Washington D.C. and in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Geneva Office is organized to cover general WTO affairs, non-tariff agreements, agricultural policy, commodity policy, and the Harmonized System Codes. Special attention is given to textiles, with one member of the staff designated as the US representative to the Textiles Surveillance Body. The Geneva Deputy USTR is the U.S. Ambassador to the WTO and to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on commodity matters. The Geneva staff represents the United States’ interests in negotiations and in other contacts on trade and trade policy in both forums.
 

USTR’s Washington D.C., office is structured along seven organizational lines. Bilateral negotiations are broken down into regions: Americas; Europe and the Middle East; Southeast Asia and the Pacific; South and Central Asia; Japan, Korea and APEC; and Africa.

 

The agency’s sector activities cover: Agriculture; Economy & Trade; Enforcement; Services and Investment; Intellectual Property; Industry & Manufacturing; Government Procurement; Environment; Labor; National Export Initiative; Small Business; Trade & Development; and Textiles and Apparel.

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Where Does the Money Go:

The 2013 Congressional Budget Submission (pdf) provides the following breakdown of expected FY 2013 expenditures:

 

Personnel Compensation and Benefits $40,320,000

Travel and Transportation of Persons   $5,360,000

Other Contractual Services   $5,049,000

Communication, Utilities, & Misc. Charges      $981,000

Supplies and Materials      $307,000

Equipment      $276,000

Printing and Reproduction        $56,000

Transportation of Things        $17,000

Obligations Subtotal   $53,814,000

 

 

From the Web Site of the Office of the United States Trade Representative

Advisory Committees

Archives

Ask the Ambassador

Biographies of USTR Officials

Blog

Congressional Affairs

Contact Information

Countries and Regions

Fact Sheets

Initiatives

Multimedia

Press ReleasesReading Room

Reports and Publications

Share Your Story

Speeches and Transcripts

Trade Agreements

Trade Talk Newsletter

Trade Topics

Travels

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Controversies:

USTR endorsement of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

The crafting of a new international agreement intended to stop global, large-scale piracy of films, music, and software embroiled the U.S. Trade Representative in controversy during President Barack Obama’s first term.

 

As the United States’ lead in talks on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the trade rep was criticized for being involved in what was labeled an attack on civil and digital rights.

 

ACTA was promoted by the entertainment and tech industries seeking an end to file sharing.

 

The agreement required Internet service providers to accept more responsibility for halting content piracy. ACTA also proposed various counter-measures, such as bandwidth throttling, web site blocking, account blocking, and aggressive search-and-seizure techniques.

 

In November 2010, about 80 law professors came out in opposition to ACTA, citing numerous concerns with the agreement. One question was whether it was a “treaty” that should get Senate approval or an “executive agreement” that could be signed without Senate approval. Despite the questions and criticism, the Obama administration approved ACTA in October 2011, raising the question of its constitutionality.

Did Obama Break Constitutional Law By Signing The ACTA Treaty? (The Inquisitr)

Senator Wyden Asks President Obama: Isn't Congress Required To Approve ACTA? (Tech Dirt)

Wikileaks Cables Reveal Acta Negotiators Avoided Official Scrutiny (Computer Weekly)

Acta Text Finalised As Civil Liberties Body Accuses Piracy Act Of Threat To Freedom (Computer Weekly)

TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Third World Network)

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative)

 

Trade Rep Kirk Owed $10k in Back Taxes As He Took On the Job

After being nominated to be U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk was exposed for owing $10,000 in unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

 

While vetting his nomination, the Senate Finance Committee found Kirk owed taxes from 2005, 2006, and 2007 for speaking fees he donated to his alma mater. Kirk’s mistake came when he donated his fees directly to Austin College and didn’t realize he still needed to report the money as income and pay taxes on them.

 

Kirk also owed another $2,600 in back taxes on tickets to Dallas Mavericks basketball games that he deducted as entertainment expenses but could not substantiate with receipts.

Trade Nominee Kirk Owes $10,000 In Taxes (by Mimi Hall, USA Today)

Ron Kirk (New York Times)

 

Little Progress in Doha Talks

Throughout this decade, the Bush administration’s lead negotiator at world trade talks was unable to secure an agreement with developing nations over agricultural and manufacturing trade issues. It had been the hope of administration officials that the U.S. Trade Representative’s office would craft an accord for the seven-year-old Doha round before President George W. Bush left office. But these hopes foundered when the United States was unable to reach agreement with India and China on the terms of a “special safeguard mechanism” to protect farmers in developing countries from a surge in imports.

 

The United States accepted a compromise proposed by WTO Director General Pascal Lamy that would have allowed developing countries to hike tariffs on farm goods when imports increased 40% above the previous three-year average. But India and China wanted the safeguard to kick in after a 10% or 15% rise, and India insisted developing countries be able to raise tariffs to levels above those allowed under the 1994 Uruguay Round world trade deal.

 

It has now been a full decade since the negotiations began, and there still appears to be no agreement in sight.

No clear path to reviving world trade talks: U.S. (Reuters)

Doha trade negotiations most likely to go into 'hibernation', experts say (The Australian)

 

Trade Rep Sanctions Thailand in Effort to Protect Drug Companies

In April 2008, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab placed the government of Thailand on a “priority watch list” because of that country’s effort to produce pharmaceuticals identical to those sold in the United States. Schwab issued a “Special 301 report” that claimed Thailand had infringed on the US patent rights of American pharmaceutical manufacturers.

 

In response to Schwab’s action, four Democratic Congressmen, led by Charles Rangel (D-New York), wrote a letter to the trade representative opposing her decision. “We urge you to set a new course that will promote both pharmaceutical innovation and the health of patients in developing countries,” urged the congressmen.

 

At the start of 2011, the USTR conducted its annual review in Thailand, interviewing members of both public and private sectors, and reviewing the latest reports from various international stakeholders, such as PhRMA and other NGOs. As a result of that review, USTR renewed Thailand’s posting on the “watch list,” its fourth year in a row.

Congressmen Criticize U.S. Trade Representative over Special 301 Report (by Kevin E. Noonan, Patent Docs)

The Pharmaceutical Market: Thailand (MarketResearch.com)

 

Democrat Demands Investigation into Gambling Accord

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) requested in March 2008 that the U.S. Trade Representative’s office disclose trade concessions made to foreign trading partners without congressional approval. DeFazio raised the possibility of congressional intervention to void new market access commitments granted by the USTR to the European Union and other complainants as compensation for a United States trade violation regarding Internet gambling. 

 

DeFazio encouraged his colleagues to join him in calling for the USTR to provide a copy of the concession agreement between the United States and the European Union. The USTR had rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for the same document, claiming the agreement was classified for national security reasons. 

 

The DeFazio request came after a contentious trade dispute over Internet gambling, in which the Caribbean nation of Antigua successfully challenged the regulation of Internet gambling in the United States. The European Union conducted a 12-month investigation into the matter, concluding in March 2009 that the U.S. violated World Trade Organization rules for international trade.

Congressman Calls for U.S. Trade Representative to Provide Details of WTO Internet (Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative)

EU Commission Concludes US Anti-Gambling Laws Violate WTO Rules (by Martin Harris, Poker News)

 

U.S. Free Trade Agreement with Colombia Faces Human Rights Concerns

In 2006, the Bush administration signed a free trade agreement with the government of Colombia that alarmed human rights organizations. The Colombian government has been accused of allowing attacks on local trade unionists by paramilitary organizations.

 

According to Human Rights Watch, which wrote a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab opposing the agreement, Colombia has the worst record on trade unionist killings in the world. More than 2,500 killings have taken place since 1985 and nearly 3,500 threats against trade unionists since 1991, according to a 2008 report from the National Labor School, a labor rights group in Colombia. The International Trade Union Confederation reported that 47 trade unionists were killed in Colombia in 2010; 19 unionists were killed between January and August 2011.

 

The Colombia free trade agreement was approved in Colombia in July 2008. In spite on continuing opposition from U.S. labor unions and key Democrats over the safety of Colombian labor leaders, and concern over loss of American jobs to foreign competition, the agreement was approved by the U.S. Congress on October 12, 2011.  

Colombia Trade Deal Is Threatened (by Steven R. Weisman, New York Times)

Letter to US Trade Representative Schwab on Colombia Free Trade Agreement (Human Rights Watch)

U.S. "Free Trade": Death, Drugs and Despair in Colombia (by Jonathan Tasini, Working Life)

Congress Ends 5-Year Standoff on Trade Deals in Rare Accord (by Binyamin Appelbaum and Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times)

Workers' Rights, Violence and Impunity in Colombia (AFL-CIO) (pdf)

U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues (by Mary Jane Bolle, Congressional Research Service) (pdf)

 

Trade Rep Knocks Factory Used by Pentagon as “Sweatshop”

The Defense Department was caught in 2000 using a factory in Nicaragua to supply American military uniforms, even though the U.S. Trade Representative had labeled the textile operation a “sweatshop.” Several members of Congress criticized the Pentagon for obtaining apparel from the Chentex factory, which a Nicaraguan union had accused of firing more than 150 union supporters.

 

In an unusually stern letter, The United States trade representative, Charlene Barshefsky, warned the Nicaraguan government that the United States might rescind some trade benefits unless it moved to ensure that Chentex complied with labor laws. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) said it was wrong for one federal agency, the Pentagon, to buy large amounts of apparel from Chentex while another, the trade representative’s office, had singled out the factory for criticism.

Critics Calling U.S. Supplier In Nicaragua A 'Sweatshop' (by Steven Greenhouse, New York Times)

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Former Directors:

Susan C. Schwab, 2006-2009

Rob Portman, 2005-2006
Robert B. Zoellick, 2001-2005

Charlene Barshefsky, 1997 - 2000

Michael Kantor, 1993-1996

Carla A. Hills, 1989-1993

Clayton K. Yeutter, 1985-1989

William E. Brock III, 1981-1985

Reubin O’D Askew, 1979-1981

Robert S. Strauss, 1977-1979

Frederick B. Dent, 1975-1977

William D. Eberle, 1971-1975

Carl J. Gilbert, 1969-1971

William M. Roth, 1967-1969

Christian A. Herter, 1962-1966

 

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Comments

Robert Charland 1 year ago
I wish to comment about the transpacific partnership . As the latest examples have and are showing us is that many parts of these trade agreements are flawed and lead to an undermining of our laws and governance. The latest incident is the new lawsuit by TransCanada, and the recent overturning of country of origin laws concerning meat production. I believe the TPP is poorly written, badly conceived, and just bad for the USA. please contact me if this is the wrong place to make this comment known. Thank you

Leave a comment

Founded: 1963
Annual Budget: $53 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 252 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Official Website: http://www.ustr.gov/
Office of the United States Trade Representative
Lighthizer, Robert
U.S. Trade Representative

Robert Emmet Lighthizer, an attorney with long experience in trade matters and as a protectionist, was easily confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a sweeping 82-14 vote on May 11, 2017, to be U.S. trade representative.

 

Lighthizer was born October 11, 1947 in Ashtabula, Ohio, where his father was a physician. He attended private Gilmour Academy, graduating in 1965. Lighthizer went on to Georgetown, where he earned a B.A. in 1969 and his law degree in 1973.

 

Lighthizer started his career as an associate at the Washington law firm of Covington and Burling. In 1981, he was named chief minority counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. When Republicans won control of the Senate in 1981, Lighthizer was made chief counsel and staff director for the panel. Always a fan of Georgetown basketball, he twice hired Patrick Ewing as a summer intern.

 

President Ronald Reagan tapped Lighthizer to be deputy U.S. trade representative in 1983. One of his accomplishments in that position was to persuade Japan, South Korea, Mexico and the United Kingdom to limit their exports of cheap steel to the United States. That action was later found to be in violation of World Trade Organization regulations.

 

In June 1985, Lighthizer joined the Washington law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom and became a partner. Some of his early work there included lobbying on tax issues, but he focused on trade litigation and policy advice, in particular promoting the interests of U.S. Steel and the steel industry in general. In 1985, he lobbied on behalf of Brazil’s Sugar and Alcohol Institute, part of the Brazilian Ministry of Commerce, regarding an ethanol-related trade dispute. Ten years later, Congress passed the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act, which prohibits anyone who has lobbied for a foreign government to become the U.S. trade representative. This means that he may need a waiver from both houses of Congress to be confirmed.

 

Lighthizer took time out in 1996 to serve as national treasurer for the ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign of Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas).

 

Lighthizer has long been a protectionist. In 2008, he criticized presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) for what Lighthizer believed were trade-friendly policies. And like Trump, who nominated Lighthizer for the U.S. trade representative post on January 3, Lighthizer has focused on China as a trade bogeyman. His concurrence with Trump’s trade ideas was laid out in a 2011 op-ed in the conservative Washington Times titled “Donald Trump Is No Liberal on Trade.”

 

In that article, Lighthizer wrote: “On a purely intellectual level, how does allowing China to constantly rig trade in its favor advance the core conservative goal of making markets more efficient? Markets do not run better when manufacturing shifts to China largely because of the actions of its government. Nor do they become more efficient when Chinese companies are given special privileges in global markets, while American companies must struggle to compete with unfairly traded goods.”

 

Lighthizer has two adult children, Claire and Robert. His brother, Jim, is known as a Civil War expert and is president of the Civil War Trust, as well as being a former Democratic member of the Maryland legislature.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Robert Lighthizer Public Financial Disclosure Report (U.S. Office of Government Ethics) (pdf)

Robert Lighthizer Ethics Agreement

Trump’s Trade Representative Could Negotiate for His Biggest Client’s Industry (by Bill Allison, Bloomberg)

Trump’s Trade Pick May Face Hurdle Over Past Lobbying for Brazil (by Bill Allison, Bloomberg)

Trump’s New Trade Guru May Actually Be the Adult in the Room (by David Francis, Foreign Policy)

Trump Names Lighthizer as Trade Representative, Taps Pence Adviser for West Wing (by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker, Washington Post)

Donald Trump Is No Liberal on Trade (by Robert E. Lighthizer, Washington Times)

Robert E. Lighthizer (by Anne Swardson, Washington Post

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Froman, Michael
Previous U.S. Trade Representative

The Wall Street revolving door to government is spinning like a top in the Obama administration. The most recent titan of high finance to join the federal government is Michael Froman, whom President Barack Obama nominated on May 2, 2013, to be the next U.S. Trade Representative, a position located in the White House that functions as the President’s lead negotiator on all international trade matters. If confirmed by the Senate, Froman would succeed Ron Kirk, the former Dallas mayor who resigned as trade representative in February after serving the whole of Obama's first term.

 

Born August 20, 1962, in San Rafael, California, the son of Abe Froman, who ran a furniture store, Michael Froman graduated from Tamalpais School for Boys, now the Branson School, in 1981. He earned an A.B. in Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University in 1985, a doctorate in International Relations at Oxford University in 1988, and a J.D. at Harvard Law School in 1991, where he was a classmate of Barack Obama and served with Obama on the staff of the Harvard Law Review. At Oxford, Froman's dissertation was entitled “The Development of the Idea of Detente in American Political Discourse, 1952-1985.”

 

After graduating law school, Froman served as liaison for the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative legal assistance program in Albania. He was also a member of the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

 

After the election of Bill Clinton to the presidency in November 1992, Froman immediately joined his administration, serving as director for International Economic Affairs on the newly-created National Economic Council and the National Security Council from January 1993 to December 1995.

 

Froman then went to work for Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, serving as deputy assistant secretary for Eurasia and the Middle East from January to December 1996, focusing on economic policy toward Russia and Central/Eastern Europe, as well as the economic aspects of the Dayton Accords, and as Treasury chief of staff between January 1997 and July 1999.

 

As the Clinton years wound down, Froman followed Rubin to Wall Street, joining Citigroup (2012 revenues: $70.17 billion), as chief of staff in the Office of the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of the Internet Operating Group from December 1999 to January 2001. He held other positions as Citi as well, including president and CEO of CitiInsurance, head of Emerging Markets Strategy, and COO and managing director of Citigroup Infrastructure Investors at Citigroup Alternative Investments.

 

Although Froman lost touch with Obama after Harvard, he advised Obama on policy during Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and introduced him to Robert Rubin, eventually serving on the 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team. Froman also functioned as a prodigious fundraiser for Obama, especially among younger Wall Street Democrats, bundling at least $200,000 in contributions. Froman and his wife have donated a total of $56,560 to Democratic candidates, parties and outside spending groups since they started donating in 2000, including $7,700 to Obama.

 

After the 2008 election, Froman returned to the White House, serving as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, a position held jointly, as during the Clinton years, at the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.

 

Froman is married to Nancy Goodman, the founder and Executive Director of Kids v Cancer, which she started after the death of the couple's son, Jacob, at age ten from medulloblastoma, a rare form of pediatric brain cancer. They have one son, Benjamin, and one daughter, Sarah. 

 

To Learn More:

Biography (Wikipedia)

Marin Native Froman Tapped by Obama to be U.S. Trade Representative (Marin Independent Journal)

Michael Froman and the Revolving Door (by Felix Salmon, Reuters)

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Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) functions as the President of the United States’ lead negotiator on all international trade matters. The USTR specializes in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade and investment issues; expansion of market access for American goods and services; international commodity agreements; and negotiations affecting U.S. import policies. Over the past 40 years, free trade has become a major foreign economic policy goal of the US, and the USTR has been front and center in negotiations to remove trade barriers worldwide. Labor unions, environmentalists and consumer organizations have argued that “free trade” rarely amounts to fair trade and that the USTR has often functioned as a tool that serves the interests of the leaders of U.S. corporations.

more
History:

The origins of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) reside in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which required the President to appoint a Special Representative for Trade Negotiations and established an interagency trade organization to make recommendations to the President on policy issues arising from trade agreements. The following year, President John F. Kennedy created a new Office of the Special Trade Representative (STR) within the White House and designated two new deputies, one in Washington D.C., and the other in Geneva, Switzerland. Through the mid-1960s, STR took the lead for the U.S. in the Kennedy Round of multilateral trade negotiations held under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

 

In the 1970s, Congress substantially expanded the responsibilities of STR, making it responsible for the trade agreements programs under the Tariff Act of 1930, the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, and the Trade Act of 1974. The 1974 act also made STR directly accountable to both the President and the Congress for these and other trade responsibilities. Through Executive Order 11846, President Gerald Ford elevated the Special Trade Representative to cabinet level.

 

In 1979 a reorganization plan consolidated and further broadened STR’s duties, and renamed it the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). It was assigned overall responsibility for developing and coordinating the implementation of U.S. trade policy; designated as the principal adviser to, and chief spokesperson for, the President on trade agreements and trade policy and as adviser on the impact of international trade on other government policies; and made responsible for asserting and protecting “the rights of the United States under all bilateral and multilateral international trade and commodity agreements.”

 

In 1988 the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (pdf) reinforced the USTR’s duties and added that it coordinate trade policy with other federal agencies, advise on non-tariff barriers, international commodity agreements and other matters relating to the trade agreements program, and serve as chairman of the Trade Policy Committee. The 1988 legislation also dictated the USTR should be the senior representative on any body the President establishes to advise him on overall economic policies in which international trade matters predominate and that the USTR should be included in all economic summits and other international meetings in which international trade is a major topic.

 

The Uruguay Round Agreements Act, enacted in 1994, specified that the USTR had lead responsibility for all negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the WTO Agreement vastly expanded the USTR’s responsibility for implementation and enforcement of international trade terms on the American side.

 

The Trade and Development Act of 2000 (pdf) created within the USTR the positions and Assistant United States Trade Representative for African Affairs. The principal function of the Chief Agricultural Negotiator is to conduct trade negotiations and enforce trade agreements relating to United States agricultural interests and products. The Assistant United States Trade Representative for African Affairs serves as the chief adviser to the U.S. Trade Representative on issues of trade and investment with Africa and serves as coordinator and point of contact within the administration on such issues.

 

History of the United States Trade Representative

History of the Winder Building, Home to USTR's Washington D.C. Headquarters

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What it Does:

Part of the Executive Office of the President, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) develops and coordinates U.S. international trade, commodity and direct investment policy and oversees negotiations with other countries. The head of USTR is the U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet member who serves as the President’s principal trade adviser, negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues. The USTR also serves as vice chairman of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), is a non-voting member of the Export-Import Bank, and a member of the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies.

 

The USTR specializes in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade and investment issues; expansion of market access for American goods and services; international commodity agreements; negotiations affecting U.S. import policies; oversight of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and Section 301 complaints against foreign unfair trade practices, as well as Section 1377, Section 337 and import relief cases under Section 201, as well as trade, commodity, and direct investment matters managed by international institutions such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); trade-related intellectual property protection issues; and World Trade Organization (WTO) issues.

 

The USTR consults with other government agencies on trade policy matters through the Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) and the (TPSC). These groups, administered and chaired by USTR and composed of 19 federal agencies and offices, make up the sub-cabinet level mechanism for developing and coordinating government positions on international trade and trade-related investment issues. The TPSC is the primary operating group. Supporting the TPSC are more than 90 subcommittees responsible for specialized areas and several task forces that work on particular issues. If agreement is not reached in the TPSC, then issues are taken up by the TPRG. The final tier of the interagency trade policy mechanism is the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the President. The NEC deputies’ committee considers memoranda from the TPRG, as well as important or controversial trade-related issues.

 

Working with the Private Sector

Congress established the private sector advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiation objectives adequately reflect American commercial and economic interests. Congress expanded and enhanced the role of this system in subsequent trade acts, most recently the Trade Act of 2002. The advisory committees provide information and advice with respect to U.S. negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before the government enters into trade agreements.


The trade policy advisory committee system consists of 28 advisory committees, with a total membership of up approximately 700 advisers. Recommendations for candidates for committee membership are collected from a number of sources, including members of Congress, associations and organizations, publications, and other individuals who have demonstrated an interest or expertise in U.S. trade policy. Membership selection is based on qualifications, geography and the needs of the specific committee. Members pay for their own travel and other related expenses and must obtain a security clearance.
 

Under the Trade Act of 2002, each advisory committee is required to prepare a report on proposed trade agreements for the administration and Congress. The system is arranged in three tiers: the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN); four policy advisory committees; and 28 technical and sector advisory committees. The President appoints up to 45 ACTPN members for two-year terms. The 1974 Trade Act requires that membership broadly represent key economic sectors affected by trade. The committee considers trade policy issues in the context of the overall national interest. The USTR administers the ACTPN.

The policy advisory committees are appointed by the USTR alone or in conjunction with other cabinet officers. USTR solely manages the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC). Those policy advisory committees managed jointly with the Departments of Agriculture and Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency are, respectively, the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), Labor Advisory Committee (LAC), and Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC). Each committee provides advice based upon the perspective of its specific area.
 

The 28 sector and technical advisory committees are organized in two areas: industry and agriculture. Representatives are appointed jointly by the USTR and the secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, respectively. Each sector or technical committee represents a specific sector or commodity group (such as textiles or fruits and vegetables) and provides specific technical advice concerning the effect that trade policy decisions may have on its sector.
 

Working with Congress

Since its creation, the USTR has maintained close consultation with Congress. Five members from each house are formally appointed under statute as official Congressional advisers on trade policy, and additional members may be appointed as advisers on particular issues or negotiations. Liaison activities between the agency and Congress are extensive.

 

The USTR provides detailed briefings on a regular basis for the Congressional Oversight Group, a new organization composed of members from a broad range of congressional committees. In addition, USTR officials and staff participate in hundreds of congressional “conversations” each year on subjects ranging from tariffs to textiles.

 

USTR Organization

The USTR has offices in Washington D.C. and in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Geneva Office is organized to cover general WTO affairs, non-tariff agreements, agricultural policy, commodity policy, and the Harmonized System Codes. Special attention is given to textiles, with one member of the staff designated as the US representative to the Textiles Surveillance Body. The Geneva Deputy USTR is the U.S. Ambassador to the WTO and to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on commodity matters. The Geneva staff represents the United States’ interests in negotiations and in other contacts on trade and trade policy in both forums.
 

USTR’s Washington D.C., office is structured along seven organizational lines. Bilateral negotiations are broken down into regions: Americas; Europe and the Middle East; Southeast Asia and the Pacific; South and Central Asia; Japan, Korea and APEC; and Africa.

 

The agency’s sector activities cover: Agriculture; Economy & Trade; Enforcement; Services and Investment; Intellectual Property; Industry & Manufacturing; Government Procurement; Environment; Labor; National Export Initiative; Small Business; Trade & Development; and Textiles and Apparel.

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Where Does the Money Go:

The 2013 Congressional Budget Submission (pdf) provides the following breakdown of expected FY 2013 expenditures:

 

Personnel Compensation and Benefits $40,320,000

Travel and Transportation of Persons   $5,360,000

Other Contractual Services   $5,049,000

Communication, Utilities, & Misc. Charges      $981,000

Supplies and Materials      $307,000

Equipment      $276,000

Printing and Reproduction        $56,000

Transportation of Things        $17,000

Obligations Subtotal   $53,814,000

 

 

From the Web Site of the Office of the United States Trade Representative

Advisory Committees

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Trade Agreements

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Controversies:

USTR endorsement of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

The crafting of a new international agreement intended to stop global, large-scale piracy of films, music, and software embroiled the U.S. Trade Representative in controversy during President Barack Obama’s first term.

 

As the United States’ lead in talks on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the trade rep was criticized for being involved in what was labeled an attack on civil and digital rights.

 

ACTA was promoted by the entertainment and tech industries seeking an end to file sharing.

 

The agreement required Internet service providers to accept more responsibility for halting content piracy. ACTA also proposed various counter-measures, such as bandwidth throttling, web site blocking, account blocking, and aggressive search-and-seizure techniques.

 

In November 2010, about 80 law professors came out in opposition to ACTA, citing numerous concerns with the agreement. One question was whether it was a “treaty” that should get Senate approval or an “executive agreement” that could be signed without Senate approval. Despite the questions and criticism, the Obama administration approved ACTA in October 2011, raising the question of its constitutionality.

Did Obama Break Constitutional Law By Signing The ACTA Treaty? (The Inquisitr)

Senator Wyden Asks President Obama: Isn't Congress Required To Approve ACTA? (Tech Dirt)

Wikileaks Cables Reveal Acta Negotiators Avoided Official Scrutiny (Computer Weekly)

Acta Text Finalised As Civil Liberties Body Accuses Piracy Act Of Threat To Freedom (Computer Weekly)

TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Third World Network)

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative)

 

Trade Rep Kirk Owed $10k in Back Taxes As He Took On the Job

After being nominated to be U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk was exposed for owing $10,000 in unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

 

While vetting his nomination, the Senate Finance Committee found Kirk owed taxes from 2005, 2006, and 2007 for speaking fees he donated to his alma mater. Kirk’s mistake came when he donated his fees directly to Austin College and didn’t realize he still needed to report the money as income and pay taxes on them.

 

Kirk also owed another $2,600 in back taxes on tickets to Dallas Mavericks basketball games that he deducted as entertainment expenses but could not substantiate with receipts.

Trade Nominee Kirk Owes $10,000 In Taxes (by Mimi Hall, USA Today)

Ron Kirk (New York Times)

 

Little Progress in Doha Talks

Throughout this decade, the Bush administration’s lead negotiator at world trade talks was unable to secure an agreement with developing nations over agricultural and manufacturing trade issues. It had been the hope of administration officials that the U.S. Trade Representative’s office would craft an accord for the seven-year-old Doha round before President George W. Bush left office. But these hopes foundered when the United States was unable to reach agreement with India and China on the terms of a “special safeguard mechanism” to protect farmers in developing countries from a surge in imports.

 

The United States accepted a compromise proposed by WTO Director General Pascal Lamy that would have allowed developing countries to hike tariffs on farm goods when imports increased 40% above the previous three-year average. But India and China wanted the safeguard to kick in after a 10% or 15% rise, and India insisted developing countries be able to raise tariffs to levels above those allowed under the 1994 Uruguay Round world trade deal.

 

It has now been a full decade since the negotiations began, and there still appears to be no agreement in sight.

No clear path to reviving world trade talks: U.S. (Reuters)

Doha trade negotiations most likely to go into 'hibernation', experts say (The Australian)

 

Trade Rep Sanctions Thailand in Effort to Protect Drug Companies

In April 2008, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab placed the government of Thailand on a “priority watch list” because of that country’s effort to produce pharmaceuticals identical to those sold in the United States. Schwab issued a “Special 301 report” that claimed Thailand had infringed on the US patent rights of American pharmaceutical manufacturers.

 

In response to Schwab’s action, four Democratic Congressmen, led by Charles Rangel (D-New York), wrote a letter to the trade representative opposing her decision. “We urge you to set a new course that will promote both pharmaceutical innovation and the health of patients in developing countries,” urged the congressmen.

 

At the start of 2011, the USTR conducted its annual review in Thailand, interviewing members of both public and private sectors, and reviewing the latest reports from various international stakeholders, such as PhRMA and other NGOs. As a result of that review, USTR renewed Thailand’s posting on the “watch list,” its fourth year in a row.

Congressmen Criticize U.S. Trade Representative over Special 301 Report (by Kevin E. Noonan, Patent Docs)

The Pharmaceutical Market: Thailand (MarketResearch.com)

 

Democrat Demands Investigation into Gambling Accord

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) requested in March 2008 that the U.S. Trade Representative’s office disclose trade concessions made to foreign trading partners without congressional approval. DeFazio raised the possibility of congressional intervention to void new market access commitments granted by the USTR to the European Union and other complainants as compensation for a United States trade violation regarding Internet gambling. 

 

DeFazio encouraged his colleagues to join him in calling for the USTR to provide a copy of the concession agreement between the United States and the European Union. The USTR had rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for the same document, claiming the agreement was classified for national security reasons. 

 

The DeFazio request came after a contentious trade dispute over Internet gambling, in which the Caribbean nation of Antigua successfully challenged the regulation of Internet gambling in the United States. The European Union conducted a 12-month investigation into the matter, concluding in March 2009 that the U.S. violated World Trade Organization rules for international trade.

Congressman Calls for U.S. Trade Representative to Provide Details of WTO Internet (Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative)

EU Commission Concludes US Anti-Gambling Laws Violate WTO Rules (by Martin Harris, Poker News)

 

U.S. Free Trade Agreement with Colombia Faces Human Rights Concerns

In 2006, the Bush administration signed a free trade agreement with the government of Colombia that alarmed human rights organizations. The Colombian government has been accused of allowing attacks on local trade unionists by paramilitary organizations.

 

According to Human Rights Watch, which wrote a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab opposing the agreement, Colombia has the worst record on trade unionist killings in the world. More than 2,500 killings have taken place since 1985 and nearly 3,500 threats against trade unionists since 1991, according to a 2008 report from the National Labor School, a labor rights group in Colombia. The International Trade Union Confederation reported that 47 trade unionists were killed in Colombia in 2010; 19 unionists were killed between January and August 2011.

 

The Colombia free trade agreement was approved in Colombia in July 2008. In spite on continuing opposition from U.S. labor unions and key Democrats over the safety of Colombian labor leaders, and concern over loss of American jobs to foreign competition, the agreement was approved by the U.S. Congress on October 12, 2011.  

Colombia Trade Deal Is Threatened (by Steven R. Weisman, New York Times)

Letter to US Trade Representative Schwab on Colombia Free Trade Agreement (Human Rights Watch)

U.S. "Free Trade": Death, Drugs and Despair in Colombia (by Jonathan Tasini, Working Life)

Congress Ends 5-Year Standoff on Trade Deals in Rare Accord (by Binyamin Appelbaum and Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times)

Workers' Rights, Violence and Impunity in Colombia (AFL-CIO) (pdf)

U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues (by Mary Jane Bolle, Congressional Research Service) (pdf)

 

Trade Rep Knocks Factory Used by Pentagon as “Sweatshop”

The Defense Department was caught in 2000 using a factory in Nicaragua to supply American military uniforms, even though the U.S. Trade Representative had labeled the textile operation a “sweatshop.” Several members of Congress criticized the Pentagon for obtaining apparel from the Chentex factory, which a Nicaraguan union had accused of firing more than 150 union supporters.

 

In an unusually stern letter, The United States trade representative, Charlene Barshefsky, warned the Nicaraguan government that the United States might rescind some trade benefits unless it moved to ensure that Chentex complied with labor laws. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) said it was wrong for one federal agency, the Pentagon, to buy large amounts of apparel from Chentex while another, the trade representative’s office, had singled out the factory for criticism.

Critics Calling U.S. Supplier In Nicaragua A 'Sweatshop' (by Steven Greenhouse, New York Times)

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Former Directors:

Susan C. Schwab, 2006-2009

Rob Portman, 2005-2006
Robert B. Zoellick, 2001-2005

Charlene Barshefsky, 1997 - 2000

Michael Kantor, 1993-1996

Carla A. Hills, 1989-1993

Clayton K. Yeutter, 1985-1989

William E. Brock III, 1981-1985

Reubin O’D Askew, 1979-1981

Robert S. Strauss, 1977-1979

Frederick B. Dent, 1975-1977

William D. Eberle, 1971-1975

Carl J. Gilbert, 1969-1971

William M. Roth, 1967-1969

Christian A. Herter, 1962-1966

 

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Comments

Robert Charland 1 year ago
I wish to comment about the transpacific partnership . As the latest examples have and are showing us is that many parts of these trade agreements are flawed and lead to an undermining of our laws and governance. The latest incident is the new lawsuit by TransCanada, and the recent overturning of country of origin laws concerning meat production. I believe the TPP is poorly written, badly conceived, and just bad for the USA. please contact me if this is the wrong place to make this comment known. Thank you

Leave a comment

Founded: 1963
Annual Budget: $53 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 252 (FY 2013 Estimate)
Official Website: http://www.ustr.gov/
Office of the United States Trade Representative
Lighthizer, Robert
U.S. Trade Representative

Robert Emmet Lighthizer, an attorney with long experience in trade matters and as a protectionist, was easily confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a sweeping 82-14 vote on May 11, 2017, to be U.S. trade representative.

 

Lighthizer was born October 11, 1947 in Ashtabula, Ohio, where his father was a physician. He attended private Gilmour Academy, graduating in 1965. Lighthizer went on to Georgetown, where he earned a B.A. in 1969 and his law degree in 1973.

 

Lighthizer started his career as an associate at the Washington law firm of Covington and Burling. In 1981, he was named chief minority counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. When Republicans won control of the Senate in 1981, Lighthizer was made chief counsel and staff director for the panel. Always a fan of Georgetown basketball, he twice hired Patrick Ewing as a summer intern.

 

President Ronald Reagan tapped Lighthizer to be deputy U.S. trade representative in 1983. One of his accomplishments in that position was to persuade Japan, South Korea, Mexico and the United Kingdom to limit their exports of cheap steel to the United States. That action was later found to be in violation of World Trade Organization regulations.

 

In June 1985, Lighthizer joined the Washington law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom and became a partner. Some of his early work there included lobbying on tax issues, but he focused on trade litigation and policy advice, in particular promoting the interests of U.S. Steel and the steel industry in general. In 1985, he lobbied on behalf of Brazil’s Sugar and Alcohol Institute, part of the Brazilian Ministry of Commerce, regarding an ethanol-related trade dispute. Ten years later, Congress passed the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act, which prohibits anyone who has lobbied for a foreign government to become the U.S. trade representative. This means that he may need a waiver from both houses of Congress to be confirmed.

 

Lighthizer took time out in 1996 to serve as national treasurer for the ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign of Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas).

 

Lighthizer has long been a protectionist. In 2008, he criticized presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) for what Lighthizer believed were trade-friendly policies. And like Trump, who nominated Lighthizer for the U.S. trade representative post on January 3, Lighthizer has focused on China as a trade bogeyman. His concurrence with Trump’s trade ideas was laid out in a 2011 op-ed in the conservative Washington Times titled “Donald Trump Is No Liberal on Trade.”

 

In that article, Lighthizer wrote: “On a purely intellectual level, how does allowing China to constantly rig trade in its favor advance the core conservative goal of making markets more efficient? Markets do not run better when manufacturing shifts to China largely because of the actions of its government. Nor do they become more efficient when Chinese companies are given special privileges in global markets, while American companies must struggle to compete with unfairly traded goods.”

 

Lighthizer has two adult children, Claire and Robert. His brother, Jim, is known as a Civil War expert and is president of the Civil War Trust, as well as being a former Democratic member of the Maryland legislature.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Robert Lighthizer Public Financial Disclosure Report (U.S. Office of Government Ethics) (pdf)

Robert Lighthizer Ethics Agreement

Trump’s Trade Representative Could Negotiate for His Biggest Client’s Industry (by Bill Allison, Bloomberg)

Trump’s Trade Pick May Face Hurdle Over Past Lobbying for Brazil (by Bill Allison, Bloomberg)

Trump’s New Trade Guru May Actually Be the Adult in the Room (by David Francis, Foreign Policy)

Trump Names Lighthizer as Trade Representative, Taps Pence Adviser for West Wing (by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker, Washington Post)

Donald Trump Is No Liberal on Trade (by Robert E. Lighthizer, Washington Times)

Robert E. Lighthizer (by Anne Swardson, Washington Post

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Froman, Michael
Previous U.S. Trade Representative

The Wall Street revolving door to government is spinning like a top in the Obama administration. The most recent titan of high finance to join the federal government is Michael Froman, whom President Barack Obama nominated on May 2, 2013, to be the next U.S. Trade Representative, a position located in the White House that functions as the President’s lead negotiator on all international trade matters. If confirmed by the Senate, Froman would succeed Ron Kirk, the former Dallas mayor who resigned as trade representative in February after serving the whole of Obama's first term.

 

Born August 20, 1962, in San Rafael, California, the son of Abe Froman, who ran a furniture store, Michael Froman graduated from Tamalpais School for Boys, now the Branson School, in 1981. He earned an A.B. in Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University in 1985, a doctorate in International Relations at Oxford University in 1988, and a J.D. at Harvard Law School in 1991, where he was a classmate of Barack Obama and served with Obama on the staff of the Harvard Law Review. At Oxford, Froman's dissertation was entitled “The Development of the Idea of Detente in American Political Discourse, 1952-1985.”

 

After graduating law school, Froman served as liaison for the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative legal assistance program in Albania. He was also a member of the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

 

After the election of Bill Clinton to the presidency in November 1992, Froman immediately joined his administration, serving as director for International Economic Affairs on the newly-created National Economic Council and the National Security Council from January 1993 to December 1995.

 

Froman then went to work for Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, serving as deputy assistant secretary for Eurasia and the Middle East from January to December 1996, focusing on economic policy toward Russia and Central/Eastern Europe, as well as the economic aspects of the Dayton Accords, and as Treasury chief of staff between January 1997 and July 1999.

 

As the Clinton years wound down, Froman followed Rubin to Wall Street, joining Citigroup (2012 revenues: $70.17 billion), as chief of staff in the Office of the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of the Internet Operating Group from December 1999 to January 2001. He held other positions as Citi as well, including president and CEO of CitiInsurance, head of Emerging Markets Strategy, and COO and managing director of Citigroup Infrastructure Investors at Citigroup Alternative Investments.

 

Although Froman lost touch with Obama after Harvard, he advised Obama on policy during Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and introduced him to Robert Rubin, eventually serving on the 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team. Froman also functioned as a prodigious fundraiser for Obama, especially among younger Wall Street Democrats, bundling at least $200,000 in contributions. Froman and his wife have donated a total of $56,560 to Democratic candidates, parties and outside spending groups since they started donating in 2000, including $7,700 to Obama.

 

After the 2008 election, Froman returned to the White House, serving as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, a position held jointly, as during the Clinton years, at the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.

 

Froman is married to Nancy Goodman, the founder and Executive Director of Kids v Cancer, which she started after the death of the couple's son, Jacob, at age ten from medulloblastoma, a rare form of pediatric brain cancer. They have one son, Benjamin, and one daughter, Sarah. 

 

To Learn More:

Biography (Wikipedia)

Marin Native Froman Tapped by Obama to be U.S. Trade Representative (Marin Independent Journal)

Michael Froman and the Revolving Door (by Felix Salmon, Reuters)

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