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Washington Outlook Archive
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Trade Negotiator To Move To State Department

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

President Bush has nominated US Trade Negotiator Robert B. Zoellick to be undersecretary of state as he continues to shuffle his leadership teams. In his post as US trade representative, Zoellick was the architect of President Bush's aggressive free trade agenda that has included negotiation of more than a dozen free trade agreements with individual countries and regions. He also has been a strong supporter of the World Trade Organization's effort to conduct a round of worldwide trade liberalization negotiations - the so-called Doha Round. 

Zoellick's performance as trade negotiator gets a mixed reaction from the textile industry. In connection with the free trade agreements, he succeeded in getting country-of-origin criteria for textiles and apparel that have been generally supported by manufacturers, and tariff preference levels opposed by the industry but supported by textile and apparel importers. While he supported the idea of tariff reductions by US industries in the Doha Round, specific proposals where textiles are concerned never surfaced when the talks got bogged down.  Among those who have been mentioned as possible successors to Zoellick are Grant Aldonas, undersecretary of commerce, Josette Shiner, deputy trade representative, Al Johnson, chief agriculture trade representative, and Rep. Jim Koble (R-AZ).

January 2005