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James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Susan C. Schwab Confirmed As Trade Negotiator

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The US Senate has confirmed the nomination of Susan C. Schwab as US Trade Representative (USTR) after the action was held up briefly over questions about how tough she would be on China. Schwab had been serving as deputy USTR.

Following her confirmation, Schwab said she is committed to move ahead with bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations that are part of President George W. Bush’s “vision for free and fair trade.” The new USTR faces a daunting trade agenda, including moving forward with the stalled World Trade Organization’s Doha Round of trade liberalization negotiations, trade relations with China and a number of pending or proposed bilateral free trade agreements.

The Arlington, Va.-based American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) praised the nomination and urged Schwab to make full implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) her “top priority.” AAFA President and CEO Kevin Burke said Schwab has been actively engaged in developing the US strategy for the Doha Round and has successfully concluded other agreements. He noted that she has already developed close working relationships with her counterparts in key countries around the world, as well as key members of the US Congress, adding “that will serve her well as she prepares to move the Doha Round towards a successful conclusion, completes implementation of CAFTA and works towards conclusion and congressional approval of free trade agreements with Thailand, Colombia, Peru, South Korea and Malaysia.”

June 13, 2006