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Nomination of new US Trade Representative

18 March 2005

Nomination of new US Trade Representative

The nomination of Rob Portman, a Republican Congressman from Ohio, as the next United States Trade Representative was welcomed today by Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton.

If confirmed by the United States Senate, as seems likely, Mr Portman will succeed Robert Zoellick, now Deputy Secretary of State.

Mr Sutton said Mr Portman would bring pro-trade credentials to the job. Prior to entering Congress 12 years ago, he worked as a lawyer specialising in international trade law.

“Continued strong support from the United States will be essential to reaching agreement at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December, on the way forward in the Doha trade round.”

Mr Sutton said that Mr Portman is a member of the Friends of New Zealand congressional caucus launched in February this year. He also signed a letter sent in January 2003 to President Bush encouraging him to launch negotiations for a free trade agreement with New Zealand.

“When Mr Portman is confirmed in office, I look forward to meeting with him in person.”


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