Deputy USTR Sapiro to Depart in February
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced Jan. 22 that Deputy USTR Miriam Sapiro intends to step down from her position in February. Froman said Sapiro had “an impressive record of achievement” during her four years of service, including “a prominent role in launching the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union, implementing trade agreements with Panama and Colombia, strengthening U.S. economic engagement with a changing Middle East, and establishing permanent normal trade relations with Russia.” Sapiro was responsible for overseeing USTR’s activities in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas as well as initiatives on services and investment, market access and industrial competitiveness, intellectual property and innovation, and labor.
Sapiro’s departure will leave just one senior USTR official in place from President Obama’s first term. USTR Ron Kirk left in March 2013 and was replaced by Froman, and Deputy USTR Demetrios Marantis departed later that year. Chief Agriculture Negotiator Islam Siddiqui is expected to leave that post shortly and be replaced by Darci Vetter, who currently serves as deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services at the Department of Agriculture. Deputy USTR Michael Punke continues to serve as U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization, a position he has held since 2011. There has been no indication yet on who will fill Sapiro’s slot until a permanent replacement is found or whom the president may nominate to that position.