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Kirk’s Resignation as Trade Ambassador Effective March 15

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kirk’s Resignation as Trade Ambassador Effective March 15

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced March 14 that Ron Kirk’s resignation as U.S. Trade Representative became effective on March 15. Kirk had announced in January his intention to resign but he subsequently decided to stay a bit longer than initially planned to help the USTR deal with the initial impact of budget sequestration. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, who has been responsible for U.S. trade negotiations and enforcement in Asia and Africa, has assumed the post of acting USTR. Kirk noted in a press release that Marantis has been “instrumental in successes from the completion of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement to the advancing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and beyond.”

There is still considerable speculation about who might replace Kirk as USTR. One name mentioned frequently is Michael Froman, currently the president’s deputy national security advisor on international economic affairs. Another potential candidate is Jeff Zients, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, although an Inside Trade article observes that his candidacy has seemingly lost momentum in recent weeks.    

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