Washington, D.C. - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk commented today on the news that European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton has been appointed as the new High Representative, or foreign minister, for the EU. Kirk and Ashton have worked closely together on U.S.-EU trade issues since Ambassador Kirk's confirmation as USTR in March 2009. From Ambassador Kirk:
"I was thrilled to receive the news that EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton has been appointed to the new EU post of High Representative. I have had the great privilege and pleasure to work with Commissioner Ashton on a number of important multilateral and bilateral trade issues over the past year, and I can say from my numerous exchanges with her that she possesses formidable intelligence, vision, compassion, and charm. She is also a talented problem-solver, and I am grateful for her help in promoting movement on several long-standing issues on the U.S.-EU bilateral trade agenda. I regret that Cathy will no longer be my EU counterpart on trade policy, but I am pleased that European leaders have seen fit to place her in a position from which she will be able to continue promoting the strong transatlantic relationship that remains an essential pillar of international peace and prosperity. This is good news both for Europe and for the United States."