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United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk Welcomes Nomination of Michael Punke as Ambassador to the World Trade Organization

September 03, 2009

Ambassador Kirk Praises Nominee's Experience and Leadership; Calls for Swift Confirmation

New Delhi, India - At a meeting of 36 trade ministers discussing World Trade Organization negotiations in New Delhi, India, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today praised President Obama's announcement of intent to nominate Michael Punke to serve as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Punke has worked in international trade law and policy for two decades, including as White House Director for International Economic Affairs in the Clinton Administration, Senior Policy Advisor at USTR, and International Trade Counsel to Senator Max Baucus. Punke has also worked on international trade issues in the private sector. The White House announced Punke's nomination today. Ambassador Kirk called for swift confirmation of the new nominee.

"Michael Punke is uniquely suited to lead USTR's team at the WTO, particularly at this critical time in the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations," said Ambassador Kirk. "His breadth of experience and considerable leadership skills will ensure that the American people have their interests well represented in Geneva as we seek a balanced and ambitious conclusion to the Doha round that will provide new economic opportunities for all."

Punke's nomination follows the recent departure of Ambassador Peter Allgeier, who served as Ambassador to the WTO since 2005 and in the Office of the United States Trade Representative since 1980.

"Ambassador Allgeier has been a tremendous asset to USTR and we thank him for his years of service to our country," said Ambassador Kirk. "I admire Ambassador Allgeier's commitment, dedication and professionalism. He exemplifies the best of public service and he will be missed."

Ambassador Kirk noted today that David Shark, Deputy Chief of the United States Mission to the WTO, is serving as interim Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Mission pending Punke's confirmation, and Matt Rohde, Assistant United States Trade Representative for the WTO and Multilateral Affairs, will serve as interim senior official for the Doha round of negotiations.