Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed the Senate confirmation last night of Mr. Michael Punke as Deputy United States Trade Representative and Dr. Isi Siddiqui as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Ambassador Punke will continue to serve as United States Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Ambassador Siddiqui will continue serving as U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator.
“The Senate’s confirmation reflects the importance and quality of the work that Ambassadors Punke and Siddiqui do for the American people, opening markets around the world for our exports and supporting jobs here at home,” said Ambassador Kirk. “This confirmation allows them to continue this important work every day for American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers.”
In March 2010, President Obama appointed Ambassador Punke to his current position. His work in the field of international trade law and policy spans two decades. From 1995 to 1996, he served as Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). There, he advised USTR on issues ranging from agricultural trade to intellectual property protection. Prior to his time at USTR, Ambassador Punke served as the White House Director for International Economic Affairs, with a joint appointment to the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. From 1991 to 1992, he was the International Trade Counsel to Senator Max Baucus. Ambassador Punke has also worked on international trade issues from the private sector, including as a partner at the Washington, D.C. office of Mayer, Brown, Rowe, & Maw.
President Obama also appointed Ambassador Siddiqui to his current position in March of 2010. Prior to his service at USTR, Ambassador Siddiqui served as Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs and as Vice President for Agricultural Biotechnology and Trade at CropLife America. From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Siddiqui served on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Health/Science Products & Services. Between 2001 and 2003, Dr. Siddiqui was Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he focused on agricultural biotechnology and food security issues. During the Clinton Administration, Dr. Siddiqui served in various capacities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as both the Under Secretary and Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and Senior Trade Advisor to Secretary Dan Glickman. Before joining USDA, Dr. Siddiqui spent 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.