WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab today announced a reorganization of two USTR offices to enhance the agency’s focus on innovation and to support its stepped up efforts in Asia. This shift will allow USTR to better marshal resources in both areas.
"Innovation is the lifeblood of American industry and promoting innovation is a key element in the President’s competitiveness agenda," said Ambassador Schwab. "This realignment reflects our efforts to better support vital U.S. innovations, including those in the pharmaceutical industry. It will also free up our Southeast Asia office to focus on our ambitious agenda in the region."
The realignment consists of expanding the responsibilities of the recently established Office of Intellectual Property to include innovation policy issues related to the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries. These issues had previously been handled by the Southeast Asia Office. By expanding the portfolio and leveraging the resources of the Office, which will now be called the Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation, USTR recognizes the critical importance of innovation to the enhanced productivity and future growth of the U.S. economy.
Deepening trade relations with Asia also is a top USTR priority. The Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific is currently negotiating FTAs with Thailand and Malaysia, recently concluded a Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement with ASEAN, and is working to further strengthen U.S. trade and investment ties to the region through a variety of other initiatives. The shift of pharmaceutical policy to the new Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation will allow the Southeast Asia to concentrate its efforts on achieving these important goals.
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Victoria A. Espinel heads up the Intellectual Property and Innovation Office. The Office for Southeast Asia-Pacific is led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel.