WASHINGTON - The Office of the United States Trade Representative today announced the following reorganization and appointments:
First, in order to ensure a more comprehensive approach to USTR's capacity building efforts, all trade capacity building activities for USTR will be focused under a new Deputy Assistant USTR (DAUSTR) for Capacity Building. Mary Ryckman, who previously served as the DAUSTR for Canada, will fill this role.
Second, a new Office of South Asian affairs will be created, reflecting the increasing importance of the region to U.S. economic and national security. South Asia is important to the nation's trade agenda going forward, and a more focused approach to the region will improve policy development and implementation. The office will cover Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Third, the Offices of Japan and China have merged into a single Office of North Asian Affairs, which will also have responsibility for Korea. This change will allow USTR to focus on those countries not only individually, but regionally as well. Wendy Cutler, former Assistant USTR (AUSTR) for Japan, has been appointed to serve as AUSTR for the Office of North Asian Affairs. Charles Freeman, who recently joined USTR, will serve as DAUSTR for China. John Neuffer will continue as DAUSTR for Japan, and Amy Jackson has been promoted to DAUSTR for Korea.
Fourth, the Office of Asia and the Pacific will be renamed the Office of Southeast Asia, Pacific, and APEC Affairs, reflecting its new regional focus. Ralph Ives will continue as AUSTR.
Fifth, the market access and GSP functions will be centralized in the Office of Industry. This change reflects the fact that negotiations on market access for merchandise are occurring in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and in our bilateral Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations, as well as in the multilateral negotiations in the WTO. Sarah Sipkins and Paul Moore, formerly of USTR's WTO and Multilateral Affairs Office, are joining the Office of Industry to coordinate both bilateral and multilateral market access.
Finally, the Office of the Americas is undertaking internal changes to reflect the growing integration within North America and to address the final stage of the FTAA negotiations, during which the United States will co-chair the process with Brazil. John Melle, formerly DAUSTR for NAFTA and Mexico, will become DAUSTR for North America, adding Canada to his portfolio. Karen Lezny is being promoted to DAUSTR for the FTAA.
In addition, the following people are being promoted to DAUSTR: Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Agriculture; Bruce Hirsh, Monitoring and Enforcement; Matt Rohde, WTO and Multilateral Affairs; Jim Sanford, Europe; and Audrey Winter, Southeast Asian, Pacific, and APEC Affairs. Mary Latimer is returning from her assignment at the National Security Council to become the DAUSTR for Investment; Mark Linscott is returning from his assignment in Geneva to become DAUSTR for Environment & Natural Resources, and Nancy Adams is returning from her assignment in Brussels and will be the lead negotiator in USTR's Geneva Office on market access before the WTO.
"This reorganization will help us to maintain our momentum by employing USTR's limited resources and staff most effectively in a quickly evolving world," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick. "The President wants to open new markets throughout the world for American business and agriculture. We are reorganizing the office to do that even more effectively."
The changes mentioned above do not eliminate any program or activity, nor displace any employee, and will be absorbed within USTR's current budget.