Office of the United States Trade Representative


USTR Announces New China Office, Other Organizational Changes

WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick announced today that USTR wi ll create a separate and expanded Office of China Affairs to accommodate an increase in staff dedicated to China trade issues. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004, Congress, through the leadership of Chairmen Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH), provided additional funds to USTR for this purpose. Ambassador Zoellick also named a senior official to coordinate pharmaceutical trade policy and established a separate USTR office to oversee trade capacity building activities.

The new Office of China Affairs will be responsible for trade with the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Mongolia. Charles Freeman will lead the office as Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) for China Affairs. Since April 2002, Mr. Freeman has handled the China portfolio as a Deputy AUSTR within the North Asia office. In conjunction with this reorganization, AUSTR Wendy Cutler will head a new office overseeing U.S. trade relations with Japan and Korea, the fourth and seventh largest U.S. trading partners respectively. In addition, Ms. Cutler will have responsibility for U.S. trade issues within the 21- member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, following APEC’s next ministerial in June 2004.

"As a top China expert, Charles has been an outstanding contributor here at USTR during a period of great change in U.S.-Sino trade relations – the historic first two years of China’s membership in the WTO," said Zoellick. "As our trade relationship with China grows, Charles will lead USTR’s effort to make sure the United States has fair and open access to China’s markets. I’m very pleased that Wendy Cutler will continue her excellent work with two important U.S. trading partners, Japan and Korea, while adding APEC to her portfolio."

With new funding from Congress, USTR is adding additional staff to handle China issues, including: new attorneys in the General Counsel’s office; new professionals dedicated for the China Office; a specialist in Chinese intellectual property issues; an additional professional to handle manufacturing issues with China; as well as others. Mr. Freeman will play an important role in leading a coordinated USTR and U.S. government effort to strengthen trade opportunities with China, resolve problems, and anticipate future challenges.

Ambassador Zoellick also announced these organizational changes:

AUSTR for Pharmaceutical Policy: In addition to his responsibilities as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) for Southeast Asia and Pacific Affairs, Ralph Ives will serve as the AUSTR for Pharmaceutical Policy. Mr. Ives is one of USTR’s most experienced career negotiators, having led the teams that negotiated the recent Singapore and Australia FTAs.

"USTR is extremely fortunate to have top-notch professionals and the flexibility of a small organization to periodically alter our approach to a changing global environment," said Zoellick. "I’m pleased that Mr. Ives agreed to take on a new leadership responsibility by helping focus our work in the development of pharmaceutical trade policies."

AUSTR for Trade Capacity Building: Mary Ryckman, currently the Deputy AUSTR for Trade Capacity Building, will be promoted to AUSTR and head a new separate office of Trade Capacity Building.

"Helping developing countries participate in the global trading system is a win-win effort. Trade capacity building helps improve the ability of small and less developed economies make the necessary changes to open markets and implement the trade commitments they’ve made so that Americans are assured of a level playing field. Mary Ryckman has done a great job, and I’m pleased we’re able to elevate trade capacity building to the AUSTR level," Zoellick said.

Ms. Cutler, Mr. Freeman, Mr. Ives, and Ms. Ryckman will continue to report to Ambassador Josette Sheeran Shiner, a Deputy USTR who oversees U.S. trade policy with Asia and Africa.

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