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Vaile welcomes nomination of US Trade Representative.



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The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP MINISTER FOR TRADE, AUSTRALIA

Media release

Friday, 18 March 2005 - MVT021/2005

Vaile Welcomes Nomination of US Trade Representative

The Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile, has warmly welcomed the nomination of Congressman Rob Portman as the new United States Trade Representative, following Bob Zoellick's appointment as Deputy Secretary of State. Congressman Portman was nominated to the position by President Bush on 17 March.

"As chief trade negotiator for the United States, Congressman Portman is responsible for developing and implementing trade policies which have a profound effect on the global trade environment and economy," Mr Vaile said.

"Congressman Portman has a strong pro-trade record during his twelve years in Congress and supported the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement.

"We look forward to continuing the close and productive relationship that existed with former USTR Bob Zoellick."

Mr Vaile said Congressman Portman's nomination comes at a critical time in the WTO Doha Round. US leadership is vital to achieving an ambitious outcome across the negotiations, especially on agriculture, and will be particularly important in building momentum ahead of the Hong Kong WTO Ministerial Conference in

December.

"I look forward also to working with Congressman Portman to further strengthen the trade linkages between Australia and the United States through the implementation of our Free Trade Agreement," Mr Vaile said.

Congressman Portman's nomination as USTR is subject to confirmation by the US Senate, expected in early April.

Contact: Richard Forbes (Vaile's office) 02 6277 7420