President Bush named U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. Portman will replace Josh Bolten, who recently became the White House chief of staff.
The president nominated Susan Schwab, Portman’s deputy at the office of the USTR, to replace Portman. Schwab will now direct the U.S. efforts to complete the Doha Round negotiations in the World Trade Organization.
Although some said Portman’s transfer to OMB indicated a lowering of administration expectations for the Doha Round, other analysts said they expected Schwab, a veteran agricultural negotiator with the USTR, to be a strong replacement for the former Ohio congressman.
Schwab began her career as an agricultural negotiator for the trade representative’s office in the late 1970s and served as legislative director for former senator John C. Danforth in the 1980s. She headed the Commerce Department’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service before joining Motorola Inc. in 1993. She was dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy before becoming deputy USTR last November.
As deputy USTR, Schwab has been responsible for trade policy development, negotiation and implementation of several issues and regions, including Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. She has also been involved in the U.S. strategy in the WTO Doha Round talks. Schwab also concluded bilateral free trade agreements with Colombia and Peru.
Schwab now faces confirmation from the Senate.