Q: U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this month nominated Mike Froman to become the next United States trade representative. Froman currently serves as an assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economics. Will Froman have an easy confirmation in the Senate, as some people have predicted? What are the most important things Froman and his team need to accomplish in the remainder of Obama's term? How should the USTR's successes and failures be measured?
Uri Dadush, senior associate and director of the International Economics Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
"There is little doubt that Froman is qualified for the job. He is a lawyer who has been at the center of this administration's international economic diplomacy and also worked in similar strategic support roles in the Clinton administration. He is in many ways the architect of the Obama administration's G-20 and international trade strategies. Trade partners of the United States will also see Froman as someone who has the influence to deliver on deals, if anyone can. Froman has a very tough task ahead of him, in part because he and the president have raised expectations to the sky about what American trade policy can achieve, including closing on the TPP by the end of 2013, concluding TTIP before the end of Obama's second term and also providing a big boost to American exports. This stands in stark contrast to the neglect of trade during Obama's first term. Furthermore, various parties expect the new USTR to deliver on trade facilitation at the coming Bali meeting and to make real progress on so-called 'plurilateral' agreements in services and on information technology under the aegis of the WTO. Taken together, these represent an impossibly ambitious set of agendas, especially given the lack of authority to fast track trade agreements through Congress. The persistence of the sovereign debt and currency crisis in Europe will not help either. If Froman could close on the TPP and also achieve a concrete result at Bali or its aftermath that would recover some of the WTO's lost credibility, that would be enough to place him among the more successful USTRs of recent times. Largely unnoticed, America's new trade policy, based on the TPP and TTIP mega-regional deals, represents a huge departure from the focus on multilateral deals of the last 25 years. Therefore, Froman's challenge will be to make progress on deeper and more comprehensive trade disciplines through the mega-regionals, but also bring China and other countries along in both regional discussions and at the WTO."