The US Senate yesterday confirmed the appointment of Susan C Schwab as the new United States trade representative.

Ms Schwab, 51, is currently the deputy trade representative for Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, and will take over the post from Rob Portman who has become President Bush's budget director.

The appointment has been applauded by The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) - which is urging Schwab to make full implementation of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) a top priority.
AAFA president and CEO Kevin M Burke said Schwab has already developed close working relationships with her counterparts in key countries around the world - as well as key members of the US Congress.

This "will serve her well as she prepares to move the Doha Round of negotiations towards a successful conclusion, completes implementation of CAFTA and works towards conclusion and Congressional approval of free trade agreements with Thailand, Colombia, Peru, Korea and Malaysia."

During her tenure as deputy US trade representative, Schwab was actively engaged in the development of US strategy in the Doha Round multilateral trade negotiations, and successfully concluded bilateral free trade agreements with Peru and Columbia.