October 21,2011

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Baucus Applauds Senate Confirmation of Trade, Treasury Nominees

Washington, DCSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today applauded the Senate’s confirmation of four nominees: Michael Punke to be a Deputy United States Trade Representative; Islam Siddiqui to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR); Paul Piquado to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration; and Janice Eberly to be Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy.  The Senate confirmed the nominees last night.  Baucus led the Finance Committee to approve Punke’s, Siddiqui’s and Piquado’s nominations at a hearing earlier this month and Eberly’s nomination in September. 

“These four nominees will work to help our economy grow and create jobs by advancing our trade agenda and developing sound economic policy,” said Baucus.  “Michael Punke, a native Montanan, will help open new overseas markets to the world-class products made here in America.  Islam Siddiqui will work on behalf of our farmers and ranchers, finding new markets for their products in the global marketplace and representing them in international negotiations.  Paul Piquado will help protect against unfair trade practices by other countries that cost us jobs and hinder economic growth.  Janice Eberly will help develop economic strategies that move our country forward and to energize the economy and create jobs.”

Michael Punke, a Missoula, Montana resident and former University of Montana adjunct professor, has worked in the international trade field for two decades, including as International Trade Counsel to Chairman Baucus from 1991 to 1993 and Senior Policy Advisor to USTR from 1995 to 1996.  He was Director for International Economic Affairs in the Clinton Administration from 1993 to 1995, and he served on both the National Security Council and National Economic Council.  Punke is a graduate of The George Washington University and Cornell Law School.  He has served as Deputy United States Trade Representative since his recess appointment in 2010.  Once confirmed, Punke will continue his work opening critical markets to U.S. exports by guiding the United States in the ongoing Doha negotiations.

Islam Siddiqui served in the Agriculture Department during the Clinton Administration as a Senior Trade Advisor and as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, where he worked alongside USTR in agricultural trade negotiations.  More recently, he was the Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America.  He has served as USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator since his recess appointment in 2010.  Once confirmed, Siddiqui will work to advance the interests of American farmers and ranchers in the global marketplace.  Siddiqui is a graduate of Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University in Pantnagar, India, and holds both a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Paul Piquado is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Policy and Negotiations in the Import Administration at the Commerce Department, a position he has held since early 2010.  For five years prior, Piquado was the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Trade Policy, advising Governor Ed Rendell on trade matters.  He also served, during that time, as an advisor to USTR’s Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade.  Piquado earned a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy and a law degree from New York University.  As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration, Piquado will develop policies that help counter unfair foreign trade practices that have a negative effect on American interests.

Janice Eberly joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1997 and is currently the John L. and Helen Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Finance at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.  She previously served on advisory panels of the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Congressional Budget Office and on the staff of the White House Council of Economic Advisors.  As Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, Eberly would direct the Office of Economic Policy, which analyzes and reports on a broad swath of economic issues and assists in the preparation of the Administration’s annual budget.