May 22,2006

Baucus Comments on Initial USTR Vote

Senator expresses full confidence in Schwab as Finance panel reports out nomination; cautions on coming challenges, waning support for trade

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, today welcomed a Committee vote recommending the confirmation of Susan Schwab to be the next U.S. Trade Representative. Finance Committee members voted off the Senate floor this evening, 18-1, to report out Schwab’s nomination. The full Senate is expected to consider Schwab’s nomination in the coming days.

“Ambassador Schwab has the skills, experience, and tenacity to do a terrific job standing up for U.S. trade interests, and her skills will be put immediately to the test,” said Baucus. “The Doha round is teetering, Trade Promotion Authority expires next year, the trade deficit is widening and U.S. support for trade seems on the wane. I will work closely with Ambassador Schwab to keep Congress’s eye on the ball with an appropriate and aggressive trade agenda.”

Susan Schwab currently serves as one of the three Deputy U.S. Trade Representatives. In that position, she has settled a longstanding softwood lumber dispute with Canada that adversely affected timber producers in Montana and other states. She is slated to replace Ambassador Rob Portman, who served as U.S. Trade Representative since April 2005 and has now been nominated as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“Ambassador Portman leaves big shoes to fill,” said Baucus. “He did a great job as U.S. Trade Representative, and I look forward to working with him in his new role. I am confident that Ambassador Schwab, like her predecessor, will work with all Members of Congress to build consensus on trade issues, no matter how difficult.”