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What You Need to Know About Obama's Trade Pick Mike Froman What You Need to Know About Obama's Trade Pick Mike Froman

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White House

What You Need to Know About Obama's Trade Pick Mike Froman

Obama's longtime adviser is set to replace Ron Kirk as the U.S. trade representative.

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AP photo

President Obama nominated one of his top national security advisers, Mike Froman, as the next U.S. trade representative on Thursday. Froman would replace Ron Kirk, who stepped down last month.

Here’s what you need to know about Froman:

 

He is a close adviser to the president. As Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Froman’s caseload includes, among other items, trade, energy development and international investment. His position has been tested at the G8 and G20 summits, where he serves the president’s No. 2 during those events. 

Froman and Obama go further back, though. When Obama decided to run for the Senate in 2004, Froman served as a policy adviser and introduced him to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin who Froman served in the Clinton administration.. After Obama won the presidency, Froman served on a 12-member advisory board for his transition team. He also graduated the same year as the president from Harvard Law School.

He will be instrumental for future trade pacts. During his tenure at the White House, serving on both the National Security Council and National Economic Council, Froman was a key player in finalizing congressionally approved trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. He has also represented the U.S. at several international development summits.

 

Currently, the Obama administration is looking to negotiate free-trade accords with 11 Pacific nations and the European Union in the coming months. “Trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs,” Obama said in his January State of the Union address.

As the president tries to complete his economic team, also with the nomination of Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker as the next commerce secretary, Froman is set to play a large role as the U.S. attempts to grow its international economic influence. Both cabinet nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

He has an economics background. Before joining the Obama White House, Froman served in several roles at Citigroup, including as a managing director for the company, focusing on infrastructure and development investments. While at Citigroup, he helped recruit now-Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew  to join the company.

For over two years in the late 1990s, Froman served as the chief of staff to Rubin at the Treasury Department. Before assuming that position, he was the deputy assistant secretary of Treasury on Eurasia and the Middle East. He also served in other economic capacities within the Treasury related to international development and national security.

 

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