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Bush Nominates Portman for US Trade Representative Post


President Bush has nominated a former international trade lawyer to be America's new trade representative.

President Bush wants Ohio Congressman Rob Portman to lead America's efforts to sell more goods overseas.

"I have asked him to take on a bold agenda. We need to continue to open markets abroad by pursuing bilateral free trade agreements with partners around the world," Mr. Bush said. "We need to finish our work to establish a free trade area of the Americas, which will become the largest free trade zone in the world."

The president says he wants a vigorous enforcement of existing trade laws and the completion of the Doha round of the World Trade Organization to reduce global trade barriers.

If confirmed by the Senate, Congressman Portman would succeed Ambassador Robert Zoellick who has gone to the State Department as a deputy secretary.

Congressman Portman has served in Congress for 12 years and sits on the House Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over trade.

He was active in the president's re-election campaign, particularly in his home state of Ohio, which the president narrowly won.

Mr. Bush says Mr. Portman is the right man for the job.

"I have known him for many years. He is a good friend, a decent man, and a skilled negotiator," the president said. "He understands that trade creates jobs, raises living standards, and lowers prices for families here at home."

As the world trades more freely, president Bush says the world becomes more free.

Speaking to reporters following his nomination at the White House, Congressman Portman said free trade is part of expanding democracy abroad.

"Open markets and better trade relations are key components to a more peaceful, a more stable, and a more prosperous world," he said. "Through expanded trade, the roots of democracy and freedom are deepened."

The U.S. Trade Representative has become an increasing important position in Washington as one in every five American factory jobs now depends on access to overseas markets.

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