Senate confirms two to U.S. Trade Representative's office

“This confirmation allows them to continue this important work every day for American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service providers.”

In March 2010, President Obama appointed Punke and Siddiqui to their current positions on recess appointments. 

Business Roundtable praised the confirmations saying the group has been a strong supporter of the nominations "especially since they each have demonstrated the experience, knowledge and diplomatic skills necessary to succeed in these positions."

“Ambassadors Punke and Siddiqui will continue to have enormous responsibilities and opportunities to forge trade policies and agreements that will help keep America competitive and support the U.S. economy,” said John Engler, President of BRT. “Maximizing U.S. economic growth is the key to putting America back on a healthy fiscal path and creating American jobs.”

The nominations were held up last year by former Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) who was pressing the administration to pressure Canada to repeal parts of an anti-smoking law passed he thought harmed Kentucky tobacco.

Meanwhile, nearly four dozen agriculture groups backed the nominations and urged Senate leadership to move forward quickly. 

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) also noted the confirmations of two Treasury officials as well as the USTR appointments. 

The Senate confirmed Paul Piquado to be an assistant secretary of Commerce for Import Administration and Janice Eberly to be assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy.  

“These four nominees will work to help our economy grow and create jobs by advancing our trade agenda and developing sound economic policy,” Baucus said.