Trade agency names chief transparency officer

Trade agency names chief transparency officer
© Greg Nash
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael FromanMichael FromanUS will investigate aluminum imports as national security hazard Overnight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations MORE on Thursday tapped Timothy Reif to be the USTR’s chief transparency officer, a job established by the trade promotion authority law signed this summer by President Obama. 
 
Froman said Reif — who will retain his general counsel duties for USTR — brings decades of experience to a job that will oversee transparency issues on trade between the White House, Congress and the public. 
 
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“Tim is uniquely qualified to further this administration’s unprecedented efforts to make trade negotiations more accessible and transparent to the public and their representatives in Congress,” Froman said. 
 
“From his time as a senior congressional trade policy advisor to his many years leading the U.S. government’s trade enforcement efforts, Tim brings a wealth of expertise to the job of furthering our transparency priorities.”
 
Many lawmakers have complained that the direction of trade negotiations, especially those on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), have been closed off to all but high-level negotiators and large corporations. 
 
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who co-authored the fast-track trade law and has pushed for greater transparency, praised the move. 
 
“This announcement is a good move to begin implementing the transparency provisions of our bipartisan trade bill, and that starts with naming a chief transparency officer to be accountable for making the trade process more open and transparent,” Wyden said. 
 
“Tim Reif has a distinguished record for prioritizing trade enforcement in his role as general counsel and I believe he is equally capable of bringing sunlight to our trade negotiations," he added. 
 
The move comes at a critical time for the nation's trade policy, with the TPP nearing completion and negotiations continuing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement, the Environmental Goods Agreement and the Information Technology Agreement, among others. 
 
Before joining the USTR in 2009 as general counsel, Reif served as chief international trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee.