Writer picked to be trade ambassador

By Reuters
September 4, 2009

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WASHINGTON - President Obama intends to nominate Michael Punke, a former US trade official turned novelist and screenwriter, to be US ambassador to the World Trade Organization, the White House said.

Punke, if approved by the Senate, would fill a key slot on Obama’s trade team as long-running trade talks show renewed signs of life.

Punke is uniquely suited to lead the US team, “particularly at this critical time in the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations,’’ US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said, urging approval of the nomination.

Punke would take over from Peter Allgeier, who has stepped down.

Punke was a senior policy adviser in the US Trade Representative’s office in the mid-1990s after a two-year stint in the White House under President Clinton.

Most recently, Punke has pursued a career as a novelist and history writer in addition to working as an adjunct professor at the University of Montana.