Apr 6, 2010
04:04 PMThe Wind Machine
Obama appointments could energize trade policy issues.
While we have a population in this country of 307 million people, the subset of Americans with direct experience in agricultural trade policy work is quite limited. When you work in this area for many years, you often run into friends or acquaintances. Two examples: Dr. Isi Siddiqui (acquaintance) and Janet Nuzum (friend) Siddiqui was given a recess appointment on March 28 by President Obama to be chief U.S. agricultural negotiator with the Office of the United States Trade Representative. His regular nomination had stalled before the U.S. Senate and this was a way to get him to work immediately without waiting for normal confirmation procedures. While most recently at CropLife America, a national agricultural chemical association, Siddiqui had previously interacted with our industry when he served in the Clinton Administration as a high level policy advisor at USDA. He knows the produce industry well and should do a good job at USTR.
After several changes in the initial leadership at USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, Janet Nuzum was appointed FAS' General Sales
Manager and Associate Administrator in January. I have known Nuzum since 1990 when I met her and her future husband, John Ziolkowski, at a ministerial meeting held in Brussels during international negotiations under the Uruguay Round. Nuzum, an attorney, was present as a staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee while Ziolkowski represented the Senate's Agriculture Committee. We have kept in close touch over the years, as Nuzum has progressed through her career.
These two appointments should help energize what to date has been a lethargic approach by the Obama Administration to agricultural trade policy issues.