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Published December 23, 2013, 10:08 AM

Obama nominates Vetter as trade rep

President Barack Obama on Dec. 17 announced his intention to nominate Darci L. Vetter, a Nebraskan, for chief agricultural negotiator with the rank of ambassador, a position in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

By: Jerry Hagstrom, Agweek

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Dec. 17 announced his intention to nominate Darci L. Vetter, a Nebraskan, for chief agricultural negotiator with the rank of ambassador, a position in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Vetter is from Aurora, Neb., where her family owns a small grain cleaning and processing business where she worked summers as a teenager.

She would succeed Islam Siddiqui, who has announced his intention to depart. The position is changing hands just as the negotiations for new trade agreements with the Pacific nations and the European Union are advancing. In addition, there was a breakthrough in the Doha round of multilateral negotiations recently.

Vetter is now U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, a position she has held since 2010.

According to the USDA website, Vetter oversees the department’s international activities. She has key responsibilities in international trade negotiations and export assistance programs, and coordinates USDA’s role in international food aid. She also plays a leadership role in several international economic development and trade capacity building programs.

Background

From 2007 to 2010, she was an international trade adviser on the Democratic staff on the Senate Finance Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. In that job, she advised Baucus and other committee members on trade issues relating to agriculture, the environment and labor, including the 2008 farm bill and on climate change.

Before working in the Senate, Vetter held a number of roles at USTR, including director for agricultural affairs from 2005 to 2007 and director for sustainable development from 2001 to 2005.

At USTR, she was responsible for facilitating the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and resolving agricultural trade issues with Canada and Mexico, as well as participating in the World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations. She also negotiated the environmental provisions of the U.S.-Chile free trade agreement and negotiated trade provisions in U.N. environmental treaties, including the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Before that, she was special assistant to the undersecretary for management at the State Department from 2000 to 2001.

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