The Swearing-in of USTR Ron Kirk

our trade policies to inspire a new environment of basic fairness — basic fairness in our trade relationships, and to generate some — which is going to be one of the cores of whether or not we actually have widespread prosperity here in the United States. And he’s got the ideas I think can help make this happen.

I understand that there is not a trade-off, and I think he understands, there’s not a trade-off made between supporting free and fair trade and fighting for American workers. Not only can we, we have to, do both. We have to do both. He understands that trade policy is more than just a series of agreements with other countries. It means new social accountability where American influence can shape global trends, where fairness becomes the guiding principle everywhere.

So, ladies and gentlemen, quite simply, trade policy is a vital tool — a vital tool in promoting American interest and ideas around the world; a vital tool in the pursuit of a better life for every American — and God willing, no good agreement is a good agreement unless both parties prosper — and hopefully it is good for the rest of the world, as well.

Ron will be engaged in that pursuit day in and day out. Any of you who know him know he’s like a bulldog, he doesn’t let anything go. He doesn’t let it go. You give him a mission, he accomplishes it. Was he like that when he was a kid, Mom? All right, okay. (Laughter.) Well, he has a multiple role here. He’s got to be an enforcer; he’s got to be a collaborator; he’s got to be a negotiator. But most of all, he has to be a leader. And that’s what has been the hallmark of his entire career.

He’s going to help create a more stable and sustainable, and I think, vibrant American economy as a consequence of his efforts. Other than that, his job is a piece of cake, Mom. (Laughter.) There’s not much else he has to do.

Really, though, look, in these tough times with economies everywhere, everywhere in the world struggling — there’s not one that’s not — nations around the globe are looking for new ideas, looking for American leadership. With everyone looking for a reason to be hopeful, the United States of America is poised to stand up and once again become the leader the world needs.

And I know that the President knows — the President knows that Ron Kirk will be the one that helps light the way for us on trade issues. So, Mr. U.S. Trade Representative, I’m going to ask you to come forward and take the oath of office before I give you the — give you the podium.

(Source: White House)

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