Trade Nominee `Doing the Job': Barshefsky Earns Mostly High Marks
Woellert, Lorraine, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
When President Clinton named Charlene Barshefksy his acting U.S. trade representative in April, she was in China fighting for the rights of American producers of computer software, music and movies.
Yesterday, when Mr. Clinton said he would make her job permanent, she was in Japan trying to hammer out a deal for U.S. insurance companies.
"She's doing the job," said Jeff Weir, director of communications for the Semiconductor Industry Association.
In the nine months she has been at the helm of the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, Mrs. Barshefsky, 47, has won accolades for being as tough and tenacious as her high-profile predecessor, Mickey Kantor, the current commerce secretary.
Her appointment comes as she finishes a productive week in Singapore, where the 128-member World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday concluded its inaugural meeting. The pact, which will lower trade barriers on information-technology products, was championed by the United States and is the only concrete progress the WTO has to show for its first meeting.
Industry leaders are crediting that success in large part to Mrs. Barshefsky's tenacity. Her ability to push a deal through an unwieldy body of disparate nations, each with its own interests to protect, is a testament to her abilities, industry leaders said yesterday. …