WASHINGTON — Michael Froman, President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Trade Representative’s post, overcame controversy about funds he has in offshore accounts when the Senate Finance Committee approved his nomination on Tuesday and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.
On Monday, the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee unanimously approved another of Obama’s cabinet nominees, Penny Pritzker, to become Commerce Secretary.
The Senate Finance panel unanimously approved Froman’s nomination on a voice vote, despite a controversy over nearly $500,000 he reportedly has in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands, which sparked some criticism from Republicans last week because it symbolically represents a tax loophole that Obama has said he wants to close.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) accused Obama of being a hypocrite for nominating Froman after the President “railed against fat cats who avoid taxes offshore.” Grassley had also criticized Pritzker for offshore investments.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) defended Froman’s record at his confirmation hearing Thursday.
“Mike Froman is the right person for this job,” Baucus said. “For the past four years, he has demonstrated a mastery of trade policy development and implementation. President Obama has outlined an ambitious trade agenda, one that requires a strong trade representative like Mr. Froman, who can hit the ground running. The time is ripe. The United States has an opportunity to share in the rapid growth of the Pacific region and unlock further economic gains from our already deep ties with Europe.”
Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs at the White House, has played a key role in Obama’s trade agenda over the past few years, often working alongside former USTR Ron Kirk, who stepped down in February.
If confirmed by the full Senate, Froman would lead Obama’s trade negotiations and act as the chief enforcer of trade agreements. Among his top priorities will be taking over the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the U.S. and 11 other nations and launching Trans-Atlantic negotiations with the European Union.
One of Pritzker’s top priorities at the helm of Commerce, if confirmed by the Senate, will be continuing and promoting the implementation of Obama’s National Export Initiative, which seeks to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. The NEI has helped spur interest in a Made in America movement in the apparel and textile sector.
In other news, The U.S. Department of Commerce is creating the first “Select USA Investment Summit” in Washington on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Francisco Sánchez, undersecretary of commerce for international trade, gave the first word on the summit Tuesday at the “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” symposium at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, telling the hundreds in attendance that the summit is meant to “encourage foreign and domestic business investment in the United States and connect them with economic development organizations across the country to support business investment in the U.S.,” which leads to job creation and growth in the country. “Attendees will learn what the United States has to offer and why it’s a great place to do business and meet the people that can help make those investments happen,” Sánchez said.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)