Spooner, the former administrative assistant and legislative director for Rep. Sue Myrick (R., N.C.), succeeds Kevin Koonce, who held the post for a brief period last year before leaving for personal reasons.
Prior to his stint with Myrick, Spooner served as the communications director for the House Committee on Agriculture.
“David Spooner’s experience on Capitol Hill and his knowledge of textile issues and textile communities provides USTR with an important and special perspective,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a statement. “His appointment should help us address the concerns of textile workers and the textile industry.”
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office does not intend to seek an ambassadorship for Spooner. That move avoids a Senate confirmation process, which can be a contentious battle. The job was previously called chief textile negotiator and that official was usually named an ambassador.
As special textile negotiator, Spooner will lead international trade negotiations and coordinate trade policy that affects the textile and apparel industries. He will be a key player in balancing the opposing interests of domestic textile producers who want to protect their industry with those of importers, retailers and manufacturers who are pushing for more trade liberalization.
Spooner will face many challenges this year, as the U.S. negotiates during the new round of global trade talks forged in Doha, Qatar, in November. The talks among 144 nations in the World Trade Organization began this month and are slated to end by Jan. 1, 2005. That is also the date on which all quotas on textiles and apparel will be phased out.
U.S. trade officials have put textile and apparel tariffs reductions on the table and agreed to a review of quota growth calculations, as well as antidumping laws, which caused a controversy in domestic markets and in Congress.