Marantis named acting US trade representative

The departing top US trade official Ron Kirk announced Thursday that his deputy Demetrios Marantis will serve as acting US trade representative.

After serving four years in President Barack Obama's first-term cabinet, Kirk, on his last day in office, said that Marantis would take up the post on Friday.

"Demetrios has been a leading voice for President Obama's trade policies in Asia and Africa," Kirk said in a statement.

"I have valued Demetrios's contributions and counsel during my time as USTR, and his expertise and leadership abilities will bolster this agency's work for the American people and in the global trading community at this time of transition."

Confirmed by the US Senate as deputy USTR in May 2009, Marantis has been responsible for US trade negotiations and enforcement in Asia and Africa in a wide range of areas.

He notably has been involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, currently being negotiated, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.

Marantis also played a key role in the negotiation and congressional passage of the US-South Korea trade agreement that entered into force on March 15, 2012.

Before joining the Obama administration, Marantis served as chief international trade counsel for the Senate Finance Committee.

Prior to that, he served on the 2004 Democratic presidential campaign of John Kerry, now US secretary of state.

Marantis earned his law doctorate from Harvard University.

The USTR office declined to comment on whether Marantis would likely be nominated for the job.