Obama announces nominees for Commerce, Trade Rep.

Washington, May 2 (EFE).- President Barack Obama on Thursday named Penny Pritzker to be the next commerce secretary and White House economic adviser Michael Froman to be U.S. Trade Representative.

Both nominations must be confirmed by the Senate.

In comments at the White House before departing for Mexico and Costa Rica, Obama emphasized that Froman had been a "key negotiator" in the free trade treaties with Colombia and Panama, and he said he was confident about his ability to lead the conversations that will begin in June regarding the desired free trade treaty with the European Union.

"He has also won a reputation as being an extraordinarily tough negotiator while doing it. He does not rest until he's delivered the best possible deal for American businesses and American workers," said Obama.

With regard to Pritzker, Obama emphasized that she is "one of our country's most distinguished business leaders."

"She's got more than 25 years of management experience in industries including real estate, finance, and hospitality. She's built companies from the ground up," the president said of his nominee.

If confirmed, Pritzker will take charge of the Commerce Department, which for more than a year has been headed by Interim Secretary Rebecca Blank since the resignation of John Bryson for health reasons.

The businesswoman - who is celebrating her 54th birthday today and, in Obama's words, "For your birthday present, you get to go through confirmation" - was one of the big donors to the president's political campaigns.

Currently, she is chair and CEO of PSP Capital Partners and its real estate affiliate, Pritzker Realty Group, as well as being a board member for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Froman served in different posts during the presidency of Bill Clinton, including as chief of personnel in the Treasury Department, and he has a long working relationship with Obama going back to when both were law students at Harvard.