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For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Cruise or Arlene Mayeda, 202-482-3809

Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Robert S. LaRussa Sworn in as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Washington, D.C. - Commerce Secretary Norman Y. Mineta issued the oath of office Friday, August 4, to Robert S. LaRussa, who received a recess appointment as Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade. Mr. LaRussa had served as Acting Under Secretary since April.

As head of the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department for Commerce, Mr. LaRussa is responsible for managing 2,158 ITA employees and advising the Secretary of Commerce on international trade issues. His priorities include promoting U.S. exports through electronic commerce, advocating U.S. business interests abroad, enforcing laws against unfair trade practices, and ensuring compliance with U.S. trade agreements.

"I look forward to working with Robert LaRussa, whose diligent work is helping U.S. businesses expand trade opportunities around the world," said Commerce Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. "Bob's previous work with the Department's Commercial Service and Import Administration shows great accomplishment in promoting free and fair trade as an engine of economic opportunity for the working people of America."

In describing his priorities for international trade during his recent Senate confirmation hearings, Mr. LaRussa said that "...it is critical to increase the number of Americans who benefit from the technology revolution and to work with U.S. businesses to increase trade through technology."

Another priority, he said, is compliance and enforcement of our trade agreements: "We want to ensure that U.S. firms and workers receive the benefits negotiated for them during China's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession process."

Mr. LaRussa said a third priority is implementation of the President's Steel Action Program, including a recently released comprehensive steel report that provides suggestions for avoiding future steel crises and setting out a strategic plan of action.

Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. LaRussa was the Assistant Secretary for Import Administration, which administers the antidumping and countervailing duty trade laws.

Mr. LaRussa joined the Commerce Department in 1993 and served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Commercial Service.

Before joining the Commerce Department, Mr. LaRussa worked as international trade counsel to Rep. Sander Levin, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He served on the Clinton presidential transition team, working on international trade and manufacturing issues, as deputy to Dr. Laura D'Andrea Tyson prior to her appointment as chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.

An attorney and former journalist, Mr. LaRussa graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and the University of Massachusetts. A native of New York, Mr. LaRussa now lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife and four sons.

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