The U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet-rank position, is the point person for coordinating and implementing U.S. trade policy and for conducting international trade negotiations with individual countries and multilateral institutions.
Kirk, who has headed the agency since March 2009, was elected in 1995 as the first African-American mayor of Dallas. He left that job in 2001 in an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002. Kirk has also been a partner in the international law firm of Vinson & Elkins.
Kirk has been mentioned as a choice to fill the now-vacant post of Secretary of Commerce — and it was not clear whether he might be willing to stay if offered that job.
The trade rep position is highly coveted in part because it has a focused mission and a small — around 200 or so — and highly professional staff.
Probably doesn’t hurt — for those who value location — that the headquarters is across the street from the White House complex.