WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama is close to choosing White House deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs Mike Froman to be the next US trade representative, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
After a long vetting process, Chicago businesswoman and Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker is still in line to be nominated as Commerce secretary, the sources said.
The two trade jobs are among the final positions Obama has to fill in his second term cabinet.
Froman was an early frontrunner for USTR but sources told Reuters earlier this year he preferred to stay in his current White House job, which includes the trade portfolio along with energy, development, and international economic issues.
Jeff Zients, the long-time acting White House budget director, then became a top contender for the post, but Obama asked him to stay at the budget office.
Pritzker, the 271st richest American according to Forbes magazine, was Obama's national finance chair in 2008 and his campaign co-chair in 2012. Her personal fortune is worth an estimated $1.85 billion, putting her at the pinnacle of the top 1 percent of American households.