From Belgium To Beltway

Coming soon to Commerce: Stuart Eizenstat, a policy pro with top connections, who will be nominated as Under Secretary for International Trade. Eizenstat would succeed Jeffrey Garten, who resigned to head Yale's School of Management.

The high-profile appointment mirrors the transformation of Commerce, long a backwater, into a powerhouse under Secretary Ronald Brown. Eizenstat, now U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was Jimmy Carter's chief domestic policy adviser. In the 1980s, he strengthened his political ties to Republicans and Democrats alike as a lawyer-lobbyist. Eizenstat, 52, likely will tilt the Administration's Asia-oriented trade policy back toward Europe, and will prove an effective defender of Commerce's trade programs against GOP budget hawks.

But why leave a cushy post in Brussels to take an arguably lesser job in Washington? Eizenstat may be eyeing bigger things: Probers still are poking into Brown's finances, and U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor may jump to Clinton's campaign team.

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