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Posted at 5:40 PM ET, 03/10/2011

Obama expects trade, export reorganization plans in 90 days

By Ed O'Keefe

President Obama is giving aides 90 days to find ways to overhaul federal trade and export agencies, according to senior administration officials familiar with the plan.

The president is expected to sign a memorandum on Friday formally launching a reorganization plan he announced during his State of the Union address to focus first on revamping 12 trade and export agencies and may later shift to other government operations.

The process will be led by Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey D. Zients and Obama's former staff secretary, Lisa Brown. Other top officials from across the government are expected to join the discussions, according to the aides, who were not authorized to speak on the record.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney disputed a published report suggesting the White House would propose merging the Office of U.S. Trade Representative into the Commerce Department. That report "got way ahead of itself," because the administration has yet to draft any plans, Carney said.

In a related matter, Zients on Friday will host the first meeting of a new presidential advisory board comprised of 10 top corporate leaders, including Motorola chief executive Greg Brown; Pfizer boss Jeffrey B. Kindler; Aetna chief executive Ronald A. Williams; Gail J. McGovern, head of the American Red Cross; and Debra L. Lee, chairman and chief executive of BET Networks.

The business leaders will share advice on how to reorganize the trade and export agencies but focus mostly on government management issues, according to administration officials not authorized to speak publicly. Obama announced the group's formation last April but had not yet picked its members.

Zients, who is also overseeing plans to curtail government contract spending and trim the federal government's building portfolio, has been mentioned as a potential successor to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Obama nominated Locke this week as the next U.S. ambassador to China. Zients has no plans to leave OMB anytime soon, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 10, 2011; 5:40 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Or .. he could just axe Farm Aid and Military Aid entirely and end the Two Wars of Republican Foreign Adventure that we can't afford that just ship American jobs overseas.

Posted by: WillSeattle | March 10, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Ummmm. I'll bet Obammao gets LOTS of "free" money from all those CORPORATIONS on his "reorganization" committee. I wonder what they have already gotten?

Posted by: Fiftycaltx1 | March 10, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

WillSeattle, Obama is not a republican, mostly. You need to update your lingo. We now have Overseas Contingency Operations Against Man-Caused Disasterists. Even though the Bush policies have stayed the same, you have to notice that the names have changed!

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 11, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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