Jew named to position at Commerce

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — After spending more than two years in Brussels as American ambassador to the European Union, Stuart Eizenstat will be returning to Washington, D.C., to become undersecretary of the Department of Commerce.

Appointed to the position by President Clinton on Jan. 3, Eizenstat is expected to be confirmed easily by the Senate Banking Committee and Senate Finance Committee.

Eizenstat plans to retain his job as ambassador, to which he was appointed in July 1993, until final confirmation.

Even if confirmed, Eizenstat will continue efforts to secure restitution of Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis during World War II. The State Department appointed him last March to serve as special envoy in Central and Eastern Europe.

Eizenstat, who is the highest ranking observant Jew in the Clinton administration, will be the second highest Jewish official in the history of the Department of Commerce. Philip Klutznick was the department's secretary during the Carter administration.

In a telephone interview from Brussels, Eizenstat, who was President Carter's chief domestic policy adviser, said he is looking forward to serving as a senior official in the Department of Commerce.

Eizenstat said he will help U.S. businesses gain export opportunities against what he considers "unfair trade practices." He will also attempt to improve the coordination between U.S. trade policy and foreign policy.

"I want to cooperate with the State Department in those regions in the midst of a peace process, regions where economic growth and job creation is crucial," he said, referring to Bosnia, Northern Ireland and particularly the Mideast.

As "foreign aid dollars are declining, there is a need to create jobs and economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza," he said.

"If the region sees the fruits of making peace, there will be less political tension. That has to be done by private sector investment, joint ventures and trade," he added.

At a recent news conference, Eizenstat said he would also work to end the Arab boycott of Israel. Noting that the United States and the European Union recently made a joint commitment to end the boycott, he told reporters: "This joint call is an important message to extremely antiquated and deleterious practices."