Former U.S. Congressman Don Johnson, D-Ga., began work at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as the new Chief Textile Negotiator earlier this month, the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USAITA) has reported.

      Traditionally the White House nominates the negotiator as an ambassador, a position which requires confirmation by the Senate.  Neither the White House nor the USTR have announced the appointment.

     Mr. Johnson, however, has been considered a top choice for the position since last fall.  An attorney and graduate of the London School of Economics, Mr. Johnson was elected to Congress in 1992, representing Georgia’s 10th District, which includes Athens, Augusta, and the Atlanta suburbs.  He was defeated for reelection in 1994.

      According to published reports, Mr. Johnson’s appointment would be favored by trade associations such as the American Apparel Manufacturers Association, the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel and the National Retail Federation based on his support for the Nafta and GATT agreements.

      The USAITA may be reached by calling (212) 463-0089; fax, (212) 463-0583.