WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Thursday named Thomas Storch as a new senior trade adviser, taking on the position just as the United States attempts to conclude a trade deal with China.
Storch, who was part of a high-level delegation to Bahrain for Middle East peace talks earlier this year, fills the role left open by Kelly Ann Shaw, the G7 and senior trade adviser whose departure was announced last week.
He will report to President Donald Trump’s senior economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, head of the White House National Economic Council (NEC).
Storch was a key player in creating the economic plan for the Middle East that Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner proposed to try to jumpstart the moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians at a conference in Bahrain in June.
He was previously senior director for global economics, finance and development at the National Security Council (NSC) with a portfolio that included the G7 and G20 as well as international financial institutions. He was also a senior official at the Trump Energy Department.
The United States and China are battling to conclude a trade deal by mid-November and hope Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping can sign it at a site to be determined.
They had planned to meet on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Santiago, Chile, but massive protests against inequality there forced Chile to cancel the gathering.
Storch’s appointment is part of a revamped National Economic Council, which now includes the international economics portfolio. Trump’s new national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, shifted that portfolio from the National Security Council as part of plans to reduce the latter by about a third in the coming months.