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The negotiator

Karan K Bhatia, who serves as Deputy United States Trade Representative, is the highest-ranking Indian American in the Bush administration. A key member of US Trade Representative Susan Schwab's senior management team, his portfolio includes overseeing trade relations with East Asia, including China and Japan, South Asia, including India -- he was intimately involved in negotiations
in his words
'What we have accomplished -- and this is to both India and the United States' credit -- is the establishment of the building blocks of a trade relationship -- the architecture of a trade relationship that will last many years.'
Photo: Han Myung-Gu-Pool /
Getty Images
that led to Indian mangoes being allowed into the United States after 18 years -- Southeast Asia and Africa.

In his previous avatar as Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs at the Department of Transportation from 2003 to 2005, he was again the senior-most Indian American in the administration.

During that tenure, he crafted US international and domestic aviation policy, and supervised the negotiation of international air services agreements with more than 20 countries -- including the Open Skies Agreement with India. He was also in the thick of other negotiations that led to landmark market liberalizing agreements with China and India.

Earlier in the administration, he served in the Department of Commerce, where he held the positions of Deputy Under Secretary and Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Industry and Security -- the government agency that administers United States export controls.

"As far as US-Indian relations go, the Open Skies Agreement while at the Department of Transportation was my most fulfilling development. It put US-India aviation relations in fast-forward, and has led to lower prices and more transportation options for both Indians and Americans -- and a lot more people flying between the two countries. Similarly, while at USTR, the arrival of Indian mangoes was a very satisfying development. It is symbolically very important," he told India Abroad.

Before he joined the administration in 2001, Bhatia -- seen here with South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong -- was an equity partner at the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where he was a member of the firmís international and corporate groups.

He is an alumnus of Princeton from where he received his bachelor's degree, the London School of Economics where he received his master's, and Columbia University where he received his law degree.

Given the current international conflicts over trade, Karan Bhatia has a role of much importance to play in the coming years. Given his tremendous successes of the past, it's safe to say he'll do just fine.