The Grocery Manufacturers of America yesterday praised President-elect George W. Bush's selection of former State Department official Robert Zoellick to be the next United States Trade Representative.

"Given his impressive record and his demonstrated knowledge of economics, foreign policy and trade, Bob Zoellick is an excellent choice to be our trade representative," said Mary Sophos, Senior Vice President and Chief Government Affairs Officer of the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

"Processed foods and consumer goods are among the fastest growing sectors of the export markets which makes free trade a high priority for GMA member companies. We are confident that Bob Zoellick will be an effective advocate for the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers on the world stage," concluded Sophos.

GMA is the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies. With U.S. sales of more than $460 billion, GMA members employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states. The organization applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry. Led by a board of 44 Chief Executive Officers, GMA speaks for food and consumer product manufacturers at the state, federal and international levels on legislative and regulatory issues. The association also leads efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and growth in the food, beverage and consumer products industry.