Froman, Obama's pick for USTR, is "absolutely the right person at the right place at the right time," says Bill Lane, Caterpillar Inc. director of global government affairs. In Froman's current job as deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, "he played an enormous role in getting the three ">[free-trade agreements]—Colombia, Panama and Korea—across the goal line after a long pause," Lane says.

Moreover, Lane says that, in 2012, "[Froman] was the tip of the spear within the administration as far as getting ">Russia through Congress [for permanent normal trade relations]."

Obama said Froman has “fought to make sure that countries that break the rules are held accountable.” Yaksich says AEM has had concerns about protectionist moves by Russia since the country became part of the World Trade Organization last year. He adds, “We’re pleased to see [a USTR nominee] who would be aggressive in enforcing the rules and again taking the U.S. back into its leadership position.”

New trade talks also are on tap, including negotiations with the European Union as well as separate discussions with 18 countries and the EU on services industries. Lane says, "With Froman as USTR, all sides realize that he has the ear of the president. As a result, when he's in the room, negotiations take on a sense of seriousness that he can uniquely provide."

During the Clinton administration, Froman worked at the Treasury Dept. under Secretary Robert Rubin and "always had an engagement policy toward the business community," Lane further notes.

If confirmed for the USTR position, Froman would replace Ron Kirk, who announced in January he would be stepping down and left on March 14.

Story modified May 3 to correct Froman's title.