The Cable

Square swipes U.S. trade negotiator Demetrios Marantis

Silicon Valley renewed its interest in top Washington talent with the hire of Demetrios Marantis, the acting United States trade representative, who this week is leaving the government and cashing out with disruptive payment services company Square, maker of the increasingly ubiquitous iPhone and iPad credit card swipers, to oversee its international and regulatory policy. ...

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Acting US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis official portrait taken at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, March 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Silicon Valley renewed its interest in top Washington talent with the hire of Demetrios Marantis, the acting United States trade representative, who this week is leaving the government and cashing out with disruptive payment services company Square, maker of the increasingly ubiquitous iPhone and iPad credit card swipers, to oversee its international and regulatory policy.

“Square is already having a meaningful impact on local economies in the US and Canada,” said Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey in a press release. “Demetrios’ invaluable experience will help Square provide powerful business tools to local entrepreneurs around the world.”

A darling of the Senate who was rumored to replace Ron Kirk as the next U.S. trade representative, Marantis holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He first landed in the White House as deputy U.S. trade representative overseeing Asia and Africa before assuming duties as acting U.S. trade representative in March 2013.

That same month, Marantis attracted a flurry of verbal valentines from a bipartisan cohort of senators during a hearing on the administration’s trade policies. “You’d make a good U.S. trade representative yourself because you’re one of these people who has an open mind who is really trying to do the best job that he can,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) at the March 19 hearing. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) added that Marantis was “very, very talented” and had “made a lot of things happen.”

But the position ultimately went to Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, who was nominated to U.S. trade representative last week. So it’s off to the Valley for Marantis.

According to TechCrunch’s Leena Rao, it appears he will assist in Square’s efforts to expand its mobile credit card payment service internationally. “The company recently expanded to Canada, its first market outside the U.S. Square says that gross payment volume over the first six months is 90 percent higher per capita than it was in the U.S. at the equivalent point in time,” wrote Rao. “Square has yet to launch in the UK, but competitor PayPal here entered the market a few months ago.”

Last September, Square closed its fourth round of funding, which valued it at a whopping $3.25 billion.

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