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K Street Files: Hurting Gulf Seafood Industry Wants U.S. to Buy In

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Last summer’s BP oil disaster struck just as the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico was beginning to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Now, nobody wants the seafood.

Not everyone is apparently happy with the terms of the deal, but many traditional free-trade opponents, such as labor unions, are staying on the sidelines — for now, at least.

On Friday, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), a former steelworker, gave some indication of the behind-the-scenes grousing, issuing a statement arguing that the Korea FTA  “has several fundamental problems.”

Still, trade industry sources said they do not expect a groundswell of opposition to the deal, which must be voted on within 90 days after Obama sends it to Congress.

“Given the parties that have all come together,” an automotive industry source said, “there’s a lot of momentum to get this done before something else gets in its way.”

The Property Ladder

In another sign that Facebook is growing up, the social media network’s Washington office will be moving in the spring from its funky Dupont Circle digs to more spacious quarters downtown.

“I can confirm that we’ve signed the lease on a long-term location that will fit our growing business needs,” said Andrew Noyes, a spokesman in Facebook’s Washington office. “I can also confirm that we hope to move into the space at the end of April.”

Douglas Development also announced Tuesday that Facebook has leased 8,600 square feet in its newly renovated property at 1155 F Street NW. In a news release, the development company said “the building’s refurbished interior, with exposed brick and modern touches, creates an atmosphere that appeals to corporate law firms, cutting edge technology companies, and retailers.”  Other tenants in the building include Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Shook Hardy & Bacon, Novo Nordisk, Servcorp, Intel Corp. and Home Depot Inc. The office space being leased to Facebook can handle 30 to 40 people. Facebook has not said how much it plans to expand its staff.

While Facebook has been growing by leaps and bounds, it still has a smaller Washington presence than other high-tech companies such as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Drug Lobby Shake-Up

There are more changes at the top of the drug industry trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Christopher Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi-Aventis, has become the new chairman of PhRMA’s board of directors.

He replaces Jeffrey Kindler, who suddenly retired last weekend as CEO of Pfizer Inc., one of the more influential members of PhRMA.

PhRMA has been doing major housecleaning since last spring, when the group’s top executive, former Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin (R), left and was replaced by John Castellani, the former head of Business Roundtable. In a statement, Castellani said that under Viehbacher’s leadership the trade group will “continue to work for sound policies that bring the benefits of medical innovation to patients, reward investment in R&D, help create jobs and promote economic growth in the U.S.”

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