Judo-practicing 'Iron Lady' Takes over EU, boosts U.S. trade

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Angela Merkel,Europe,EU,Trade

Get ready to hear more about the Judo-loving president of Lithuania dubbed the "Iron Lady" for her harsh austerity measures used to yank the Baltic state out of economic disaster without any outside help.

That's because not only does Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite's country take over as the president of the European Union, but she just helped launched the new American-Lithuanian Business Council in Washington to boost trade between the two.

"I welcome the establishment of the American-Lithuanian Business Council," she said. "Increased cooperation between Lithuania and the United States will promote innovation and investment exchange that will be mutually economically and culturally beneficial to our countries and societies."

Associates describe her as a tough negotiator and who took no prisoners during her bid to steer Lithuania out of an economic disaster. For her efforts, she was dubbed the world's newest "Iron Lady," a term used widely to describe former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died last month.

Adding to her intimidating resume is her successes in Judo. She holds a black belt in the sport.

The new American-Lithuanian Business Council will focus on trade and cultural exchanges. Eric Stewart with Williams and Jensen is serving as the board's president.The Council's board: Strategic Staffing Solutions as chair, Chevron as vice chair, Western Union as treasurer, Exelon Generation as secretary. Other participating companies are Fluor, Maersk Line, Limited and Thermo Fisher Scientific.