Gary Locke To Be Named U.S. Ambassador To China
President Barack Obama is scheduled to name Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as the new U.S. Ambassador to China Tuesday, according to senior administration officials.
Former Ambassador John Huntsman left the post in late January and will take effect April 30, possibly to prepare for a 2012 Presidential bid against Obama.
The Washington Post reported:
Huntsman, a Republican, was considered a strong ambassador in one of the most strategically important capitals in the world, with his mix of fluency in Chinese and extensive knowledge about the region. He plans to depart Beijing in April.
Although Locke has not emerged as a star in the Obama orbit, he is Chinese American and well-regarded in the Chinese business community. He was Obama's third choice for the Commerce position, after the nomination of Bill Richardson was pulled over ethics concerns and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) withdrew over policy disagreements.
Locke joined the administration after serving as Washington state's governor, in the process becoming the first Asian American elected governor of any state. In that job, he worked to establish strong ties with Chinese business interests, and he knows many top officials in that country, especially in government circles.
Locke first stepped into the national political spotlight as the first Chinese-American to lead a state, after he was elected governor of Washington. After two terms, Locke was chosen to lead the Secretary of Commerce.
From the Wall Street Journal:
At the commerce department, Mr. Locke made numerous appearances and overseas trips to help the administration reach its goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014. But he played only a marginal role in the administration's high-profile talks to revise and conclude a trade agreement with South Korea.
Mr. Locke has escorted U.S. business executives on trade-related missions around the globe—most recently, to India. But he has no business experience of his own.
Locke is also known for the successful recent completion of the 2010 United States Census.