Gary Locke to represent US in Beijing

08:13, March 09, 2011      

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UNITED States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the son and grandson of Chinese immigrants, is to be the next US ambassador to China, according to American officials.

An announcement is expected this week.

If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would succeed Jon Huntsman, one of the few Republicans in President Barack Obama's administration.

Huntsman recently tendered his resignation effective at the end of April, and he is viewed as a potential Republican challenger to Obama in the 2012 presidential contest.

Locke, 61, is the first Chinese American to serve as commerce secretary. His father and grandfather were born in China and settled in Washington state after emigrating to the US.

In an interview with The Associated Press before word of his nomination began to spread, Locke touted the economic relationship he had helped build between the US and China. He said US exports to China increased 34 percent last year.

Obama sees boosting US exports as a way to save and create jobs as the economy continues its slow walk out of its worst slump in a generation. He has set a goal of doubling the amount of American goods that are sold to other countries within five years - an effort in which Locke has been a key cheerleader.

Locke said China becomes more accessible to US companies, though he said progress has been slow in coming. "We in government and the business community want more and faster progress," he said. "There's still a long way to go."

Before joining the administration, Locke worked for a Seattle-based law firm. He joined the firm after declining to seek a third term as Washington state's governor.
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Source: Shanghai Daily

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