Obama to name Commerce Secretary Locke envoy to China

Laura Rozen
March 7, 2011

President Barack Obama plans to nominate Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next U.S. ambassador to China, to succeed Jon Huntsman, ABC News reports.

Locke is a former governor of Washington state and is of Chinese-American descent, ABC's Jake Tapper writes:

Locke is the first Chinese-American to be Secretary of Commerce. The former two-term governor of Washington state, Locke's father and maternal grandfather emigrated from China to Seattle.  As a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Locke co-chaired the firm's China practice.

"The president asked him to take this job because Locke had the experience and relationships necessary to take on this key post," a senior administration official tells ABC News. "With more than two decades of experience dealing with China, Gary Locke has forged important relationships with China's top political leadership. There is simply no one better positioned to advocate for American interests there and build on a bilateral relationship critical for the 21st century."

(Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addresses the Asia-Pacific patent cooperation forum Monday March 7, 2011; Commerce Department photo.)