President Barack Obama has nominated Secretary of Commerce
Gary Locke as the next ambassador to China,
replacing Jon Huntsman, who is stepping down.
Commerce oversees the National Telecommunications &
Information Administration, the president's principal telecom policy adviser.
Commerce has also been handing out billions in broadband stimulus money to spur
deployment and adoption.
The Motion Picture Association of America praised the
appointment. "As Ambassador to China,
he will be an important advocate in a nation where the theft and illegal
distribution of American movies, television shows, music, software and other
forms of intellectual property is a major threat to American
competitiveness," said MPAA
President Bob Pisano in a statement. "Likewise, he will help lead efforts
to ensure that the Chinese marketplace is opened up to American products that
face far too many restrictions.
"Under Secretary Locke's leadership, the Department of
Commerce was focused on creating the kind of strong, supportive environment
required for American businesses to thrive in the face of increasing global
competition," said Disney Chairman Robert Iger in a statement
circulated by the White House. "I'm confident he'll bring the same level
of leadership and advocacy to his new role, representing the interests of our
nation in China."
"In replacing Ambassador Huntsman, I can think of
nobody who is more qualified than Gary Locke," said the president
Wednesday. "More than 100 years ago, Gary's
grandfather left China
on a steamship bound for America,
where he worked as a domestic servant in Washington
State. A century later, his
grandson will return to China
top diplomat. "
Locke must still be confirmed by the Senate.