U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke formally resigned Monday, Aug. 1, and was sworn-in by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime serving as Commerce Secretary for President Obama. I’m proud of the men and women with whom I had the privilege to work and the tremendous accomplishments we’ve made together in the last 28 months,” Locke said.
“From increasing U.S. exports and reducing patent application wait times, to creating the foundation for a national smart grid and taking an important first step to reform the export control system, we have helped create jobs, helped lay the foundation for future economic growth, and made American companies more innovative at home and more competitive abroad. And we did all of this while making the Commerce Department more efficient and responsive to its stakeholders,” Locke noted, citing the 2010 Census in particular.
The Census came in on time and 25 percent under budget, saving taxpayers nearly $1.9 billion.
“From Asia to South America to Ohio and Iowa, I have met with foreign leaders, CEOs, inventors, and small business owners. Throughout my travels, I have seen the worldwide appeal of American products and the ingenuity of the American people. While commerce secretary was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, I’m excited to take on the challenge of serving as our nation’s top envoy to China. I look forward to continuing my service to the American people.”
Dr. Rebecca M. Blank, acting deputy secretary of the Commerce Department, will serve as acting commerce secretary. Blank has served as acting deputy secretary since November 2010.
“Gary is going to Beijing at a time when there will be a lot of work for us to do to follow up on with the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, that there will be many difficult issues and challenges to face,” Clinton said. “But I know that Gary is more than ready to tackle that.”
While officiating for Locke’s swearing in ceremony, Clinton also spoke about the importance of the United States fostering a relationship with China.
In May, President Obama nominated John Bryson to serve as the next commerce secretary. His nomination is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate. ♦