Gary Locke formally resigned today as commerce secretary and was sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the next U.S. ambassador to China.
Rebecca Blank took over as acting secretary at Commerce.
The transfer was expected since the U.S. Senate last week confirmed Locke as envoy to China. A former two-term governor of Washington state who has already dealt with China on a number of trade issues, he is also the first Chinese American to serve as ambassador.
Blank has been acting deputy secretary at Commerce since November. Before that she was Locke’s principal economic adviser as under secretary for economic affairs and head of the Economics and Statistics Administration.
President Obama nominated utility industry veteran John Bryson, a former CEO of Edison International, to be the next commerce secretary, but several senators are blocking a vote on him over a range of issues.
In his time at Commerce, Locke’s duties including promoting U.S. business interests abroad and trying to double exports within five years to implement Obama’s National Export Initiative. U.S. exports in 2010 rose 17 percent over 2009, and sales to China rose 32 percent in that time.
-- Contact John D. Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/jboydjoc