Commerce Secretary Locke Nominated US Ambassador To China

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US President Obama today nominated current US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be ambassador to China. US intellectual property rights holders see it as a positive contribution to what they see as fight against massive piracy and counterfeiting from China. Locke has a history of helping US firms do business in China.

Bob Pisano, president and chief operating officer of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said: “Secretary Locke has a strong record in support of American workers and businesses whose livelihoods are dependent on exports. And, he has an outstanding record of championing intellectual property rights.”

“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,” Pisano said in a statement. “He will help lead efforts to ensure that the Chinese marketplace is opened up to American products that face far too many restrictions.”

Sandra Aistars, executive director of the Copyright Alliance, a Washington, DC-based association lobbying on behalf of rights holders, echoed MPAA. “Secretary Locke, who has demonstrated his deep commitment to promoting US exports and understands the importance of intellectual property protection, will be a much-needed advocate on the ground for American copyright-based businesses and workers,” she said in a statement.

US Senator John (Jay) Rockefeller IV, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said Locke would be “outstanding” as ambassador because he “has shown a real understanding and appreciation for the importance of promoting job creation and economic growth, while also reinvigorating US competitiveness and innovation.”

If his nomination is approved by the Senate, a replacement Commerce secretary will have to be found.

In February 2009, almost exactly two years ago, Locke was nominated as Commerce Secretary amid concerns about his prior work pushing US businesses in China. When Obama took office, he signed an act forbidding officials to work in areas they had lobbied in until two years after they had left off doing so.

Locke is an American of Chinese descent. He is a lawyer and former governor of Washington state.

Locke’s bio is here.

William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

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