Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama's Pick for Commerce Secretary: Gary Locke

News has just come in that Barack Obama may pick former Washington Governor, Gary Locke as his new commerce secretary! Locke was the first Chinese American to be elected as governor in United States history. He beat incumbant Tim Hill in 1996 and was reelected in 2000. Locke was third in line to be selected as Obama's new secretary of commerce. Both Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg, Obama's first and second choices, withdrew their nominations for various reasons.

What does the commerce secretary of the United States actually do? If elected, Gary Locke would become head of the sector concerned with business and industry. The department seeks "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce," which simply means it deals with promoting US trade domestically and internationally. Locke would be responsible for developing US trade policies and advising Obama on trade issues.

Interesting Facts! If appointed, Locke would become the first Asian American to serve as Commerce Secretary. He would also become the third Asian American in the president's cabinet, which would be the most of any administration in United States history.

Until next time,

More information: CNN, Department of Commerce, New York Times

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hilary in China!

Hey everyone,

Hilary Clinton made a stop in China this past week on her first tour around Asia as Secretary of State. She spoke with Chinese officials, including President Hu Jintao, about a few pressing issues including:
1) The environment
2) The economic crisis
3) Strengthening US and Chinese Relations

Her visit to China comes at a crucial time on an international time line. The discussions she has with Chinese officials and the decisions that the US and China make together now can greatly alter the course events for many years to come. In other words, this is history in the making, guys!

The Environment
Clinton toured an energy efficient plant last Saturday in Beijing. She encouraged Chinese officials to be aware of the environmental hazards and concerns that affect a developing nation and to not "make the same mistakes we [the US] did." In an effort to advance progress in green development, Clinton curbed issues such as Chinese Human Rights. No specific details on how the two nations would work together to create greener nations were laid out--only the acknowledgment that environmental causes would become increasingly more important as development of the two nations continued. Furthermore, some research collaboration by the two nations has started.

The Economic Crisis
Hilary Clinton assured Chinese officials that China's holdings of US Treasuries were well worth the investment. China is now the largest foreign buyer of US Treasury securities. Buying US Treasuries will help the US economy to receive the boost that it needs, help the Chinese economy as a result, and together, the two nations could act together to renew the world's economy, said Clinton. The Chinese government has stated that it will in fact continue to invest in US Treasuries. A Chinese economist at Peking University argues, "Objectively speaking, helping the US economy is good for both China and the US." It is important to note, however, that not everyone in China feels the same way about helping a flagging US economy. Some believe China should be investing more at home in projects to help its own economy.

Strengthening Chinese and US Relations
Throughout the course of the meeting between the two countries, Clinton stressed the importance of cooperation between the two to lead the world and to solve problems including security issues with North Korea and Iran. Despite the fact that she gained attention for her criticism of China's human rights approach in 1995 as First Lady at a United Nations women's conference in Beijing, Clinton marked such an issue as only secondary to a stronger and deeper relationship between the United States and China.
Associated Press Video with Clinton!