October 29, 2012

For the 2012 CHINA Town Hall, the webcast speaker was then U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, who previously served as the Secretary of Commerce and as governor of Washington state. The discussion, streamed live from the Embassy in Beijing, was moderated by National Committee President Stephen A. Orlins.

CHINA Town Hall

CHINA Town Hall

CHINA Town Hall connects leading China experts with Americans around the country for a national conversation on the implications of China’s rise on U.S.-China relations and its impact on our towns, states, and nation. The National Committee is proud to partner with a range of institutions and community groups, colleges and universities, trade and business associations, and world affairs councils to bring this important national conversation to local communities around America for the 14th consecutive year.

Program Materials

  • On March 9, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Gary Locke to be the 10th Ambassador of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 27, 2011 and was sworn in on August 1, 2011. He assumed duty as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People's Republic of China on August 13, 2011.

    Previously, Ambassador Locke served as the Secretary of Commerce where he worked to implement President Obama’s agenda to turn around the economy and put people back to work. As the administration’s point person for achieving the President’s National Export Initiative, he presided over a 17 percent increase in exports from 2009 to 2010, while exports to China saw a 32 percent increase.

    Before his appointment to the President’s Cabinet, Ambassador Locke served two terms as Governor of Washington. He expanded the sale of Washington products and services by leading trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe.

    Ambassador Locke has extensive experience working with China. As Secretary of Commerce, he co-chaired two sessions of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade that resulted in important changes to Chinese trade policy. As Governor of Washington, he strengthened economic ties between China and Washington State, more than doubling the state's exports to China to over $5 billion per year. As a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, he co-chaired the firm’s China practice.

    Ambassador Locke is the first Chinese-American to serve as Ambassador to China, as Secretary of Commerce and as Governor. His grandfather emigrated from China to Washington State, initially finding employment as a servant, working in exchange for English lessons. His father, also born in China, was a small business owner, operating a grocery store where Ambassador Locke worked while receiving his education in Seattle public schools. Ambassador Locke went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Boston University.

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