On March 9, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Gary Locke to be Ambassador of the United States of America to China. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 27, 2011 and was sworn in on August 1, 2011.
Previously, Ambassador Locke served as the Secretary of Commerce where he helped implement President Obama's ambitious 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, Ambassador Locke presided over a 17 percent increase in exports, compared to 2009. Before his appointment to the President’s Cabinet, Ambassador Locke served two terms as Governor of Washington, the nation’s most trade-dependent state. He expanded the sale of Washington products and services by leading 10 productive trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe. During the eight years of the Locke administration, Washington state gained 280,000 jobs despite two national recessions.
Along with his longstanding commitment to public service, 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, helping to level the playing field for U.S. businesses exporting to and operating in China. He also led a clean energy mission to China and Indonesia. As Governor of Washington, he successfully 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 in any of the above government posts. 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 from Seattle's public school system.
Ambassador Locke earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Boston University. He is married and has three children.