Obama plans to nominate Baucus to serve as ambassador to China

By Derrick Cain

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2013 - President Obama announced today his intent to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to serve as ambassador to China.

Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and a high-ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, would leave his seat early if his nomination is confirmed by the Senate.

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“For more than two decades Max Baucus has worked to deepen the relationship between the United States and China,” Obama said in a statement. “The economic agreements he helped forge have created millions of American jobs and added billions of dollars to our economy, and he's perfectly suited to build on that progress in his new role.” 

Baucus, who has been actively working to revise the tax code, previously said he would retire at the end of 2015. Baucus would replace former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who has held the position since March 2011.

“I am humbled by the nomination and deeply honored to have the opportunity to represent the United States in China,” Baucus said. “The U.S.-China relationship is one of the world's most important bilateral relationships.  If confirmed, my goal will be to further strengthen diplomatic and economic ties between our two nations.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Senate Finance Committee ranking member, said Baucus' departure will leave a lasting impact on the Senate and he will be “sorely missed.”

“His depth and breadth of knowledge will provide him with a strong foundation that will serve him well as the next U.S. envoy to China,” Hatch said.

Bob Hanson, president of the Montana Farm Bureau, said he has no doubt Baucus will do a “terrific job” in this new role.

“Max has the kind of work-ethic and respect among world leaders needed for shaping America's relationship with China. Max has long helped secure breakthroughs in complex international trade negotiations and has been a strong and successful advocate for opening up markets around the world to American beef,” Hanson said.

Baucus has served in the Senate since 1978, and was a member of the House from 1975 to 1978. 

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