President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is no stranger to protecting American business interests; in fact, he has made a career out of it.
Billionaire Wilbur Ross saved two North Carolina textile mills from bankruptcy in 2003 and 2004, and he did it by heading to Washington to inundate himself with trade law and policy, Reuters reports. Ross, like many successful businessmen, realized that business can use the government to their advantage, and that is what he has done throughout his career. The business mogul built his net-worth buying and restructuring distressed industrial businesses, and serves as the chairman of WL Ross & Co., and investment firm that specializes in corporate restructurings.
As China becomes more and more of a dominant player in the World Trade Organization, U.S. textile exports are increasingly less attractive, as China provides a much cheaper alternative. Ross, aptly using his knowledge of trade policy, is proposing “safeguard” tariffs to protect the U.S. manufacturing industry.
Ross has a history of advocating for U.S. steel and manufacturing, protecting these industries from foreign competitors. His past will no doubt give him a unique perspective as the commerce secretary, as he and the president-elect look to move away from traditional Republican free trade and big business. (RELATED: Trump Train Could Derail AT&T’s $85 Billion Merger)
The 79-year-old billionaire, if confirmed, will be the leading voice in U.S. trade policy. Working alongside Ross will be newly tapped U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a lawyer known for working with U.S. manufacturers, and Peter Navarro, an economist and China hawk who will serve as special White House advisor.
Ross is slated to appear before the Senate at a hearing to confirm his nomination Thursday.
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