Biden chooses Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo as Commerce Secretary


President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo as his candidate for trade secretary, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Raimondo, former venture capitalist, has focused on building relationships with businesses during his tenure as governor, a position she has held since 2015. She was the first female governor of her state.

Raimondo, 49, has held public office in Rhode Island since 2011, when she was sworn in as state treasurer. Previously, she spent over a decade working in venture capital, most notably co-founding Point Judith Capital.

The Department of Commerce is made up of various agencies, including the Census Bureau, which performs the decennial count and produces economic data; the International Trade Administration, responsible for monitoring unfair global competition due to dumping and subsidies, as well as enforcing US trade laws; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, headquarters of the National Weather Service; and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Raimondo and his team will inherit a litany of enforcement actions against Chinese tech companies. Specifically, the Trump administration instituted an export ban for Huawei Technologies Co. that requires U.S. companies to obtain government licenses before being allowed to sell U.S. technologies and intellectual property to the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant. .

In the final months of his tenure, President Donald Trump signed executive orders banning various Chinese social media and payment apps. Some of its moves, including the forced sale of TikTok by its parent company ByteDance as well as the ban on the WeChat messaging app, have been overturned by the courts.

The Commerce Department oversees export restrictions through its so-called Entity List and was responsible for the broad national security-based tariffs the United States imposed on steel and aluminum from partners. key trade, including the European Union.

Progressives have raised concerns about Raimondo’s record in business and in state government. In 2011, Raimondo led an effort to cut pensions as opposed to unions. She has also been criticized for her handling of the Coronavirus pandemic in the state and is currently in quarantine for the second time in recent months after being exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.

Raimondo, a Harvard graduate, was a Rhodes Scholar and continued his education at Yale Law School. She served as a clerk for Judge Kimba Wood in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

She was the national co-chair of Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

–With help from Mark Niquette.

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