Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross has been confirmed by the US Senate as the Trump administration's commerce secretary.
The vote comes almost three months after Trump first tapped the famed investor for his cabinet and four weeks after a Senate committee unanimously voted in favor of his nomination.
Breaking with Republican orthodoxy, Ross said the Trump administration will work quickly to re-do the North American Free Trade Agreement.
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The 79-year-old will also be a key voice on other trade matters as well as on Trump's efforts to accelerate economic growth by slashing taxes and ramping up infrastructure spending.
Remarking on Mr. Ross" confirmation, AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle said: "We look forward to working with Secretary Ross to enhance America's worldwide competitiveness and increase USA exports. The commerce secretary nominee said countries that resort to "malicious" trading tactics should be "severely" punished.
Dubbed the "King of Bankruptcy" for his leveraged buyouts of battered companies in the steel, coal, textile and banking industries, Ross has generated a fortune of $2.5 billion, ranking him among the wealthiest 250 people in America, according to Forbes.
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President Donald Trump, who once denounced the "FDA Food Police" and vowed to gut food safety protections as a way of stopping "inspection overkill", apparently is absolutely fine with inspecting food that comes from a foreign country. As part of his ethics agreement, Ross will divest from the firm. "Freight connections to US ports - which handle some 2 billion tons of goods, support 23 million American jobs and generate $4.6 trillion in economic activity annually - are falling behind 21st century needs, putting jobs at risk and reducing our global competitiveness".
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer deplored the fact that the White House would not release Ross's response to the Democrats' queries.
"Mr. Ross will bring decades of business, entrepreneurial and civic experience to this important position", said Democrat senator John Thune, who is chairman of the Commerce Committee. He also has pledged not to make new investments once confirmed.
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