The nomination of Commerce Gary Locke as the next US ambassador to China has been welcomed by the trade group representing the US apparel and footwear industry.

“It is critical that the next US ambassador to China fully understand the sensitive dynamics that define our deepening relationship with China,” said Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). 

“In his work at the US Department of Commerce, Secretary Locke has played a leading role in US efforts towards overcoming the many economic and political challenges in our relationship, from concerns over counterfeiting and distribution rights to overarching issues on trade and currency.

“Resolving these challenges will lead to new opportunities for the US apparel and footwear industry in what is the world's fastest growing market.

“I look forward to Locke's swift confirmation to ensure that our current excellent diplomatic representation before the Chinese government continues uninterrupted.”

If the nomination is confirmed by the US Senate, Locke will replace current ambassador Jon Huntsman, who is stepping down at the end of April.

Locke, who has been US commerce secretary for the last two years, is the first Chinese-American to have held this post.