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Ambassador Gary Locke

U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China (2011-2014); Secretary of Commerce (2009-2011); Governor of Washington (1997-2005)

Travels From:
Washington
Fee Range:
$40,000 - $60,000


Often considered one of the top speakers for doing business in China, Ambassador Gary Locke has spent more than three decades working with – and in – China. He is recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on U.S.-China relations, global expansion, and business growth.

Drawing on his vast experiences as U.S. Ambassador to China, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and two-term Governor of Washington, “the nation’s most trade-dependent state “, Locke offers a wealth of knowledge on some of the most vital issues confronting America and the international community today.

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Gary Locke: Project Pengyou Beijing Launch Event - Dece ...

Gary Locke (01/16/12) | Charlie Rose

The 10th United States Ambassador to China - Mr. Gary L ...

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  • Ambassador Gary  Locke
  • Ambassador Gary  Locke

On March 9, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Gary Locke to be the 10th Ambassador of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 27, 2011 and was sworn in on August 1, 2011. He assumed duty as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People's Republic of China on August 13, 2011.

Previously, Ambassador Locke served as the Secretary of Commerce where he helped implement President Obama's ambitious agenda to turn around the economy and put people back to work. As the administration’s point person for achieving the President’s National Export Initiative, he presided over a 17 percent increase in exports from 2009 to 2010, while exports to China saw a 32 percent increase. Ambassador Locke also oversaw a significant first step in the president’s export control reform effort that strengthens national security, while making U.S. companies more competitive by easing their licensing burden for exports to partners and allies.

Before his appointment to the President’s Cabinet, Ambassador Locke served two terms as Governor of Washington, the nation’s most trade-dependent state. He expanded the sale of Washington products and services by leading 10 productive trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe. During the eight years of the Locke administration, Washington State gained 280,000 jobs despite two national recessions.

As both Governor and Commerce Secretary, Locke’s innovations in government efficiency, customer focus, and priority based budgeting, as well as successful and under-budget management of high risk initiatives, have won him acclaim by nationally recognized authors and organizations, including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Along with his longstanding commitment to public service, Ambassador Locke has extensive experience working with China. As Secretary of Commerce, he co-chaired two sessions of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade that resulted in important changes to Chinese trade policy, helping to level the playing field for U.S. businesses exporting to and operating in China. As Governor of Washington, he successfully strengthened economic ties between China and Washington State, more than doubling the state's exports to China to over $5 billion per year. As a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, he co-chaired the firm's China practice.

Ambassador Locke is the first Chinese-American to serve as Ambassador to China, as Secretary of Commerce and as Governor. His grandfather emigrated from China to Washington State, initially finding employment as a servant, working in exchange for English lessons. His father, also born in China, was a small business owner, operating a grocery store where Ambassador Locke worked while receiving his education from Seattle's public school system.

Ambassador Locke earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Boston University.

This is the story of the Locke family’s journey in America. Starting with Gary’s grandfather, who came to America, from China, as a young teen and worked as a houseboy for a family in the state capital, to Gary being sworn in as Governor and moving into the Governor’s Mansion 100 years later – one mile from the house where his grandfather washed dishes and swept floors. Fittingly for the American Dream, the Locke clan was raised on the principles of hard work, education, and taking care of each other. Locke shares with audiences his classic and compelling story – the story of tens of millions of immigrants in America – and really, the story of America itself.


In today’s globally competitive marketplace, innovation, efficiency, and performance are vital to success. As Chief Executive of Washington State, the head of Commerce – a 40,000 person Government agency that spans 80 countries – and Ambassador to a critical U.S. mission abroad, Gary Locke is widely respected as a results oriented, efficiency driven leader. Locke’s hands on leadership style has focused on rethinking and reforming processes that aren’t working well. By peeling back the layers and cutting through bureaucracies, he was able to achieve stunning results in such enormous endeavors as the U.S. Census operations – where his active management led to a 2010 Census that came in on time and under budget, halting a three-decade long decline in results – while saving the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. Additionally, Locke directed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to dramatically reduce the patent backlog and wait times – thereby, speeding the delivery of innovative goods and services to the marketplace and, in turn, spurring economic growth and creating jobs. Locke shares with audiences how innovative approaches, creative problem solving, and focus on efficiency can inspire organizations to superior performance and create win-win outcomes.


As he has done throughout his career, Locke approached his role as Ambassador to China with a depth and efficiency unparalleled. Not only did he initiate the first-ever ambassadorial business development missions to promote many different American industries – including software, aviation, healthcare, rail, energy, and environmental technologies – he did so as a strong advocate for intellectual property rights. Protecting and encouraging American innovation has never been more important, and Locke is keenly aware that a strong intellectual property system enables successful creators and innovators to secure access to capital and hire employees- thereby, creating new jobs, new industries and new economic opportunities. Ambassador Locke has also displayed an eager advocacy for human rights and helped negotiate the release of blind Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, in a delicate, high profile case. Additionally, Locke’s leadership on the Embassy’s air quality monitoring program has helped focus the Chinese government, and public opinion, on the urgency of environmental protection and sustainable development. Locke will share with audiences the many balancing acts necessary to achieve fairness, dignity, and prosperity in a globally connected, yet competitive world.


Relations between these two power-house countries have never been more important, and perhaps nobody is better positioned to shed light on the intricacies that make up this relationship than Ambassador Gary Locke. In August 2011, Locke was sworn-in as the 10th U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, having been nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate – making him the first Chinese-American to assume that post. Locke assumed the post during a delicate time in U.S./China relations, yet also as the two countries were becoming more intertwined than perhaps ever before. Locke’s indirect and direct advocacy with the Chinese government have helped promote bilateral investment, rule of law, a more level playing field for U.S. companies, and Chinese investment into the U.S. His deep expertise in global trade and diplomacy, first as Governor of Washington State, then as Commerce Secretary, allow him to share with audiences the many nuances that come into play while trying to promote mutual benefits between two uniquely different cultures that are vitally dependent upon each other.Some of the topics covered could include:


Economic challenges and opportunities for western businesses.


The prospects for economic and political reform in China.


A vast country with vast differences; from skyscrapers and bullet trains, to rice paddies and water buffaloes.


America’s economic and strategic objectives in China


  • Source

    China Said to Weigh Delays to ‘Made in China 2025’

    (Bloomberg) – Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke examines reports that China is considering plans to delay some targets in plans to dominate high-end technologies and discusses U.S.-china trade tensions. 

  • Source

    Former US Secretary of Commerce Reflects on Successes

    (The Harvard Crimson) – Gary F. Locke, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and former U.S. ambassador to China, reflected on his political experiences and the future of U.S.-China relations at the Institute of Politics.

  • Source

    Gary Locke, former state governor, to speak at Democrats’ fundraiser at 7 Cedars on Oct. 23

    (Peninsula Daily News) – Gary Locke — former Washington state governor, U.S. secretary of commerce and ambassador to China — will speak at the Clallam County Democrats’ annual fundraiser, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner.

  • Source

    Scholarship targets low-income Chinese students

    “With those students getting a glimpse of American life and getting the best college education in the world, they will be more effective as business leaders, political leaders and scientists, which will enhance the U.S.-China relationship.”

  • Source

    Xi Jinping wants China to be a proud nation: Gary Locke

    The upcoming meeting, the second time Xi has visited Obama in the US as president, though it is his first full state visit, is a significant opportunity for the two countries to improve diplomatic relations, said Locke, who stepped down as the US envoy to Beijing last year.

  • Source

    Gary Locke: Contentious talks ahead for Chinese president in both Washingtons

    (My Northwest) – Heated discussions over various points of contention will be on the menu for Xi Jinping and the American business leaders he is meeting with, former Washington Governor Gary Locke told Seattle’s Morning News on KIRO Radio.

  • Source

    Gary Locke Rejoins Davis Wright Tremaine as Senior Advisor

    (Business Wire) – Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT) today announced that former U.S. Ambassador to China, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Washington State Governor Gary Locke has rejoined the firm as Senior Advisor and Consultant.

  • Source

    Locke: China doesn’t have full control of economy

    CNN’s Richard Quest speaks to Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China, about Chinese markets and Donald Trump’s comments on the U.S.’s dealings with China.

  • Source

    Gary Locke looks ahead to working in the private sector

    By Jim Brunner 
    Seattle Times political reporter

    (Seattle Times) – Former Gov. Gary Locke plans to join the private sector and says he has no plans to seek elected office again now that he’s returned from a two-year stint as U.S. ambassador to China.

    In one of his first interviews since returning to Seattle, Locke on Friday dismissed rumors that he could be sought out as a vice-presidential nominee for Democrats in 2016.

  • Source

    What Does It Mean to Be Chinese?

    (The Diplomat) – A racially based definition of “Chineseness” keeps China from becoming a truly globalized nation.

  • Source

    Top US & Chinese Leaders Fostering Stronger Ties

    NEW YORK, April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The Committee of 100—the first and longest-standing organization of prominent Chinese Americans, founded in 1990 by individuals such as I.M. Pei and Yo-Yo Ma—successfully concluded its 25th anniversary celebrations with current and former U.S. and Chinese government officials including Dr. Henry Kissinger, U.S. Ambassadors Gary Locke and Stapleton Roy, along with other diplomats and business leaders such as Stephen Schwarzman and Ronnie Chan, who praised the organization for effectively promoting the U.S.-China relationship.

  • Gary Locke, Selects WWSG For Exclusive Representation

    Gary F. Locke, the former U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, has selected Worldwide Speakers Group for exclusive representation of his global speaking activities. A former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Governor of Washington, Locke is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on U.S.-China relations, global expansion, and business growth.

  • Source

    Interview: Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke

    (Harvard Political Review) – When asked about his time at the American embassy in China, Lock reflected, “It was an incredible experience.”

  • Source

    Asia-Pacific nervous, waiting to see what Trump will do in office: Locke

    (CNBC) – There’s “a lot of nervousness” in the entire Asia-Pacific region ahead of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration later in the global day, said former U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke.

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  • "A highly respected authority on China and global competitiveness."

  • "Insightful and engaging!"

  • "I truly felt privileged to have someone of your caliber speak to our group, providing such thoughtful comments and in-depth analysis of the current state of United States-China relations."