Senate confirms billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary

Senate confirms billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary
Senate confirms billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary

01 March, 2017

Billionaire financier Wilbur Ross was sworn in as President Donald Trump's Commerce Secretary on Tuesday after easily being confirmed by the Senate.

The Senate is set to vote on Ross' nomination Monday evening.

While commerce secretaries rarely take the spotlight in Washington, Ross is expected to play an outsize role in pursuing Trump's campaign pledge to slash USA trade deficits and bring manufacturing jobs back to America.

"He plans to keep making money from one of his major oil shipping companies while working as Commerce Secretary", Warren said.

In his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Ross urged Toyota Motor Corp. and other manufacturers to build more plants in the United States as part of efforts to create more jobs and reduce the USA trade deficit.

Ross is notorious for buying failing companies, slashing jobs and selling them off.

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer deplored the fact that the White House would not release Ross's response to the Democrats' queries. As a private-equity investor, he restructured companies across a range of industries including steel, banking and textiles. He also owns an art collection worth an estimated $150 million.

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Ross has divested himself of most of his holdings to avoid conflicts of interest in anticipation of his confirmation.

The bank's former chairman, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, is reportedly close to President Putin, a fellow former KGB agent.

Mr Ross hit the headlines when he said in December when he urged Cypriot financiers to strike during this "period of confusion" in Britain to draw businesses away from the City.

"The United States Senate and the American public deserve to know the full extent of your connections with Russian Federation and your knowledge of any ties between the Trump Administration, Trump Campaign, or Trump Organization and the Bank of Cyprus", Democratic Senator Cory Booker said in a letter to Ross.

Trump praised Ross as a savvy businessman and one of the most valuable advisers in his administration.

Senator Nelson said senators were "troubled and frustrated" by the White House move.

Ross, in reply, has indicated that he will step down from the Bank of Cyprus after he takes office.

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