Senator Max Baucus (D – MT) was overwhelmingly confirmed last week by his Senate colleagues as the new US ambassador to China in a bipartisan 96 – 0 vote. Speaking at his confirmation hearing, Senator Baucus stated that he will focus on improving the US-China relationship to further benefit US businesses and workers and “to partner with China as it emerges as a global power and encourage it to act responsibly in resolving international disputes, respecting human rights, and protecting the environment.”
Ambassador Baucus first visited China over fifty years ago when he took a year off from his studies at Stanford University to travel the world. When considering running for the US House of Representatives in 1974, Mr. Baucus first consulted with Montana's Senator Mike Mansfield who, to this day, holds the distinction of having been the longest serving US ambassador to Japan.
Ambassador Baucus has visited China a total of eight times and was instrumental in encouraging US-China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and China’s entry in the World Trade Organization in the 1990s. While in the Senate and Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus was a strong advocate for free trade leading “the passage and enactment of Free Trade Agreements with 11 countries: Australia, Bahrain, Jordan, Chile, Colombia, Morocco, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore and South Korea.” Senator Baucus concluded his confirmation hearing remarks stating that “As the United States encourages cooperation with China, we must also remain loyal to the values that define us as Americans, including our commitment to universal values, human rights, and freedom….If confirmed, I will strive to strengthen the U.S.-China relationship for the benefit of our two countries and the world.”
Click here to read Senator Baucus’ full confirmation hearing testimony.