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Ambassador

Biography

Jon Huntsman

Ambassador
China
Term of Appointment: 08/11/2009 to present

Jon Huntsman was tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as United States Ambassador to China in May 2009 and his nomination was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.  Huntsman was sworn in as Ambassador immediately following his resignation as the Governor of Utah on Tuesday, August 11, 2009.

Huntsman was elected twice as Governor of Utah, including in 2008 with a record percent of the vote, including the majority in all 29 counties.  As Governor, Huntsman governed with his eye toward maintaining Utah’s unparalleled quality of life, continually increasing the state’s economic competitiveness and maximizing funding to Utah’s public education system.

Huntsman’s breadth of experience in Asia has been developed over a lifetime of interest and involvement.  He has previously lived in Asia three times and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.

Huntsman’s public service career began as a White House staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan and has since included appointments as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative.  As a U.S. Trade Ambassador, Huntsman negotiated dozens of free trade agreements, trade and investment framework agreements and brokered other bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements for the United States with China, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, India, Vietnam, West Africa, South Africa and other Asian and African nations.  He played a critical role in launching global trade negotiations in Doha, Qatar in November of 2001, guiding the simultaneous accession of China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization.

He is a founding director of the Pacific Council on International Policy and has served on various boards such as the Brookings Institute Asia Policy Board, the Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum, the Asia Society in New York and the National Bureau of Asian Research.

During his tenure as Governor, Utah was repeatedly recognized by many prestigious organizations for its dynamism, business climate and quality of life.  Perhaps most importantly, Utah was named by the Pew Center as the Best Managed State in America.  Even in times of economic hardship, Huntsman worked collaboratively with stakeholders to minimize impacts to critical human services while maintaining job-stimulating construction projects and keeping the State's Rainy Day Fund intact as a tool for any future fiscal distress. 

Recognized nationally for his leadership, Huntsman served as chairman of the Western Governors Association and on the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association.

As a dedicated public servant, Huntsman is committed to serving in this critical post as Ambassador to one of the most important international relationships for the United States.  He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has six honorary doctorate degrees.