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Posted 01 Apr 2001   For week ended March 30, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 29Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Huntsman Named Ambassador and US Deputy Trade Representative

WASHINGTON, DC -- US President George W. Bush has named Jon Huntsman Jr. a US Deputy Trade Representative, an ambassadorial rank, with responsibility for trade with Asia. The appointment ends months of speculation about Huntsman, a strong Bush supporter and significant Republican donor, including reports that he would be named Ambassador to China.

The appointment, if confirmed by the US Senate, puts Huntsman in the office of the US Trade Representative under Robert B. Zoellick. The position may be a good fit for Huntsman, because of his fluency in Mandarin, acquired while serving an LDS mission in Taiwan, his diplomatic experience, from a previous stint as Ambassador to Singapore, and commercial background, as vice-chairman of the Huntsman Corp., the nation's largest privately-owned chemical company.

This past January a report in the Washington Post suggested that Huntsman might be named Ambassador to China, but after the report was published, officials in Beijing objected, saying that such an appointment, along with the possible naming of fellow LDS Church member Gerrit W. Gong as the National Security Council's staff China expert, was a veiled attempt to promote religious freedom in China and push the country to accept LDS missionaries. Then, a more recent report suggested that Huntsman would be named Ambassador to Indonesia.

The Huntsman family have been substantial contributors to the Republican party, especially over the past decade when their donations have generally been in excess of $100,000 each election cycle. However, Todd Taylor, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, says that Huntsman's credentials are strong. He admits that giving ambassadorships to campaign contributors still occurs, but says "Huntsman has credentials that make him a legitimate candidate."

This past election, the Huntsman family also reduced their support for the Republicans, giving $100,000 to the Democrats because Jon Huntsman Sr. felt the Republicans weren't doing enough to fund cancer research.

In a statement released to the press, Huntsman Jr. expressed gratitude for the appointment. "I am deeply honored and humbled by the president's gesture and look forward - Senate willing - to working toward fulfilling his vision for American in the area of international trade."


Jon Huntsman Jr. Pegged for Trade Post
Salt Lake Tribune 28Mar01 T2
By Phil Sahm: Salt Lake Tribune

Huntsman Jr. nominated for U.S. trade post
Deseret News 27Mar01 T2
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent
Former envoy would oversee trade with Asia

Jon Huntsman Jr. may be Named Ambassador to Indonesia Instead

Beijing Sees Pro-Mormon Push Behind Bush Appointments of Huntsman, Gong

Jon Huntsman Jr., Ambassador to China?


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