Before Hu arrived, China agreed to require computer makers to load legal software on new machines, a key to unlocking the $3 billion market to the maker of Windows software. Days later, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft announced plans to invest $3.7 billion in China.
Earlier, when he was governor of Washington state, Locke, now 59, helped lumber-company Weyerhaeuser Co. and aircraft maker Boeing Co. win business with China. As he seeks the new post, and as secretary should he be confirmed, Locke may find his deals seen in a different light by lawmakers, unions and U.S. factory owners who say trading with China poses more peril than promise.
“Locke understands the benefits of trade up close and personal,” said Christopher Padilla, a former undersecretary of commerce and a managing director of C&M International, a trade and investment consulting firm in Washington. “But the question will be how he reacts to the enormous protectionist pressures he will face.”