Billionaire Wilbur Ross is a “really good choice” to head the Commerce department, former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley told CNBC on Wednesday.
Plus, “he’s been in multiple different industries, businesses, has seen the good and bad of a lot of different industries and the difficulties internationally. And he’s been a strong advocate for a different trade policy,” said Daley, who served as Commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton.
On Wednesday, Trump tapped Ross for the position. Ross, 78, has been a staunch supporter of Trump and is one of his economic advisors.
Daley said Ross will be an important senior member of the president’s economic team and will be listened to when he’s part of economic discussions.
Ross, who heads the private equity firm WL Ross & Co, told CNBC on Wednesday he wants to overhaul “dumb trade” deals the United States has with countries around the world.
He also favors bilateral agreements with trade partners, rather than regional pacts.
However, Daley, who is now managing partner at Argentiere Capital, said that is easier said than done.
“If you do one-on-one deals, you go and do a separate deal with China, you do a separate deal with Japan … that’s not only taxing, you’ve got a lot of similarities when you look at a region like Asia that you’d like to be able to take advantage of on a bigger deal,” he noted.
And while he applauds talk about getting more U.S. exports into China, he said that’s something the U.S. has been trying to accomplish for years.
“We all want to push an open China, but it’s not as easy as some people think.”
— CNBC’s Matthew Belvedere and Reuters contributed to this report.