Wilbur Ross sworn in as U.S. secretary of commerce

Billionaire Wilbur Ross was confirmed as U.S. commerce secretary by the Senate, clearing the way for one of President Donald Trump's key trade officials to take office. He will be an important figure in the negotiations of future trade deals and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Trump has vehemently criticised.

"He plans to keep making money from one of his major oil shipping companies while working as Commerce Secretary", Warren said. Ross' confirmation has gone much smoother than other Trump nominees have had. He is due to be officially sworn in Tuesday at the White House.

Bloomberg values his fortune at $3 billion and, in financial disclosures released last month, he revealed assets topping $336 million, including at least $150 million held in bank accounts and an art collection worth more than $50 million. Ross led an auto parts company that moved jobs to Mexico, while a textile firm he founded opened a cotton plant in Vietnam that would employ 1,500 workers, The New York Times reported.

Mr Ross hit the headlines when he said in December when he urged Cypriot financiers to strike during this "period of confusion" in Britain to draw businesses away from the City.

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But Ross has also been criticized for shipping jobs overseas at some of those struggling companies, something that Trump has slammed Ford (F), Carrier and others for doing.

A group of Democrats wrote to the White House asking whether any members of the Trump administration had received recent loans from the Bank of Cyprus - which is partly owned by a close of ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukranian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

Since 2014, Ross has served as vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Cyprus, the largest bank in Cyprus, which was saved from bankruptcy in 2013 by a bailout from the Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund and by forced contributions from most of its savers.

  • Adam Floyd