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The billionaire investor Wilbur Ross has been confirmed by the Senate as commerce secretary by a vote of 72 to 27.
The former investment banker, known on Wall Street as the “king of bankruptcy”, was an adviser to Donald Trump during his presidential campaign where he helped to shape policies on corporate tax cuts and international trade.
Mr Ross, who specialised in corporate turnarounds, was tipped as commerce secretary in November.
Mr Ross has previously done business in Japan and was once chairman of the Japan Society, which brings together US businessmen and Japanese corporations.