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Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross won easy Senate confirmation as commerce secretary Monday night, giving President Trump his top trade official who will be charged with leveraging U.S. interests in trade relationships with China and Mexico.

Ross was a key economic adviser during Trump’s campaign who strongly influenced his views on trade, including his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement and the now-scrapped Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

A banker-turned-investor, Ross faced few hurdles during his confirmation hearings other than complaints from Democrats and liberal groups that he would be just another billionaire in the Trump Cabinet who as a “vulture” investor helped to streamline companies by sending jobs overseas.

Commerce secretaries usually play lower-profile roles in presidential cabinets, but Ross, 79, is expected to change that by leading the charge to fulfill Trump’s campaign to dramatically reduce U.S. trade deficits and attract manufacturing jobs back to America’s shores.

Trump has said he will rely on Ross to renegotiate NAFTA with Mexico and Canada, a role that would normally be left to the U.S. trade representative.

The relatively strong support from Democrats is a response to Ross’s skepticism of major trade deals, which they share.

According to Reuters, some experts believe Ross could balance an expected push by advisers such as Peter Navarro, the University of California-Irvine economics professor who heads Trump’s newly created White House National Trade Council. Navarro wants a 45 percent across-the-board tariff on imports from China, which Trump advocated at times during the campaign.


But Ross has tried to calm senators concerned about a potential trade war with China, saying he would help the U.S. renegotiate more favorable outcomes U.S. companies doing business in China.

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