Gina Raimondo, nominated by President Joe Biden for commerce secretary, pledged Tuesday during a Senate confirmation hearing to be tough on China for "anti-competitive" trade practices.
"Should I be confirmed, I plan to be very aggressive, to help Americans compete against the unfair practices of China," she told lawmakers.
Raimondo, the first woman governor of the US state of Rhode Island, said that China has "clearly behaved in ways that are anti-competitive, dumping cheap steel and aluminum into America, which hurts American workers and hurts the ability of our companies to compete."
She said she supported Biden's position that the United States would consult its allies to restore fair trade with Beijing.
Raimondo did not commit to keeping telecom giant Huawei or other Chinese companies on the US blacklist due to allegations that they pose a risk to US national security.
She did however promise to use the powers of the commerce department "to protect Americans and our network from Chinese interference," adding: "that's Huawei, ZTE, or any other company."
During the Trump administration, the commerce department cracked down on Chinese tech companies suspected of industrial espionage or of compromising US national security.
Former commerce secretary Wilbur Ross broadened the list of companies that can't trade with US companies without a prior license, which grew to include Chinese telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE.
In December, just weeks before his departure, the Trump administration added Chinese computer chip maker Smic to the black list, limiting the company's access to high-end US technologies due to its alleged links with the Chinese military.