President-elect Donald Trump, who made criticism of foreign trade deals a major theme of his presidential campaign, said Tuesday he has nominated former Reagan administration official Robert Lighthizer to be his new U.S. trade representative.
Lighthizer “has extensive experience striking agreements that protect some of the most important sectors of our economy, and has repeatedly fought in the private sector to prevent bad deals from hurting Americans,” Trump said in a statement. “He will do an amazing job helping turn around the failed trade policies which have robbed so many Americans of prosperity.”
A critic of China trade practices in particular, Lighthizer said he is “fully committed to President-elect Trump’s mission to level the playing field for American workers and forge better trade policies which will benefit all Americans.”
Trump made the announcement while preparing for a day of briefings and jobs interviews at his Manhattan office tower.
Among the jobs he plans to fill in the coming days: Director of National Intelligence, secretary of Agriculture, and secretary of Veterans Affairs.
During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to kill the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal with Pacific Rim nations. He also vowed to re-negotiate, or possibly scrap, the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
In announcing the selection of Lighthizer, the Trump transition team noted that he served Reagan as deputy United States trade representative, “playing a major role in developing trade policy for the Reagan Administration and negotiating roughly two dozen bilateral international agreements on a variety of topics from steel to grain. These agreements were uniformly tough and frequently resulted in significant reductions in the shipment of unfairly traded imports into the United States.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, David Jackson