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Trump Nominates Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative

Over the past two months, President-elect Donald J. Trump has been feverishly filling his administration with top businessmen and proven leaders in our country.

On Tuesday morning, Trump made another White House announcement, nominating former Reagan official Robert Lighthizer to be his U.S. trade representative.

In a statement, Trump said 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. He will do an amazing job helping turn around the failed trade policies which have robbed so many Americans of prosperity.”

In a follow-up statement, Trump’s nominee stressed that he was “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.”

From The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Lighthizer will be part of a revamped team whose mission includes confronting China and Mexico, which Mr. Trump contends have taken advantage of the U.S. under current trade agreements. Mr. Lighthizer had been the leading candidate for his post for some time.

He was among the people who helped run the transition for the trade representative office, which typically leads negotiations on international agreements that lower trade barriers, as well as bringing cases against other countries at the World Trade Organization.

Mr. Lighthizer has three decades of experience arguing for punitive tariffs on overseas companies. Given Mr. Trump’s deep skepticism of trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta, Mr. Lighthizer probably wouldn’t prioritize major new trade agreements, at least in the early days of the administration, according to people following Mr. Trump’s trade plans.

Still, Mr. Lighthizer has negotiating experience from his time in the Reagan administration, and if confirmed, he would take the lead in talks that could culminate in the bilateral deals that Mr. Trump’s team prefers—a departure, for instance, from President Barack Obama’s focus on a 12-nation Pacific deal.

As Trump’s nominee to be his trade representative, Lighthizer will be the point man in fulfilling Trump’s pledge to renegotiate numerous trade deals that have hurt American workers, such as NAFTA, TPP , and CAFTA.