Donald Trump praised Robert Lighthizer, his pick for U.S. trade representative, in a statement.
President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate Robert Lighthizer to be his administration’s U.S. trade representative, the Manhattan billionaire’s transition team announced Tuesday morning.
Lighthizer is a prominent trade attorney and was the deputy USTR under former President Ronald Reagan. His announcement as the incoming USTR leaves only a handful of cabinet and cabinet-level jobs remaining in the Trump administration, including the secretaries of agriculture and veterans’ affairs and the council of economic advisers.
“Ambassador Lighthizer is going to do an outstanding job representing the United States as we fight for good trade deals that put the American worker first,” Trump said in a statement emailed out by his transition team Tuesday morning. “He 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.”
Trump built much of his campaign on an economic message centered on restructuring the way the U.S. trades with the world. He railed against free trade agreements like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he said hurt American workers and ultimately cost the U.S. jobs. He pledged to place a 35 percent tax on goods imported by any company that shifts jobs overseas.
Lighthizer was an early backer of Trump’s and is a proponent of his hardline policies on trade.
The statement emailed by Trump’s transition team said Lighthizer will work with incoming Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, who will head up the new National Trade Council, “to develop and implement policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand economic growth, strengthen our manufacturing base and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores.” Lighthizer is also likely to work with Jason Greenblatt, who will be Trump’s special representative for international trade.
“It is a very high honor to represent our nation and to serve in President-elect Trump’s administration as the U.S. Trade Representative,” Lighthizer said in the transition team’s statement. “I am 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.”