Signaling a tougher American policy towards China, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump announced Robert Lighthizer, a harsh critic of China’s trade practices, to head the U.S. Trade Representative office.
Announcing his selection of Mr. Lighthizer, an official in the Reagan administration and veteran steel industry trade lawyer, trump said he will help the government to fight for good trade deals that put the American worker first.
Lighthizer served as a deputy U.S. trade representative under former Republican President Ronald Reagan and was working for major international law firm Skadden, representing U.S. steelmakers and other firms in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases.
The President-elect said Lighthizer has extensive experience in striking agreements that protect the important sectors of US economy, and has repeatedly fought to prevent bad deals from hurting Americans.
Lighthizer hold similar thoughts of Trump regarding the China’s trade practices, accusing Beijing of trying to rig trade, in line with views of Peter Navarro, another China critic who has been selected to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council.
The former deputy U.S. trade representative earlier argued that Beijing has failed to live up to commitments made in 2001 when it became part of the World Trade Organization. He also added, in his 2010 congressional testimony, that tougher steps are required to change the system, even if takes a deviation from WTO rules, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, reports said Lighthizer is not likely to be the key figure when it comes to trade policy in Trump administration as the task would fall to the U.S. Commerce Secretary nominee, billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.
Lighthizer would replace the Obama administration’s representative Michael Froman, who led negotiations on a Pacific trade pact that was aimed to strengthen trade ties between the US and 11 countries along the Pacific Rim. However, Trump has earlier declared that he will cancel the deal on his first day in office.