US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from reporters accompanied by wife Melania . / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT
President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday he has nominated Reagan-era lawyer Robert Lighthizer, described as an advocate of greater protectionism, as US trade representative.
Trump’s choice for one of his last remaining senior appointments signals that he plans to go ahead with the tough trade policies he promised during the presidential campaign.
Trump opposes the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by President Barack Obama and the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, saying they cost American jobs. He has also criticized what he calls unfair trade practices by China.
Lighthizer was deputy US trade representative when Ronald Reagan was president in the 1980s.
“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,” Trump said of Lighthizer in a statement announcing the appointment.
“He will do an amazing job helping turn around the failed trade policies which have robbed so many Americans of prosperity,” Trump added.
Lighthizer said in the 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.”