Trump's nominee for Trade Representative reaffirms 'America First' policy

Robert Lighthizer emphasised trade enforcement as a strategy to counter China.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Donald Trump's top contender for the post of US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, during his confirmation hearing on March 14, 2017, reaffirmed that he would aggressively implement the 'America First' policy. Promising to make amends to America's Trade Policy in favour of American workers and exporters, he fired threats against countries like China and Canada, which have huge trade surpluses with the USA.

"I expect that we're going to have a very rigorous enforcement policy," Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee.

Emphasizing trade enforcement, he said that he would do everything possible to provide America a level playing field, within the boundaries of WTO and other bilateral trade agreements the USA is bound with.

He also stressed that the use of these trade enforcements as a weapon against China's unfair trade practices would prove to be far more effective than merely applying diplomatic pressure through multilateral platforms. Citing China's state-supported enterprises riddled with over-capacity (especially in steel and aluminum) as a major threat to domestic manufacturers, he said that enforcement of trade laws will make it harder for the eastern export hub to maintain economically unviable manufacturing.

Striving for cross-border digital trade access and strong defense mechanism for intellectual property rights in partner countries also featured as salient points of his agenda.

Re-negotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would be the most herculean task for Trump's top nominee to figure out if confirmed. Expressing his views on the same, he said that softwood lumber was a priority issue in US-Canada trade.

Rober Lighthizer, a lawyer and a veteran foreign trade litigator, was nominated by Trump for his experience in negotiating trade agreements and disputes with other nations.

The Trade Policy Agenda released by Trump's administration sings the same song, as its key focus areas are IP rights, trade law enforcement, expansion of exports and promotion of American sovereignty.

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The Dollar Business Bureau - Mar 15, 2017 12:00 IST