search
Sections List
American Journal News

Trump nominates avowed protectionist Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative

Officials from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team have confirmed that Trump will nominate former Reagan administration official Robert Lighthizer as United States Trade Representative, in yet another signal that Trump intends to recklessly upend American trade policy. Lighthizer was a deputy U.S. Trade Representative under Ronald Reagan, and in 2008, penned an op-ed entitled “Grand […]

By Tommy Christopher - January 03, 2017
Share
lighthizer

Officials from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team have confirmed that Trump will nominate former Reagan administration official Robert Lighthizer as United States Trade Representative, in yet another signal that Trump intends to recklessly upend American trade policy.

Lighthizer was a deputy U.S. Trade Representative under Ronald Reagan, and in 2008, penned an op-ed entitled “Grand Old Protectionists,” in which he excoriated Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in particular and advanced a radically false interpretation of Reagan’s record:

President Reagan often broke with free-trade dogma. He arranged for voluntary restraint agreements to limit imports of automobiles and steel (an industry whose interests, by the way, I have represented). He provided temporary import relief for Harley-Davidson. He limited imports of sugar and textiles. His administration pushed for the “Plaza accord” of 1985, an agreement that made Japanese imports more expensive by raising the value of the yen.

As The Cato Institute notes, however, the reality of Reagan’s record was quite different from Lighthizer’s recollection:

It was the Reagan administration that launched the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations in 1986 that lowered global tariffs and created the World Trade Organization. It was his administration that won approval of the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement in 1988. That agreement soon expanded to include Mexico in what became the North American Free Trade Agreement, realizing a vision that Reagan first articulated in the 1980 campaign. It was Reagan who vetoed protectionist textile quota bills in 1985 and 1988.

During Reagan’s eight years in office, Americans eagerly expanded their engagement in the global economy. In 1980, the year before Reagan became president, Americans spent a total of $334 billion on imported goods and services and payments on foreign investment in the United States. By 1988, his last year in office, American spending in the global economy had nearly doubled, to $663 billion. If Reagan was a “protectionist,” it had no discernable effect on the ability of Americans to spend freely in the global marketplace. Fittingly, one of the major federal buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue is named the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Like most post-war presidents, Reagan championed free trade while selectively deviating from it. Critics of trade note correctly that Reagan negotiated “voluntary” import quotas for steel and Japanese cars and imposed Section 201 tariffs on imported motorcycles to protect Harley-Davidson. All true. But those were the exceptions and not the rule. They were tactical retreats designed to defuse rising protectionists pressures in Congress.

Lighthizer’s affinity for tariffs matches that of the head of Trump’s newly-created White House National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, and alongside Trump, they could potentially start a trade war (or wars) which could harm American consumers and cost jobs for American companies that rely on exports.

Meanwhile, Trump has demonstrated no intention to make good on his promise to get tough with American companies, instead bribing Carrier with taxpayer money while still losing 1,300 jobs to Mexico, and taking credit for jobs that were arranged before he was elected.

Lighthizer’s appointment represents the worst of both worlds: a policy agenda that will harm the U.S. globally, and do little to help domestically, where automation continues to be the driver of manufacturing job losses.

But doing little good and a lot of harm is par for the course with Team Trump.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
AJ News
Latest
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

By Sofia Resnick, States Newsroom - February 28, 2024
Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

By Katie McKellar, Utah News Dispatch - February 27, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

By Jesse Valentine - February 23, 2024
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

By Jesse Valentine - February 22, 2024
More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

By Megan Henry, Ohio Capital Journal - February 22, 2024