28 March 2017

  |  CBI America


Trade Update, March 2017

As he awaits confirmation, USTR-nominee Robert Lighthizer argued for “rigorous enforcement policy” during his hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. Meanwhile, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin attended the G-20 finance meeting, insisting the U.S. wants no trade wars.

Trade Update, March 2017

As the Trump Administration turns its attention to domestic policy, USTR-nominee Lightzinger and Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin have been responsible for advocating U.S. trade policy.

At his hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, USTR-nominee Robert Lighthizer told senators that he was chosen based on his trade enforcement background. If confirmed, he stated that he would implement a “very rigorous enforcement policy" using all possible trade enforcement actions as justified by the WTO rules and U.S. trade remedy laws. He also stated that he would increase trade while ensuring “freer and fairer” conditions for U.S. workers and businesses. The timing for a final confirmation vote on Lighthizer remains unclear.

During the recent G-20 finance meeting in Germany, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin looked to reassure that the new administration’s trade policy does not mean trade wars. He stated at the conference that “It is not our desire to get into trade wars. The president does believe in free trade but he wants free and fair trade.” However, Secretary Mnuchin did say that the U.S. would re-examine some of its existing trade deals to make them fairer and more reciprocal. 

In response to the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, representatives from several former TPP countries including Chile, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Peru met in order to discuss the potential for a new trade deal. In this new deal, many expect China to take a major role perhaps as the new world leader of globalization and free trade. Meanwhile, Mexico is in the process of accelerating trade talks with the E.U. as the new administration scrutinises NAFTA.