25 May 2017

  |  CBI America


Trade Update, May 2017

Robert Lighthizer was officially confirmed as United States Trade Representative by the Senate and got straight to work on the new administration’s trade policy agenda.

Trade Update, May 2017

To date, the actions of President Trump’s administration on trade policy paint a mixed picture for the business community.

ust days into his administration, the President followed through with his promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

More recently, President Trump signed a series of executive orders designed to review American trade practices and crack-down on the collection of anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

The administration also implemented tariffs on Canadian lumber. This month, the administration turned its attention to NAFTA and trading relations with China.

  • Following Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S. earlier this year, President Trump and his team have reached an agreement with China on a range of trade matters. The administration says this agreement will begin to lower the trade deficit. The deal will allow the U.S. to export beef and reduce regulation on exports of liquefied natural gas to China, in return for permitting Chinese cooked poultry to be imported into the U.S. The deal is set to expand access to China for a range of U.S. financial services also. This is a softer approach to trade relations with China than might have been expected following the President’s campaign. 
  • This month, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer was confirmed to his post by the Senate. Lighthizer was a former deputy USTR during the Regan Administration has worked at a Washington DC-based law firm in the interim period, working predominately on trade cases. 
  • In his first week on the job, Robert Lighthizer wrote to Congress to provide the required 90 days’ notice that the administration intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The letter outlined the administration’s ambition to ‘modernize’ the deal, including USTR’s ambition to seek provisions on digital trade, intellectual property rights, and environmental standards. Further details on USTR’s negotiation objects are expected a month before talks begin.