ⓘ Robert Lighthizer. Robert Emmet Lighthizer is an American lawyer. He was the 18th United States Trade Representative from May 15, 2017 to January 20, 2021. Ligh ..

Robert Lighthizer

ⓘ Robert Lighthizer

Robert Emmet Lighthizer is an American lawyer. He was the 18th United States Trade Representative from May 15, 2017 to January 20, 2021.

Lighthizer is a partner with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he works to gain access to foreign markets on behalf of U.S. corporations. In the 1980s, he served as deputy trade representative during President Ronald Reagans administration.


1. Career

From 1973 through 1978, before working in government, Lighthizer worked for the Washington, DC law firm of Covington & Burling.

In 1983, during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, he became deputy trade representative. He negotiated two dozen bilateral international agreements on subjects ranging from steel to grain.

In 1985, Lighthizer negotiated against the United States, on behalf of Brazil, in a trade dispute over ethanol. Between 1985 and 1990, Lighthizer represented five foreign clients.

He has been a long time supporter of the U.S. steel industry. He convinced Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to accept" voluntary restraint agreements” to limit the amount of cheap steel they could dump on the U.S. market.


2. United States Trade Representative 2017–2021

On January 3, 2017, then-President-elect Donald Trump announced that he planned to nominate Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative, a cabinet-level position.

Lighthizers nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on a 82-14 vote.

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