Former Reagan Administration Official Tapped for Trade Role

WASHINGTON (CN) – President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped a former Reagan administration official to fill a top trade job in the new White House.

Robert Lighthizer served as President Ronald Reagan’s deputy United States trade representative and will take the higher post of U.S. trade representative under Trump.

As a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington, D.C., Lighthizer has divided his time between traditional trade litigation, policy advice and legislative initiatives.

According to the firm’s website, his clients include large U.S. corporations and coalitions.

He has represented heavy manufacturing, agricultural and high-tech companies, as well as financial services institutions, his company bio says.

He has also been lead counsel in a number of antidumping and countervailing duty cases.

Like the man appointing him to his new job, Lighthizer has been critical of China and has expressed doubts about the merits of unbridled free trade.

Trump praised Lighthizer’s work in the White House in a statement announcing his nomination, saying he helped negotiated deals that were “uniformly tough” and that “frequently resulted in significant reductions in the shipment of unfairly traded imports into the United States.”

“Ambassador Lighthizer is going to do an outstanding job representing the United States as we fight for good trade deals that put the American worker first,” Trump said in a statement released through his transition team. “He has extensive experience striking agreements that protect some of the most important sectors of our economy and has repeatedly fought in the private sector to prevent bad deals from hurting Americans. He will do an amazing job helping turn around the failed trade policies which have robbed so many Americans of prosperity.”

If confirmed, Lighthizer will work with Wilbur Ross, Trump’s choice for secretary of commerce and Peter Navarro, who is leading the newly formed National Trade Council, in bringing to life Trump’s tough trade talk from the campaign.