Of alternatives on trade, points to China

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Trump has called NAFTA a disaster for American workers and also criticised the big annual United States trade deficits with Mexico that have stemmed from that agreement.

"As the Trump Administration's trade policy strategy develops, we want to build upon the USA government's past successes in pushing back against the EU's global GI agenda", said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. In a Wednesday letter, the duo criticised Mr Lighthizer's "vocal advocacy for protectionist shifts in our trade policies", following a confirmation hearing in which the nominee embraced "an America-first trade policy".

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) voted to confirm President Trump's U.S. Trade Representative nominee on Thursday after securing his commitment to oppose a unilateral NAFTA withdrawal, he said in a statement.

Aside from his service in the Reagan administration, Lighthizer was Chief of Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee of Finance when Congress passed the Reagan program of tax cuts and spending reductions, and also aided in the passage of legislation that implemented the Tokyo Round of trade negotiations.

"The message was: if you guys think we're going to start negotiations with the trigger pulled on a USA exit in six months, forget about it!" Mexico runs a sizeable trade deficit with China, the destination of about 10 percent of its exports.

Lighthizer's philosophy, Rosenthal suggests, essentially boils down to: "How can we afford to be unilateral free traders when the Chinese don't reciprocate?" And Peter Navarro, a vociferous critic of China, is advising the White House on trade.

Drawing from experience in trade law and his work in the Reagan administration in countering Japanese imports, Lighthizer will likely try to force China and other competitors to end what the Trump team sees as unfair trade.

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In a 82-14 vote, the Senate approved Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative on Thursday.

Just two years ago, a solid bipartisan majority supported free trade. He also has represented the United States at meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and meetings related to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the precursor to the World Trade Organization).

By the spring of 2016, Republican incumbents running for reelection, who had supported the 2015 fast-track vote on trade, were renouncing TPP as a bad deal.

Thursday's confirmation came after a months-long process that began on January 3, when Trump announced his intent to nominate Lighthizer.

The trip to China would be in September, Guajardo said, but he did not provide details.

It served as a double hit against Hillary Clinton, who had begun the negotiations on TPP while serving as secretary of state and who was first lady when Bill Clinton cinched the 1993 trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Under Lighthizer, Wolff says, "trade policy is going to get a lot more muscular".