President Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer held an open-press Oval Office event to announce trade action, tariffs, against China (solar) and S-Korea (washing machines) for product dumping. [Details Here]
The backdrop of this executive action happens on the first day of NAFTA round six talks beginning in Canada. Ambassador Lighthizer will be traveling to Canada shortly. It is increasingly likely that President Trump will exit NAFTA as part of the larger initiative to draw manufacturing jobs back into the U.S. In this round, we are hearing from those close to the work that Mexico and Canada are panicked and ready to concede in an effort to keep access to the U.S. market they are dependent on.
President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer are now in the process of leveraging the U.S. business tax policy changes to hammer bilateral trade deals. This is where the teeth of Team wolverine become visible. All future action builds on all preceding action.
The economic shift in 2018 will be a very visible Ambassador Lighthizer. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross built the larger foundation for U.S. trade policy and USTR action in 2017. Now that a smooth policy foundation is established, Robert Lightizer shifts into gear and becomes the trade-deal closer in 2018.