by Ken Root
The Trump Administration took another step toward demolishing multilateral trade deals with the appointment of Robert Lighthizer as the U.S. Trade Representative.
Now the goal is to engage countries one at a time to cut trade deals with the expressed purpose of making them better for America and saving U.S. jobs.
The incoming Trump Administration will be looking for bilateral trade deal partners in the new year, assuming the US President-elect ditches America’s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, as he’s announced.
American Farm Bureau trade adviser Dave Salmonsen says a handful of countries are ripe for talks. “We would still be interested in doing a bilateral deal with Japan, we had a lot of good provisions in the TPP with Japan. We would like to save some of those, or find a way to move ahead.”
China, not a TPP member, is the biggest player in the region. “It will take it’s share of time, and there is a lot of issues to be dealt with, but China is always the top of the list in the Asia Pacific Region.
Other countries that might increase the value of US agricultural exports include Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
The New USTR, Robert Lighthizer served as deputy under President Ronald Reagan, he will work closely with Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, who will head a newly created White House National Trade Council, “to develop and implement policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand economic growth, strengthen our manufacturing base and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores.”