No Trade Is Free: Changing Course, Taking on China, and Helping America’s Workers. Defeat Communism, Proper Limits on Free Trade

Boring Alert! Robert almost didn’t make our Directory of Leaders, but we think his opinions and experience in global economics and trade is important.

Robert Lighthizer is an American attorney and government official who served as the United States Trade Representative from 2017 to 2021. Lighthizer notified Congress that President Trump intended to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which would make him the first USTR to renegotiate a major U.S. free trade agreement. According to multiple reports, Lightizer became one of the most influential Trump Administration officials and the lead figure in formulating the administration’s trade policy. The reports noted his agreement with Trump on trade issues

In the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, Lighthizer was nominated and confirmed to serve as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. During his tenure, Lighthizer negotiated over two dozen bilateral international agreements, including agreements on steel, automobiles, and agricultural products. As Deputy USTR, Lighthizer also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He also joined the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (Skadden) as a partner. He practiced international trade law at Skadden for over 30 years, representing American workers and businesses ranging from manufacturing to financial services, agriculture, and technology. While at Skadden, Lighthizer worked to expand markets to U.S. exports and defended U.S. industries from unfair trading practices. He defended the steel industry in particular.

Robert has brought attention to systemic issues and outdated, ineffective rules at the World Trade Organization (WTO), placing unprecedented pressure on the WTO’s activist Appellate Body and working with our trade partners on wider reforms.

America is the first country in history to fund the rise of its rivals. We need to stop now, before it’s too late.

One of the most consequential U.S. Trade Representatives in our history, Robert Lighthizer led a great reset of American trade policy that has endured across Administrations. For more than 40 years, he litigated, negotiated, and editorialized against the failed policies of one-sided free trade as part of both the Reagan and Trump administrations and as a private lawyer. As Trade Representative, he fought against globalists, importers, lobbyists, foreign governments and big businesses whose interests diverged from those of the American workers.

For decades, unbalanced “free” trade was the preferred option for the most powerful in Washington, and millions of ordinary Americans paid the price. Instead of prioritizing healthy American communities, good jobs, higher wages, and a promising future for our workers, Washington too often cared more about corporate profits, cheap imports and the concerns of foreign governments, including the Chinese. In return, we got cheaper coffee makers and tee shirts, while thousands of factories closed, wages stagnated, communities deteriorated, economic inequality rose in our country, and we racked up trillions of dollars in trade deficits.

Part memoir, part history, and part policy analysis, Robert’s book “No Trade is Freetells the story of how America found itself at this point and how the Trump administration took on the orthodoxy of the trade establishment, with astonishing results.

Buy his Book “No Trade is Free”



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