Trump names former Reagan administration official as USTR

A former official in the Ronald Reagan administration who believed that no essential conflict existed between conservative goals and trade protectionism would be the US trade representative (USTR) in the Trump administration.

Robert Lighthizer, who was deputy US trade representative under president Reagan, would work with secretary of commerce-designate Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, head of the newly created White House National Trade Council, to ''strengthen our manufacturing base and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores'', a statement from the Trump transition team said.

The administration would need to address a host of trade-related issues between the US and India that had been a drag on the bilateral ties with the Obama administration. The current USTR, Michael Froman, had been extremely critical of India's trade and intellectual property rights policies and had also not been a supporter of India's membership in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Trump had said he would not pursue multilateral trade agreements and would renegotiate existing ones and preferred bilateral trade treaties with individual partners.

The statement said Lighthizer played a ''major role in negotiating roughly two dozen bilateral international agreements on a variety of topics from steel to grain'' under Reagan. ''These agreements were uniformly tough and frequently resulted in significant reductions in the shipment of unfairly traded imports into the U.S.''

"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," said Trump, ANI reported.

"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," he added.