For years, the D.C. and global corporate elites, in the name of free trade orthodoxy, allowed markets and market efficiencies to be an overwhelming influence on policy decisions. Nowhere was that more evident than in the realm of international trade relations, where the United States repeatedly entered into deals that protected and promoted the interests of foreign workers, foreign agriculture, and foreign businesses — but not our own. American workers and American communities were ground beneath the inescapable “progress” that transformed the likes of Shenzhen and Reynosa into productive powerhouses — while the likes of Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh — America’s industrial backbone — slid into decline. Free trade is an intrinsic good, but only if it is also fair trade, and the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) will advance policies that champion free and fair American trade.
Robert Lighthizer is originally from Ashtabula, Ohio, and serves as the Chair of the Center for American Trade at AFPI. Prior to joining AFPI, Lighthizer served as the 18th United States Trade Representative (USTR) under President Donald Trump. Alongside President Trump, Lighthizer engineered a historic trade agreement with China that put American workers, farmers, and manufacturers first. An experienced trade negotiator and litigator, Lighthizer has dedicated his life working for equitable trade enforcement for the U.S. and has an impressive record of fighting for American workers, farmers, manufacturers, and businesses. Prior to joining the Trump Administration, Lighthizer was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP (Skadden), where he practiced international trade law for over 30 years. Before joining Skadden, Lighthizer served as Deputy USTR for President Ronald Reagan. During his tenure, Lighthizer negotiated over two dozen bilateral international agreements, including agreements on steel, automobiles, and agricultural products. As Deputy USTR, he also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Lighthizer earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. He has two children and in his free time enjoys playing golf.
“Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.”