United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer and US - Indo Pacific Relations

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Coordinator: Sarah Wang. For methodology, click here.

This resource will track statements, developments, visits and other interactions in U.S.-Asia Pacific relations given or undertaken by United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer.

To view quotations, debriefs of interactions with Asia Pacific leaders, and media sorted by topic, scroll down or use the links below.

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To view the stances of President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Secretary of State Pompeo, and Secretary of Commerce Ross on various issues in US-Asia Pacific relations, click here.

To view quotations, interviews, and policy documents given by and interactions with Asia Pacific leaders undertaken by President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Secretary of State Pompeo, and Secretary of Commerce Ross use the links below.

President Donald J. Trump Vice President Mike Pence
Secretary of Defense James Mattis  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
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Travel to Asia Pacific Countries

  • Chinese Flag. Image: Flaticon. China in May 2018. 
  • Japanese flag. Image: Flaticon. Japan in November 2017.
  • Vietnamese flag. Image: Flaticon Vietnam in May 2017. 

Asia Pacific Leaders

  • "Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, and Mrs. Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, met in Paris on 31st May 2018. The Ministers reiterated their concern with the non-market-oriented policies of third countries and discussed actions being taken and possible measures that could be undertaken in the near future. The Ministers confirmed their shared objective to address non market-oriented policies and practices that lead to severe overcapacity, create unfair competitive conditions for our workers and businesses, hinder the development and use of innovative technologies, and undermine the proper functioning of international trade, including where existing rules are not effective. The Ministers agreed that market-oriented conditions are fundamental to a fair, mutually advantageous global trading system and discussed various elements or indications that signal that non-market oriented policies and practices exist for businesses and industries.  Accordingly, they endorsed the annexed joint statement on market-oriented conditions and agreed to further their discussion on this issue and to engage with other trading partners on identifying means to maintain market-oriented conditions." [Source] Joint Statement on Trilateral Meeting of the Trade Ministers of the United States, Japan, and the European Union. May 31, 2018
  • "At the invitation of Vice Premier Liu He and at the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the United States trade delegation, led by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and including Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, traveled to Beijing, and was joined there by Ambassador Terry Branstad. The delegation held frank discussions with Chinese officials on rebalancing the United States–China bilateral economic relationship, improving China’s protection of intellectual property, and identifying policies that unfairly enforce technology transfers.  The United States delegation affirmed that fair trade will lead to faster growth for the Chinese, United States, and world economies." [SourceStatement on the United States Trade Delegation's Visit to Beijing. May 4, 2018
  • "Today, Ambassador Lighthizer and [South Korean] Minister [for Trade Hyun Chong] Kim are pleased to announce that the United States and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement in principle on the general terms of amendments and modifications to the United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).  The nations have also agreed on terms for a country exemption for the Republic of Korea from tariffs imposed on steel imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9705, as amended. At the instruction of the Ministers, negotiators are finalizing the terms of the KORUS FTA negotiations, which are subject to domestic procedures in both nations before provisions can be brought into force.  The revised agreement addresses issues related to investment, tariffs, trade in automobiles, and trade remedies.  Additional progress was made in the areas of pharmaceuticals, customs and textiles to smoothly implement the KORUS FTA. The arrangement with respect to steel imports is expected to take effect on May 1, 2018." [Source] Joint Statement by the United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Republic of Korea Minister for Trade Hyun Chong Kim. March 2018 
  • "Today, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer welcomed Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sri Suresh Prabhu, for the annual U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The Ministers and their delegations met to discuss a full agenda of bilateral trade issues. 'Our work under the Trade Policy Forum focused on achieving progress towards a more balanced trade relationship. U.S.-India trade has grown significantly in the last few years and has the potential to span every sector of the economy.  To increase reciprocal trade, we will continue to seek to identify and address trade barriers related to goods, including manufactured and agriculture, services and intellectual property rights. The U.S. objective is to increase trade flows between our two countries and to decrease our bilateral trade deficit. I am confident that with continued work, we will be able to accomplish these goals.'” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Statement on the U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Policy Forum. October 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released the following statement on the conclusion of the second special session of the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. Ambassador Lighthizer and Korean Trade Minister Hyun-chong Kim co-chaired the meeting today at the offices of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, DC.'I initiated Joint Committee discussions at the direction of the President to improve outcomes under this agreement for all Americans.  I now look forward to intensified engagement with Korea in an expeditious manner to resolve outstanding implementation issues as well as to engage soon on amendments that will lead to fair, reciprocal trade.'” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Statement on the Conclusion of the Second Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. October 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of Thailand’s Special 301 status due to positive steps the country has taken regarding intellectual property (IP). In the 2017 Special 301 report, USTR placed Thailand on the Priority Watch List but noted that the United States was prepared to review that status if Thailand continued to take positive action on IP issues and made substantial progress in addressing the concerns described in the Special 301 report. The Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement.  In recent months, Thailand has taken steps to improve enforcement against pirated and counterfeit goods, including enhanced coordination among enforcement agencies and a sustained focus on investigations and raids. [...] The Special 301 OCR announcement comes as Ambassador Lighthizer welcomed Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn to Washington, DC for a meeting to discuss ways to increase trade and reduce the trade deficit between the United States and Thailand. During the meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer stressed the need to address longstanding trade barriers, including on U.S. meat and other agriculture exports. He also highlighted the need for progress on customs, goods, worker rights, and other issues discussed during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meeting in July." [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Initiates Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review for Thailand, Welcomes Commerce Minister Apiradi. September 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono for wide-ranging discussions on strengthening and advancing bilateral trade and economic relations. At the meeting, they discussed work plans to promote the trade agenda under the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue, co-chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, and agreed on accelerating discussions to address specific bilateral trade issues as well as to explore approaches to strengthen free and fair trade and promote high trade and investment standards. [...] Ambassador Lighthizer and Foreign Minister Kono also discussed U.S. concerns related to Japan’s recent imposition of a safeguard measure that significantly increases tariffs on exports of frozen U.S. beef.  Additionally, they covered topics of common concern and cooperation related to combating unfair trade practices by third countries, which is another priority work area on trade under the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue." [SourceUSTR Lighthizer, Japan Foreign Minister Kono Agree to Accelerate Bilateral Trade Engagement. August 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced arrangements for the special session meeting of the Joint Committee under the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. The special session will be held in Seoul, South Korea, on August 22, 2017. Ambassador Lighthizer and Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong will open the meeting via videoconference, to be followed by additional senior-level discussions between U.S. and Korean officials in Seoul." [Source] USTR Announces Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. August 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this afternoon met with Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko to discuss U.S.-Japan trade relations and cooperation against trade-distorting practices by third countries. In their meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer stressed the importance of addressing the bilateral trade imbalance, given the very high and decades-long U.S. goods trade deficit with Japan.  He additionally underscored how both countries can effectively utilize the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue. Both sides also stressed the importance of further deepening enforcement cooperation to address unfair practices utilized by third countries that are contributing to global economic imbalances." [Source] Readout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Meeting with Japan Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko. June 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this morning welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay for a meeting on the two countries' strong trade relationship. Ambassador Lighthizer reiterated the United States' commitment to continued engagement in the Pacific region for free and fair trade with all U.S. trading partners. Along with the U.S.-New Zealand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, he highlighted opportunities to further deepen the trade partnership and to coordinate on solutions to global dairy market challenges. Ambassador Lighthizer underscored that U.S. exporters are deeply committed to the New Zealand economy, where the United States has maintained steady exports. He looks forward to building an even stronger, mutually-beneficial trade relationship and working together to ensure fair, transparent access to markets around the world." [SourceReadout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Meeting with New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay. June 2017
  • "The United States met with Indonesia on June 12-13 under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), agreeing on next steps for expeditiously resolving bilateral issues and further building their trade relations. Ambassador Robert Lighthizer welcomed the shared commitment to intensify engagement under the TIFA.  In a concluding meeting with Indonesian Investment Board Chairman Tom Lembong, Ambassador Lighthizer emphasized the Trump Administration’s interest in enhancing ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the importance of addressing outstanding trade issues in the next few months, and the priority of lowering the bilateral trade deficit, the United States’ 15th largest." [SourceUnited States and Indonesia Agree to Step Up Work to Expand Trade. June 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this afternoon met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the U.S.-Vietnam trade relationship and outstanding bilateral trade issues. The two leaders also discussed the challenges presented by the growth in the U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam and the potential for further improvements in the trade relationship, including through initiatives under the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Ambassador Lighthizer today also met with Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh on these issues, as well as on the importance of ensuring concrete progress during upcoming TIFA working group meetings on agriculture, digital trade, goods, intellectual property, and labor." [SourceReadout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Bilateral Meetings with Vietnam. May 2017

Asia Pacific Allies & Partners

  • "Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, and Mrs. Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, met in Paris on 31st May 2018. The Ministers reiterated their concern with the non-market-oriented policies of third countries and discussed actions being taken and possible measures that could be undertaken in the near future. The Ministers confirmed their shared objective to address non market-oriented policies and practices that lead to severe overcapacity, create unfair competitive conditions for our workers and businesses, hinder the development and use of innovative technologies, and undermine the proper functioning of international trade, including where existing rules are not effective. The Ministers agreed that market-oriented conditions are fundamental to a fair, mutually advantageous global trading system and discussed various elements or indications that signal that non-market oriented policies and practices exist for businesses and industries.  Accordingly, they endorsed the annexed joint statement on market-oriented conditions and agreed to further their discussion on this issue and to engage with other trading partners on identifying means to maintain market-oriented conditions." [SourceJoint Statement on Trilateral Meeting of the Trade Ministers of the United States, Japan, and the European Union. May 31, 2018
  • “'The United States expects our trading partners to comply with the reporting requirements they agreed to when joining the WTO,' said Ambassador Lighthizer. 'Accurate reporting and improved transparency of these programs is an important step in ensuring that our trading partners are living up to their WTO commitments and helps achieve more market-based outcomes through the multilateral trading system.' [...] Based on U.S. calculations, it appears that India has substantially underreported its market price support for wheat and rice.  When calculated according to WTO Agreement on Agriculture methodology, India’s market price support for wheat and rice far exceeded its allowable levels of trade distorting domestic support. The United States expects a robust discussion on how India implements and notifies its policies at the next COA meeting, which is scheduled for June 2018.” [Source] United States Issues First-Ever WTO Counter Notification Against India's Market Price Support. May 2018
  • "The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released the 2018 Special 301 Report, identifying trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.  The Report calls on U.S. trading partners to address IP-related challenges with a special focus on the countries identified on the Watch List and Priority Watch List. [...] India also remains on the Priority Watch List this year for longstanding challenges in its IP framework and lack of sufficient measurable improvements, particularly with respect to patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and enforcement, as well as for new issues that have negatively affected U.S. right holders over the past year. USTR also identified 24 trading partners on the Watch List:  Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.  IP challenges in these countries also merit increased bilateral engagement in 2018-2019." [SourceUSTR Releases 2018 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights. April 2018
  • "U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer today announced that the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with the Government of India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging Indian export subsidy programs.  These programs are: the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme; Export Oriented Units Scheme and sector specific schemes, including Electronics Hardware Technology Parks Scheme; Special Economic Zones; Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme; and a duty free imports for exporters program.  These apparent export subsidies provide financial benefits to Indian exporters that allow them to sell their goods more cheaply to the detriment of American workers and manufacturers." [SourceUnited States Launches WTO Challenge to Indian Export Subsidy Programs. March 2018
  • "Mrs Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative met in Brussels on 10 March, 2018. The Ministers confirmed their shared objective to address non market-oriented policies and practices that lead to severe overcapacity, create unfair competitive conditions for our workers and businesses, hinder the development and use of innovative technologies, and undermine the proper functioning of international trade, including where existing rules are not effective." [Source] Joint Readout from Meeting of the United States, European Union and Japan in Brussels. March 2018
  • "Given the importance of the digital economy to both Australia and the United States, we agree to intensify cooperation to support the growth of digital trade between our countries, ensure an open, free and secure Internet, and advocate the liberalization and facilitation of global digital trade. We emphasize the importance of ensuring that our digital policy represents the highest standards for the constantly evolving commercial reality of digital trade.  We particularly seek to ensure that our workers and small and medium-sized enterprises can succeed in the digital economy. At the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) in December 2017, 70 WTO Members including Australia and the United States – accounting for more than 75 percent of global trade – agreed to work toward future negotiations on e-commerce.  This initiative provides an opportunity to create ambitious, commercially meaningful international trade rules that address key trade barriers and will keep pace with technological change.  We will seek to build on the positive momentum from Buenos Aires to move toward negotiations. We look forward to continuing to work together bilaterally and in international forums to ensure robust global digital trade rules.” [Source] United States and Australia Intensify Cooperation on Digital Trade. February 2018
  • "Officials from the United States and the Republic of Korea met in Seoul, Korea on January 31 - February 1 to advance amendment and modification negotiations and other discussions on the U.S.- Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement.  Discussions focused on specific proposals, including those related to market access and tariffs. The United States emphasized steps to rebalance the Agreement to improve the large trade deficit in industrial goods, including autos and auto parts. Additionally, the United States pressed for the resolution of Agreement implementation concerns that have hindered U.S. goods and services export growth and opportunities in Korea. 'These negotiations are an example of the Trump Administration’s commitment to making trade deals fair and reciprocal,' said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “We must build on these negotiations with substantive and expeditious progress that will benefit the American people. In every trade relationship, the United States will stand up for U.S. workers and manufacturers, especially those facing serious injury or harm by unfair trade practices.'” [Source] Statement on the Conclusion of US-Korea (Korus) FTA Meetings in Seoul. January 2018
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced today negotiations on amendments and modifications of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will be held in Seoul, Korea on January 31 and February 1, 2018.  The United States will engage on priority areas with the goal of moving towards fair and reciprocal trade and resolving additional cross-cutting and sector-specific barriers impacting U.S. exports. The United States delegation will be led by Michael Beeman, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC. The Republic of Korea delegation at the meeting will be led by Ms. Myung-hee Yoo, Director General from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE)." [Source] United States, Korea Continue Modification and Amendment Negotiations on KORUS FTA. January 2018
  • "On January 5, 2018, officials from the United States and the Republic of Korea met at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to advance talks related to the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement, including negotiations on Agreement modifications and amendments. The United States delegation was led by Michael Beeman, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC.  The Republic of Korea delegation was led by Ms. Myung-hee Yoo, Director General from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). [...] At the conclusion of the session today, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said, 'We have much work to do to reach an agreement that serves the economic interests of the American people. Our goals are clear: we must achieve fair and reciprocal trade between our two nations.  We will move forward as expeditiously as possible to achieve this goal. '" [SourceStatement on the Conclusion of Meeting on the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) FTA. January 2018
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced that negotiations on amendments and modifications of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will be held in Washington, D.C. on January 5, 2018. The United States delegation at the meeting will be led by Michael Beeman, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC. The Republic of Korea delegation at the meeting will be led by Ms. Myung-hee Yoo, Director General from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). With the recent completion of related domestic procedures in Korea, both delegations are meeting on January 5, 2018 to engage and advance negotiations to improve the KORUS FTA." [Source] United States, Korea to Hold Amendment Negotiations on KORUS FTA. December 2017
  • “A key objective of the Trump Administration’s trade policy is ensuring that U.S. owners of intellectual property (IP) have a full and fair opportunity to use and profit from their IP around the globe. The key to promoting innovation is protecting intellectual property. We welcome the corrective actions that Thailand has taken and look forward to continuing to work with Thailand to resolve our remaining IP concerns.” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Announces Results of Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Thailand. December 2017
  • "We shared the view that severe excess capacity in key sectors exacerbated by government-financed and supported capacity expansion, unfair competitive conditions caused by large market-distorting subsidies and state owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and local content requirements and preferences are serious concerns for the proper functioning of international trade, the creation of innovative technologies and the sustainable growth of the global economy. We, to address this critical concern, agreed to enhance trilateral cooperation in the WTO and in other forums, as appropriate, to eliminate these and other unfair market distorting and protectionist practices by third countries.” [Source] Joint Statement by the United States, European Union and Japan at MC11. December 2017
  • "The President spoke loud and clear: the era of trade compromised by massive state intervention, subsidies, closed markets and mercantilism is ending. Free, fair and reciprocal trade that leads to market outcomes and greater prosperity is on the horizon. President Trump understands that too many nations talk about free trade abroad, only to shield their economies behind tariff and non-tariff barriers at home. The United States will no longer allow these actions to continue, and we are willing to use our economic leverage to pursue truly fair and balanced trade. I look forward to doing as the President instructed me and to pursue policies that will improve the lives of our workers, farmers and ranchers.” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Statement on the President's New Paradigm for US-Indo-Pacific Trade [Remarks were made by President Trump during his trip to the APEC Summit]. November 2017
  • “This is a significant win for U.S. farmers and ranchers. Given Indonesia’s market size and U.S. competitiveness, we should be selling many more agricultural products to Indonesian consumers.  The Trump Administration will continue to use all our tools, including WTO dispute settlement and other mechanisms, to ensure that world-class U.S. agricultural products get fair access to markets around the world.” [Source] U.S. Wins WTO Dispute on Indonesia's Agricultural Restrictions. November 2017
  • "Today, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer welcomed Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sri Suresh Prabhu, for the annual U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The Ministers and their delegations met to discuss a full agenda of bilateral trade issues. 'Our work under the Trade Policy Forum focused on achieving progress towards a more balanced trade relationship. U.S.-India trade has grown significantly in the last few years and has the potential to span every sector of the economy.  To increase reciprocal trade, we will continue to seek to identify and address trade barriers related to goods, including manufactured and agriculture, services and intellectual property rights. The U.S. objective is to increase trade flows between our two countries and to decrease our bilateral trade deficit. I am confident that with continued work, we will be able to accomplish these goals.'” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Statement on the U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Policy Forum. October 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released the following statement on the conclusion of the second special session of the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. Ambassador Lighthizer and Korean Trade Minister Hyun-chong Kim co-chaired the meeting today at the offices of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, DC.'I initiated Joint Committee discussions at the direction of the President to improve outcomes under this agreement for all Americans.  I now look forward to intensified engagement with Korea in an expeditious manner to resolve outstanding implementation issues as well as to engage soon on amendments that will lead to fair, reciprocal trade.'” [Source] USTR Lighthizer Statement on the Conclusion of the Second Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. October 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced the second special session of the Joint Committee under the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. The first special session took place on August 22, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. The second special session will be held in Washington, DC on October 4, 2017." [SourceUSTR Announces Second Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. September 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of Thailand’s Special 301 status due to positive steps the country has taken regarding intellectual property (IP). In the 2017 Special 301 report, USTR placed Thailand on the Priority Watch List but noted that the United States was prepared to review that status if Thailand continued to take positive action on IP issues and made substantial progress in addressing the concerns described in the Special 301 report. The Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement.  In recent months, Thailand has taken steps to improve enforcement against pirated and counterfeit goods, including enhanced coordination among enforcement agencies and a sustained focus on investigations and raids. [...] The Special 301 OCR announcement comes as Ambassador Lighthizer welcomed Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn to Washington, DC for a meeting to discuss ways to increase trade and reduce the trade deficit between the United States and Thailand. During the meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer stressed the need to address longstanding trade barriers, including on U.S. meat and other agriculture exports. He also highlighted the need for progress on customs, goods, worker rights, and other issues discussed during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meeting in July." [Source] USTR Lighthizer Initiates Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review for Thailand, Welcomes Commerce Minister Apiradi. September 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with Malaysian Minister of Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed yesterday ahead of President Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Najib. During the meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer and Minister Mustapa discussed ways to further strengthen their trade relationship. They directed their staffs to make further progress in addressing specific issues being discussed under the U.S.-Malaysia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, including on insurance and financial services, intellectual property, agriculture, goods, labor, and environment.  The two Ministers agreed to stay in close touch over the coming months to assess progress in resolving outstanding issues and to engage on ways to enhance their economic ties and promote more balanced trade between the two nations." [Source] United States and Malaysia Discuss Advancing Bilateral Trade. September 2017
  • “The United States and Korea have an important economic relationship. Unfortunately, too many American workers have not benefited from the agreement. USTR has long pressed the Korean government to address burdensome regulations which often exclude U.S. firms or artificially set prices for American intellectual property. This negotiation offers us an opportunity to resolve these and other barriers.Since KORUS entered into effect, U.S. goods exports have decreased while the trade deficit overall with Korea has nearly tripled. American service exports have seen virtually no growth in the past four years. President Trump is committed to substantial improvements in the Korean agreement that address the trade imbalance and ensure that the deal is fully implemented.” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Statement on the Conclusion of the Special Session of the US-Korea FTA Joint Committee. August 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono for wide-ranging discussions on strengthening and advancing bilateral trade and economic relations. At the meeting, they discussed work plans to promote the trade agenda under the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue, co-chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, and agreed on accelerating discussions to address specific bilateral trade issues as well as to explore approaches to strengthen free and fair trade and promote high trade and investment standards. [...] Ambassador Lighthizer and Foreign Minister Kono also discussed U.S. concerns related to Japan’s recent imposition of a safeguard measure that significantly increases tariffs on exports of frozen U.S. beef.  Additionally, they covered topics of common concern and cooperation related to combatting unfair trade practices by third countries, which is another priority work area on trade under the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue." [SourceUSTR Lighthizer, Japan Foreign Minister Kono Agree to Accelerate Bilateral Trade Engagement. August 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced arrangements for the special session meeting of the Joint Committee under the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. The special session will be held in Seoul, South Korea, on August 22, 2017. Ambassador Lighthizer and Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong will open the meeting via videoconference, to be followed by additional senior-level discussions between U.S. and Korean officials in Seoul." [SourceUSTR Announces Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. August 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today, as directed by President Trump, formally notified the Republic of Korea that the United States is calling a special Joint Committee meeting under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) to start the process of negotiating to remove barriers to U.S. trade and consider needed amendments to the agreement. The USTR acted in accord with the President’s intention of reducing the trade deficit and giving Americans a better chance to succeed in global markets. 'President Trump continues to keep his promises to lower our trade deficit and negotiate better trade deals for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. Since KORUS went into effect, our trade deficit in goods with Korea has doubled from $13.2 billion to $27.6 billion, while U.S. goods exports have actually gone down. This is quite different from what the previous Administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this Agreement. We can and must do better.'" [Source] USTR Calls a Special Session Under the U.S. Korea Free Trade Agreement. July 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this afternoon met with Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko to discuss U.S.-Japan trade relations and cooperation against trade-distorting practices by third countries. In their meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer stressed the importance of addressing the bilateral trade imbalance, given the very high and decades-long U.S. goods trade deficit with Japan.  He additionally underscored how both countries can effectively utilize the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue. Both sides also stressed the importance of further deepening enforcement cooperation to address unfair practices utilized by third countries that are contributing to global economic imbalances." [SourceReadout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Meeting with Japan Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko. June 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this morning welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay for a meeting on the two countries' strong trade relationship. Ambassador Lighthizer reiterated the United States' commitment to continued engagement in the Pacific region for free and fair trade with all U.S. trading partners. Along with the U.S.-New Zealand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, he highlighted opportunities to further deepen the trade partnership and to coordinate on solutions to global dairy market challenges. Ambassador Lighthizer underscored that U.S. exporters are deeply committed to the New Zealand economy, where the United States has maintained steady exports. He looks forward to building an even stronger, mutually-beneficial trade relationship and working together to ensure fair, transparent access to markets around the world." [SourceReadout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Meeting with New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay. June 2017
  • "The United States met with Indonesia on June 12-13 under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), agreeing on next steps for expeditiously resolving bilateral issues and further building their trade relations. Ambassador Robert Lighthizer welcomed the shared commitment to intensify engagement under the TIFA.  In a concluding meeting with Indonesian Investment Board Chairman Tom Lembong, Ambassador Lighthizer emphasized the Trump Administration’s interest in enhancing ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the importance of addressing outstanding trade issues in the next few months, and the priority of lowering the bilateral trade deficit, the United States’ 15th largest." [SourceUnited States and Indonesia Agree to Step Up Work to Expand Trade. June 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this afternoon met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the U.S.-Vietnam trade relationship and outstanding bilateral trade issues. The two leaders also discussed the challenges presented by the growth in the U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam and the potential for further improvements in the trade relationship, including through initiatives under the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Ambassador Lighthizer today also met with Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh on these issues, as well as on the importance of ensuring concrete progress during upcoming TIFA working group meetings on agriculture, digital trade, goods, intellectual property, and labor." [SourceReadout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Bilateral Meetings with Vietnam. May 2017 
  • "As the Trump Administration begins to advance its agenda for free and fair trade, [Vietnamese] Prime Minister [Nguyen Xuan] Phuc’s visit to Washington is a timely and important opportunity for our two countries to reflect on the impressive growth of our bilateral relationship over the past two decades. Working closely together, our trade and investment ties have grown significantly since we normalized relations in 1995. In 2001, we signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement to serve as a roadmap for increased cooperation on economic reforms in Vietnam. The United States and Vietnam worked together to fulfill those commitments, which served as a stepping-stone towards Vietnam’s WTO accession. And in January 2007, Vietnam became the WTO’s 150th member. That year we also began to further strengthen our ties through a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. We have made significant progress since then in trade in goods, agriculture sales, and services. Yet, we still have a lot of work to do. Over the last decade, our bilateral trade deficit has risen from about $7 billion to nearly $32 billion. This concerning growth in our trade deficit presents new challenges and shows us that there is considerable potential to improve further our important trade relationship." [Source] Remarks By U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Gala Dinner. May 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer attended the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Hanoi, Viet Nam, May 20-21. The meeting marks Ambassador Lighthizer’s first international trip as U.S. Trade Representative.[...] 'It was important to me to come to APEC first and foremost to reaffirm the President’s strong commitment to promoting bilateral free and fair trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. APEC provides a great opportunity to focus energy on the barriers to its stated objective of free and open trade – a goal that cannot be met without tackling trade-distorting measures that have led to massive U.S. trade imbalances in the region. I look forward to working with our trade partners to expand U.S. export market access and address persistent unfair trade practices.'" [Source] USTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on APEC Meeting. May 2017 
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Tom Carper (DE) on the pros and cons of allowing sales of US aircraft to Vietnam. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) on India and intellectual property rights (IPR). [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) on India and intellectual property rights (IPR). [Source] Clipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017

China/Taiwan

  • "'We must take strong defensive actions to protect America’s leadership in technology and innovation against the unprecedented threat posed by China’s theft of our intellectual property, the forced transfer of American technology, and its cyber attacks on our computer networks.China’s government is aggressively working to undermine America’s high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies like ‘Made in China 2025.’  Technology and innovation are America’s greatest economic assets and President Trump rightfully recognizes that if we want our country to have a prosperous future, we must take a stand now to uphold fair trade and protect American competitiveness.'" [Source] USTR Issues Tariffs on Chinese Products in Response to Unfair Trade Practices. June 2018
  • "At the direction of President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping, on May 17 and 18, 2018, the United States and China engaged in constructive consultations regarding trade in Washington, D.C. The United States delegation included Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, and United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer. The Chinese delegation was led by State Council Vice Premier Liu He, Special Envoy of President Xi. There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China. To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services. This will help support growth and employment in the United States." [Source] Joint Statement of the United States and China Regarding Trade Consultations. May 19, 2018 
  • "At the invitation of Vice Premier Liu He and at the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the United States trade delegation, led by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and including Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, traveled to Beijing, and was joined there by Ambassador Terry Branstad. The delegation held frank discussions with Chinese officials on rebalancing the United States–China bilateral economic relationship, improving China’s protection of intellectual property, and identifying policies that unfairly enforce technology transfers.  The United States delegation affirmed that fair trade will lead to faster growth for the Chinese, United States, and world economies." [SourceStatement on the United States Trade Delegation's Visit to Beijing. May 4, 2018
  • "The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released the 2018 Special 301 Report, identifying trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.  The Report calls on U.S. trading partners to address IP-related challenges with a special focus on the countries identified on the Watch List and Priority Watch List. [...] China is on the Priority Watch List for the 14th consecutive year.  Longstanding and new IP concerns merit increased attention, including China’s coercive technology transfer practices, range of impediments to effective IP enforcement, and widespread infringing activity—including trade secret theft, rampant online piracy, and counterfeit manufacturing." [Source] USTR Releases 2018 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights. April 2018
  • “President Trump is proposing an appropriate response to China’s recent threat of new tariffs.  After a detailed investigation, USTR found overwhelming evidence that China’s unreasonable actions are harming the U.S. economy.  In the light of such evidence, the appropriate response from China should be to change its behavior, as China’s government has pledged to do many times.  Economies around the world – including China’s own – would benefit if China would implement policies that truly reward hard work and innovation, rather than continuing its policies that distort the vital high-tech sector. Unfortunately, China has chosen to respond thus far with threats to impose unjustified tariffs on billions of dollars in U.S. exports, including our agricultural products.  Such measures would undoubtedly cause further harm to American workers, farmers, and businesses.  Under these circumstances, the President is right to ask for additional appropriate action to obtain the elimination of the unfair acts, policies, and practices identified in USTR’s report.” [SourceUSTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on the President's Additional Section 301 Action. April 2018
  • “President Trump has made it clear we must insist on fair and reciprocal trade with China and strictly enforce our laws against unfair trade.  This requires taking effective action to confront China over its state-led efforts to force, strong-arm, and even steal U.S. technology and intellectual property. Years of talking about these problems with China has not worked.  The United States is committed to using all available tools to respond to China’s unfair, market-distorting behavior.  China’s unprecedented and unfair trade practices are a serious challenge not just to the United States, but to our allies and partners around the world.” [Source] President Trump Announces Strong Actions to Address China's Unfair Trade. March 2018

The 301 legislation concerning China can be read here in full.

  • "China and Russia have failed to embrace the market-oriented  economic policies championed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and are not living up to certain key commitments they made when they joined the WTO, the U.S. Trade Representative said in annual reports released today on each country’s compliance with WTO rules." [Source] USTR Releases Annual Reports on China's and Russia's WTO Compliance. January 2018
  • "Today, U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally initiated an investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The investigation will seek to determine whether acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce. 'On Monday, President Trump instructed me to look into Chinese laws, policies, and practices which may be harming American intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development. After consulting with stakeholders and other government agencies, I have determined that these critical issues merit a thorough investigation. I notified the President that today I am beginning an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.'" [Source] USTR Announces Initiation of Section 301 Investigation of China. August 2017
  • "The United States has for many years been facing a very serious problem. China's industrial policies and other practices reportedly have forced the transfer of vital U.S. technology to Chinese companies. We will engage in a thorough investigation and, if needed, take action to preserve the future of U.S. industry. Potentially millions of jobs are at stake for the current and future generations. This will be one of USTR's highest priorities, and we will report back to the President as soon as possible." [SourceUSTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on the Presidential Memo on China. August 2017
  • "I welcome China taking this important step to start allowing U.S. beef imports after shutting them out over 13 years ago.  The President's firm commitment to fair trade that benefits the United States has made this new U.S. beef export opportunity possible.  I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science. America's ranchers are the best producers of beef in the global economy, and they can compete and succeed wherever there is a level playing field." [Source] U.S., China Finalize Details to Send U.S. Beef to China. June 2017 
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) on trade concerns surrounding China’s overcapacity in steel and aluminum products. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Bob Casey (PA) on trade concerns surrounding China, the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a forum from which to challenge China, and partnership with the European Union to counteract China’s trade distortions. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Tim Scott (SC) on trade concerns surrounding China and the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a forum from which to challenge China. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) on China’s overcapacity in the steel industry and other areas. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) on China’s currency manipulation and concerns that President Trump’s business interests in China will impede discussions on countering this problem. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017

Human Rights & Democracy

 

North Korea

 

South China Sea

 

Southeast Asia/ASEAN

  • “A key objective of the Trump Administration’s trade policy is ensuring that U.S. owners of intellectual property (IP) have a full and fair opportunity to use and profit from their IP around the globe. The key to promoting innovation is protecting intellectual property. We welcome the corrective actions that Thailand has taken and look forward to continuing to work with Thailand to resolve our remaining IP concerns.” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Announces Results of Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Thailand. December 2017
  • “This is a significant win for U.S. farmers and ranchers. Given Indonesia’s market size and U.S. competitiveness, we should be selling many more agricultural products to Indonesian consumers.  The Trump Administration will continue to use all our tools, including WTO dispute settlement and other mechanisms, to ensure that world-class U.S. agricultural products get fair access to markets around the world.” [SourceU.S. Wins WTO Dispute on Indonesia's Agricultural Restrictions. November 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of Thailand’s Special 301 status due to positive steps the country has taken regarding intellectual property (IP). In the 2017 Special 301 report, USTR placed Thailand on the Priority Watch List but noted that the United States was prepared to review that status if Thailand continued to take positive action on IP issues and made substantial progress in addressing the concerns described in the Special 301 report. The Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement.  In recent months, Thailand has taken steps to improve enforcement against pirated and counterfeit goods, including enhanced coordination among enforcement agencies and a sustained focus on investigations and raids. [...] The Special 301 OCR announcement comes as Ambassador Lighthizer welcomed Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn to Washington, DC for a meeting to discuss ways to increase trade and reduce the trade deficit between the United States and Thailand. During the meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer stressed the need to address longstanding trade barriers, including on U.S. meat and other agriculture exports. He also highlighted the need for progress on customs, goods, worker rights, and other issues discussed during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meeting in July." [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Initiates Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review for Thailand, Welcomes Commerce Minister Apiradi. September 2017
  • "The United States met with Indonesia on June 12-13 under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), agreeing on next steps for expeditiously resolving bilateral issues and further building their trade relations. Ambassador Robert Lighthizer welcomed the shared commitment to intensify engagement under the TIFA.  In a concluding meeting with Indonesian Investment Board Chairman Tom Lembong, Ambassador Lighthizer emphasized the Trump Administration’s interest in enhancing ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the importance of addressing outstanding trade issues in the next few months, and the priority of lowering the bilateral trade deficit, the United States’ 15th largest." [Source] United States and Indonesia Agree to Step Up Work to Expand Trade. June 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this afternoon met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the U.S.-Vietnam trade relationship and outstanding bilateral trade issues. The two leaders also discussed the challenges presented by the growth in the U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam and the potential for further improvements in the trade relationship, including through initiatives under the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Ambassador Lighthizer today also met with Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh on these issues, as well as on the importance of ensuring concrete progress during upcoming TIFA working group meetings on agriculture, digital trade, goods, intellectual property, and labor." [Source] Readout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Bilateral Meetings with Vietnam. May 2017 
  • "As the Trump Administration begins to advance its agenda for free and fair trade, [Vietnamese] Prime Minister [Nguyen Xuan] Phuc’s visit to Washington is a timely and important opportunity for our two countries to reflect on the impressive growth of our bilateral relationship over the past two decades. Working closely together, our trade and investment ties have grown significantly since we normalized relations in 1995. In 2001, we signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement to serve as a roadmap for increased cooperation on economic reforms in Vietnam. The United States and Vietnam worked together to fulfill those commitments, which served as a stepping-stone towards Vietnam’s WTO accession. And in January 2007, Vietnam became the WTO’s 150th member. That year we also began to further strengthen our ties through a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. We have made significant progress since then in trade in goods, agriculture sales, and services. Yet, we still have a lot of work to do. Over the last decade, our bilateral trade deficit has risen from about $7 billion to nearly $32 billion. This concerning growth in our trade deficit presents new challenges and shows us that there is considerable potential to improve further our important trade relationship." [SourceRemarks By U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Gala Dinner. May 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer attended the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Hanoi, Viet Nam, May 20-21. The meeting marks Ambassador Lighthizer’s first international trip as U.S. Trade Representative.[...] 'It was important to me to come to APEC first and foremost to reaffirm the President’s strong commitment to promoting bilateral free and fair trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. APEC provides a great opportunity to focus energy on the barriers to its stated objective of free and open trade – a goal that cannot be met without tackling trade-distorting measures that have led to massive U.S. trade imbalances in the region. I look forward to working with our trade partners to expand U.S. export market access and address persistent unfair trade practices.'" [SourceUSTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on APEC Meeting. May 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Tom Carper (DE) on the pros and cons of allowing sales of US aircraft to Vietnam. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017

Summits - APEC, East Asia (EAS), & US-ASEAN

  • "United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer attended the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Hanoi, Viet Nam, May 20-21. The meeting marks Ambassador Lighthizer’s first international trip as U.S. Trade Representative.[...] 'It was important to me to come to APEC first and foremost to reaffirm the President’s strong commitment to promoting bilateral free and fair trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. APEC provides a great opportunity to focus energy on the barriers to its stated objective of free and open trade – a goal that cannot be met without tackling trade-distorting measures that have led to massive U.S. trade imbalances in the region. I look forward to working with our trade partners to expand U.S. export market access and address persistent unfair trade practices.'" [SourceUSTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on APEC Meeting. May 2017 

Trade & Investment

  • "'We must take strong defensive actions to protect America’s leadership in technology and innovation against the unprecedented threat posed by China’s theft of our intellectual property, the forced transfer of American technology, and its cyber attacks on our computer networks.China’s government is aggressively working to undermine America’s high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies like ‘Made in China 2025.’  Technology and innovation are America’s greatest economic assets and President Trump rightfully recognizes that if we want our country to have a prosperous future, we must take a stand now to uphold fair trade and protect American competitiveness.'" [SourceUSTR Issues Tariffs on Chinese Products in Response to Unfair Trade Practices. June 2018
  • "At the direction of President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping, on May 17 and 18, 2018, the United States and China engaged in constructive consultations regarding trade in Washington, D.C. The United States delegation included Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, and United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer. The Chinese delegation was led by State Council Vice Premier Liu He, Special Envoy of President Xi. There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China. To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services. This will help support growth and employment in the United States." [Source] Joint Statement of the United States and China Regarding Trade Consultations. May 19, 2018 
  • “'The United States expects our trading partners to comply with the reporting requirements they agreed to when joining the WTO,' said Ambassador Lighthizer. 'Accurate reporting and improved transparency of these programs is an important step in ensuring that our trading partners are living up to their WTO commitments and helps achieve more market-based outcomes through the multilateral trading system.' [...] Based on U.S. calculations, it appears that India has substantially underreported its market price support for wheat and rice.  When calculated according to WTO Agreement on Agriculture methodology, India’s market price support for wheat and rice far exceeded its allowable levels of trade distorting domestic support. The United States expects a robust discussion on how India implements and notifies its policies at the next COA meeting, which is scheduled for June 2018.” [SourceUnited States Issues First-Ever WTO Counter Notification Against India's Market Price Support. May 2018
  • "At the invitation of Vice Premier Liu He and at the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the United States trade delegation, led by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and including Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, traveled to Beijing, and was joined there by Ambassador Terry Branstad. The delegation held frank discussions with Chinese officials on rebalancing the United States–China bilateral economic relationship, improving China’s protection of intellectual property, and identifying policies that unfairly enforce technology transfers.  The United States delegation affirmed that fair trade will lead to faster growth for the Chinese, United States, and world economies." [SourceStatement on the United States Trade Delegation's Visit to Beijing. May 4, 2018
  • "The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released the 2018 Special 301 Report, identifying trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.  The Report calls on U.S. trading partners to address IP-related challenges with a special focus on the countries identified on the Watch List and Priority Watch List. [...] India also remains on the Priority Watch List this year for longstanding challenges in its IP framework and lack of sufficient measurable improvements, particularly with respect to patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and enforcement, as well as for new issues that have negatively affected U.S. right holders over the past year. USTR also identified 24 trading partners on the Watch List:  Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.  IP challenges in these countries also merit increased bilateral engagement in 2018-2019." [SourceUSTR Releases 2018 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights. April 2018
  • "The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released the 2018 Special 301 Report, identifying trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.  The Report calls on U.S. trading partners to address IP-related challenges with a special focus on the countries identified on the Watch List and Priority Watch List. [...] China is on the Priority Watch List for the 14th consecutive year.  Longstanding and new IP concerns merit increased attention, including China’s coercive technology transfer practices, range of impediments to effective IP enforcement, and widespread infringing activity—including trade secret theft, rampant online piracy, and counterfeit manufacturing." [SourceUSTR Releases 2018 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights. April 2018
  • “President Trump is proposing an appropriate response to China’s recent threat of new tariffs.  After a detailed investigation, USTR found overwhelming evidence that China’s unreasonable actions are harming the U.S. economy.  In the light of such evidence, the appropriate response from China should be to change its behavior, as China’s government has pledged to do many times.  Economies around the world – including China’s own – would benefit if China would implement policies that truly reward hard work and innovation, rather than continuing its policies that distort the vital high-tech sector. Unfortunately, China has chosen to respond thus far with threats to impose unjustified tariffs on billions of dollars in U.S. exports, including our agricultural products.  Such measures would undoubtedly cause further harm to American workers, farmers, and businesses.  Under these circumstances, the President is right to ask for additional appropriate action to obtain the elimination of the unfair acts, policies, and practices identified in USTR’s report.” [Source] USTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on the President's Additional Section 301 Action. April 2018
  • "Today, Ambassador Lighthizer and [South Korean] Minister [for Trade Hyun Chong] Kim are pleased to announce that the United States and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement in principle on the general terms of amendments and modifications to the United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).  The nations have also agreed on terms for a country exemption for the Republic of Korea from tariffs imposed on steel imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9705, as amended. At the instruction of the Ministers, negotiators are finalizing the terms of the KORUS FTA negotiations, which are subject to domestic procedures in both nations before provisions can be brought into force.  The revised agreement addresses issues related to investment, tariffs, trade in automobiles, and trade remedies.  Additional progress was made in the areas of pharmaceuticals, customs and textiles to smoothly implement the KORUS FTA. The arrangement with respect to steel imports is expected to take effect on May 1, 2018." [Source] Joint Statement by the United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Republic of Korea Minister for Trade Hyun Chong Kim. March 2018 
  • “President Trump has made it clear we must insist on fair and reciprocal trade with China and strictly enforce our laws against unfair trade.  This requires taking effective action to confront China over its state-led efforts to force, strong-arm, and even steal U.S. technology and intellectual property. Years of talking about these problems with China has not worked.  The United States is committed to using all available tools to respond to China’s unfair, market-distorting behavior.  China’s unprecedented and unfair trade practices are a serious challenge not just to the United States, but to our allies and partners around the world.” [SourcePresident Trump Announces Strong Actions to Address China's Unfair Trade. March 2018

The 301 legislation concerning China can be read here in full.

  • "U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer today announced that the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with the Government of India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging Indian export subsidy programs.  These programs are: the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme; Export Oriented Units Scheme and sector specific schemes, including Electronics Hardware Technology Parks Scheme; Special Economic Zones; Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme; and a duty free imports for exporters program.  These apparent export subsidies provide financial benefits to Indian exporters that allow them to sell their goods more cheaply to the detriment of American workers and manufacturers." [Source] United States Launches WTO Challenge to Indian Export Subsidy Programs. March 2018
  • "Mrs Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative met in Brussels on 10 March, 2018. The Ministers confirmed their shared objective to address non market-oriented policies and practices that lead to severe overcapacity, create unfair competitive conditions for our workers and businesses, hinder the development and use of innovative technologies, and undermine the proper functioning of international trade, including where existing rules are not effective." [Source] Joint Readout from Meeting of the United States, European Union and Japan in Brussels. March 2018
  • "Given the importance of the digital economy to both Australia and the United States, we agree to intensify cooperation to support the growth of digital trade between our countries, ensure an open, free and secure Internet, and advocate the liberalization and facilitation of global digital trade. We emphasize the importance of ensuring that our digital policy represents the highest standards for the constantly evolving commercial reality of digital trade.  We particularly seek to ensure that our workers and small and medium-sized enterprises can succeed in the digital economy. At the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) in December 2017, 70 WTO Members including Australia and the United States – accounting for more than 75 percent of global trade – agreed to work toward future negotiations on e-commerce.  This initiative provides an opportunity to create ambitious, commercially meaningful international trade rules that address key trade barriers and will keep pace with technological change.  We will seek to build on the positive momentum from Buenos Aires to move toward negotiations. We look forward to continuing to work together bilaterally and in international forums to ensure robust global digital trade rules.” [Source] United States and Australia Intensify Cooperation on Digital Trade. February 2018
  • "Officials from the United States and the Republic of Korea met in Seoul, Korea on January 31 - February 1 to advance amendment and modification negotiations and other discussions on the U.S.- Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement.  Discussions focused on specific proposals, including those related to market access and tariffs. The United States emphasized steps to rebalance the Agreement to improve the large trade deficit in industrial goods, including autos and auto parts. Additionally, the United States pressed for the resolution of Agreement implementation concerns that have hindered U.S. goods and services export growth and opportunities in Korea. 'These negotiations are an example of the Trump Administration’s commitment to making trade deals fair and reciprocal,' said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “We must build on these negotiations with substantive and expeditious progress that will benefit the American people. In every trade relationship, the United States will stand up for U.S. workers and manufacturers, especially those facing serious injury or harm by unfair trade practices.'” [Source] Statement on the Conclusion of US-Korea (Korus) FTA Meetings in Seoul. January 2018
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced today negotiations on amendments and modifications of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will be held in Seoul, Korea on January 31 and February 1, 2018.  The United States will engage on priority areas with the goal of moving towards fair and reciprocal trade and resolving additional cross-cutting and sector-specific barriers impacting U.S. exports. The United States delegation will be led by Michael Beeman, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC. The Republic of Korea delegation at the meeting will be led by Ms. Myung-hee Yoo, Director General from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE)." [Source] United States, Korea Continue Modification and Amendment Negotiations on KORUS FTA. January 2018
  • "China and Russia have failed to embrace the market-oriented  economic policies championed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and are not living up to certain key commitments they made when they joined the WTO, the U.S. Trade Representative said in annual reports released today on each country’s compliance with WTO rules." [Source] USTR Releases Annual Reports on China's and Russia's WTO Compliance. January 2018
  • "On January 5, 2018, officials from the United States and the Republic of Korea met at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to advance talks related to the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement, including negotiations on Agreement modifications and amendments. The United States delegation was led by Michael Beeman, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC.  The Republic of Korea delegation was led by Ms. Myung-hee Yoo, Director General from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). [...] At the conclusion of the session today, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said, 'We have much work to do to reach an agreement that serves the economic interests of the American people. Our goals are clear: we must achieve fair and reciprocal trade between our two nations.  We will move forward as expeditiously as possible to achieve this goal. '" [Source] Statement on the Conclusion of Meeting on the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) FTA. January 2018
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced that negotiations on amendments and modifications of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will be held in Washington, D.C. on January 5, 2018. The United States delegation at the meeting will be led by Michael Beeman, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC. The Republic of Korea delegation at the meeting will be led by Ms. Myung-hee Yoo, Director General from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). With the recent completion of related domestic procedures in Korea, both delegations are meeting on January 5, 2018 to engage and advance negotiations to improve the KORUS FTA." [SourceUnited States, Korea to Hold Amendment Negotiations on KORUS FTA. December 2017
  • “A key objective of the Trump Administration’s trade policy is ensuring that U.S. owners of intellectual property (IP) have a full and fair opportunity to use and profit from their IP around the globe. The key to promoting innovation is protecting intellectual property. We welcome the corrective actions that Thailand has taken and look forward to continuing to work with Thailand to resolve our remaining IP concerns.” [Source] USTR Lighthizer Announces Results of Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Thailand. December 2017
  • "We shared the view that severe excess capacity in key sectors exacerbated by government-financed and supported capacity expansion, unfair competitive conditions caused by large market-distorting subsidies and state owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and local content requirements and preferences are serious concerns for the proper functioning of international trade, the creation of innovative technologies and the sustainable growth of the global economy. We, to address this critical concern, agreed to enhance trilateral cooperation in the WTO and in other forums, as appropriate, to eliminate these and other unfair market distorting and protectionist practices by third countries.” [SourceJoint Statement by the United States, European Union and Japan at MC11. December 2017
  • "The President spoke loud and clear: the era of trade compromised by massive state intervention, subsidies, closed markets and mercantilism is ending. Free, fair and reciprocal trade that leads to market outcomes and greater prosperity is on the horizon. President Trump understands that too many nations talk about free trade abroad, only to shield their economies behind tariff and non-tariff barriers at home. The United States will no longer allow these actions to continue, and we are willing to use our economic leverage to pursue truly fair and balanced trade. I look forward to doing as the President instructed me and to pursue policies that will improve the lives of our workers, farmers and ranchers.” [Source] USTR Lighthizer Statement on the President's New Paradigm for US-Indo-Pacific Trade [Remarks were made by President Trump during his trip to the APEC Summit]. November 2017
  • “This is a significant win for U.S. farmers and ranchers. Given Indonesia’s market size and U.S. competitiveness, we should be selling many more agricultural products to Indonesian consumers.  The Trump Administration will continue to use all our tools, including WTO dispute settlement and other mechanisms, to ensure that world-class U.S. agricultural products get fair access to markets around the world.” [SourceU.S. Wins WTO Dispute on Indonesia's Agricultural Restrictions. November 2017
  • "Today, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer welcomed Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sri Suresh Prabhu, for the annual U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The Ministers and their delegations met to discuss a full agenda of bilateral trade issues. 'Our work under the Trade Policy Forum focused on achieving progress towards a more balanced trade relationship. U.S.-India trade has grown significantly in the last few years and has the potential to span every sector of the economy.  To increase reciprocal trade, we will continue to seek to identify and address trade barriers related to goods, including manufactured and agriculture, services and intellectual property rights. The U.S. objective is to increase trade flows between our two countries and to decrease our bilateral trade deficit. I am confident that with continued work, we will be able to accomplish these goals.'” [Source] USTR Lighthizer Statement on the U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Policy Forum. October 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released the following statement on the conclusion of the second special session of the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. Ambassador Lighthizer and Korean Trade Minister Hyun-chong Kim co-chaired the meeting today at the offices of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, DC.'I initiated Joint Committee discussions at the direction of the President to improve outcomes under this agreement for all Americans.  I now look forward to intensified engagement with Korea in an expeditious manner to resolve outstanding implementation issues as well as to engage soon on amendments that will lead to fair, reciprocal trade.'” [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Statement on the Conclusion of the Second Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. October 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced the second special session of the Joint Committee under the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. The first special session took place on August 22, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. The second special session will be held in Washington, DC on October 4, 2017." [Source] USTR Announces Second Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. September 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of Thailand’s Special 301 status due to positive steps the country has taken regarding intellectual property (IP). In the 2017 Special 301 report, USTR placed Thailand on the Priority Watch List but noted that the United States was prepared to review that status if Thailand continued to take positive action on IP issues and made substantial progress in addressing the concerns described in the Special 301 report. The Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement.  In recent months, Thailand has taken steps to improve enforcement against pirated and counterfeit goods, including enhanced coordination among enforcement agencies and a sustained focus on investigations and raids. [...] The Special 301 OCR announcement comes as Ambassador Lighthizer welcomed Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn to Washington, DC for a meeting to discuss ways to increase trade and reduce the trade deficit between the United States and Thailand. During the meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer stressed the need to address longstanding trade barriers, including on U.S. meat and other agriculture exports. He also highlighted the need for progress on customs, goods, worker rights, and other issues discussed during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meeting in July." [SourceUSTR Lighthizer Initiates Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review for Thailand, Welcomes Commerce Minister Apiradi. September 2017
  • “The United States and Korea have an important economic relationship. Unfortunately, too many American workers have not benefited from the agreement. USTR has long pressed the Korean government to address burdensome regulations which often exclude U.S. firms or artificially set prices for American intellectual property. This negotiation offers us an opportunity to resolve these and other barriers.Since KORUS entered into effect, U.S. goods exports have decreased while the trade deficit overall with Korea has nearly tripled. American service exports have seen virtually no growth in the past four years. President Trump is committed to substantial improvements in the Korean agreement that address the trade imbalance and ensure that the deal is fully implemented.” [Source] USTR Lighthizer Statement on the Conclusion of the Special Session of the US-Korea FTA Joint Committee. August 2017
  • "Today, U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally initiated an investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The investigation will seek to determine whether acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce. 'On Monday, President Trump instructed me to look into Chinese laws, policies, and practices which may be harming American intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development. After consulting with stakeholders and other government agencies, I have determined that these critical issues merit a thorough investigation. I notified the President that today I am beginning an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.'" [Source] USTR Announces Initiation of Section 301 Investigation of China. August 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono for wide-ranging discussions on strengthening and advancing bilateral trade and economic relations. At the meeting, they discussed work plans to promote the trade agenda under the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue, co-chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, and agreed on accelerating discussions to address specific bilateral trade issues as well as to explore approaches to strengthen free and fair trade and promote high trade and investment standards. [...] Ambassador Lighthizer and Foreign Minister Kono also discussed U.S. concerns related to Japan’s recent imposition of a safeguard measure that significantly increases tariffs on exports of frozen U.S. beef.  Additionally, they covered topics of common concern and cooperation related to combatting unfair trade practices by third countries, which is another priority work area on trade under the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue." [Source] USTR Lighthizer, Japan Foreign Minister Kono Agree to Accelerate Bilateral Trade Engagement. August 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today announced arrangements for the special session meeting of the Joint Committee under the U.S.-Korea (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. The special session will be held in Seoul, South Korea, on August 22, 2017. Ambassador Lighthizer and Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong will open the meeting via videoconference, to be followed by additional senior-level discussions between U.S. and Korean officials in Seoul." [SourceUSTR Announces Special Session of the U.S.-Korea FTA Joint Committee. August 2017
  • "The United States has for many years been facing a very serious problem. China's industrial policies and other practices reportedly have forced the transfer of vital U.S. technology to Chinese companies. We will engage in a thorough investigation and, if needed, take action to preserve the future of U.S. industry. Potentially millions of jobs are at stake for the current and future generations. This will be one of USTR's highest priorities, and we will report back to the President as soon as possible." [Source] USTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on the Presidential Memo on China. August 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today, as directed by President Trump, formally notified the Republic of Korea that the United States is calling a special Joint Committee meeting under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) to start the process of negotiating to remove barriers to U.S. trade and consider needed amendments to the agreement. The USTR acted in accord with the President’s intention of reducing the trade deficit and giving Americans a better chance to succeed in global markets. 'President Trump continues to keep his promises to lower our trade deficit and negotiate better trade deals for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. Since KORUS went into effect, our trade deficit in goods with Korea has doubled from $13.2 billion to $27.6 billion, while U.S. goods exports have actually gone down. This is quite different from what the previous Administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this Agreement. We can and must do better.'" [SourceUSTR Calls a Special Session Under the U.S. Korea Free Trade Agreement. July 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this afternoon met with Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko to discuss U.S.-Japan trade relations and cooperation against trade-distorting practices by third countries. In their meeting, Ambassador Lighthizer stressed the importance of addressing the bilateral trade imbalance, given the very high and decades-long U.S. goods trade deficit with Japan.  He additionally underscored how both countries can effectively utilize the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue. Both sides also stressed the importance of further deepening enforcement cooperation to address unfair practices utilized by third countries that are contributing to global economic imbalances." [SourceReadout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Meeting with Japan Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko. June 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this morning welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay for a meeting on the two countries' strong trade relationship. Ambassador Lighthizer reiterated the United States' commitment to continued engagement in the Pacific region for free and fair trade with all U.S. trading partners. Along with the U.S.-New Zealand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, he highlighted opportunities to further deepen the trade partnership and to coordinate on solutions to global dairy market challenges. Ambassador Lighthizer underscored that U.S. exporters are deeply committed to the New Zealand economy, where the United States has maintained steady exports. He looks forward to building an even stronger, mutually-beneficial trade relationship and working together to ensure fair, transparent access to markets around the world." [Source] Readout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Meeting with New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay. June 2017
  • "The United States met with Indonesia on June 12-13 under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), agreeing on next steps for expeditiously resolving bilateral issues and further building their trade relations. Ambassador Robert Lighthizer welcomed the shared commitment to intensify engagement under the TIFA.  In a concluding meeting with Indonesian Investment Board Chairman Tom Lembong, Ambassador Lighthizer emphasized the Trump Administration’s interest in enhancing ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the importance of addressing outstanding trade issues in the next few months, and the priority of lowering the bilateral trade deficit, the United States’ 15th largest." [SourceUnited States and Indonesia Agree to Step Up Work to Expand Trade. June 2017
  • "'I welcome China taking this important step to start allowing U.S. beef imports after shutting them out over 13 years ago.  The President's firm commitment to fair trade that benefits the United States has made this new U.S. beef export opportunity possible.  I encourage China and all countries to base their requirements on international standards and science. America's ranchers are the best producers of beef in the global economy, and they can compete and succeed wherever there is a level playing field.'" [SourceU.S., China Finalize Details to Send U.S. Beef to China. June 2017
  • "U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this afternoon met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the U.S.-Vietnam trade relationship and outstanding bilateral trade issues. The two leaders also discussed the challenges presented by the growth in the U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam and the potential for further improvements in the trade relationship, including through initiatives under the U.S.-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Ambassador Lighthizer today also met with Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh on these issues, as well as on the importance of ensuring concrete progress during upcoming TIFA working group meetings on agriculture, digital trade, goods, intellectual property, and labor." [SourceReadout of USTR Robert Lighthizer's Bilateral Meetings with Vietnam. May 2017 
  • "As the Trump Administration begins to advance its agenda for free and fair trade, [Vietnamese] Prime Minister [Nguyen Xuan] Phuc’s visit to Washington is a timely and important opportunity for our two countries to reflect on the impressive growth of our bilateral relationship over the past two decades. Working closely together, our trade and investment ties have grown significantly since we normalized relations in 1995. In 2001, we signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement to serve as a roadmap for increased cooperation on economic reforms in Vietnam. The United States and Vietnam worked together to fulfill those commitments, which served as a stepping-stone towards Vietnam’s WTO accession. And in January 2007, Vietnam became the WTO’s 150th member. That year we also began to further strengthen our ties through a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. We have made significant progress since then in trade in goods, agriculture sales, and services. Yet, we still have a lot of work to do. Over the last decade, our bilateral trade deficit has risen from about $7 billion to nearly $32 billion. This concerning growth in our trade deficit presents new challenges and shows us that there is considerable potential to improve further our important trade relationship." [Source] Remarks By U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Gala Dinner. May 2017
  • "United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer attended the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Hanoi, Viet Nam, May 20-21. The meeting marks Ambassador Lighthizer’s first international trip as U.S. Trade Representative.[...] 'It was important to me to come to APEC first and foremost to reaffirm the President’s strong commitment to promoting bilateral free and fair trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. APEC provides a great opportunity to focus energy on the barriers to its stated objective of free and open trade – a goal that cannot be met without tackling trade-distorting measures that have led to massive U.S. trade imbalances in the region. I look forward to working with our trade partners to expand U.S. export market access and address persistent unfair trade practices.'" [SourceUSTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on APEC Meeting. May 2017 
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Tom Carper (DE) on the pros and cons of allowing sales of US aircraft to Vietnam. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) on trade concerns surrounding China’s overcapacity in steel and aluminum products. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Bob Casey (PA) on trade concerns surrounding China, the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a forum from which to challenge China, and partnership with the European Union to counteract China’s trade distortions. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Tim Scott (SC) on trade concerns surrounding China and the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a forum from which to challenge China. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) on China’s overcapacity in the steel industry and other areas. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) on India and intellectual property rights (IPR). [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) on China’s currency manipulation and concerns that President Trump’s business interests in China will impede discussions on countering this problem. [SourceClipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017
  • During his confirmation hearing for US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was questioned by Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) on India and intellectual property rights (IPR). [Source] Clipped from CSPAN coverage of U.S. Trade Representative Confirmation Hearing. March 14, 2017

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Methodology: Policy materials and quotations from United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer are limited to after March 18, 2017 when he underwent a confirmation hearing before the Senate to serve as the U.S. Trade Representative. Should any quotations before the period be deemed relevant they will be indicated by an asterisk (*) after the date. In all cases, these additional quotations were made within the year prior to the start of the Trump Administration. Flag icons that indicate which countries members of the Trump administration have traveled to are provided by Freepik, accessed through www.flaticon.com.

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