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Robert Lighthizer

US Trade Representative

Robert Emmet Lighthizer (born October 11, 1947) is an American lawyer.[1][2] He is the 18th and current United States Trade Representative since May 15, 2017.[3]

Robert Lighthizer
Robert E. Lighthizer official portrait.jpg
18th United States Trade Representative
Assumed office
May 15, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byMichael Froman
Personal details
Robert Emmet Lighthizer

(1947-10-11) October 11, 1947 (age 72)
Ashtabula, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationGeorgetown University (BA, JD)

Lighthizer is a partner with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he works to gain access to foreign markets on behalf of U.S. corporations.[4] In the 1980s, he served as deputy trade representative during President Ronald Reagan's administration.[5]

Early lifeEdit

Lighthizer was born in Ashtabula, Ohio. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1969 and a Juris Doctor in 1973 from Georgetown University.


From 1973 through 1978, before working in government, Lighthizer worked for the Washington, DC law firm of Covington & Burling.[6]

In 1983, during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, he became deputy trade representative.[6][7] He negotiated two dozen bilateral international agreements on subjects ranging from steel to grain.[7]

In 1985, Lighthizer negotiated against the United States, on behalf of Brazil, in a trade dispute over ethanol.[8] Between 1985 and 1990, Lighthizer represented five foreign clients.[8]

He has been a long time supporter of the U.S. steel industry.[9] He convinced Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to accept “voluntary restraint agreements” to limit the amount of cheap steel they could dump on the U.S. market.[10]

United States Trade Representative (since 2017)Edit

On January 3, 2017, then-President-elect Donald Trump announced that he planned to nominate Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative, a cabinet-level position.[11]

Lighthizer's nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on a 82-14 vote.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Lighthizer lives in Rockville, Maryland[6] and has 2 children.[6][12]


  1. Rasky, Susan F. (September 30, 1984). The steel trade negotiations; the experts who will forge the new quotas. The New York Times. Last visited January 3, 2017.
  2. Nomination of Robert Emmet Lighthizer To Be a Deputy United States Trade Representative. The American Presidency Project. Last visited January 3, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Needham, Vicki (2017-05-11). "Senate confirms Trump's chief trade negotiator". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  4. MARA LIASSON (January 3, 2017). "Trump Picks Robert Lighthizer To Be U.S. Trade Representative". NPR.
  5. Robert E. Lighthizer. Last visited January 3, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Ronald Reagan: Nomination of Robert Emmet Lighthizer To Be a Deputy United States Trade Representative
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Robert E. Lighthizer". Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bill Allison (January 25, 2017). "Trump's Trade Pick May Face Hurdle Over Past Lobbying for Brazil". Bloomberg L.P.
  10. David Francis (January 9, 2017). "Trump's New Trade Guru May Actually Be the Adult in the Room". Foreign Policy Magazine.
  11. Jacobs, Jennifer (January 3, 2017). Trump Taps China Critic Lighthizer for U.S. Trade Representative. Bloomberg. Last visited January 3, 2017.
  12. Anne Swardson (January 19, 1987). "ROBERT E. LIGHTHIZER". Washington Post.

Other websitesEdit

  Media related to Robert Lighthizer at Wikimedia Commons   Quotations related to Robert Lighthizer at Wikiquote