“Trade wars are good, and easy to win” – the mantra of President Trump, the self-styled “Mr Tariff Man”, was inspired by his long-serving trade representative Robert Lighthizer.
He rarely talks to the media, but mindful of the legacy of four years of ripping up the international trade system, he told the BBC he had fundamentally reoriented the trade system towards working Americans, and that President Trump’s successor would not now change this sceptical stance to slow down and reverse globalisation.
“We want strong communities in the United States. And if that means that T-shirts cost another nickel, then T-shirts will cost another nickel,” he said.
“We’re proud of what we have done…. what we tried to do was reorient the purpose of international trade more towards working people in the United States and less towards outsourcing and corporations. And I think that was important.”
He said another big achievement was taking on China, which he described as “a great challenge” not only for the US, but the UK too.
“We had lost millions of manufacturing jobs, we had enormous trade deficits, not just with individual countries… but with the whole world, going up every year to the point where it was $800bn, and really something that’s not sustainable,” he added.
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