Will Trump’s US Trade Representative Be Another Pro-NAFTA, Pro-TPP Type?

Dave Johnson

Outgoing Louisiana Republican Congressman Charles Boustany is being talked about as a contender for becoming Donald Trump’s US Trade Representative (USTR).

Politico wrote about this in “Boustany making bid for top trade spot,” summing up his qualifications as mostly being against the things Trump campaigned on. Of course, Trump is doing the same since the election…

Rep. Charles Boustany voted for every single trade deal President-elect Donald Trump considers terrible, but that isn’t stopping him from seeking the next administration’s top trade spot.

The Louisiana Republican’s star could be rising as a possible pick for U.S. trade representative, with the outgoing lawmaker engaged in talks with Trump’s transition team about the position, said a source close to the talks.

[. . .] Boustany, a co-founder of the Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership caucus, will also have to square his penchant for globalism and ardent advocacy for free trade deals — and a voting record to go with it — with Trump’s defensive world view.

[. . .] Boustany voted against legislation to get tough with China over currency manipulation in 2010, a big priority of labor groups and steel manufacturers.

In addition to these (dis?)qualifications Boustany was and is a big NAFTA supporter. He co-authored a 2014 WSJ op-ed, “A Trade Opportunity for Obama and the New Congress,” writing that trade deals like NAFTA and TPP would be great for average Americans. A video conversation has him praising NAFTA as having been great for Mexico.

If Trump is considering this guy as USTR for real it would just show us one more betrayal of his campaign promises, and we go back to the old corporate trade-to-screw-workers, business-as-usual trade model. But now that we’re seeing him bring in an administration full of Goldman Sachs and a cabinet full of billionaires, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

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