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U.S. Senators Grill Lighthizer on Use of Section 301, USMCA Ratification and Other Trade Concerns

Posted June 19, 2019

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appeared before members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday to be questioned on the administration’s use of Section 301 in enforcing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, among other concerns with the deal.

During a two-hour hearing, Lighthizer was questioned on a wide range of trade policy decisions, with USMCA and U.S.-China talks the most prominent.

Speaking to concerns about ratification of the USMCA, Lighthizer struck an optimistic tone, lauding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) recent designation of a USMCA working group, which includes lead negotiators empowered to discuss each of the four principal areas of concern.

“My point was, I know generally what people want and I know what we can do,” Lighthizer said. “I just need somebody I can sit down with on the other side that will say ‘Yes this is enough. ... [Pelosi] has facilitated that and I think we are making progress and my hope is over the course of the next couple of weeks we can make substantial progress,” Lighthizer said of the working groups. “I believe we are on track…. I am hopeful on that score.”

Pelosi, he added, “has been exactly as you would hope she would be.”

Related: Testimony of USTR Lighthizer – Opening Remarks