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Trump’s top trade pick ‘set to strain economic ties with China’

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NewsHubDonald Trump’s top pick as his US trade representative – a veteran supporter of “get tough on ­China” trade talks – will cast a ­further shadow over bilateral trade and investment ties, ­according to senior Chinese government advisers. Robert Lighthizer, a trade lawyer who served as deputy US trade representative under president Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, is tipped to head Trump’s top trade-negotiating agency. Analysts said Lighthizer’s expected nomination was just another example of Trump packing his economic team with conservative veterans of US steel interests and vocal critics of China’s trade barriers such as export subsidies and market access restrictions. Trump’s trade team, including his nominee for commerce secretary, billionaire investor ­Wilbur Ross, and Peter Navarro, director of the newly established National Trade Council, would inevitably make economic and trade ties between China and the US more difficult, according to former vice-commerce minister Wei Jianguo. Wei, now a deputy director of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, said the nomination of Lighthizer, one of Trump’s top trade advisers and a supporter of the president-elect’s tough approach to trade with ­China since at least 2011, was not surprising.

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