Robert Lighthizer serves as the Chairman of AFPI’s Center for American Trade, and is originally from Ashtabula, Ohio. Prior to joining AFPI, Lighthizer served as the 18th United States Trade Representative (USTR) during the Donald J. Trump Administration.
Prior to joining the Trump Administration, Lighthizer was a partner of law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (Skadden), where he practiced international trade law for over 30 years. Before joining Skadden, Lighthizer served as Deputy USTR for President Ronald Reagan. As Deputy USTR, he also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Lighthizer earned a Bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. He has two children and in his free time, he enjoys playing golf.
Robert E. Lighthizer is the leader of the firm’s International Trade Department. He divides his time between traditional trade litigation, policy advice and legislative initiatives. His clients include large U.S. corporations and coalitions. He represents heavy manufacturing, agricultural and high-tech companies, as well as financial services institutions. He has been lead counsel in scores of antidumping and countervailing duty cases during the past several years and is currently active in numerous pending cases and administrative reviews. In recent years he also has focused on market-opening trade actions on behalf of U.S. companies seeking access to foreign markets. He is equally at ease devising strategies for and dealing with executive departments and congressional committees.
Mr. Lighthizer was a deputy United States trade representative (USTR) with the rank of ambassador during the Reagan administration. The USTR is the cabinet level agency that develops and coordinates trade policy on behalf of the United States government and negotiates on trade matters for the president. Mr. Lighthizer had responsibility within the USTR for industry, agriculture, investment and trade policy matters.
During his tenure, Mr. Lighthizer was involved in all the important trade issues. He regularly attended and chaired subcabinet policy meetings and often attended cabinet meetings when the USTR was unavailable. In addition, Mr. Lighthizer negotiated some two dozen bilateral international agreements on subjects ranging from steel to grain. He frequently participated in General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (now the World Trade Organization) and Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development meetings.
Prior to his appointment as deputy USTR, Mr. Lighthizer was chief of staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance. The committee has jurisdiction over international trade, taxation, Social Security and health and welfare programs. During Mr. Lighthizer’s tenure, Congress passed the basic economic legislation of the Reagan-Bush administration, as well as the legislation implementing the Tokyo Round multilateral trade negotiations.
Mr. Lighthizer remains active in national politics, most recently as treasurer of the 1996 Republican Presidential Campaign. He speaks and writes often in the United States and abroad on trade and tax issues, politics and other developments in Washington. He serves on the boards of charitable and political groups.