WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved President Donald Trump's choice for U.S. Trade Representative, bringing Robert Lighthizer a step closer to taking office as U.S. trade disputes with Canada and Mexico heat up.
The panel also voted to approve a legal waiver for Lighthizer from a 1995 law that prohibits people who did work on behalf of foreign governments from serving as the top U.S. trade negotiator. Lighthizer did work on behalf of the Brazilian agriculture agency in the late 1980s and assisted a colleague with work for a Chinese electronics industry group in 1991.
Lighthizer's nomination now moves to the full U.S. Senate for approval. If confirmed, he will represent the Trump administration in its planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday announced 20 percent anti-subsidy duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports amid a long-running unresolved trade dispute between the United States and its second-largest trade partner.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Andrea Ricci)