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Alabama business leaders meet with Ambassador Lighthizer, key trade official

VANCE, Alabama – Governor Kay Ivey and a group of Alabama industrial leaders on Friday hosted Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing complex for a high-level discussion on the Trump Administration’s trade and economic growth policies.

Ambassador Lighthizer shared details about the Administration’s trade goals and heard from the Alabama business delegation during an hour-long event featuring a roundtable discussion at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Visitor Center.

“Ambassador Lighthizer provided valuable insights about how the Administration is moving to return manufacturing to the U.S. and create middle-class jobs across the nation,” Governor Ivey said.

“He has been a fierce advocate for Alabama over the past three years, and it was beneficial for our business leaders to exchange ideas with him.”


As the U.S. Trade Representative since 2017, Ambassador Lighthizer serves as the federal government’s top trade negotiator. He brings a history of tough U.S. trade enforcement and a record of standing up for American workers, farmers, manufacturers, and businesses.

Before joining the Trump Administration, he practiced international trade law for 30 years. During this time, he served as lead counsel for scores of trade enforcement cases and became recognized as a prominent advocate for the type of “America First” trade policies supported by President Trump.

Ambassador Lighthizer also served as the deputy U.S trade representative for President Ronald Reagan, negotiating over two dozen bilateral international agreements, including agreements on steel, automobiles and agricultural products.

“I want to thank Governor Ivey for her hospitality and for working so closely with President Trump to keep his promises to the people of Alabama and all Americans,” Ambassador Lighthizer said.

“The President is committed to creating more manufacturing jobs, particularly in the auto sector, which will benefit American workers for generations to come.”

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, moderated the roundtable discussion, which focused on topics such as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Phase I China trade deal and other trade pacts under negotiation.

“Today’s discussion was a great opportunity for a representative group of Alabama’s industrial leaders to share their thoughts about how trade policies affect their operations and how we can all work together to increase prosperity here at home,” Secretary Canfield said.

Participating in the event were the leaders of several major Alabama manufacturers: Mike Göbel of MBUSI, Mike Oatridge of Honda, Robert Burns of Hyundai, Masa Aihara of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, Charles Greene of the AM/NS Calvert steel mill, Daryl Taylor of Airbus, and Lee Styslinger III of Altec.

John Driscoll of the Alabama Port Authority, which manages the state’s only deep-water port, and Mark Crosswhite of Alabama Power, the state’s largest electric utility, also took part in the event.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

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