WASHINGTON, March 14 President Donald Trump's
nominee to be U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, said
on Tuesday he is "awaiting instructions" from Trump on whether
to support a restoration of the Export-Import Bank's full
The U.S. government trade bank's loans have been capped at
$10 million for more than a year because it has too few board
members, with Republican opponents to the bank blocking recent
nominees. The cap means that EXIM cannot finance the largest
export U.S. products such as Boeing Co aircraft or
Westinghouse nuclear reactors.
Asked by Senator Maria Cantwell at his confirmation hearing
whether he supports nominating new board members at the bank as
part of a broad trade strategy aimed at reducing U.S. trade
deficits and boosting exports, Lighthizer said that decision
would ultimately be up to Trump.
"I expect to do what the president instructs me to do when
he instructs me to do it," said Lighthizer, a former USTR deputy
in the Reagan administration and a steel industry trade lawyer.
Conservative Republicans in Congress have tried to kill EXIM
because they view it as providing unnecessary "corporate
welfare" and putting U.S. taxpayers at risk for foreign
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)