FINALLY: Donald Trump’s Trade Representative Confirmed, Sights Set on NAFTA. [archive]

Despite efforts by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro to progress Trump’s trade agenda, Congress insisted that [Robert] Lighthizer be confirmed and in place before continuing fast track negotiations, according to White House sources.

“I would call it a slow track to hell,” a White House senior aide said in an interview with Breitbart News, blaming Republicans opposed to renegotiating trade deals and Democrats eager to stall Trump’s agenda. The administration still has to formally notify Congress of its intentions to renegotiate NAFTA, triggering a 90-day waiting period.

Trump shared his frustration in an interview with the Economist, [archive] pointing out that even though Mexico and Canada were ready to renegotiate NAFTA, his negotiator wasn’t confirmed.

“Here you have two people calling saying, ‘Can we negotiate?’ I say ‘Yes,’ and I have to wait for a hundred days,” Trump said. “I don’t know what a hundred days is going to be like.”

Related: What it’ll take to renegotiate NAFTA. [archive]

Related, from before: Lighthizer Passes Senate Panel. [archive]

The Senate Finance Committee . . . unanimously approved Robert Lighthizer to become U.S. trade representative and backed a waiver for his lobbying work during the 1990s on behalf of a Chinese company. . . . Lighthizer also needed the exemption for work on behalf of Brazil in 1985 that required him to register as a foreign agent. . . .

Lighthizer is a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and a Reagan-era deputy U.S. trade representative. . . .

Lighthizer plans to recuse himself for two years on decisions involving former clients at his law firm including his biggest client, U.S. Steel Corp. He has said his past work for industry groups associated with the Brazilian and Chinese governments doesn’t violate the prohibition against foreign lobbying.

Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the panel, said there is bipartisan support for Lighthizer’s nomination and the waiver, which Democrats resisted until securing a pledge from Republicans to support extending health benefits for miners in a spending bill being negotiated.