Trump transition team to meet with top unions Thursday for trade discussion

Members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team are set to meet with top unions on Thursday to discuss trade policy, sources told Business Insider.

The meeting, hosted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, included representatives from the United Steelworkers, Machinists Union, and the Communications Workers of America, per a source with knowledge of the meeting.

The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment, and Business Insider was unable to confirm which members from the Trump transition team would be present.

A representative from the United Steelworkers confirmed the union’s participation, and a spokesperson for the Teamsters said it has a “longstanding policy” of not commenting on “any planned or potential policy meetings with any representatives of current or future White House administrations.”

The other two unions did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

During the campaign, all four of the aforementioned unions endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump had also feuded with an Indiana USW president following the announcement of the deal struck with Carrier to keep several hundred jobs at an Indianapolis area plant from being exported to Mexico. That USW president, Chuck Jones, had accused Trump of “lying his a– off” about how many jobs were saved in the much-publicized deal.

The meeting comes shortly after Trump rounded out the top trade positions in his upcoming administration, tapping China hawks Robert Lighthizer, a former deputy US trade representative under President Ronald Reagan, as USTR and Peter Navarro, an economic adviser to Trump, as head of his newly formed White House National Trade Council.

Lighthizer, Navarro, and nominee for Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross — who went to war against Chinese steelmakers in the early 2000s but is not as hawkish as the other two — will work in “close coordination” on trade policy, per Trump’s transition.

Getting tough on China’s trade practices appears to be a focus of the upcoming Trump administration, as Trump has accused China of “raping our country” and being at the head of the greatest “jobs theft” in history.

Elsewhere on Thursday, President Barack Obama’s administration released a detailed summary of what it believes its victories on trade enforcement are.

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