U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, has so far refused to say how the ongoing partial government shutdown will affect operations. Politico sources in the administration and industry sources all say the office likely starts furloughing employees as early as Monday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the shutdown likely won’t affect a visit by the Chinese Vice Premiere which is set for the end of the month. A Chinese delegation is scheduled to visit Washington, D.C., on January 30th to continue trade talks. It’s possible the shutdown will affect the USTR’s preparations for other major trade talks, including negotiations with Japan that could begin as soon as January 20th.
A Japanese official told Politico that there’s been no agreement to this point on a start date for negotiations and that the shutdown could temporarily stall the start of those important trade talks.