On May 12, 2021, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on President Joseph Biden’s trade agenda. Ambassador Tai’s written testimony noted that the Biden administration wants “a fair international trading system that promotes inclusive growth and reflects America’s universal values.” She noted that support from Congress would add “more authority and opportunity to deliver results for the American people” as the United States “re-engage[s] the world, our trading partners, and international institutions.”
Ambassador Tai indicated that President Biden will work with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its members to “reform the WTO’s rules and procedures so it can be a relevant force for good in the 21st century global economy.” She added that work was ongoing with the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom to resolve various ongoing disputes in order to focus on trade challenges with China. On this point, Ambassador Tai stated, “We will not hesitate to call out China’s coercive and unfair trade practices that harm American workers, undermine the multilateral system, or violate basic human rights.” While indicating that the United States welcomes competition, she said that it must be fair and, “if China cannot or will not adapt to international rules and norms, we must be bold and creative in taking steps to level the playing field and enhance our own capabilities and partnerships.”
Regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Ambassador Tai indicated that the United States must “invest and commit to the agreement’s full and successful implementation” as the USMCA is only a starting point for future efforts in the region.
The hearing video is available here. Senators’ questions for Ambassador Tai covered a wide range of issues, including the status of trade negotiations with the United Kingdom, the lifting of the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, and the current suspension of import tariffs on certain EU products resulting from the ongoing WTO dispute between the United States and the EU over large aircraft subsidies to Boeing and Airbus. When specifically asked about the renewal of Section 301 tariff exclusions for goods imported from China, Ambassador Tai stated that a decision should be forthcoming well before the end of the year.