WASHINGTON – March 18 marks one year since Ambassador Katherine Tai was sworn in as the 19th United States Trade Representative. Over the last 12 months, under Ambassador Tai’s leadership, USTR has advanced the Biden Administration’s trade priorities and pursued a worker-centered trade policy that invites all Americans to shape our country’s leadership role in the world economy.
In one of her first major speeches, Ambassador Tai laid out the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious vision for a worker-centered trade policy that can deliver durable, inclusive economic prosperity to all Americans, their families, and communities. In 2022, Ambassador Tai will continue to build on this progress with our allies and partners around the world, Congress, workers, and stakeholders. Below are the top accomplishments and wins from Ambassador Tai’s first year in office.
RESOLVED A GLOBAL BATTERIES DISPUTE: Ambassador Tai facilitated a resolution to the LG-SK batteries dispute, saving American jobs and protecting an industry that is critical to our fight against climate change.
ENFORCED THE USMCA: USTR aggressively enforced the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to make sure the promises of the agreement are delivered, by:
- Using the Rapid Response Mechanism to protect workers’ rights in two cases:
- The GM-Silao Manufacturing Facility Course of Remediation resulted in a free and fair vote for workers who rejected the existing collective bargaining agreement.
- The agreement with Tridonex provided severance and backpay. Workers also voted to select new union representation.
- Requesting environmental consultations with Mexico related to the protection of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise, the prevention of illegal fishing, and trafficking of totoaba fish.
- Securing a win in the first dispute settlement panel over Canadian dairy restrictions.
Enforcing USMCA and defending the rights of workers and producers – including those that live beyond our borders – helps workers and producers here at home by stopping the global race to bottom in trade policy.
ENDED THE 17-YEAR LARGE CIVIL AIRCRAFT DISPUTE: Ambassador Tai reached agreements with the EU and United Kingdom that will protect thousands of aviation jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and enable joint cooperation to address distortive non-market practices that undermine the sector.
A HISTORIC STEEL AND ALUMINUM AGREEMENT: In partnership with Commerce Secretary Raimondo, Ambassador Tai negotiated a deal with the European Union to allow the resumption of duty-free European steel and aluminum imports into the United States. Ambassador Tai is also leading the next stage of negotiations with the EU to create the world’s first carbon-based sectoral arrangement on steel and aluminum trade that will protect important American industries, create jobs, and help combat climate change.
AN AGREEMENT ON DIGITAL SERVICES TAXES: In partnership with Treasury Secretary Yellen, Ambassador Tai worked to reach agreements with eight countries (Austria, France, India, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and India) on Digital Services Taxes that allows for the termination of the currently-suspended duties on international goods adopted during Section 301 investigations.
A NEW VISION FOR THE U.S. – CHINA TRADE RELATIONSHIP: Ambassador Tai outlined a new approach to the U.S. – China trade relationship in a way that protects American workers and businesses. The United States is engaged in direct talks with the PRC about its commitments under the Phase One Agreement and the harmful impacts of the PRC’s industrial policies. Through our agreements on steel and aluminum trade, large civil aircrafts, and trilateral engagement with Japan and the EU, USTR is leading the work with allies and strategic partners to address shared concerns about China’s unfair economic practices and distortive industrial policies.
A REFORMED AND RELEVANT WTO: In Geneva, Ambassador Tai affirmed the U.S. commitment to the WTO and detailed why the World Trade Organization must be responsive to the needs of regular people. In her first year, USTR has worked hard to facilitate an outcome on intellectual property that can expand equitable access to safe and effective vaccines and pushed for a meaningful conclusion of the fisheries subsidies negotiations that addresses forced labor on fishing vessels. Ambassador Tai has also engaged with WTO Members on reforming the dispute settlement process to provide confidence that the system is fair and functioning.
STRENGTHENING OUR TRANSATLANTIC TRADE PARTNERSHIP: With Secretary of State Blinken and Commerce Secretary Raimondo, Ambassador Tai co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Trade and Technology Council with the European Union in September in Pittsburgh. The TTC will help the United States and European Union identify ways to collaborate on emerging technological and trade issues.
Ambassador Tai also announced that the United States and United Kingdom will co-host Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade to explore how the U.S. and the U.K. can collaborate to advance mutual international trade priorities rooted in our shared values, while promoting innovation and inclusive economic growth for workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
RENEWED ENGAGEMENT IN THE INDO-PACIFIC REGION: Ambassador Tai traveled to the Indo-Pacific to show the United States’ commitment to our trade partners in the region.
- During her trip to Japan, Ambassador Tai announced the formation of the U.S.-Japan Partnership On Trade, which reaffirms the shared commitment to strengthen this alliance through regular engagement on trade-related matters of importance to both countries.
- She also announced the renewal of the Trilateral U.S.-Japan-E.U. relationship to address the global challenges posed by non-market policies and practices of third countries.
- With her Korean counterpart, she marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement, and agreed to find new approaches to address supply chain challenges, trade facilitation, emerging technologies and the digital ecosystem.
- She co-chaired the twelfth Ministerial-level meeting of the United States-India Trade Policy Forum in New Delhi, the first in four years, that produced a comprehensive joint statement for ongoing cooperation and secured access for U.S. pork and pork products and reduced barriers for other agricultural products, including U.S. cherries and alfalfa hay.
ENFORCING ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS: In addition to requesting consultations with Mexico on vaquita protection and illegal fishing, in October of last year, Ambassador Tai announced that the United States announced an agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) that addresses U.S. concerns in the Vietnam Timber Section 301 investigation. This was the first Section 301 investigation to address environmental concerns, and the agreement secures commitments that will help keep illegally harvested or traded timber out of the supply chain and protect the environment and natural resources.
ADVANCING EQUITY IN U.S. TRADE POLICY: Ambassador Tai is designing trade policy that consider the intersection of race/ ethnicity, gender, age, education, income, disability, orientation, region, and underserved communities.
- The President’s Trade Policy Agenda and Annual Report now include strategic objectives and actions that advance racial and gender equity in trade policy.
- Ambassador Tai requested that the independent U.S. International Trade Commission launch an unprecedented investigation on the distributional effects of trade and trade policy on workers.
- In December, the United States announced its intention to join the Joint Ministerial Declaration on the Advancement of Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment within Trade at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.
- An expansive revision of USTR’s Strategic Plan now includes goals, strategies, and objectives to develop equitable trade policy and to apply DEIA practices within the agency’s management to become a model employer.