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Opening Statement of Ambassador Katherine Tai before The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

04/27/2021

WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released the opening statement of Ambassador Katherine Tai before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. The full text of Ambassador Tai’s remarks are below:
 
Thank you Chairwoman Shaheen, Ranking Member Moran, and Members of the Committee for inviting me to testify before you today.
 
It is a great honor to return to USTR and lead the dedicated public servants who carry out the agency’s important mission on behalf of the American people.
 
We are working hard to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to end the pandemic and recover from the economic crisis. The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress has already helped get shots in arms and money in the pockets of millions of Americans.
 
While we’re seeing the economic benefits of that quick action, more needs to be done. Our goal is not a return to the economy we had before the pandemic, but to seize the opportunity to set America on a strong and clear path to a competitive future. That’s why President Biden proposed the American Jobs Plan that would make bold investments and build a better foundation for decades of economic growth and good-paying jobs for this generation of Americans and future generations.
 
This is why USTR is developing and implementing a worker-centered trade policy that complements and supports the domestic investments in the American Jobs Plan.  The President’s Trade agenda will foster broad-based, equitable growth that increases innovation and enhances the country’s competitive edge and that’s crafted with workers at the table.
 
For the first time, we committed to using trade policy to address racial equity and support underserved communities. Through thoughtful, sustained engagement and utilizing data, the Biden Administration will develop a better understanding of how proposed trade policies affect all Americans as people and their communities, especially communities of color. And we will consider those impacts in our process for making policy decisions.
 
As part of our “whole-of-government approach,” I recently outlined my vision for leveraging trade tools and how USTR will enthusiastically embrace our responsibility to create opportunities to lead in creating new clean energy technologies and new jobs while averting an unfolding economic crisis and protecting our planet. We will meet the moment by working collaboratively with our trading partners, Congress, underrepresented communities and other key stakeholders to find creative solutions that create good-paying jobs and incentivize a race to the top.
 
In my first conversations with my foreign counterparts, I have made clear that the United States will rebuild our international alliances and partnerships while re-engaging global institutions.  
 
In just a few short months, USTR has already delivered results for American workers.  In March, USTR announced a four-month suspension of tariffs with both the United Kingdom and the European Union related to the long-running World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute over certain large civil aircraft subsidies. This was a bold step towards finally resolving the issues that have impacted the U.S. industry and its workers.
 
Earlier this month, USTR helped resolve a significant dispute between two South Korean companies that make electric vehicle batteries in America. The settlement builds confidence in these companies’ reliability and responsibility as suppliers to the U.S. auto industry. And it puts our country in a stronger position to drive innovation and growth of clean energy technology envisioned in the American Jobs Plan. The settlement is the type of trade policy I believe we need:  it supports a larger strategy for creating jobs and investing in innovation and manufacturing leadership by bolstering sustainable renewable energy supply chains, leveling the playing field, discouraging regulatory arbitrage,
 
As we continue to pursue the President’s trade agenda, we will promote and defend our values of, democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity in service of producing a more inclusive prosperity. USTR will be directly involved in assembling what the President has termed “a united front of U.S. allies.” And I will carry the strength and creativity of this agency into every room I enter.
 
I want to close by thanking the talented public servants at USTR for their sacrifice and professionalism during this unprecedented time. They have been tested in ways we could not have imagined, but they have continued to rise to the occasion with determination and integrity. I am proud to represent them today and appreciate the robust support of this committee.
 
Thank you, and I look forward to answering your questions.