WASHINGTON – On Thursday, June 24, 2021, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nominations of Sarah Bianchi to be Deputy United States Trade Representative (Asia, Africa, Investment, Services, Textiles, and Industrial Competitiveness), and Jayme Ray White, of Washington, to be a Deputy United States Trade Representative (Western Hemisphere, Europe, the Middle East, Labor, and Environment). The opening statements of the nominees are below.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SARAH BIANCHI BEFORE THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
Chair Wyden, Ranking Member Crapo, and Members of the Committee: good morning. My name is Sarah Bianchi. I live in Virginia with my husband and two children ages 12 and 10.
I am honored to be with you today as you consider my nomination to be Deputy United States Trade Representative with a portfolio including Africa, Asia, and areas of services and investment. If confirmed, I will proudly serve with the strong team Ambassador Tai has put together to help our country emerge stronger from the pandemic and – as President Biden says – to Build Back Better.
Throughout my career, I have focused on increasing American competitiveness through a wide range of economic and domestic policy issues. I co-led the policy process for President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address, which included global tax policies and manufacturing initiatives to boost wages and improve career opportunities for American workers.
From 2011-2014 I served as Director of Economic and Domestic Policy for then-Vice President Biden. Our work focused on the contributing factors and potential solutions to stop the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States. I helped lead the extensive research and policy work that informed the 2014 report from the Vice President’s office entitled “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity,” which identified several ways to help workers compete in today’s global economy.
As a senior advisor at the Biden Institute, I worked on issues to make America more competitive in the global economy, including on trade. And as a member of the Biden-Harris transition team, I led the domestic policy response to COVID-19. At the time, the pandemic was exposing the supply chain vulnerabilities in the American economy. I was pleased to see the Administration launch a trade strike force, chaired by Ambassador Tai, to combat unfair trade practices and increase the resiliency of our supply chains. I look forward to supporting Ambassador Tai’s work on this critical issue.
The Administration has been clear about its commitment to making the necessary investments at home and working with allies to address the challenges posed by China. We must have a coordinated and coherent approach that restores the necessary balance to our trade and economic relationship.
Far too often, the review and development of trade policy is separated from the work of creating a competitive economy and a strong middle class. I believe trade must be intricately linked to this effort. I share President Biden and Ambassador Tai's commitment to developing a worker-centered trade policy that encourages a race to the top so we can build back better.
Giving workers a seat at the table will be essential as we develop policy. Ambassador Tai said earlier this month in a speech at the AFL-CIO that “by bringing workers from all backgrounds and experiences to the table, we will create inclusive trade policy that advances economic security and racial and gender equity.”
Hearing workers’ stories, their experiences, and perspectives will give us a better understanding of how trade has impacted their lives and how we can lift up communities and individuals that have long been overlooked. This approach will also guide our review of negotiations initiated by the previous administration.
Ambassador Tai has also been clear that any path forward will be done in consultation with Congress. That is exactly what Members of Congress, including those on this Committee, saw first-hand with the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. USMCA is one of the most pro-worker trade agreements ever implemented because workers had a seat at the negotiating table. It is the new template we must use for all future trade agreements and negotiations.
This approach is essential to America's competitiveness in the 21st century and it must be part of a comprehensive vision for the United States in the global economy.
I have been fortunate to work with leaders who care deeply about America’s workers. If confirmed, I will work with Ambassador Tai and the dedicated public servants at USTR to create inclusive trade policy that brings everyone along.
Thank you again for considering my nomination and I look forward to answering your questions.
OPENING STATEMENT OF JAYME RAY WHITE BEFORE THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
Chair Wyden, Ranking Member Crapo, and Members of the Committee, I am honored to be here at this desk, in front of you. This is a truly special moment after spending many years sitting behind you on the dais.
I came to Washington in 2000 to work for my hometown Congressman, Jim McDermott. Throughout a decade of service to Congressman McDermott, I helped guide his work on trade policy as a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and I learned valuable lessons about how trade affects working people.
Since 2009, I have served this committee under Chair Wyden. I have represented this committee's legislative agenda and international trade priorities during three presidencies and in front of leaders around the world.
I grew up in West Seattle, which is on the waterfront and home to the Port of Seattle, a gateway of international trade. As a kid, I delivered newspapers across the area and got a bird’s eye view of the positive and harmful aspect of trade policy. The region is home to everything from trains and trucks, to container ships and grain containers – all representing the hopes and dreams of workers, farmers, and families.
I have never forgotten where I came from and the people I grew up with. I’m keenly aware of how the policy made here in Washington has a direct impact on the lives of people back in West Seattle. And if confirmed as a Deputy United States Trade Representative, I will continue to fight for American workers, the environment, and our economic prosperity.
President Biden and Ambassador Tai have laid out a historic new policy approach centered around workers. Historically, trade, labor, and regulatory policy has been tilted in favor of corporations and the wealthy. Workers have not always benefitted from government policy. The promises often didn’t reach the factory floor and wages didn’t go up, creating deep skepticism about the efficacy of trade policy.
Ambassador Tai believes we need a different approach that gives workers a seat at the table – so their perspectives and voices are incorporated into the policy we develop.
Recent history shows that this approach can bear fruit. Next week marks the one-year anniversary of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. USMCA proved that bringing all stakeholders to the table – labor, workers, the business community, and Members of Congress – can produce stronger trade agreements. The result was a bipartisan trade deal with overwhelming support from Congress that includes:
- Strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards;
- A new tool known as the Rapid Response Mechanism that, when used, allows us to promptly raise concerns with the Mexican or Canadian government when there are allegations of worker rights violations; and
- Necessary and long overdue intellectual property reforms to increase access of life-saving medication.
I had the pleasure of working with Ambassador Tai during the USMCA negotiations while she worked for the House Committee on Ways and Means. When she talks about putting workers front and center in our trade policy, it isn’t shallow rhetoric. It’s a genuine commitment to lift up voices and communities we don’t often hear from – or worse, that we overlook and exclude.
That commitment was highlighted last week when Ambassador Tai and members of the Biden-Harris Administration negotiated a resolution with the European Union and the United Kingdom to end the long-running Boeing-Airbus dispute. The deal suspends the tariffs related to the dispute for five years. And it will help American workers and American companies compete fairly, while we work with our allies to address common challenges from China and other non-market economies.
As the son of two Boeing employees, this welcome news hits close to home, but I also know many of the workers that will benefit from the deal are your constituents. You and your staff hear from them frequently – and you know how difficult this dispute has been. They should know that the deal shows how we can work with our allies and trading partners to confront the threats of this new age and shape trade policies that lift up workers, people and communities that are often overlooked.
If confirmed, I look forward to working with all of you to develop a worker-centered trade policy that boosts our competitiveness and creates good paying jobs. Together, we can prove that trade doesn’t need to exclude certain factions and communities. It can be inclusive, create shared prosperity, and help us Build Back Better.
Thank you for considering me for this position. I look forward to answering your questions.