Statement by Ambassador Katherine Tai on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

January 15, 2024

Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who fought to realize our nation’s founding principles—the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  A society where everyone can compete fairly, enjoy their share of the economic pie, and provide for their families and loved ones. 

Dr. King spoke of a dream for our future while committing his life “to make real the promises of democracy,” and from Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to embed and embody these principles in everything we do.

On this 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, economic justice and democratizing opportunity are central to our agency’s mission and mandate. 

From the steelworker in Pennsylvania to the family farmer in Michigan to the small business owner in South Carolina, USTR is continuing this legacy and fighting for all those who labor until economic equity, equality, and empowerment become business as usual.  

USTR remains devoted to the hard and necessary work of crafting a trade policy for the common good—one that prioritizes inclusive prosperity and growth for all—so that our nation’s sacred promises are not expected to trickle down but rather overflow from the bottom up and the middle out.  This is why we meet workers, small business owners, young people, and community-based organizations where they are, on their terms, listen with empathy and respect, and explore how trade and investment policy can be a force for good in their lives.

As we strive to ensure that the fruits of trade reach more people, we stand firm to do our part in honoring and realizing Dr. King’s vision for a more just world, both today and tomorrow.