LONDON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today delivered remarks at an event hosted by the Technical University of Munich: "The Trade Off: Economics versus the Environment." In her remarks, Ambassador Tai discussed how the United States and European Union have worked together over the last 15 months to tackle shared challenges and usher in a new era of collaboration and cooperation.
Ambassador Tai's remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Thank you for that kind introduction. I want to begin by thanking the Technical University of Munich for hosting me today and putting together this event.
Rebuilding and revitalizing our relationships with partners and allies around the world is one of the Biden Administration’s top global priorities. President Biden believes that we are stronger when working together, rather than on our own. Ahead of his first international trip after taking office, he said that the defining question of our time is “Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?”
As proven by our successes in delivering concrete, economically meaningful results for our citizens over the past 15 months, the resounding answer seems clearly to be yes. And our work to strengthen transatlantic cooperation to address our shared challenges is one of the clearest and best examples.
We started this new era of engagement and cooperation last June when the United States and European Union launched the Trade and Technology Council. The TTC is a forum that will facilitate U.S.-EU collaboration on pressing economic and trade issues and on ways to ensure that the rapidly evolving technological landscape will drive competitiveness and prosperity for the years to come, while reflecting U.S. and EU standards.
We are working together on issues that for too long have gotten the short shrift in trade talks, like how to improve labor standards and protect the environment as part of core strategy in our economic policies. We are also looking at how we can harness the potential of the digital economy to benefit both our workers and our businesses. As democratic market economies, we are examining the challenges posed by non-market actors that undermine our economic and national security interests through distortive, anti-competitive practices.
The second TTC co-chairs meeting will take place in France next month and I am excited to continue this work with our European partners.
But our transatlantic work is not limited to the TTC. Under the Biden Administration, we have managed to resolve irritants of the past to allow us to address our shared global challenges as they arise.
Last year, we resolved the 17-year-long dispute involving Boeing and Airbus at the WTO. We also announced a global minimum tax deal with a broad coalition of partners, including Germany. Chancellor Scholz played a particularly important role in negotiating this deal while he was serving as Germany’s Finance Minister – and he has been instrumental in generating additional support across Europe.
Additionally, we reached a historic agreement with the EU on steel and aluminum trade and launched negotiations aimed at creating the world’s first carbon-based sectoral arrangement by 2024.
This arrangement is particularly important in the context of our sustainability goals. The United States and European Union have laid out an ambitious global climate agenda – and this arrangement will help us address climate change, reduce emissions, and protect key domestic industries and jobs.
It is an example of how sustainability is a fundamental pillar of our trade agenda and how we can use the trade tools at our disposal to advance our environmental goals. I’ve already had several discussions with Minister Habeck on we can further use trade policy to advance our climate ambitions – and you will not be surprised to hear that Minister Habeck is very focused on this particular issue.
Moving forward, the Biden Administration is committed to building on our successes over the last year and working together with our partners and allies on our shared priorities.
For example, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further underscored the urgency of President Biden’s call for democracies to come together and we are working with our European partners to create consequences for Russia in multilateral institutions and ensure it pays the economic costs for its unjustified and unprovoked acts of aggression.
Once again, this is an example of how our shared democratic values can help us confront the most pressing global issues.
Today, we face urgent challenges: from the dangers of climate change and environmental degradation to the unfair policies of non-market economies that are undermining the rights of our workers and rules-based trading system to the actions of of autocracies that threaten the fundamental rule of law. To meet these challenges, we must work closely together and remain united.
That is not to say we will always agree, because we will not. In fact, conversations with close allies often produce the most candid – and honest – feedback, which isn’t always easy to hear. But by relying on the foundation of respect that we have created together, we can work through our differences to achieve positive results for people on both sides of the Atlantic.
This transatlantic trade relationship continues to be of the utmost importance. I am optimistic about what we can accomplish if we continue the spirit of collaboration that has defined our engagement so far.
Thank you very much.