Remarks by Ambassador Katherine Tai at White House Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Event

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today joined the President, First Lady, Vice President, and Second Gentleman in the Rose Garden to celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Ambassador Tai's remarks as delivered are below:

Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you, Dr. Biden, for that very kind introduction. 
It is a great honor to be at the White House today as we celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 
This month is about celebrating the contributions our families, friends, and leaders have made throughout this country’s history. 
But it is also a time to reflect on the challenges that our communities are facing – especially in recent years. 
Just two days before I was sworn in, a gunman in Atlanta killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. 
President Biden and Vice President Harris immediately went to Atlanta.  They met with local AA and NHPI leaders to show our Administration’s support in the face of this tragedy. 
A year ago, President Biden signed an Executive Order to establish the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. 
I am proud to co-chair this Initiative, which brings together stakeholders and local leaders to advance equity, justice, and opportunity.  
This complements our work at USTR to advance an inclusive, worker-centered trade agenda that aims to deliver prosperity for all.
As I’ve traveled the country, and around the world, to carry out the President’s trade agenda, I’ve made a point to sit down with local AA and NHPI leaders along the way. 
I am continually inspired by the resilience and perseverance that our communities have shown in the face of increased hate, violence, and discrimination.  We are standing up and fighting for a better future.
Helping to lead this fight is a true role model: our first Asian American vice president, Kamala Harris.
One of my fondest memories is meeting with Vice President Harris in her office just before she swore me in as the first Asian American U.S. Trade Representative. 
I was with my husband and my mother.  That day also happened to be my birthday.  Vice President Harris congratulated me and wished me a happy birthday.  She turned to my mother and said: “Happy birthday to you as well.”
My mother responded enthusiastically and said: “Thank you!  You know, in Asian cultures, you wish the mother a happy birthday – because I did all the work on the day she was born.”  The Vice President winked at her and said: “Oh, I know.”
I am so proud to represent our AA and NHPI communities in the Cabinet alongside our Vice President. 
And it is with great pride that I introduce to all of you this afternoon the Vice President of the United States of America: Kamala Harris.