Remarks by Ambassador Katherine Tai at the Ministerial Conversation on Trade and Sustainable Development

ABU DHABI – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today delivered remarks at the Ministerial Conversation on Trade and Sustainable Development, Including Trade and Industrial Policy and Policy Space for Industrial Development, during the Thirteenth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13). 
In her remarks, Ambassador Tai emphasized that trade can be a positive force for sustainable development if it is used to empower workers, protect the environment, and promote fair competition.  Ambassador Tai also stressed the need for the WTO to address each of these areas in order to drive sustainable trade.
Ambassador Tai’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Thank you, Chair.  These conversations on cross-cutting issues are extremely important.  We appreciate the opportunity to engage.   
We are a diverse group of economies, yet we face common challenges—a worsening climate crisis, rapid technological change, and widening inequality.
We are here to figure out how to tackle these challenges together and to use trade as a positive force for sustainable development.
For the United States, there are three prongs to approaching this topic: labor, environment, and fair competition.
First, we need to recognize that workers are the backbone of our resilience. 
This is crucial at a time when working people in many of our societies are reporting an increasing sense of economic insecurity.  So, trade policies at home and at the WTO must better reflect their interests. 
This is why, in the negotiations on fisheries subsidies, we have been highlighting the need to have a basic level of transparency regarding vessels or operators using forced labor.  
These practices have a competitive impact on all those hardworking fishers who do not engage in such practices. 
The second prong is the environment.
There is also a lot of work happening right now in Geneva on this topic—because WTO Members agree that we need to better understand the challenges and opportunities of the green transition for our economies and people.
But we also need to focus on how the WTO can support and facilitate Members taking meaningful actions on climate.  And we cannot lose sight of the first dimension—the workers. 
There is incredible potential in the green economy, but that potential will only be fully realized if we forge new paths to empower our people and deliver real, lasting change for the better.
We cannot fully achieve this vision when some Members use non-market economic policies to build global market dominance that can be abused.  And this is the third and final prong, fair competition.
Non-market policies and practices undermine fair competition.  They create trade distortions and non-market excess capacity, which undermine our sustainability objectives and climate goals.
They also block opportunities for Members of all stages of development to participate in supply networks.
We need to have real conversations on all three of these issues if we want to drive sustainable trade through the WTO.
The United States stands ready to work with all Members on this important topic. 
Thank you.