FLINT, MI – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today joined Representative Dan Kildee (MI-05) for a roundtable conversation with workers in Flint who shared stories about how their lives have been affected by trade. Ambassador Tai pledged to give workers a seat at the table and listen to their ideas as the Biden-Harris Administration develops a trade policy that lifts wages, empowers workers, and expands economic opportunity.
Before the roundtable, Ambassador Tai joined Rep. Kildee for a tour of Flint before visiting the General Motors Flint Assembly Plant. After the roundtable, they visited a mobile vaccine distribution site and met with nurses and volunteers who are going door-to-door to urge their neighbors to get vaccinated.
Below are Ambassador Tai’s remarks at the beginning of the roundtable:
Thank you, Congressman Kildee for the very kind introduction and for bringing this group together. You are a real champion of your constituents and American autoworkers, and I am pleased we get to continue our partnership on a worker-centered trade policy in my new role.
President Biden and I are committed to crafting a trade policy that is crafted with workers for workers.
We want a trade policy that lifts wages, empowers workers, and expands economic opportunity for workers here at home and around the globe.
Today’s roundtable is an opportunity for me to hear directly from you so the trade policy we develop in Washington, D.C. is written with your priorities and concerns in mind and works for all of you.
At USTR we want to encourage a race to the top with higher standards and real, rapid enforcement of our trade agreements. We don’t want to create incentives for companies to move jobs overseas to maximize profits.
That’s why we’re fully enforcing the USMCA agreement’s labor standards and for the first time self-initiated a case against the GM facility in Silao where a protection union was denying workers their right to freely organize.
We are working closely with the UAW on this case and really appreciate your union’s partnership on this effort.
We know that protection unions in Mexico don’t actually represent the workers. When workers are denied independent union representation, it is easier to suppress wages.
That’s bad for American workers, and creates incentives for companies to move jobs overseas.
I’m looking forward to today’s conversation and to hearing from you how we can make trade policy work for workers.