BIDEN’S TRADE NOMINEE WINS UNANIMOUS U.S. SENATE BACKING
Katherine Tai, President Joe Biden’s nominee for US Trade Representative, won unanimous support in a US Senate procedural vote on Tuesday and appeared set for confirmation on Wednesday (Thursday, March 18, 2021, in Manila), David Lawder reported for Reuters.
The rare 98-0 vote on the motion to end debate on the nomination means Tai, 47, will easily win bipartisan confirmation. Plans for a Wednesday vote on her nomination were confirmed by a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.
Confirmation would put Tai, the former chief Democratic trade lawyer for the House Ways and Means Committee and USTR China enforcement chief, to work immediately on a range of trade issues.
These include trying to resolve festering disputes with European countries over aircraft subsidies and digital services taxes to confronting Chinese trade practices and enforcing new labor rights provisions in the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
“Katherine Tai is going to make a great US trade representative,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said on the Senate floor before the vote. “She’s got the right diversity of experience. She’s focused on protecting American workers and creating new high-skill, high-wage jobs in this country.”
At her confirmation hearing in late February, Tai backed the use of tariffs as a “legitimate tool” to counter China’s state-driven economic model and vowed stronger enforcement of trade agreements -- including those with Beijing -- while promising to end a “race to the bottom” on trade.