Katherine Tai Unanimously Confirmed as USTR

USTR Katherine Tai

Trade Update • MARCH 17, 2021

The U.S. Senate today unanimously approved Katherine Tail to be the next U.S. Trade Representative in a 98-0 vote taken almost two months after President Biden took office.

Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised Tai in floor speeches ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

“As U.S. Trade Representative, Ms. Tai will play a crucial role in enforcing existing trade deals and making sure that American workers, businesses and researchers can compete on a level playing field,” Schumer said. “She will be an essential player in restoring America’s credibility with our trading partners and promoting international cooperation to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems from the global pandemic to climate change. I have not a single doubt that Ms. Tai is the right person for the job.”

McConnell said Tai would serve the “country quite well” as trade chief.

“That’s why she received broad bipartisan support from the Finance Committee and why the vote to advance her nomination yesterday was 98-0,” he continued. “I look forward to working with Ms. Tai to embrace trade and push back on abusive practices from China and other anti-competitive countries.”

Following the vote, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) issued a congratulatory statement lauding Tai’s “keen eye for enforcement and impressive record on negotiating tough deals” and thanking her for the “insightful counsel” she had provided to lawmakers in her years spent working with Congress. Neil expressed his belief that Tai “will skillfully represent our country’s interests with confidence and wisdom, ushering in a new era of trade.”

Who is Katherine Tai?

When Tai was nominated in January, CNBC produced an explainer video describing her background and experience working in both the USTR and Congress. It also touches briefly on Tai’s general views about the aims of trade, while outlining some of the many pressing challenges facing the new “trade czar” in the years ahead.

For a greater appreciation of Tai’s opinions about the global trade challenges ahead and some of the more pressing aspects of U.S. trade policy, these issues were discussed at considerable length in her Senate Finance Committee Nomination Hearing held on Feb. 25. In particular, Tai faced numerous questions during the hearing about how as USTR she would deal with China and address supply chain constraints.

Sign Up for Trade Updates

Get weekly or daily insights into all things trade, delivered right to your inbox.

* indicates required