AP sources: Biden to pick Katherine Tai as top trade envoy
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate Katherine Tai to be the top U.S. trade envoy, according to two people familiar with his plans.
Tai, who is chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee, will be tapped as the U.S. Trade Representative, according to the two people, who spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about it.
The role is a Cabinet position, and the Senate will vote on whether to confirm Tai for the position. Biden's selection of Tai, who is Asian American, reflects his promise to choose a diverse Cabinet that reflects the makeup of the country.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Tai earlier oversaw China trade enforcement for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, setting U.S. strategy in trade disputes with China. Biden’s trade representative will inherit a trade war with China, put on pause by an interim trade pact in January that left many of the hardest issues unresolved and U.S. taxes remaining on $360 billion in Chinese imports.
As the top trade staffer at Ways and Means, Tai handled negotiations last year with the Trump administration over a revamped North American trade deal. Under pressure from congressional Democrats, Trump’s trade team agreed to strengthen the pact to make it easier for Mexican workers to form independent unions and demand better pay and benefits -- decreasing the incentives for U.S. firms to move south of the border to take advantage of cheap and compliant labor.
The administration also dropped from the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement what Democrats considered a giveaway to pharmaceutical companies that could have kept drug prices high.
Tai is considered a problem-solving pragmatist on trade policy, which often breaks down into an ideological divide between free traders and...