The AP Interview: US trade rep. sees opportunity in recovery
The top U.S. trade negotiator says with world economies all suffering from more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic and global supply problems exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has an “incredible opportunity” to engage with other nations and forge new partnerships and agreements.
US to launch trade talks on COVID-19 vaccine distribution
Two White House officials say the U.S. trade representative will begin talks in the World Trade Organization on ways to overcome intellectual property issues that are keeping poorer countries from making their own generic version of critically needed COVID-19 vaccines.
Biden to hold first Cabinet meeting amid infrastructure push
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON – Joe Biden will convene his first Cabinet meeting on Thursday, a presidential rite of passage that will be used to promote his new infrastructure plan. Ad“The meetings can help align priorities, build morale, and allow Cabinet members to develop relationships with colleagues who they don’t normally see,” Lu said. The White House has highlighted that this Cabinet is the most diverse in history. In normal times, scheduling an in-person Cabinet meeting would require weeks, if not months, of planning to block off time in the travel schedules of the various principals. The Cabinet members will soon begin to fan out across the country to pitch both the COVID-19 relief and infrastructure plans, officials said.
Stepping up Myanmar coup penalties, US suspends trade deal
Security forces stand by on Hledan road in Kamayut township of Yangon in Myanmar, Monday, March 29, 2021. Over 100 people across the country were killed by security forces on Saturday alone, including several children. “The United States strongly condemns the Burmese security forces’ brutal violence against civilians. AdTai's office said the United States was immediately suspending “all U.S. engagement with Burma under the 2013 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.'' AdTwo-way trade between the two countries doesn't amount to much: Myanmar last year was the United States' 84th biggest partner in the trade of goods such as automobiles and machinery.
Senators back off vow to withhold support of Biden nominees
The only senators of Asian American heritage, they said they would withhold their support for his nominees until the diversity issue was addressed. AdDuckworth had said earlier that she raised the issue with top Biden advisers on Tuesday and afterward called the situation “not acceptable." “I’ve been talking to them for months and they’re still not aggressive, so I’m not going to be voting for any nominee from the White House other than diversity nominees,” Duckworth told reporters. But Hirono later said in a statement of her own that she too welcomed the appointment of an AAPI White House liaison and was dropping her objections. Tai, who was confirmed last week, is the first Asian American and first woman of color to serve as U.S. trade representative.
Asian Americans seek greater political power after shootings
It's also spurring her and other Asian Americans to push for greater political influence in Washington and other power centers. President Joe Biden and his aides have been repeatedly pressed to include Asian Americans in his Cabinet. “I think symbolism and representation matters, but only up to a point,” said Aarti Kohli, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “Those things all contribute to lower rates of political participation among Asian Americans, but people — mistakenly, I think — assume that Asian Americans are somehow less interested in U.S. civic life.”AdThat's evolving. “Asian Americans didn't necessarily grow up with that vocabulary of advocacy and how to fight for ourselves," Meng said.
Whiskey makers face worsening hangover from trade dispute
A leading spirits advocate is imploring top U.S. trade envoy Katherine Tai to not leave whiskey producers behind. Amir Peay, owner of the Lexington, Kentucky-based James E. Pepper Distillery, said American whiskey has become “collateral damage” in the trade disputes. But the breakthroughs left plenty unresolved, including disputes that led to the retaliatory tariffs still hitting American whiskey. AdThe suspended tariffs mean some European spirits producers can ship their products into the U.S. duty free, while American whiskey makers are still subject to tariffs, Whiting said. “We just want a level playing field for American whiskey,” he said.
Senate confirms Katherine Tai as Biden's top trade envoy
Katherine Tai, nominee for U.S. trade representative, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Katherine Tai as the top U.S. trade envoy in an overwhelming bipartisan vote on Wednesday . AdFluent in Mandarin, Tai served several years as head of China enforcement at the trade representative’s office. Biden and his team appear to be in no hurry to reverse Trump’s China tariffs. Far from coordinating with U.S. allies on trade, Trump sparred with them instead, putting tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and threatening to target European cars, too.
Biden's trade pick vows to work more closely with allies
Katherine Tai, nominee for U.S. trade representative, testifies before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s pick to be the top U.S. trade envoy promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. Biden and his team have not indicated — and Tai didn't say Thursday — whether they will keep Trump’s tariffs. Far from coordinating with U.S. allies on trade, Trump sparred with them instead, putting tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and threatening to target European cars, too. She handled negotiations with the Trump administration over a revamped North American trade deal.
Biden's trade pick vows to work more closely with allies
FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2020, file photo Katherine Tai, the Biden administration's choice totake overas the U.S. trade representative, speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. President Joe Bidens pick to be the top U.S. trade envoy is promising to work with Americas allies to combat Chinas aggressive trade policies. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's pick to be the top U.S. trade envoy is promising to work with America's allies to combat China's aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration's go-it-alone approach. Fluent in Mandarin, Tai served several years as head of China enforcement at the trade representative's office. Far from working with allies on trade, Trump sparred with them instead, putting tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and threatening to target European cars, too.
President-elect Biden to introduce key members of new administration
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held a live event Friday afternoon to introduce nominees and appointees for their administration. This live stream has now ended. President-elect Biden is introducing five top picks for his new administration on Friday, drawing on leading names from the Obama White House while also tapping an Ohio congresswoman and a congressional committee veteran. Appearing at the afternoon event are Biden’s choice for director of White House Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser and U.N. ambassador; and Denis McDonough, Obama’s White House chief of staff, now nominated as veterans affairs secretary. Also attending will be Biden’s selection for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, who held the same post for Obama; Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, chosen to be the new administration’s housing chief; and Katherine Tai, who is chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee and has been tapped as U.S. trade representative.
Biden: Cabinet picks from Obama era mean 'bold new thinking'
Susan Rice, the Biden administration's choice to lead the White House Domestic Policy Council, speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. His choice for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, served in the same post for Obama for eight years. Above all, they know how government should and can work for all Americans.”Relying too heavily on Obama administration veterans has already begun to draw some grumbling from members of Biden's own party, however. Mark Riddle, a Democratic strategist who founded a pro-Biden Super PAC during the 2020 presidential campaign, said there is no danger in relying too heavily on “all star” former Obama administration leaders. “If we come out of the box on jobs, jobs, jobs, I feel great.
AP sources: Biden to pick Katherine Tai as top trade envoy
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)WASHINGTON – 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. 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.