WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. trade representative, Katherine Tai, will get a confirmation hearing next week, a key step for the new administration to start rebuilding battered trade ties with U.S. allies.
The Senate Finance Committee said in a statement on Thursday it had scheduled a 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) hearing for Tai on Feb. 25.
Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat, said Tai had the needed experience to succeed in the role and vowed to advance her nomination as quickly as possible.
“Her record of getting wins for American workers demonstrates she knows how to champion the values that matter to U.S. families,” Wyden said in a statement.
Tai, who has served since 2014 as the Democratic trade lawyer for the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, earned praise from both Democrats and Republicans for her work in negotiating stronger labor provisions as part of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement enacted last year. She previously served at the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office as head of China trade enforcement.
If confirmed as the first woman of color to serve as U.S. trade representative, Tai will play a pivotal role in implementing Biden’s goals of rebuilding ties with U.S. allies, re-energizing manufacturing at home and pushing China to alter its non-market trade and state subsidy policies. A U.S.-born daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Tai speaks fluent Mandarin.
Biden has not taken any major steps on trade policy since taking office nearly a month ago, and Tai’s confirmation process has lagged behind those of other Cabinet officials.
But the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office last week announced it would not implement a new round of tariffs in a long running Boeing-Airbus aircraft subsidy dispute. The agency said it is looking forward to resolving the dispute with European allies once Tai is confirmed.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder; editing by Jonathan Oatis)