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Neal Introduces Katherine Tai at Senate Finance Committee Hearing for United States Trade Representative

Chairman Richard Neal introducing Katherine Tai

(As prepared for delivery)

Good morning, Chairman Wyden, Ranking Member Crapo, members of the Committee, it is honor and delight to be here.

It’s not every day you have the opportunity to introduce a key member of your staff at their confirmation hearing for the top job in their field. In nominating Katherine Tai to be the United States Trade Representative, President Biden selected a knowledgeable, tenacious trade expert that will use her perch to better the lives of the American people.

As the first woman of color and first Asian American, her nomination is indeed historic. But, it’s what’s still to come that will define how history will ultimately remember Katherine. I was struck by Katherine’s own reflection that her work is guided by the promise of extending the same hope and opportunity that this country extended to her and her family many years ago.

Inspired by the example her parents set, Katherine is a second-generation public servant. She began her trade career at USTR back in 2007, as an associate general counsel. Later, she served as the chief counsel for China trade enforcement, where she represented our interests before the World Trade Organization.

It was from there that the Ways and Means Committee had the good fortune of having Katherine join our team. Her time has been filled with many accomplishments, but none greater than the pivotal role she played behind the scenes in our successful work to improve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and secure widespread support for its passage.

While I talk about it often, I truly do not think this feat received the credit it deserved. Katherine was integral in crafting an agreement that drew support from the far sides of the political spectrum, and even more impressively, our caucus. A skilled negotiator, Katherine was able to include tough labor and environmental standards in USMCA, that will now allow us to uphold strong moral leadership in future deals.

It is her understated grit and outstanding character that have distinguished her, and why her nomination has drawn support from both Democrats and Republicans, as well as leaders from the labor, business, and environmental communities.

Having worked with Katherine for many years, I can say, without hesitancy, that no one is better prepared to represent the United States in the global trade arena as we recover from the pandemic and re-establish our dominance on the world’s stage. And given that trade policy requires close collaboration between Congress and the Administration, Katherine is uniquely situated to succeed.

Looking ahead to reinvigorating our economy, Katherine will use sound domestic and international trade policy to better develop our work force and level the playing field for hard-working Americans.

As the United States seeks to repair strained relationships with our partners around the world and address increasingly perilous challenges from China, Katherine will be an honorable and effective representative for this nation, our people, and our interests.

She is a trailblazer, and without a doubt, the best choice to fill this critical position. I thus urge you all to support her nomination, and while I will miss her counsel, it will truly be an honor to continue working with Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative.


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