WASHINGTON – The US Senate on March 17, by a vote of 98 to zero, confirmed Katherine Tai as US Trade Representative.
Ms. Tai, the daughter of immigrants from Taiwan, is the first woman of color and first Asian-American to be named the top US trade negotiator. She most recently served as the top Democratic trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee. In that role, she played a major part in negotiations on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement. Earlier, she worked in the Office of the US Trade Representative, beginning in 2007 and rising to chief counsel for China enforcement in 2011.
Mike Seyfert, president and chief executive officer, National Grain and Feed Association, congratulated Ms. Tai on her confirmation.
“Ambassador Tai is eminently qualified to serve as the US Trade Representative and has demonstrated her deep familiarity with opening foreign markets and reducing barriers for US food and agriculture as well as developing strong bipartisan support for trade agreements,” Mr. Seyfert said. “She has the experience and expertise to secure greater market access for US grain, feed and oilseed products and to ensure enforcement of clear and fair rules with our trading partners. The NGFA looks forward to working with Ambassador Tai and is ready to engage with her and any new staff at the Office of the US Trade Representative.”
Vince Peterson, president, US Wheat Associates, said, “Tai’s confirmation comes at a crucial time for US wheat trade. After seeing early, encouraging returns on the phase one agreement with China, we are looking ahead as the World Trade Organization moves to the compliance phase of the 2019 dispute case won by the United States against China’s unfair administration of their grain tariff rate quotas. US wheat farmers will also want Tai to hold China to the additional enforcement language in the phase one agreement.”
Chandler Goule, chief executive officer, National Association of Wheat Growers, said, “We appreciate the bipartisan support from the Senate in confirming Ms. Tai to this important position. Fair and clear access to international markets is crucial for US wheat farmers, and we look forward to working with her and her team on taking an aggressive stance on prioritizing agricultural trade efforts.”
Zippy Duval, president, American Farm Bureau Federation, said, “AFBF congratulates Katherine Tai on her confirmation to serve as the next United States Trade Representative. We have a great opportunity to build on existing agreements with China and our North American neighbors, as well as create new opportunities with the European Union and the United Kingdom. Ms. Tai’s ability to build bipartisan support for policies and her experience with enforcing fair-trade rules will help America’s farmers and ranchers compete internationally and continue putting food on tables around the world.”