Tai pledges to enforce USMCA, be tough with China
Katherine Tai, President Biden’s nominee for U.S. trade representative, promised Thursday that she would push Canada and Mexico to comply with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade and urge Canada to meet its obligations under the phase one trade agreement.
Reacting to a question from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., about Canada coming into compliance on dairy provisions and Mexico lagging on labor provisions, Tai said, “Sen. Wyden, I think the top priority for USMCA is to use those enforcement tools.”
“The renegotiation of NAFTA was hard work and the agreement we have now as [House Ways and Means Committee] ranking member [Kevin] Brady [R-Texas] mentioned has improved enforcement mechanisms,” she said. “The key to using the USMCA and making it successful is to exercise the tools that were so hard fought in being incorporated into the agreement.”
And reacting to a question from Senate Finance Committee ranking member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, about Mexico maintaining restrictions on the importation of potatoes and biotech crops, Tai said, “I am aware of some of the ongoing concerns with Mexico’s implementation of the USMCA in these areas and others.”
“I think to echo my earlier comments, we have a full set of tools for engaging with Mexico to address ongoing irritants and frictions. If confirmed, I look forward to engaging with stakeholders and the expert staff at USTR to begin engagement with the Mexican government.”
The hearing occurred as the Mexican Supreme Court postponed a decision until at least next week on whether to allow the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes throughout the country.
After the hearing, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, another member of the committee, noted that Tai had committed to work to on a “Top to Bottom Review” of the U.S.-China relationship and to pursue reform opportunities at the World Trade Organization.
The Tai hearing was marked by an unusual level of bipartisanship.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, R-Mass., and Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the committee ranking member, presented Tai, a member of the Ways and Means Committee staff, to the Finance Committee.
“Trade is a bipartisan priority & our policies are only successful when there is a true partnership between the executive branch and Congress. That’s why today, I was proud to support Katherine Tai, a member of the Ways and Means family, to be our next U.S. Trade Representative,” Brady tweeted.
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