Who Is Katherine Tai?

Who Is Katherine Tai?

Katherine C. Tai is the current U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). She is the first Asian American and the first woman of color to hold this position. Prior to her current position she was the chief trade counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. After being nominated by then President-elect Joe Biden in December of 2020, Katherine Tai was confirmed by the Senate on March 17, 2021, and took office on March 18, 2021.

Katherine Tai

Tai is responsible for the development and coordination of U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy and will oversee trade negotiations. She will also act as the president's principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on all issues related to international trade.

Tai has spent a large portion of her career working in government and has earned strong support from colleagues in Congress. She played a key role in the negotiations between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration over the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which came into effect on July 1, 2020.

Prior to her role as head trade lawyer on the Ways and Means Committee, Tai worked in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, beginning as associate general counsel in 2007 and then becoming chief counsel for China trade enforcement in 2011. In the latter role, she was responsible for litigating Washington's disputes against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Tai is respected by moderate Democrats and some Republicans, and some of her work on trade issues has earned her approval from business leaders and trade unions. Her experience is seen as an asset in helping the Biden administration to implement the USMCA as well as in developing policy toward China.

Early Career and Education

Before joining the U.S. Trade Representative's office, Tai spent time working in different roles at various private law firms, as well as the U.S. District Courts of the District of Columbia and the District of Maryland. She received her bachelor of arts degree in history from Yale University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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  2. Office of the United States Trade Representative. "Katherine C. Tai Sworn in as USTR Ambassador." Accessed March 23, 2021.

  3. The New York Times. "Biden Picks Katherine Tai as Trade Representative." Accessed Jan. 29, 2021.

  4. Office of the United States Trade Representative. "United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement." Accessed Jan. 29, 2021.

  5. The Wall Street Journal. "Biden to Name Katherine Tai U.S. Trade Representative." Accessed Jan. 29, 2021.

  6. The Wall Street Journal. "Who Are Joe Biden's Cabinet Picks? The Full List." Accessed Jan. 29, 2021.

  7. Politico. "'Everyone likes Katherine Tai': House trade lawyer emerges as USTR contender." Accessed Jan. 29, 2021.

  8. LinkedIn. "Katherine Tai." Accessed Jan. 29, 2021.