President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Katherine Tai, the chief trade counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, as U.S Trade Representative.
In her new role, Tai will be responsible for the development and coordination of U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy. She will oversee trade negotiations with other countries. As U.S. Trade Representative, Tai will act as the president's principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on all issues related to international trade. She will be a member of the president's cabinet.
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 USMCA and 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 U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement 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 JD from Harvard Law School.