Dear Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Crapo:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the nomination of Katherine Tai to be United States Trade Representative (USTR). She is a highly qualified nominee and, from the perspective of the U.S. business community, is well-prepared to tackle the international trade and investment policy challenges facing the United States.
Tai’s prior service in the Office of the USTR and as Chief Trade Counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee represents an invaluable body of experience upon which she can draw as the President’s principal trade advisor and negotiator. She combines policy acumen, negotiating experience, and political savvy.
If confirmed, Tai will face the challenge of restoring regular order to U.S. trade policy. USTR has a legal duty to take into account the perspectives of the business community, labor, civil society, and other government departments and agencies. Similarly, the Constitution vests Congress with the authority to levy taxes and duties and to regulate commerce with foreign nations. These consultative processes have atrophied in recent years. One of Tai’s strongest qualifications is her commitment to renewing these obligations.
Trade must be an engine for economic growth and job creation as the U.S. recovers economically from the pandemic. While one important aspect of USTR’s mission is to address unfair trading practices, the previous Administration’s dramatic expansion in the application of tariffs contributed directly to a manufacturing and agriculture recession well in advance of the pandemic, and this experience illustrates the perils of an excessive reliance on tariffs. The next USTR must avoid the use of tariffs as a blunt instrument, and must avoid inaction on trade agreements as well. Other nations continue to enter into new agreements that favor their own industries and put American workers, farmers, and businesses at a mounting disadvantage in global markets.
Tai’s long record of public service and accomplishment demonstrates that she understands these imperatives. The Chamber urges the Committee on Finance to consider her nomination favorably and expeditiously.
cc: Members of the Senate Committee on Finance