USTR Nominee Katherine Tai: ‘Tariffs Are a Legitimate Tool in the Trade Toolbox’

Katherine Tai
BILL O'LEARY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

United States Trade Representative (USTR) nominee Katherine Tai says U.S. tariffs on foreign imports are “a legitimate tool in the trade toolbox” after reportedly shutting down corporate interests in their efforts to eliminate tariffs.

During a confirmation hearing this week, Tai told senators, “tariffs are a very important part of our fair trade remedies toolbox.”

“Tariffs are a legitimate tool in the trade toolbox,” Tai said.

Specifically, Tai acknowledged the issues facing the steel and aluminum industries due to China, and other foreign countries, dumping those materials in the U.S. market:

With respect to the 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum … we have to acknowledge that we have overall a very significant global marketplace problem in the steel and aluminum markets that are driven primarily by China’s overcapacity that it’s built and production of these materials. [Emphasis added]

But it’s not just a China problem and what we are going to need in a worker-centered trade policy is an effective solution that looks at a whole slew of policy tools to address that part of the problem. [Emphasis added]

In December 2020, corporate interests began lobbying members of President Joe Biden’s administration to end tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports. Tai, according to reports, told the Business Roundtable that such lobbying efforts would not work.

Bloomberg reports:

Weeks before the White House said it would keep tariffs in place on more than $350 billion in Chinese goods, Katherine Tai previewed the bad news to a group of U.S. business leaders. [Emphasis added]

Tai, who is President Joe Biden’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative, told executives at a private meeting hosted by the Business Roundtable last month that lobbying for the duties to be removed wouldn’t work, according to people familiar with her remarks. Instead, companies keen to keep the so-called phase one trade deal — struck by the Trump administration and Beijing — should be prepared to live with the tariffs too, Tai said. [Emphasis added]

Industry analyst Kenneth Rapoza with the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), an economic nationalist group representing domestic manufacturers, praised Tai for her shutting down the Business Roundtable.

Rapoza writes:

So when Tai told the Business Roundtable, which shares the interests of the US Chamber of Commerce and global business in general, that they may be disappointed if counting on a tariff rollback, we see that as a positive. [Emphasis added]

Tai … will be unwavering in negotiations with Beijing, according to former colleagues. [Emphasis added]

Since 2001, U.S. free trade with China has eliminated at least 3.4 million American jobs. In 1985, before China entered the WTO, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled $6 billion. In 2019, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled more than $345 billion.

American manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy, as every one manufacturing job supports an additional 7.4 American jobs in other industries.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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