Biden's trade czar nominee Katherine Tai to get Feb 25 senate confirmation hearing

Ms Katherine Tai previously served at the US Trade Representative's Office as head of China trade enforcement. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Joe Biden's nominee for US trade representative, Katherine Tai, will get a confirmation hearing next week, a key step for the new administration to start rebuilding battered trade ties with US allies.

The Senate Finance Committee said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 18) it had scheduled a 10am EST (11pm Singapore time) hearing for Ms Tai on Feb 25.

Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat, said Ms Tai had the needed experience to succeed in the role and vowed to advance her nomination as quickly as possible.

"Her record of getting wins for American workers demonstrates she knows how to champion the values that matter to US families," Mr Wyden said in a statement.

Ms Tai, who has served since 2014 as the Democratic trade lawyer for the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, earned praise from both Democrats and Republicans for her work in negotiating stronger labour provisions as part of the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement enacted last year.

She previously served at the US Trade Representative's Office as head of China trade enforcement.

If confirmed as the first woman of colour to serve as US trade representative, Ms Tai will play a pivotal role in implementing Mr Biden's goals of rebuilding ties with US allies, re-energising manufacturing at home and pushing China to alter its non-market trade and state subsidy policies.

A US-born daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Ms Tai speaks fluent Mandarin.

Mr Biden has not taken any major steps on trade policy since taking office nearly a month ago, and Ms Tai's confirmation process has lagged behind those of other Cabinet officials.

But the US Trade Representative's Office last week announced it would not implement a new round of tariffs in a long running Boeing-Airbus aircraft subsidy dispute. The agency said it is looking forward to resolving the dispute with European allies once Ms Tai is confirmed.

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