In her first interview since her Senate confirmation, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told The Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration is not ready to lift Trump-era tariffs on Chinese imports in the near future.
Tai, who breezed through her confirmation with a 98-0 vote, said she’s aware of the desire to remove tariffs among groups like the National Foreign Trade Council and the Tariff Reform Coalition, who argue the measures have harmed the U.S. economy while failing to force China to reform its practices. She acknowledged the economic concerns are legitimate, but said she ultimately stands by the tariffs, which were imposed “to remedy an unbalanced and unfair trade situation.” She also warned that “yanking off tariffs” right away could cause economic problems unless the change is “communicated in a way so that the actors in the economy can make adjustments.”
She is reportedly at least open to some ideas espoused by tariff-wary free traders, however, the Journal notes. That includes the suggestion that lifting tariffs should be on the table in new negotiations with Beijing. “Every good negotiator retains his or her leverage to use it,” she said. “Every good negotiator is going to keep all their options open.” Read more at The Wall Street Journal.