USTR Tai promises 'united front' of U.S. allies on trade issues: testimony

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Wednesday said that her agency will help create “a united front of U.S. allies” on trade issues and use trade policy to boost new clean energy technologies and communities of color.

In testimony prepared for a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on USTR’s fiscal 2022 budget request, Tai said she has made it clear to her foreign counterparts “that the United States will rebuild our international alliances and partnerships while re-engaging global institutions.”

Tai said that a four-month suspension of tariffs with Britain and the European Union related to a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies was a “bold step” aimed at resolving these issues.

Tai was personally involved in the settlement of a technology dispute between two South Korean electric vehicle battery makers, LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co, that had threatened the electric vehicle plans of o Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG, among others

“The settlement is the type of trade policy I believe we need: it supports a larger strategy for creating jobs and investing in innovation and manufacturing leadership by bolstering sustainable renewable energy supply chains, leveling the playing field, discouraging regulatory arbitrage,” she said in her testimony.

Tai’s prepared testimony did not mention her meetings in recent days with major COVID-19 vaccine makers over whether the World Trade Organization should waive certain intellectual property rights to allow more vaccine production developing countries, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novavax.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that the administration was considering such a move, among other efforts, including more domestic production, boost global vaccine supplies.

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