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US Trade Nominee Says Biden Team Backs Use of Tariffs

Feb. 26, 2021
USTR nominee Katherine Tai told senators the U.S. has to acknowledge a global marketplace problem with its steel and aluminum industries.

The administration of President Joe Biden views tariffs as a valuable policy tool, the nominee to be the next U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, told lawmakers Thursday at her confirmation hearing.

"Tariffs are a very important part of our fair trade remedies toolbox," Tai told the Senate Finance Committee, signaling the new US team on commerce policy had no plans for a complete about-face from the hardline stance of Donald Trump's government.

Tai -- who also echoed the Biden administration's commitment to multilateral bodies during the hearing -- signaled support for maintaining Trump administration tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and vowed to keep China honest on an agreement struck a year ago.

"We have to acknowledge that we have ... a very significant global marketplace problem in the steel and aluminum markets that are driven primarily by China's overcapacity," Tai said. "But it's not, it's not just a China problem."

Tai said she would work to ensure that China meets its commitments under a January 2020 trade accord between Beijing and Washington.

But she said she supports a "holistic review on China" and US-China strategy.

Tai also noted that the United States was a founding member of the World Trade Organization, which had been a favorite punching bag for the Trump administration.

"We need to be having hard conversations in Geneva in a constructive way" in order to strengthen the body," Tai said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2021

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