World Biden’s trade nominee vows ‘worker-centric’ model to protect jobs
Why Joe Biden’s pro-union message is so significant
Some labor historians think Biden’s rhetoric on unionizing is stronger than FDR’s.The White House released a video statement of Biden referencing an ongoing vote in Alabama to decide whether Amazon workers at a Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse will unionize. The Bessemer workers are in the middle of a seven-week vote that began in early February and will end in late March. It’s the first time since 2014 that Amazon workers in America will decide whether or not they want representation from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Katherine Tai, United States President Joe Biden’s top trade nominee, backed tariffs as a “legitimate tool” to counter China’s state-driven economic model and promised to hold Beijing to its prior commitments while promising a sweeping new approach to US trade.
At her Senate confirmation hearing to become the US Trade Representative (USTR), Tai also called for a revamp of global trade rules to eliminate what she called “grey areas” exploited by China and end a “race to the bottom” that she said had hurt workers and the environment.
US trade rep nominee says she will fight ‘unfair’ Chinese trade
Katherine Tai says she will will treat Chinese censorship as a trade barrier and fight ‘unfair’ economic practices.In written answers to Senate Finance Committee members’ questions following her confirmation hearing last week, Tai said on Monday that she would seek to use the enforcement consultation process in former President Donald Trump’s “Phase 1” trade deal with China to ensure the protection of American intellectual property.
“For a very long time our trade policies were based on the assumption that the more we traded with each other, and more liberalised our trade, the more peace and prosperity there would be,” Tai said, adding that trade liberalisation in the past too often led to less prosperity, and lower labour and environmental standards.
Is Joe Biden Catholic Enough to Take Communion?
Some bishops—and many conservative laypeople—think the second Catholic president should be denied access to one of the faith’s most important sacraments.If some Catholic leaders had their way, Biden wouldn’t be able to take Communion at all. A committee of bishops recently gathered to examine the “difficult and complex situation” of a Catholic president who publicly supports expanding abortion rights, contrary to the faith’s teachings. Later this year, a representative of that group will likely offer guidance on Biden’s future ability to take Communion. For now, the cardinal who oversees Washington, D.C.
Tai’s testimony to the Senate Finance Committee is the latest sign that Washington’s approach to overseas commerce may have changed permanently, after decades of market-based “free trade” liberalisation that benefitted multinational corporations but was upended by former President Donald Trump’s protectionism.
Tai did not reject Trump’s “America First” trade policies, but said she would revamp them to a “worker-centric” trade model that aimed to safeguard American livelihoods through investment and trade enforcement.
U.S. Refers to Palestinians After Delayed Netanyahu Call, Israel Does Not
The White House said Biden "underscored the importance of working to advance peace throughout the region, including between Israelis and Palestinians," but Netanyahu's office made no such reference in its own account.The White House said Biden "underscored the importance of working to advance peace throughout the region, including between Israelis and Palestinians," but Netanyahu's office made no such reference to long-running dispute in its own account of Wednesday's call.
The Yale and Harvard Law School-educated daughter of US immigrants from Taiwan, Tai called China “an extremely formidable competitor where the state is able to conduct the economy almost like a conductor with an orchestra.”
The US needs to respond with more strategic investments, improving supply chains to ensure they are more resilient and trade enforcement to counter Beijing’s strategy and ambitions, Tai said.
Tai said China needed to live up to its commitments under the Phase 1 trade deal it signed with the US in early 2020 but she gave few specifics on how she would achieve this besides using existing enforcement tools.
She made no new tariff threats.
“There are also a lot of areas that are grey areas, where the rules are not clear, or where we don’t have rules yet,” Tai said, adding that the US should work with other countries to explore new options to seek structural changes in China.
Biden's Commerce Secretary Praises Trump's China Tariffs as 'Effective'
Gina Raimondo described China's behavior as "anti-competitive" and "coercive," adding that the nation's "human rights abuses are horrific."Raimondo, the former governor of Rhode Island, was confirmed to her Cabinet role in the Biden administration by an 84 to 15 Senate vote on Tuesday. In an interview with MSNBC broadcast Thursday morning, Raimondo raised concerns about China and reiterated that the Biden administration plans to take a tough stance against the East Asian nation.
Asked about tariffs on steel and aluminium, Tai said tariffs were a “legitimate tool in the trade toolbox” but that “a whole slew of policy tools” were needed to address the core problem of global excess production capacity for the metals, centred primarily in China.
Jamieson Greer, a trade lawyer who served as chief of staff to Tai’s USTR predecessor, Robert Lighthizer, said he interpreted Tai’s views on tariffs as continuing the Trump administration’s stance.
“From the testimony today, it’s clear that the Biden administration does not view tariffs as a moral issue. You have to be careful but they’re a tool that can be used,” Greer said.
Tai’s testimony has been anxiously awaited for months by industry, US trading partners from Beijing to Brussels, labour groups and policymakers – all lining up to lobby the trade chief for the world’s largest economy.
If confirmed, as is widely expected, Tai faces a long list of Trump-era tariff disputes to resolve, including on aircraft, food and wine with Europe to threatened duties over digital services taxes and China’s lagging US goods purchases.
Biden declares America, transatlantic alliance 'back'
President Joe Biden declared the "transatlantic alliance is back" Friday in a powerful speech seeking to reestablish the United States as leader of the West against what he called a global assault on democracy. The transatlantic alliance is back," he said from the White House. "The United States is determined, determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, earn back our position of trusted leadership," he said.
Strengthening US supply chains
Tai told senators that legal tools are needed to better protect US intellectual property besides the “Section 301” trade law used by the Trump administration to wage a tariff war against China.
A key priority is assessing China’s use of forced labour in the Xinjiang province Tai said, adding: “the use of forced labour is probably the crudest example of the race to the bottom” in global trade. Beijing denies that it uses forced labour.
Achieving Biden’s trade goals would require stronger, more resilient US supply chains and investments in people and infrastructure to boost American competitiveness, she said.
Tai also rejected a direct return to an 11-country Asia-Pacific free trade deal that originally included the US, saying the world had changed significantly since the Obama administration agreed to it in 2015. The US Congress never ratified the deal.
But she said the US would cooperate with other countries in Asia on trade, and work to improve the World Trade Organization’s effectiveness.
Tai also said she would prioritise enforcement of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which she helped renegotiate in 2019 as trade counsel for the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee to include tougher labour and environmental standards.
She said the deal marked an “important step in reforming our approach to trade” and that its success was vital.
US Senate confirms Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador .
New UN ambassador faces diplomatic task turning around US leadership at United Nations after Trump era.Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed by a vote 78-20 as President Joe Biden’s nominee to represent the US at the UN. A second vote designating her to represent the US in meetings of the UN General Assembly was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon after clearing a procedural vote 77-20.