The future US Trade Representative Katherine Tai defended Thursday the use of tariffs in relations between the United States and its trading partners and insisted that she would strictly enforce existing agreements, including with China.
Ms. Tai, former trade legal advisor for the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, also stressed that her ambition was to pacify trade relations with American allies.
Tariffs are “a legitimate tool” and “a very important part of our toolbox to achieve fair trade,” she said during her hearing before the Senate for her confirmation.
The latter should be a formality, with many Democrats and Republicans having publicly expressed their support. Ms. Tai, born in 1974 and a graduate of Yale and Harvard universities, follows in the wake of the Trump administration.
Chinese trade surplus with the USA (AFP – Gal ROMA)
She also hinted that the United States will maintain additional tariffs in the steel and aluminum sector that had been imposed by the Republican administration.
Regarding the tariffs on these two metals, “we have to recognize that overall this is a world market problem (…) mainly due to the overcapacity of China in the production of these metals. materials, but (…) it’s not just a problem with China. “
– “Coherent plan” –
Regarding the trade agreement with China, negotiated by Donald Trump and signed in January 2020, she stressed that Beijing must keep its promises.
Faced with an ambitious China, the United States needs a “strategic and coherent plan” to compete with the Chinese economic model where the state is omnipresent, argued Ms. Tai, of Chinese parents and who grew up in Taiwan.
Ms. Tai, who is also fluent in Mandarin, an asset in negotiations with Beijing, has called for a “full review” of the trade relationship between the two leading world powers.
Faced with Chinese domination in the manufacture of essential goods such as semiconductors, at the heart of all attention today due to the global shortage which particularly penalizes the automotive sector, the Biden administration will shape “more strategic “supply chains to the United States, she explained.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He shakes hands with Donald Trump during the signing of a trade agreement between China and the United States in Washinton on January 15, 2020 (AFP / Archives – SAUL LOEB)
“Semiconductors are only part of what we have to compete with,” she noted. “We cannot compete by doing what China does, so we have to figure out how to compete with them by bringing together all the tools and resources we have,” she also commented.
She also said she would prioritize the implementation of the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal, which she helped renegotiate in 2019 as trade advisor to the House Ways and Means Committee. to include more stringent labor and environmental standards.
Asked also about a potential bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom, the negotiation of which began under the Trump era, Ms. Tai, again, pleaded for a review of the situation, the start of the process dating back two years and half.
– Settle the Airbus / Boeing dispute –
Finally, she expressed Thursday her will to put an end to the old conflict between the United States and the European Union on subsidies in aeronautics which resulted in reciprocal customs tariffs.
At the Paris Air Show near Paris, an Airbus A350-1000 flies above a panel effigy of the Boeing group, June 20, 2019 (AFP / Archives – ERIC PIERMONT)
She said she was aware of the damage caused by tariffs, noting that it was part of the workings of the World Trade Organization: “Inflict pain on other stakeholders to try to motivate each other to reach a resolution” .
But there is “a need for the United States and the EU to unite to find an answer,” she opined. “I would be very interested, pardon the pun, to know how to land this plane,” she added.
The Biden administration announced on February 11 the maintenance for the moment of additional taxes on certain European products, which entered into force on January 12, as part of the old dispute between Boeing and Airbus.
Like her predecessors, Katherine Tai also stressed that the WTO needs to be reformed.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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