US Trade Representative Katherine Tai returns from Europe today after concluding talks with her counterparts in the EU and UK.
Ambassador Tai’s trip supplemented US President Joe Biden’s attendance at the G7 Summit in Cornwall and the EU-US Summit in Brussels, further reinforcing the Biden administration’s strategy of boosting cooperation and engagement with traditional allies. In London, Tai likely addressed China’s industrial policies, ongoing aluminum and steel tariffs and the extension of the a recently settled civil aircraft dispute to the UK.
Tai’s office is under pressure from officials and industry trade bodies to follow through on improving transatlantic trade relations in a timely fashion. However, it is unlikely that long-standing negotiations on a US-UK free trade agreement will be finalized before the Trade Promotion Authority granted by Congress expires on July 1. Without that expedited authority, any deal will likely face delays in Congress during the ratification process.
Tai has prioritized changing the status quo only when doing so also directly addresses the US’ trade goals. As such, expect Tai to continue pressing allies in the medium-term for tangible ways to address international trade disparities, particularly those linked to China, before reducing tariffs or signing broad free trade agreements.
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Julian is a Research Analyst for The Daily Brief where he is a regular contributor. As a researcher and writer, Julian specializes in the political economy of East Asia and global macroeconomic developments.