Katherine Tai

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Katherine Tai
Katherine Tai, official portrait.jpg
19th United States Trade Representative
Assumed office
March 18, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
DeputySarah Bianchi
Jayme White
Preceded byRobert Lighthizer
Personal details
Katherine Chi Tai

(1974-03-18) March 18, 1974 (age 48)
Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Robert Riley Skidmore[1]
Residence(s)Washington, D.C., U.S.
EducationYale University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)
Chinese name

Katherine Chi Tai (born March 18, 1974)[2][3] is an American attorney serving as the 19th United States Trade Representative since March 18, 2021. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, she is the first Asian-American[4] to serve in the position. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the chief trade counsel for the United States House Committee on Ways and Means.

Early life and education[edit]

Tai was born on March 18, 1974, in Connecticut. Tai grew up in Washington, D.C., where she attended Sidwell Friends School.[5] Her parents, who are born in Jiangsu, China,[6] grew up in Taiwan and later immigrated to the United States.[7][8] Tai is fluent in Mandarin.[9][10][11] In 1996, Tai graduated from Yale University (Pierson College) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.[12] Tai went on to study at Harvard Law School, where she earned a Juris Doctor in 2001.[13][14]

After her undergraduate education, she taught English at Sun Yat-sen University as a Yale-China Fellow for two years, from 1996 to 1998.[15][16] After law school, she worked for several law firms, including Powell Goldstein, Sidley Austin, Baker McKenzie, and Miller & Chevalier, and clerked for U.S. District Courts in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.[9][16]

Trade policy career[edit]

From 2007 to 2014, Tai served in the Trade Representative's Office of General Counsel, becoming chief counsel for China trade enforcement from 2011 until her departure.[17] At the Office of General Counsel, she worked on trade cases at the World Trade Organization.[18] In 2014, she became trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee. She was named chief trade counsel in 2017.[17]

During Tai's tenure with the Committee on Ways and Means, she played a significant role in the House's negotiations with the Trump administration regarding the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA),[9][10] advocating for stronger labor provisions.[15] The Associated Press has described her as a "problem-solving pragmatist on trade policy".[19]

Trade Representative (2021-present)[edit]


Tai was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as Trade Representative in December 2020. Tai has been described as both an "avowed progressive"[20] and as a "consensus builder [who can] help bridge the Democratic Party's varying views on trade".[21]

Hearings on Tai's nomination were held before the Senate Finance Committee on February 25, 2021. Tai was reported out of the committee by unanimous consent on March 3, 2021.[22] The entire Senate confirmed her on March 17, 2021, in a 98–0 vote; Senators Bernie Sanders and Mazie Hirono were absent for the vote.[23] She became the only member of Biden's cabinet to receive unanimous support.


Tai was sworn into office on March 18, 2021.[24] In her service as Trade Representative, Tai holds the rank and style of 'Ambassador,' and is a member of the Cabinet of the United States. As Trade Representative, Tai was credited by some advocates for pushing the Biden Administration in favor of the TRIPS Waiver.[25] In June 2021, Tai became the first Trade Representative to address the AFL–CIO in what was described as an effort to reset the USTR's relations with labor unions.[26]


  1. ^ Adkins, Lenore T (May 5, 2021). "Meet the woman who represents the United States in trade - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom". US Embassy. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  2. ^ Garver, Rob (January 29, 2021). "Biden's Trade Representative Expected to Be Assertive with China". VOA. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  3. ^ Ruiz-Grossman, Sarah (March 18, 2021). "Katherine Tai Becomes First Asian American U.S. Trade Representative". HuffPost. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Katherine Tai unanimously confirmed as first Asian American US trade representative, The Guardian, 17 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Katherine Tai". US-China Business Council. January 22, 2019. Archived from the original on December 9, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  6. ^ Shalal, Andrea (December 11, 2020). "Biden's trade nominee has family roots in both Taiwan and China". Reuters.
  7. ^ TaiwanNews (December 10, 2020). "Taiwanese-American Katherine Tai expected to be nominated as US trade envoy". Taiwan News. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "拜登找台裔戴琪出任美國貿易代表 雙親來自台灣 | 國際 | 重點新聞 | 中央社 CNA". www.cna.com.tw (in Chinese). Archived from the original on December 13, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Bade, Gavin (February 1, 2021). "At USTR, a straight-shooter will have to navigate Biden's old guard in Washington". POLITICO. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Bade, Gavin; Pager, Tyler; Rodriguez, Sabrina (December 9, 2020). "Biden to name Hill staffer Katherine Tai for top trade job". Politico. Archived from the original on December 9, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  11. ^ Swanson, Ana (December 9, 2020). "Biden Picks Katherine Tai as Trade Representative". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  12. ^ "FOUR SENIORS AND TWO RECENT ALUMNI CHOSEN FOR TEACHING POSTS IN CHINA AND HONG KONG". Yale Bulletin and Calendar News Stories. Yale University. 1996. Retrieved October 7, 2021. Katherine Tai '96 of Pierson College will teach at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou -- Canton -- located in Guangdong province, which is close to Hong Kong. Ms. Tai, a history major, will teach English to economics and computer science majors at the university's Lingnan College, under funding the Lingnan Foundation of New York City. Ms. Tai designed curriculum and taught writing classes to immigrants at the Washington School for Chinese Language and Culture for three summers. At Yale she was a freshman counselor and seminar coordinator for her college. May 20 - June 3, 1996
  13. ^ "Neal Announces New Ways and Means Democratic Chief Trade Counsel". House Ways and Means Committee. July 31, 2017. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  14. ^ "Katherine Tai-Education". Open Secrets. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Wang, Amy B.; Lynch, David J. (December 9, 2020). "Biden selects Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Katherine Tai-Employment". Open Secrets. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  17. ^ a b Merica, Dan; Saenz, Arlette; Zeleny, Jeff (December 9, 2020). "Biden expected to nominate Katherine Tai to serve as US Trade Representative". CNN. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Lawder, David; Shalal, Andrea (November 25, 2020). "Lawyer Katherine Tai a Congress favorite for Biden trade czar". Reuters. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  19. ^ Miller, Zeke; Wiseman, Paul (December 9, 2020). "AP sources: Biden to pick Katherine Tai as top trade envoy". AP News. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  20. ^ Hirsh, Michael. "Why Everyone Likes Katherine Tai". Foreign Policy. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  21. ^ Swanson, Ana (February 24, 2021). "Biden Looks to a Consensus Builder to Heal a Democratic Rift on Trade". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  22. ^ "PN78-18 — Katherine C. Tai — Executive Office of the President 117th Congress (2021-2022)". US Congress. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  23. ^ "On the Nomination (Confirmation: Katherine C. Tai, of the District of Columbia, to be United States Trade Representative)". US Senate. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  24. ^ "Katherine C. Tai Sworn in as USTR Ambassador" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Office of the United States Trade Representative. March 18, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  25. ^ "Biden's TRIPS Waiver Decision Is A Transformative, Hopeful Event". Revolving Door Project. May 5, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  26. ^ "U.S. Trade Chief Resets Union Relations in Worker-Centric Push". Bloomberg.com. June 10, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2021.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Trade Representative
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Director of National Intelligence Order of precedence of the United States
as Trade Representative
Succeeded byas Ambassador to the United Nations