Biden's trade chief makes climate change focus of her first speech
President Biden's top trade negotiator is pledging to employ trade policy levers to fight climate change and ecological degradation, warning of a "closing window to prevent a catastrophic environmental chain reaction."
Why it matters: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Thursday made climate change the focus of her first speech in the role. The decision underscores how the White House hopes to marshal a wide-ranging, government-wide approach to the topic.
The big picture: "For too long, the traditional trade community has resisted the view that trade policy is a legitimate tool in helping to solve the climate crisis," she said at an event hosted by the liberal Center for American Progress.
What's next: Tai pledged robust enforcement of environmental provisions — including anti-deforestation measures — in the existing U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and other trade pacts too.
- More broadly, she said that "developing innovative environmental technologies, goods, and services and cultivating strategic international supply chains for trade will be key."
Yes, but: She acknowledged key barriers. Tai called the USMCA's lack of explicit climate provisions a "glaring omission."
- And she said WTO rules create headwinds, arguing "the multilateral trading system has no rules to address the corporate incentive to participate in the race to the bottom."
- The New York Times has more.