2021 ALL STAR | LEGAL
U.S. Trade Representative, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
In keeping with the Biden administration's worker-centered approach to trade policy, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai initiated and resolved a labor dispute under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, marking the first use of the trade pact's tougher labor rules.
Tai, 47, asked Mexico in May to review complaints that workers' rights were being violated at a General Motors pickup plant in Silao as part of the USMCA's plant-specific dispute settlement tool known as the rapid-response labor mechanism.
The case was successfully concluded in September — following a vote by workers in August to reject their existing collective bargaining agreement — and allowed GM to dodge the threat of a 25 percent import tariff on pickups made at the Silao plant.
Tai, who has played key roles in shaping U.S. trade law, also unveiled this year the broad outlines of the next steps in the U.S.-China trade relationship, which includes keeping in place Section 301 tariffs levied by the Trump administration on more than $350 billion worth of Chinese goods, working with allies to develop fair trade rules and potentially reinstating a targeted tariff exclusion process for imports from China.