Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, will emphasize in a speech on Thursday that America is focused on protecting workers through trade policy and that it will try and push trading partners to lift wages, allow collective bargaining and end forced labor practices.
The speech, Ms. Tai’s first significant policy address, is expected to highlight the Biden administration’s goal of re-empowering workers and minimizing the negative effects of globalization, which has encouraged companies to move jobs and factories offshore in search of cheaper labor and materials.
Less clear is how the administration will, in practice, accomplish those goals.
“For a very long time, our trade policies have been shaped by folks who are used to looking at the macro picture — big economic sectors,” Ms. Tai said in an interview ahead of the speech, which she will deliver at an A.F.L.-C.I.O.
“We’ve lost sight of the impact of these policies, the really real and direct impact they can have on regular people’s lives, and on our workers’ livelihoods.”According to a copy of her prepared remarks, Ms. Tai will portray the administration’s push as trying to correct for decades of trade policy that put company profits ahead of workers and helped erode worker power in the United States.
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