The U.S. must both compete and cooperate with China, according to Katherine Tai, the new U.S. Trade Representative. "I’m ready to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time!" Tai tweeted on March 18, hours after being sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris. That remark was a reference to statements she had made before the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing on February 25.

"China is simultaneously a rival, a trade partner, and an outsized player whose cooperation we’ll also need to address certain global challenges. We must remember how to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time," she told the committee.

Tai's written testimony to the senators can be read in its entirety at the committee's webpage In her position, Tai holds the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

At her confirmation hearing, Tai recalled that she had previously worked for the Office of U.S. Trade Representative to monitor Chinese trade practices. She assured the committee that she was aware of "the opportunities and limitations in our existing toolbox." Tai also said she understood the importance of President Joe Biden's efforts to strengthen the unity of America's alliances.

Trade with Canada and Mexico

Successfully implementing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would be one of her priorities, Tai told the committee. She said the world had to work together to cope with such problems as the Coronavirus pandemic, the worldwide economic slowdown, and climate change.

Unanimous support in the US Senate

The Guardian noted that Tai, 47, was the first Asian American and the first woman of color to occupy the trade representative position. The paper said her nomination had been confirmed by a unanimous 98-0 vote in the US Senate. The Guardian pointed out that Tai belonged to the Democratic Party, and she had studied at Harvard and Yale.

Her confirmation vote indicated that she had "support from pro-labor Democrats, traditional free-trade Republicans and China hawks from both parties," the paper said.

Daughter of immigrants

At her confirmation hearing, Tai mentioned that her parents had been born in China, migrated to Taiwan, and later pursued their post-graduate education in the US. She recalled that her father had been employed at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and that her mother was currently working at the National Institutes of Health.

The Guardian quoted Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, as saying he had "not a single doubt that Ms. Tai is the right person for the job.” Information about the current activities of the U.S. Trade Representative can be found at