Background

The Senate voted this week to approve Jayme White and Sarah Bianchi as deputy U.S. trade representatives, giving USTR two additional senior staff members as it seeks to develop and implement the Biden administration’s “worker-centered” trade policy. White will reportedly oversee USTR efforts on the Western Hemisphere, Europe, the Middle East, labor, and the environment, while Bianchi will lead work on Asia, Africa, textiles, services, investment, and industrial competitiveness.

White previously served as a staff member in both the House and Senate, where a White House press release said he “played a role in nearly every major trade issue and trade legislation over the last 20 years.” Most recently he was chief trade advisor for the Senate Finance Committee since 2014, where he “led efforts to level the playing field for U.S. workers through trade negotiations and agreements” and to reform U.S. trade laws “to better respond to unfair foreign trade practices.” The White House said the outcomes of White’s representation and advancement of U.S. views to foreign trade leaders “are evident in many trade agreements” and that key provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, including those on labor and the environment, “are a result of his efforts.” In that capacity he worked closely with USTR Katherine Tai, who was credited with similar results during her tenure in the House of Representatives.

Bianchi previously served as senior managing director and head of U.S. public policy and political strategy research for a U.S. investment firm. In the Obama administration she ran the economic and domestic policy team in the Office of the Vice President and coordinated policy initiatives ranging from workforce competitiveness to manufacturing to budget negotiations. She also served as deputy assistant to the president for economic policy. Her private-sector experience includes serving as an investment advisor for a capital management company, managing director for an investment management company, and head of global policy development for a services company.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., indicated that he expects the two new USTR officials to work toward “getting trade done right,” including “vigorously and relentlessly enforcing the trade rules on the books.” Wyden highlighted one experience illustrating White’s work in this area. “Years ago … he helped set up a sting operation that showed how trade cheats overseas were able to launder merchandise and avoid paying customs duties,” Wyden said. “They’d ship goods through other countries, or slap a new label with different information on their products and manage to slip them into the U.S. market. That experience helped us write and build momentum for trade enforcement legislation called the ENFORCE Act that passed a few years later.”

Wyden added that Bianchi’s job will include “confronting China directly” on issues such as forced labor, industrial subsidies, intellectual property theft, and Internet censorship.

For more information on pursuing trade policy interests at USTR or other federal agencies, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

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