The Biden administration is pursuing a ‘worker-centred’ trade policy, in line with the Build Back Better agenda and its emphasis on reaping benefits for the middle class.
Among the features of a worker-centred and inclusive trade policy are giving workers a seat at the table and engaging them in the negotiating process for trade agreements. Moreover, working with allies on creating high-standard rules and enforcing them, as well as jointly addressing the challenges to domestic workers stemming from the policies of non-market economies and tackling forced labour, are part of the agenda. Since assuming office, the Biden administration has focused on enforcement of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and proposals concerning forced labour.
What else needs to be done – both in terms of trade policy, but also with regards to taxation and labour policies – to have workers reap the benefits of the global economy while mitigating potential costs? How does the persistent use of tariffs, which were introduced under President Trump and hurt US businesses and consumers, fit with Biden’s worker-centred US trade policy? And how does the US plan on using institutions like the World Trade Organization or forums like the G7 to advance a worker-centred trade policy on the international stage?
Chair: Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, Senior Research Fellow, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House
Thea Lee, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, US Department of Labor