The Senate’s confirmation of Jayme White on Wednesday as a Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) drew praise from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and his new boss, USTR Katherine Tai.
Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the AAFA, noted that White will work closely with the apparel and footwear industry, with portfolios covering the Western Hemisphere, Europe, the Middle East, labor and environment.
“This confirmation will be critical for initiatives in the Western Hemisphere that require a whole of government approach–including the utilization of CAFTA-DR and improvements to regional infrastructure and customs operations–to address today’s challenges, such as the root causes of migration,” Beth Hughes, AAFA vice president of trade and customs policy, said. “With the right policies in place, we can increase investment throughout the region and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
Tai said growing up in West Seattle, White “has seen what trade can deliver.”
“He knows that it can be a force for good that brings shared prosperity to workers and communities,” Tai said. “I got to know Jayme when he was the Senate Finance Committee’s chief trade advisor. His intellect and understanding of the key issues are second-to-none, but he also asks the thoughtful questions about how the policies we develop in Washington will affect workers across the country.”
White has spent two decades working to ensure American trade policy empowers American workers and promotes a sustainable environment, Tai noted. He began his career working for his hometown member of Congress in the House, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Ill.), who served on the Ways and Means committee, which has jurisdiction over international trade.
White has served in the U.S. Senate since 2009, including as the chief trade advisor for the Senate Committee on Finance since 2014, under the leadership of Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). In his role on the Finance Committee, he has long represented and advanced bipartisan U.S. views to foreign trade leaders and the outcomes of those efforts are evident in many trade agreements, USTR said. Key provisions, especially enforceable measures on labor and the environment, found in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) are a result of his efforts.
“Jayme White is a highly qualified individual who will bring a wealth of experience to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative,” Lamar said. “American businesses are facing challenging times due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the continued collection of baseless tariffs throughout the supply chain. We look forward to working with Ambassador White to grow American competitiveness and open new markets for our products through smart trade policy.”