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UPDATE 1-Biden trade nominee Tai wins unanimous U.S. Senate backing in procedural vote

UPDATE 1-Biden trade nominee Tai wins unanimous U.S. Senate backing in procedural vote

· 03/16/2021 16:19
UPDATE 1-Biden trade nominee Tai wins unanimous U.S. Senate backing in procedural vote

Adds details on likely final vote timing

By David Lawder

- The U.S. Senate advanced President Joe Biden's nominee for U.S. trade representative, Katherine Tai, a step closer to confirmation on Tuesday, voting unanimously in favor of her in a procedural vote.

The rare bipartisan 98-0 vote on a motion to end debate on Tai's nomination sets up a final Senate confirmation vote likely to take place on Wednesday, according to Senate Press Gallery staff.

The indication of support means Tai, 47, will easily win confirmation and get quickly to work dealing with a host of trade issues, from dealing with long-festering disputes with European countries over aircraft subsidies and digital services taxes to confronting Chinese trade practices and enforcing new labor rights provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

"Katherine Tai is going to make a great U.S. trade representative," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said on the Senate floor before the vote. "She’s got the right diversity of experience. She’s focused on protecting American workers and creating new high-skill, high-wage jobs in this country."

Only two senators in the evenly split chamber did not participate in the Tai procedural vote, Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis and Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono.

Just before the Tai procedural vote, the Senate voted 81-17 to confirm Isabel Guzman as the leader of the Small Business Administration, an agency playing a central role in providing aid to small firms hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.


(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)

((David.Lawder@tr.com; +1 202 354 5854; Reuters Messaging: david.lawder.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))