Statement from Ambassador Katherine Tai in Honor of Earth Day

April 22, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai released the following statement in honor of Earth Day:

“On Earth Day, we celebrate the actions we are taking to protect our planet and its critically important ecosystems. Advancing environmental protection is a core objective for the United States at all levels, from local government to multilateral fora. As we have painfully witnessed time and time again, from the devastating wildfire in Lahaina, to the droughts and heat waves in Texas, to severe floods in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Florida, and extreme weather across the country, the climate crisis and the impact on underserved and overburdened communities is grave, real, and costly. The Biden-Harris Administration believes that trade can be an important tool to address global environmental challenges and to advance our shared sustainability goals.
“The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is working to align our international trade policies with our domestic environmental efforts and to engage our trading partners multilaterally, regionally, and bilaterally to tackle these shared challenges together.
“For example, at the World Trade Organization (WTO), we continue to negotiate for meaningful disciplines on harmful fisheries subsidies, advance deliberations on how trade tools can contribute to addressing climate change, support dialogue on how trade can be part of the solution to plastic pollution, and promote other environmental sustainability considerations in trade. We also continue to advocate for enhanced transparency of fishing vessels and operators that use forced labor, noting that forced labor on fishing vessels is an egregious practice that is also a threat to fisheries sustainability.
“We are also using other multilateral and regional organizations like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to identify the best tools and mechanisms to foster greener trade, spread innovative tools and decarbonization technologies, and incentivize the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions in production globally.
“Working under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA), USTR has also established several interagency agreements (IAAs) to enhance U.S. government monitoring and enforcement of the USMCA environmental commitments. These IAAs have strengthened forestry management in Mexico, enhanced border interdictions of illegally harvested natural resources, promoted conservation efforts of marine species, expanded capabilities to identify trafficked goods, and prioritized environmental crime prosecutions. Through implementation and enforcement of its USMCA environment commitments, USTR is working to promote the conservation and protection of a wide range of marine species, such as vaquita, totoaba, sea turtles, and the North Atlantic Right Whale, and to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
“Still, we know there is more work to do to address the triple planetary crises which put our communities and our future at risk: climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. USTR is committed to leading and furthering efforts to address these shared challenges through our trade engagements.
“April 22 was set aside as just one day to honor and respect the resources our earth provides. Through our trade policies and leadership in environmentally conscious practices, we are showing that we can prioritize sustainability every day.”