Mr. President-elect, Madam Vice President-elect: I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve and look forward to working with you, with our partners across the Administration, and with the bright and dedicated public servants at USTR to deliver for the American people.
When the president-elect approached me about taking on this role, two memories from my past sprang to mind.
The first was from when I initially joined USTR in 2007. I was filling out paperwork, and providing information about my family history.
My parents were born in mainland China and grew up in Taiwan.
In the 1960s, President Kennedy’s immigration reforms welcomed them to America as graduate students in the sciences.
My dad would become a researcher at Walter Reed, helping the Army advance treatments for afflictions that debilitated American GIs fighting in the Vietnam War.
My mom still works at the National Institutes of Health, developing treatments for opioid addiction.
They were naturalized in 1979 — five years after I was born in Connecticut.
And it wasn’t until decades later, filling out that paperwork, that it truly occurred to me that I became an American before my parents, the very first American in our family.
The second memory that came to mind was from several years later, when a colleague and I from USTR went to Geneva to present a case suing China before the World Trade Organization.
We sat down at the table — she, whose parents had emigrated from South India, and I, whose parents had come from Taiwan — and my heart swelled with pride as we raised our placard and stated that we were there to present our case on behalf of the United States of America.
Two daughters of immigrants, there to serve, fight for, and reflect the nation that had opened doors of hope and opportunity to our families.
Those memories fill me with gratitude, for being an American, and for what America is at our best.
And they remind me of the extraordinary responsibilities that come with the honor as we navigate our relationships with the world.
Trade is like any other tool in our domestic or foreign policy — it is not an end in itself.
It is a means to create more hope and opportunity for people.
And it only succeeds when the humanity and dignity of every American — and of all people — lie at the heart of our approach.
I'm proud to join with leaders who instill their policy with purpose and who never lose sight of the humanity and dignity, the opportunity and hope, that make trade a force for good in our nation and the world.
I'm proud to be an advocate for American workers, to stand up for their ingenuity and innovation and for America’s interests across the globe.
I look forward to harnessing the power of our trade relationships to help communities lift themselves out of the current crisis.
And I am grateful for this chance to serve, fight for, and reflect America, on behalf of all our people, once again.Thank you.