Biden Taps Trade Aide Known for FX Jabs at Foreign Central Banks

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The Biden administration made a number of key appointments at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, among them Obama-era Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Brad Setser as counselor to the nominee for the top job, Katherine Tai.

Setser, who most recently was a senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, has a history of aggressive comments on some overseas central banks, criticizing some for foreign-exchange purchases he called intervention. He will be “providing advice on a broad range of trade and economic policy matters,” the USTR said in a statement Monday.

In December, President Joe Biden tapped Tai, who was chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee, to head up the USTR. The Senate has yet to confirm her for the position.

The USTR announced the appointment of Greta Peisch, who spent the past six years as an international trade counsel on the Senate finance committee, as senior counsel. Bloomberg reported Peisch’s selection on Feb. 2.

“Her work at Senate Finance was instrumental in helping to level the playing field for American workers, farmers, ranchers and innovators,” said Ron Wyden, the Democratic senator who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. “As general counsel, she will be a powerful force for establishing a fairer and more equitable trade environment.”

Nora Todd, who helped craft key changes to the update of the North American Free Trade Agreement as a top Senate aide, was picked as chief of staff at the USTR last month. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, for whom she worked as chief economic adviser, confirmed the appointment at the time.

Other appointments the USTR announced include:

  • Jamila Thompson and Mark Wu as senior advisers
  • Sirat Attapit as assistant USTR for intergovernmental affairs
  • Jan Beukelman as assistant USTR for congressional affairs
  • Adam Hodge as assistant USTR for media and public affairs
  • Ethan Holmes as special assistant to the USTR
  • Ginna Lance as deputy chief of staff
  • Samuel Negatu as director of congressional affairs
  • Shantanu Tata as executive secretary and adviser to the USTR

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