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Tánaiste meets US Trade Counterpart, Ambassador Katherine Tai

Today, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD held his first meeting with the new United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai. 

The Tánaiste said:

“It was great to have an opportunity to meet with Ambassador Tai today. I look forward to working with Katherine and her team as we build on the unique and special relationship Ireland has always shared with the United States.

“We discussed a range of trade policy issues affecting our two countries. We have a real opportunity now, with the new Biden administration, in the aftermath of Brexit and the pandemic, to rebuild, reshape and renew the new Atlantic alliance between the US and Europe. An alliance that is a force for security and for prosperity in the world. Ireland can be the link, the bridge between Europe and America.

“I sincerely thanked her for the continued support of the US administration for Ireland and the Peace Process and remarked that the Biden administration’s new agenda is similar to our own - increased investment in public infrastructure, free pre-school, parental leave, sick pay and a living wage”

In the context of last week’s announcement by the United States regarding its support for a TRIPS waiver of Intellectual Property Rights for vaccines, the Tánaiste highlighted the EU’s willingness to examine the issue as part of a solution aimed at continuing the ramp-up of global production of COVID vaccines.  He encouraged the US to remove its restrictions on the export of vaccines to the Global South in the interim.  The EU is the main exporter of vaccines to the world including developing countries.

The Tánaiste said:

“Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also in all our shared interests to ensure that those in less developed countries have access to a secure supply of vaccines. This way we can save many lives, reduce the risk of re-importation of the virus and the generation of new variants.  We need a practical solution that will achieve that objective involving the transfer of knowledge.  The European Union is looking at the best way to do that”

Finally, the Tánaiste also encouraged his US counterpart to continue to engage with the European Commission on solutions to a number of transatlantic trade disputes such as Airbus & Boeing and the Steel and Aluminium sectors and offered his assistance on this.


The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Enterprise, Trade and Employment, or (01) 631-2200