Nice v. Tough–One More Take

Readers might recall my post about the exchange between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Rep. Greg Murphy during the annual trade policy agenda hearing a few weeks back where Rep. Murphy said he thought Ambassador Tai was “too nice” to be a good negotiator for the United States.   As a follow-up to the commentary on the exchange, Kathleen Claussen and Wendy Li have sought to compare it to prior interactions between members of Congress and U.S. Trade Representatives (USTRs) at these sorts of hearings.  It turns out that “niceness” and especially “toughness” are traits that members of Congress frequently discuss with nearly every USTR in these hearings.  They attribute this emphasis on personality to the USTR’s rather unique position in respect of both Congress and the president, as well as to the importance of negotiation in this role as compared to other cabinet positions.  Wendy and Kathleen have shared some insights over at the Yale Journal of Regulation’s Notice & Comment blog if you’re curious to learn more with much appreciation for sharing this!

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