Biden trade chief to visit Atlanta before president’s MLK Jr. Day trip

Biden will deliver remarks at Sunday’s celebration of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday at Ebenezer Baptist Church

The nation’s top trade official is coming to Atlanta this week to showcase President Joe Biden’s economic accomplishments ahead of the president’s planned appearance Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist Church for the birthday celebration of The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ambassador Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative and a member of the president’s cabinet, will join U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, an Atlanta Democrat, and a group of Georgia business leaders for a series of meetings on Thursday, a Biden administration official told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On Friday, the ambassador will also participate in a “fireside chat” hosted by the World Affairs Council of Atlanta to discuss the investments spurred by the president’s signature climate and health care law, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Later that day, Tai will meet with local Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders about new economic opportunities presented by the Biden trade agenda.

Tai’s visit comes in the wake of a series of major economic development projects in clean energy and electric vehicle manufacturing that have been announced in Georgia since Biden took office. Georgia, which Biden narrowly won in 2020, will likely be a key battleground state in 2024. Biden’s visit to Ebenezer, where Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is head pastor, is the president’s first appearance in Georgia since January 2022. King served as a co-pastor at Ebenezer with his father from 1960 until he was assassinated in 1968.

Gov. Brian Kemp has touted his conservative leadership as key to the state’s jobs boom. But Democrats have been quick to claim credit for federal investments and policies that have spurred growth in green energy jobs and the EV sectors.

Just this week, the AJC reported that solar panel manufacturer Qcells is expected to announce a huge expansion of its Georgia-based production capacity that will bring an additional 2,600 jobs to the state. And last fall, Hyundai Motor Group broke ground on a $5.54 billion factory, representing the South Korean automotive giant’s biggest investment outside its home nation. Hyundai followed that announcement by joining forces with fellow South Korean conglomerate SK Innovation for a proposed $4 billion to $5 billion battery plant in Bartow County.

In December 2021, EV upstart Rivian picked Georgia for a factory near Social Circle where it has promised to create 7,500 jobs.