Biden’s international economics adviser to step down

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Mike Pyle, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics at the White House National Security Council, will soon step down from his post, according to three people with knowledge of his decision.

The departure of Pyle — the NSC’s lead on international economic initiatives — will deal a blow to Biden’s already teetering global trade agenda, adding to a string of recent and upcoming departures of senior staff at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

Pyle oversees an expansive portfolio at the NSC, including global trade, critical mineral negotiations and President Joe Biden’s international investment agenda. In those roles, he has advocated a shift from focusing on traditional trade negotiations, which have become politically unpopular, to an emphasis on using the federal money to catalyze private investments in infrastructure projects across the developing world.

“We don’t see trade policy as being at the core of international economic policy,” Pyle said last June in an appearance at the Carnegie Endowment, outlining Biden’s agenda for less developed nations. “Just as the agenda with other industrial economies begins with investment, so too the agenda for the developing world begins with investment.”

As part of that investment campaign, Pyle has helped lead the charge to use public-private financial partnerships to build infrastructure projects in developing countries — an attempt to challenge China’s expansive lending under its Belt and Road Initiative. He has also been closely involved in negotiations of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Biden’s new-look economic pact for Asia that has come under fire after the administration backed away from the trade elements of the deal last November.

Despite blowback about that Indo-Pacific deal, those close to Pyle say he — like many other senior trade hands — has been planning his departure for months. And he’s in good company. In recent weeks, multiple departures at the trade representative’s office have come to light, including Deputy USTR Sarah Bianchi, chief of staff Heather Hurlburt, General Counsel Greta Peisch and labor chief Josh Kagan. Deputy USTR Jayme White stepped down last fall.

Prior to his NSC post, Pyle was economic adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris and before that was chief investment adviser at asset manager Blackrock. He also worked for the Treasury Department under former President Barack Obama.

Pyle’s last day is unclear but could come late this month or early next, said the people with knowledge who were granted anonymity to discuss personnel moves that were not yet public. A successor has not been named.

Alex Ward contributed to this report.

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