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International Affairs Division, U.S. Chamber-Newslatter International Policy

13 December 2021 Monday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Policy Update
December 10, 2021
Chamber Hosts Annual “Transatlantic Business Works” Summit
NDAA Advances; Several Amendments of Concern to Business Sidelined
Business Groups Urge U.S.-UK Resolution to Section 232 Tariff Fight
From the Home Front
Chamber CEO Clark on Surging Job Openings
U.S. Chamber Pushes for Transparency from FTC
Chamber Statement on Biden’s Executive Order on Federal Government Climate Initiatives
Chamber Hosts Annual “Transatlantic Business Works” Summit
The U.S. Chamber’s European Affairs Department on December 8-9 hosted its third annual Transatlantic Business Works Summit, which explored the role that American and European businesses play in driving innovation, creating jobs, and advancing solutions to society’s most challenging problems. Notably, a key topic at the summit was this year’s launch of the U.S.-EU Trade and Council, which represents a vital opportunity to expand trade and investment ties between the economies and to jointly define the rules of the road for the 21st-century economy.
Over the two days, panel discussions among government and private sector leaders centered on the importance of transatlantic cooperation to foster the digital economy, leverage lessons from the pandemic, promote innovation to address climate change, strengthen supply chains, and collaborate on common challenges from non-market economies. Panelists highlighted the importance of U.S.-EU partnership on export controls, investment screening, and countering anticompetitive subsidies when identifying priorities for dealing with China.
The summit featured keynote addresses from Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s lead official on digital and competition policy. Ambassador Tai and EVP Vestager also participated in armchair discussions on the U.S.-EU trade relationship and cooperation in the digital economy, respectively. All three leaders emphasized the importance of U.S.-EU ties and cooperation to strengthen the two economies and address shared global challenges, while also recognizing there will be significant consequences if they fail to meet this moment. The Chamber is continuing to work closely with the governments and our members to advance our shared objectives—while pushing back against bad ideas on both sides of the Atlantic.
In press coverage, Politico ($) reported that Secretary Raimondo criticized the EU’s Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act at the event (“Raimondo: U.S. has ‘serious concerns’ about EU digital rules“). The outlet also reported on an exchange between U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant and Ambassador Tai on trade in medical goods (“Tai wary of cutting tariffs on health care goods“).
Click here to watch a recording of the event. You can also review our Twitter coverage of the event here. For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for European Affairs Marjorie Chorlins (mchorlins@uschamber.com).
NDAA Advances; Several Amendments of Concern to Business Sidelined
On December 7, the House of Representatives passed a bicameral compromise version of the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022“ (NDAA), which authorizes $768 billion for programs to strengthen and advance the National Defense Strategy and ensure that unfunded procurement, research, and readiness priorities of the services are met. The Senate is expected to grant final passage next week.
Ahead of the vote, the Chamber engaged repeatedly with lawmakers on a wide variety of issues proposed for inclusion in the package. The Chamber sent letters to Congress — one to the House in September and one to the Senate in November — but also engaged informally with a wide range of legislators on a variety of issues. The Chamber raised objections to several provisions and amendments that were ultimately excluded from the compromise package, including the following:
  • One amendment would have required a CFIUS review of real estate transactions by foreign entities or companies controlled by foreign entities from properties as far away as 100 miles from domestic U.S. military installations. As drafted the measure would have duplicated some existing authorities but also would have required CFIUS to review huge numbers of mundane real estate transactions.
  • Also shelved was a sanction amendment advanced by Rep. Brad Sherman that would have barred U.S. banks from purchasing ruble-denominated bonds. The amendment would have limited the ability of U.S. banks to serve their U.S. corporate clients operating in Russia with little effect on the Russian government or Russian banks.
  • Also not included was language that would have prohibited the sale of products of the sponsors of the Beijing Winter Olympics on military bases, which would harm Team USA athletes and their athletic programming and services while not directly influencing or achieving policy aims or outcomes.
  • The Casey-Cornyn amendment (“The National Critical Capabilities Defense Act“), which would create a USTR-led interagency outbound investment review committee, was also not included in the NDAA. The Chamber argued this measure would create an ill-defined bureaucracy whose labors would be duplicative of those laid out in the recently enacted Export Control Reform Act and burden USTR with responsibilities for which it is ill-equipped. A version of this amendment may well be proposed for inclusion when Congress again takes up “China competition” legislation, i.e., the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) approved in June by the Senate.
Once the compromise was struck, the Chamber sent a letter in support of the legislation to the House. For further information, please contact Director for International Policy Isabelle Icso (iicso@uschamber.com).
Business Groups Urge U.S.-UK Resolution to Section 232 Tariff Fight
On December 7, the Chamber joined U.S. and UK business groups in a joint statement calling for an immediate resolution to the U.S.-UK Section 232 dispute and the removal of tariffs from both sides. A swift resolution would also reduce the threat of the UK doubling its retaliatory tariffs or imposing duties on additional products, which would further hurt U.S. businesses already crippled by the current tariffs. The statement emphasizes the harm this dispute has done to a swath of different sectors and notes that the recent U.S.-EU Section 232 deal signals “that a resolution between the U.S. and UK is possible.”
The joint statement was released ahead of a meeting between Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan. While Secretary Raimondo’s readout suggests the two sides will work toward a resolution in the new year, Secretary Trevelyan’s readout went a step farther by saying she has invited Secretary Raimondo to London in January to continue discussions.
The Chamber continues to urge the administration to remove the Section 232 tariffs and quotas on U.S. trading partners and “drop the unfounded charge that metal imports from the U.K., Japan, Korea, and other close allies represent a threat to our national security.”
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
From the Home Front
Chamber CEO Clark on Surging Job Openings
On December 8, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark made the following statement regarding the worker shortage:
“Job openings increasing to 11 million—an increase of 431,000 from September—is even more evidence of the worsening worker shortage. This is one of the most pressing economic challenges of our time. Policymakers at every level of government must act with urgency to get people back to work, expand the labor force, and help accelerate the economic recovery.
“Policymakers should focus on how we expand the labor force, including through addressing barriers to employment, rightsizing and targeting government benefits, and attracting more qualified workers by doubling the cap on employment-based visas.”
For more on the Chamber’s workforce initiative, please see this page. Last week, the Chamber released a poll of unemployed workers who lost their job in the pandemic.
U.S. Chamber Pushes for Transparency from FTC
On December 3, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) denial of the Chamber’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):
“It is clear that the FTC is attempting to govern via secret rules for secret proceedings with secret votes. After just two days and without any substantive consideration, the FTC issued a blanket denial of the Chamber’s request for transparency, claiming it was too burdensome. While we are considering our legal options, we have filed requests for the FTC to release its full and complete procedures manual, not just the portion that covers voting procedure and all the ‘zombie votes’ cast by former Commissioner Chopra. That is the least a public agency can do in the name of transparency.”
Yesterday evening, the Chamber submitted three FOIA requests seeking full disclosure of documents that the FTC has no reasonable defense to deny. The Chamber is seeking:
  • Full and complete copies of (a) the “Office of the Secretary Procedures Manual” and (b) the document containing the “Policy with Respect to Counting Votes of Departing and Arriving Commissioners;”
  • All records related to votes cast by Former Commissioner Rohit Chopra between September 30, 2021 and October 8, 2021. This includes, but is not limited to, the specific votes he purported to take that have yet to be made public or might never be made public as of the date of this request; and
  • All records related to counting votes of Former Commissioners for a period of time after their departure from the Commission. The timeframe for this request is November 23, 2020 (the start of the presidential transition period) to the present.
Chamber Statement on Biden’s Executive Order on Federal Government Climate Initiatives
On December 8, Senior Vice President of Policy Marty Durbin issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on federal government climate initiatives:
“While we are still reviewing the Executive Order, we appreciate President Biden’s continued focus on tackling climate change. The most important factors for the success of ambitious climate goals are the pace of innovation and the ability of government to modernize permitting processes that will allow for technology to be developed and deployed without undue delays. Enactment of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide unprecedented investment for the development and deployment of clean energy technology, and government must be ready to facilitate, not slow down, needed progress.”

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