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International Policy Update (9/23)

26 September 2022 Monday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Policy Update
September 23, 2022

Chamber Members Engage with World Leaders at UN Meetings

Chamber Discusses Public-Private Partnerships with Colombian President Petro

Senate Ratifies Kigali Amendment

Business Groups Advocate for GSP Renewal on Capitol Hill

Chamber Welcomes Decision Not to Apply Tariffs to Neodymium Magnets

Intel’s Gelsinger to Chair Chamber’s China Center Advisory Board

Commerce Announces White House Coordinator for CHIPS Implementation

Commentary

Forced Technology Transfer Ahead, Warns U.S. Chamber

5 Trends for Business: Untangling Global Challenges

Indo-Pacific Economic Flourishing? Making a Success of IPEF

Chamber Members Engage with World Leaders at UN Meetings

As the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York this week, the Chamber and a wide array of member company representatives were on the ground to discuss trade, economic growth, and shared prosperity with world leaders.

Ahead of the high-level meetings, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant outlined in a blog post five trends that would be front and center at the meetings: 1) democracy, 2) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 3) energy, 4) climate change, and 5) food security. Amid these global challenges, he wrote, “the U.S. Chamber will provide the connective tissue between the public and private sectors, facilitating critical discussions to help change our perceptions of what can be achieved—together.”

The Chamber hosted roundtable dialogues and bilateral meetings with heads of state and government including Prime Minister of Bangladesh Shiekh Hasina, Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Philippines Bongbong Marcos, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema, President of Kenya William Ruto, and President of Colombia Gustavo Petro. In addition, Chamber leaders took part in meetings with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and other top officials.

The Chamber also hosted China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the most senior official to visit the continental United States in three years, in a small event organized with two other organizations. Discussion focused on the business community’s concerns with the state of U.S.-China relations, the impact of China’s dynamic “zero-Covid” policies, and other challenges in the Chinese market. The Chamber noted it is urging both governments to bolster bilateral engagement, resume results-oriented dialogue, and return to the negotiating table on trade, investment, and regulatory concerns.

The Chamber also hosted a successful half-day event on “The Road to COP27” with U.S., Egyptian, Saudi, Nigerian, and Ghanaian leaders, which previewed the Chamber’s program scheduled to be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in November.

For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Strategy and Global Initiatives Nisha Biswal (nbiswal@uschamber.com).

Chamber Discusses Public-Private Partnerships with Colombian President Petro

On September 20, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its U.S.-Colombia Business Council (USCBC) met with Colombian President Gustavo Petro, Colombian Ambassador to the United States Luis Gilberto Murillo, Colombian Environment Minister Susana Muhamad, and U.S. business leaders on the margins of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant stated:

“The meeting served as an important and initial opportunity to have a frank exchange discussion with President Petro. We reinforced the U.S. private sector’s strong commitment to Colombia, and along with the business community, we look forward to partnering with the Colombian government in enhancing food security, closing the digital divide, expanding access to healthcare and education, and supporting reliable clean energy.”

During the meeting, the U.S. Chamber highlighted the opportunity to maximize the benefits of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) by reducing barriers to trade and promoting trade facilitation, regulatory coherence, and effective intellectual property protection. By fully implementing the CTPA, adopting international standards and best practices and furthering a market-oriented system centered on the rule of law, Colombia can continue to create the conditions that enable job creation and reduce poverty.

CEO of Millicom-Tigo and Chair of the USCBC Mauricio Ramos added:

“The U.S.-Colombia Business Council’s commitment to strengthen trade and investment between our countries is unwavering. We look forward to continuing a constructive dialogue with the Colombian government to increase Colombia’s competitiveness, generate opportunities for all Colombians, increase the participation of small and medium enterprises in the global economy, and reinforce a transparent, predictable and stable environment for business.”

This year represents a milestone in the U.S.-Colombia bilateral relationship, marking 200 years of diplomatic ties and the 10-year anniversary of the implementation of the CTPA. Thanks in part to the CTPA, more than 3,500 Colombian companies now export to the United States, representing a 15% increase from before the agreement’s entry into force, and Colombia’s non-traditional exports have grown from 29% to 60%. Meanwhile, more than 500 U.S.-owned firms currently operate in Colombia, contributing to over 107,000 direct jobs and 350,000 indirect jobs in the country.

Separately, the USCBC this week wrote a letter to Colombia’s Ministry of Finance and Congress on the recently introduced Tax Reform for Social Equality and Justice. Although the Council commends the government’s efforts to identify additional resources to close social gaps and inequalities, the letter articulates concerns that some of the provisions would undermine these goals by reducing Colombia’s competitiveness and ability to attract and retain foreign direct investment, which would have a direct impact on Colombian and U.S. small and mid-sized enterprises, consumers, and job creation.

For further information, please contact Executive Director of the U.S.-Colombia Business Council Cesar Vence (cvence@uschamber.com).

Senate Ratifies Kigali Amendment

On September 21, the Senate voted 69-27 to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. As the culmination of more than a year of advocacy, the U.S. Chamber sent a Key Vote letter to the Senate expressing strong support for the amendment.

The amendment will lead to a phase down of global production and releases of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon compounds. The amendment is also expected to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers working to develop alternative technologies.

For further information, please contact Vice President for Environment and Sustainability Chuck Chaitovitz (cchaitovitz@uschamber.com).

Business Groups Advocate for GSP Renewal on Capitol Hill

On September 20, U.S. Chamber staff joined the Coalition for GSP for a Capitol Hill lobby day, urging members of Congress to renew the Generalized System of Preferences and refund the approximately $2 billion in tariffs paid by American businesses in the 21 months since the program’s expiration. The group highlighted the costs of GSP expiration for U.S. companies, particularly small businesses that rely on the program to remain competitive, and pressed for swift renewal of the program.

Separately, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed interest in reaching an agreement on GSP—as well as the long-pending Miscellaneous Tariff Bill—by the end of the year. The two measures, along with a host of other trade-related items, were stripped from the package that became the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

Speaking to the press after the lobby day, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) insisted that the trade talks “are not on hold,” adding that the provisions “got taken out of the China bill, and my hope is if we get to a point where we can start working on year-end issues, that we would look at trade.” House Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has indicated a similar position, but he and other Democrats want to include renewal of lapsed provisions of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which Republican lawmakers increasingly oppose. “TAA is not generally done unless we have trade agreements we’re negotiating… and the White House has not agreed to do any trade negotiations, so we’re not ready to talk about TAA,” added Crapo.

“GSP and MTB should have been done a long time ago,” commented Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Ranking Member of the House Ways & Means trade subcommittee. “I don’t sense much opposition from the [Biden] administration, either. The ball there has been dropped in the legislative branch.”

While Congress continues to debate long-term GSP reauthorization, Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation on September 19 that aims to refund tariffs paid from the date GSP expired in December 2020 through August 2022. The lawmakers intend for this bill to be a lifeline for businesses that can’t carry the costs any longer. Tariffs paid on GSP-eligible products during expiration are generally refunded retroactively each time the program is renewed.

For further information, please contact Director for International Policy Isabelle Icso (iicso@uschamber.com).

Chamber Welcomes Decision Not to Apply Tariffs to Neodymium Magnets

The White House on September 21 announced it would not restrict imports of neodymium magnets that are used in electric vehicles, wind turbines, and a variety of other technology and defense applications. The announcement comes after the Commerce Department concluded a national security investigation under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act — ordered last year by Secretary Gina Raimondo — that did not recommend imposing tariffs on magnet imports. This is the first and only Section 232 investigation launched by the Biden Administration to date.

In comments submitted to the Department of Commerce in November 2021, the Chamber argued against import restrictions:

“While we support the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce U.S. reliance on imports of critical materials from foreign adversaries and secure domestic and allied sources of strategic minerals, we do not view tariffs or quantitative restrictions as effective tools to address these concerns. The establishment of trade restrictions on NdFeB magnets would exacerbate rather than alleviate supply chain risks. It would also drive up costs for American manufacturers that use NbFeB magnets in their finished products and diminish the competitiveness of those U.S.-made products relative to similar finished products made overseas. U.S. trade restrictions would also risk the imposition of retaliatory restrictions by foreign governments against U.S. exports, which can be imposed on any sector of the U.S. economy, as we have seen in the case of the Section 232 tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum imports.”

The decision should allay the concerns of U.S. automakers and other manufacturers — including producers of high-tech military equipment — that rely on imports of the magnets to produce finished goods.

While the Commerce Department’s investigation did conclude that U.S. reliance on neodymium magnet imports is a potential threat to U.S. national security, it recommended a number of steps to increase domestic production without applying import restrictions. These recommendations included “incentivizing domestic production; working with allies and partners on supply chain resilience; supporting the development of a skilled workforce to produce neodymium magnets in the United States; and supporting ongoing research to mitigate supply chain vulnerabilities,” as summarized by Politico.

Of note, the Biden administration has used the Defense Production Act and other authorities to invest nearly $200 million with three companies to increase the U.S. capacity to produce the specialized magnets.

For further information, please contact Director for International Policy Isabelle Icso (iicso@uschamber.com).

Intel’s Gelsinger to Chair Chamber’s China Center Advisory Board

On September 19, the U.S. Chamber’s China Center announced the appointment of Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel Corporation, as the new chairperson of the Center’s Advisory Board. At a time of rising uncertainty and geopolitical tensions, economic headwinds, rapid technological change, and a continuing pandemic, Gelsinger’s leadership and guidance will be invaluable. Gelsinger also previously served as vice chair of the Advisory Board. Click here for Gelsinger’s full biography.

Upon the announcement, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant stated:

“We are thrilled that Pat has agreed to take on this role. He is a highly respected global business leader and already an important voice in U.S.-China relations. There is no one in the business community who better understands the imperatives of strengthening U.S. innovation, competing in the global economy, and protecting U.S. national security.”

CEO of Intel Corporation Pat Gelsinger said:

“I am honored that the U.S. Chamber China Center appointed me to serve in this important role. The U.S.-China relationship is critically important to American businesses operating in the global economy. Intel supports the China Center’s mission of advocating a mutually beneficial commercial relationship and encouraging dialogues between all stakeholders.”

The China Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce advocates for policies that maximize space for safe, secure and mutually beneficial bilateral commercial engagement, advises members on how to navigate the inherent risks in U.S.-China relations, and works to address the legitimate concerns posed by China’s policies.

For further information, please contact President of the China Center Jeremie Waterman (jwaterman@uschamber.com).

Commerce Announces White House Coordinator for CHIPS Implementation

On September 20, the Department of Commerce announced that Ronnie Chatterji will serve as the White House Coordinator for CHIPS Implementation at the National Economic Council. In this role he will manage the work of the CHIPS Implementation Steering Council, as laid out in President Biden’s Executive Order on CHIPS Implementation and will work closely with the National Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Commerce and the Steering Council to ensure effective interagency coordination.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department released an implementation strategy for the $50 billion in funding for semiconductor manufacturing and research distributed through the CHIPS for America program.

For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).

Commentary

Forced Technology Transfer Ahead, Warns U.S. Chamber
U.S. Chamber (September 20) by Patrick Kilbride

5 Trends for Business: Untangling Global Challenges
U.S. Chamber (September 19) by Myron Brilliant

Indo-Pacific Economic Flourishing? Making a Success of IPEF
U.S. Chamber (September 13) by John Murphy

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