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TABA-AmCham & U.S. Chamber News – International Policy Update (9/10)

10 September 2021 Friday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Policy Update
September 10, 2021
End-of-Summer Recap Edition
Chamber China Center Advisory Board Welcomes Meeting with Tai
Chamber Outlines Border Carbon Adjustment Principles
Chamber Promotes Trade and Investment at U.S.-Ghana Business Forum
Chamber Highlights Promise of Digital Trade Agreement
Commentary
Proposed Changes to International Taxes Will Make U.S. Businesses Less Competitive and Harm American Workers
VP’s Visit to Southeast Asia Affirms Need to Enhance U.S. Trade Ties
Chamber of Commerce Frustrated With Tariffs But Sees Trade Progress
Chamber China Center Advisory Board Welcomes Meeting with Tai
On August 24, the U.S. Chamber China Center Advisory Board met with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to discuss the state of U.S.-China economic and commercial relations and exchange views on the opportunities and challenges for American business with China. Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant gave the following readout after meeting:
“The Advisory Board noted that China is and will remain a critical market for American business. The Board had a positive and candid conversation with Ambassador Tai, reiterating the commitment of the business community to work with the administration to achieve a trade policy with China that lifts all stakeholders, is grounded in a desire for market-driven outcomes, and accounts for the unique aspects of U.S.-China relations.”
The U.S. Chamber China Center continues to encourage U.S. attention to China’s full implementation of the Phase One agreement; reinstitution of a predictable, transparent, and fair Section 301 tariff exclusion and removal process to support U.S. manufacturing and address inflation concerns; re-engagement with China on outstanding structural concerns; and continued work with allies to address issues of common concern with China.
Carlyle Group CEO Kewsong Lee, the new chair of the U.S. Chamber’s China Center Advisory Board, added:
“The business community is keen to play a productive role in this most important of relations. I and my colleagues on the advisory board look forward to doing our part to work with the U.S. government to make progress for our businesses, our workers, and the broader economy. In this critical, collective endeavor, the Center’s Advisory Board will strive to support constructive engagement between the United States and China, and find areas of cooperation wherever possible, while also working to address legitimate concerns in order to promote competitiveness, innovation, and free and fair trade.”
The U.S. Chamber and the China Center look forward to regular consultation with USTR Tai and others in the Biden Administration to advance the best policies and outcomes possible for U.S. workers, innovation, and the economy.
For further information, please U.S. Chamber China Center President Jeremie Waterman (jwaterman@uschamber.com).
Chamber Outlines Border Carbon Adjustment Principles
On September 1, the U.S. Chamber released a set of principles responding to a “border carbon adjustment” bill introduced in July by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Representative Scott Peters (D-CA). The Chamber’s document was prepared with input from Chamber members and subsequent to virtual meetings with congressional staff and member companies.
The “Fair, Affordable, Innovative, and Resilient Transition and Competition (FAIR) Act” aims to “incentivize investments in cleaner technologies and account for the cost of complying with U.S. laws and regulations on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” according to a press release on Senator Coons’ website. The bill does not include a domestic price on carbon or another market-based mechanism to reduce emissions, which the Chamber and other commentators have flagged as a logical precursor to any measure to address “carbon leakage.”
The principles were shared in meetings with Congressional staff with the overall message that “taking steps to limit carbon leakage is an important aspect of effective climate policy, as is preserving the international competitiveness of manufacturing and industry impacted by domestic GHG policies.”
The priority areas outlined in the principles are:
  • Timing and need for additional deliberation—It is important for a policy as complex and impactful as this to undergo thoughtful deliberation and study;
  • Absence of an economy-wide carbon market—An economy-wide carbon price or market-based mechanism is the most effective tool to broadly accelerate emissions reductions. Without it, border carbon adjustments are extremely difficult if not impossible to effectively implement;
  • Impacts on clean energy transition—Raising the costs of goods such as steel, aluminum, and other industrial imports by imposing tariffs could negatively impact deployment of clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles or renewables.
  • Trade diplomacy—Engagement with other nations in the context of the WTO in advance of implementation is essential to avoid immediate retaliation;
  • Applicable countries—The criteria the U.S. uses in evaluating whether to exempt countries with laws on GHGs from the adjustment tariff should be clearly defined;
  • Trade impacts—Any approach should uphold WTO commitments and address how the U.S. will account for foreign environmental costs incurred on imports;
  • Administrative feasibility—The measure should take administrative feasibility into account when assigning “domestic environmental cost incurred.” The difficulty of this task further reinforces the need for an economy-wide market-based mechanism.
  • Border adjustment for U.S. exports—The absence of an adjustment for carbon emissions compliance costs upon export means U.S. export sectors will not be fully protected against competitive disadvantages resulting from domestic GHG policies;
  • EU CBAM compatibility—Due to the absence of an economy-wide carbon price in the U.S., this measure is not directly compatible with the proposed EU CBAM, thus U.S. exporters may still face the prospect of trade barriers when selling to the EU market; and
  • Scope—To the greatest extent, trade diplomacy efforts should endeavor to achieve a harmonized approach toward the sectors included and GHGs covered.
In a blog post that accompanied the principles, Vice President for Policy at the U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute Dan Byers wrote:
“These principles are intended to help identify issues and obstacles that could hinder an effective approach to addressing carbon leakage. In that spirit, we note that prior to adoption the EU undertook extensive dialogue with industry over the period of many years. Indeed, this consultation is ongoing as the EU prepares for a 2026 implementation, which could be delayed. Here in the U.S., the conversation has just begun, so much more time and effort are needed to work through a variety of concerns that could lead to unintended consequences and ineffective policy.”
“Beyond timing, there are a number of practical implementation concerns that must be addressed. First and foremost, we strongly believe that any CBAM must be paired with a market-based mechanism to reduce emissions (which the Chamber supports), or it risks being impossible to implement.”
In an Inside U.S. Trade (paywall) report on the Chamber’s advocacy, the news outlet raised the possibility of the inclusion of a carbon polluter import fee in Congress’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan and reported that the Senate Finance Committee is crafting a new carbon border adjustment measure for inclusion in the package that would differ from the FAIR Act. The Chamber will continue to engage Congress and the administration using the principles as the bases of its advocacy.
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com) or Vice President for Policy at the U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute Dan Byers (dbyers@uschamber.com).
Chamber Promotes Trade and Investment at U.S.-Ghana Business Forum
On September 8-9, the U.S.-Africa Business Center, in partnership with AmCham Ghana, hosted the U.S.-Ghana Business Forum, an annual flagship, high-level meeting that brings together U.S and Ghanaian government officials and businesses aimed at deepening diplomatic and commercial partnerships between Ghana and the United States. The 2021 forum’s theme was “Promoting U.S.-Ghana Partnership through Trade and Investment” and occurred on the heels of the opening of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat in Ghana and after the first nine months of trade under the preferential terms of the historic AfCFTA.
The two-day forum attended by over 500 participants featured keynote remarks by Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Africa Bennett Harman, Minister of Trade and Industry for Ghana Alan Kyerematen, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan, Ghana’s Ambassador to the U.S. Hajia Alima Mahama, and CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Yofi Grant. Panel discussions included a wide range of topics relating to the U.S.-Africa commercial and investment relationship in the context of the AfCFTA, such as e-commerce & digitization, energy, mining & infrastructure, and manufacturing, services, & franchising.
Overall, the forum further strengthened the business relationship between Ghana and the U.S and exposed participants to the opportunities emerging within the world's new trade bloc, the AfCFTA, with a 1.3-billion-person market and a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.
For further information, please contact Executive Director of the U.S.-Africa Business Center Guevera Yao (gyao@uschamber.com).
Chamber Highlights Promise of Digital Trade Agreement
On August 17, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy published a paper calling for the U.S. to pursue a digital trade agreement as the country “finds itself at a moment of promise and peril on digital trade.” The paper goes on to highlight the opportunities a digital trade agreement would bring to small and medium-sized businesses as well as the services sector, but it also warns of the consequences that increasingly common barriers such as data transfer restrictions and localization policies will have on U.S. workers, consumers, and companies if left unimpeded. The essay goes on to read:
“Burgeoning export opportunities for U.S. small businesses and service industries are endangered by the proliferation of data localization measures and other forms of digital protectionism in foreign markets. The best defense against this trend is a good offense: The United States must act swiftly to strengthen international rules by forging a digital trade agreement with willing partners in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.”
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
Commentary
From “Above the Fold,” U.S. Chamber (September 2), by Curtis Dubay
From “Above the Fold,” U.S. Chamber (August 18), by John Goyer
An interview with Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy from Forbes (September 8)
This e-mail was sent to chairman@amcham.org and contains information directly related to your subscription profile.
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