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U.S. Chamber Newsletter-International Policy Update (6/24)

29 June 2022 Wednesday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

International Policy Update

June 24, 2022

Chamber Joins B7 Summit, Endorses Key Recommendations Ahead of G7 Summit

Business Groups Express Support for Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

Hill Leaders Pruning Competitiveness Legislation to Clear Path to Passage

Enforcement of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Begins

U.S.-Colombia Business Council Outlines Vision to Presidential Candidates

Business Groups Urge Kigali Amendment Ratification

 

Chamber Joins B7 Summit, Endorses Key Recommendations Ahead of G7 Summit

 

Leading into the G7 Summit, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark joined business organization leaders from the Group of 7 countries for the B7 Summit in Berlin.

 

The B7 Summit, and the need for multilateral approaches to global challenges, has never been more crucial as the world faces lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, historic inflation, supply chain disruptions, worker shortages, rising energy costs, and a war in Ukraine that is only exacerbating these issues.

 

The U.S. Chamber and its B7 counterparts made several recommendations in the critical areas of trade, energy and climate, digital, health, and infrastructure. Chief among these is advancing pro-growth trade policies — including reforming the World Trade Organization to find ways to circumnavigate the roadblocks thrown up by a few members.

 

President and CEO Suzanne Clark stated:

“Businesses are operating in a global environment defined by uncertainty and instability. We are truly in this together, and it is close partnerships and leadership by the private sector that will help us emerge stronger on the other end.

 

“The international business community urges the G7 leaders to take swift action to address these pressing issues, and we look forward to collaborating with governments to implement the B7 recommendations. For all the challenges before us, I am optimistic about the ability of the private sector to build a better, more prosperous future for the world.”

For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for Global Initiatives Gary Litman (glitman@uschamber.com).

 

Business Groups Express Support for Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

 

One June 23, the U.S. Chamber joined U.S. industry groups in a statement strongly supporting the governments of Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam in launching the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The groups stated:

“Facilitating greater economic connectivity between the United States and the Indo-Pacific has never been more important. In this pandemic era, with a rapidly developing digital landscape, geostrategic risks on the rise and with the forces of integration on the retreat, building concrete means to benefit our domestic economies through international collaboration with other high trust economic and political ecosystems should be at the top of our agenda.

 

“Commercial interests are inseparable from strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific, and the United States needs a forward-leaning economic approach in a region that is home to 60% of humanity and nearly two-thirds of the world’s economy. While participation in the IPEF does not preclude or replace membership in regional trade architectures like the CPTPP, for the IPEF to be most effective we urge the United States and other IPEF members to put all incentives on the table – including those that may require closer consultation with Congress. That is the best way to achieve the most meaningful benefits for American businesses, workers, and consumers.

 

“Done correctly, the IPEF presents a significant opportunity to forge more resilient global supply chains, high-standard digital rules of the road, and energy transition outcomes that will drive prosperity on both sides of the Pacific. Small and medium-sized enterprises especially stand to benefit from trade facilitation commitments that will increase the ease of doing business across borders in the region, particularly in the digital space.

 

“Global crises continue to illustrate how business disruptions can drive up costs and securing supply chains at critical Indo-Pacific hubs can preemptively shield consumers from these price shocks. A robust framework that addresses these issues, many of which have come into sharp relief in the past six years, can stand on its own as an important contribution to regional economic integration.”

On a related note, the U.S. Chamber convened the “U.S.-Australia Economic Conference” on June 23 in partnership with AmCham Australia, which led a major doorknock to Washington this week. The imperative of U.S.-Australia cooperation, including through IPEF, was a key topic, as was the indispensable role that Australia can play in new initiatives such as AUKUS and the Quad.

 

For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for Asia Charles Freeman (cfreeman@uschamber.com).

 

Hill Leaders Pruning Competitiveness Legislation to Clear Path to Passage

 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Republican Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met this week to discuss the path forward for “Bipartisan Innovation Act,” the bill being negotiated by a conference committee drawing from the Senate-passed “U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA)” and the House-passed “America COMPETES Act.” Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi released a joint statement following the meeting stating, “there is no reason that we should not pass this bill through Congress in July.”

 

The Senate is in recess from June 25 to July 10 and then only back for a few weeks before August recess. The House is on a similar calendar. Both chambers are in for just 12 days in July. At this point, any provision that does not have support from all four corners of leadership is increasingly likely to be excluded from further consideration.

 

The trade title remains a point of contention, with no final agreement made on what provisions will or will not be included and rumors that it could be jettisoned in toto. A formal proposal by House Democrats earlier this week largely reiterated the elements of the House-passed COMPETES bill, though the likelihood this moves forward is low. Democratic leadership had encouraged chairs and ranking members to conclude work by June 24, but it remains to be seen if this comes to pass.

 

Regarding the controversial outbound investment screening provision, the U.S. Chamber led a coalition of 10 industry groups in sending a June 23 multi-association letter to Congress opposing inclusion of the latest draft of the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act (NCCDA) in the Bipartisan Innovation Act. The letter reads in part:

“Our organizations urge Congress to address the measure’s underlying concerns through regular order, which to date has not been pursued…

“While the definition of scope in the revised NCCDA has been altered, it remains the case that nearly every sector of the U.S. manufacturing and agricultural economy — and the services sectors that critically enable them — appears to be covered. The resulting compliance burden for U.S. business and the U.S. government would be very high, and it would require the creation of a massive new bureaucracy to administer its new strictures.”

The revised outbound investment screening proposal was released on June 13 and would require U.S. firms operating in critical industries to report outbound investments to certain “countries of concern,” including China.

 

The Chamber continues to engage with key offices and conferees on a wide variety of elements of the pending legislation. For further information, please contact Director for International Policy Isabelle Icso (iicso@uschamber.com).

 

Enforcement of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Begins

 

On June 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began enforcing the rebuttable presumption in the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which prohibits “the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, or produced by certain entities,” according to a press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

 

The interagency Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) launched the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) enforcement strategy on June 17. The strategy includes a risk assessment of goods produced with forced labor, a list of entities and high priority sectors for enforcement, recommendations for identification and tracing, guidance to importers, and government plans for enforcement and collaboration with the public and private sectors.

 

CBP last week issued operational guidance to help importers navigate the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The guidance complements the broader enforcement strategy. The guidance outlines processes for requesting exemptions as well as preferred resources and documentation for supply chain due diligence and tracing, including the State Department’s Responsible Sourcing Tool.

 

It also details the “type and nature” of information that may be required by CBP to rebut the presumption that goods from Xinjiang were not made with forced labor. Additionally, the guidance makes clear that UFLPA will supersede current withhold release orders related to Xinjiang for goods imported on or after June 21.

 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host an expert panel on June 27 on CBP’s importer guidance as well as the task force’s broader strategy. For further information, please contact Director for International Policy Isabelle Icso (iicso@uschamber.com) and China Center Director Don Giolzetti (dgiolzetti@uschamber.com).

 

U.S.-Colombia Business Council Outlines Vision to Presidential Candidates

 

Ahead of Colombia’s June 19 presidential second round election, the U.S. Chamber-affiliated U.S.-Colombia Business Council (USCBC), in partnership with the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI), sent an open letter to the presidential candidates in Colombia outlining the private sector’s vision for promoting inclusive and sustainable growth in Colombia. Gustavo Petro, a longtime legislator and former rebel, narrowly won the run-off election.

 

The USCBC is committed to fostering and strengthening the commercial bilateral relationship between the United States and Colombia by promoting two-way trade opportunities, exchanging best practices, and convening technical discussions that promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth. The Council is also focused on exploring issues that hinder the commercial relationship and proposing solutions to them, advancing trade and investment opportunities in non-traditional sectors, and supporting socioeconomic growth in Colombia and the United States, particularly through post-conflict initiatives.

 

With this in view, the USCBC shared recommendations for the new administration and underscored its commitment to working in partnership with the next president to advance common goals. These include strengthening the rule of law and investment climate, promoting the growth of the digital economy, increasing bilateral trade and maximizing the potential of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, fostering the development of a resilient healthcare system, and advancing sustainable policy solutions that facilitate economic transition.

 

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

 

Business Groups Urge Kigali Amendment Ratification

 

On June 22, the U.S. Chamber and nine other business groups sent a multi-association letter supporting ratification of the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol and encouraging Senate leaders to bring the treaty to the floor for a vote before the August recess. The amendment would phase out hydrofluorocarbons by 85% over the next 15 years and “be a win for the economy and the environment.”

 

The organizations write that ratification of the Kigali amendment is a priority issue for the following key reasons:

·    Joining the global community to implement Kigali will level the playing field with current parties to the treaty, including China and India;

·    The world’s leading manufacturers of HFC substitute technologies are in the United States. The world’s fastest growing markets for HFC substitute technologies are overseas;

·    50% of the 33,000 increased jobs estimated for the U.S. technology and manufacturing, and air-conditioning, refrigeration, and heating sectors depend on ratification of the treaty; and

·    Kigali ratification would help avoid an up to .5 degrees C potential global temperature increase.

In May, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Kigali Amendment for consideration by the full Senate.

 

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

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