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U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL POLICY UPDATE (6/25)

2 July 2021 Friday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Policy Update
June 25, 2021
Chamber: It’s Time for a Bold Trade Agenda
Chamber Comments on Labor Petition Guidance for USMCA
Ways & Means Republicans Release GSP, MTB Legislation
U.S.-Israel Business Council Issues “4 Big Ideas” for Relationship
From the Home Front:
Chamber Commends Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
Chamber Opposes House Judiciary Antitrust Bills
Chamber Applauds Advancement of NSF for the Future Act
Commentary:
America is back: We need a trade agenda that shows it
 Strengthening U.S.-Israel Relationship: 4 Ideas for the Biden Administration and Israeli Government
Chamber: It’s Time for a Bold Trade Agenda
U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant urged the administration to take up a forward-leaning trade agenda in a June 21 column in The Hill. He wrote: “Without progress on trade and an understanding of the benefits it can deliver for American jobs and competitiveness, we will not realize the prosperity that the administration rightly wants for every American.” It reads in part:
“America is back on the world stage. That’s the theme President Biden repeatedly hit during his first international trip this month, and throughout his first several months in office. That tune resonates with American business leaders who have been calling urgently for U.S. global leadership and partnership with allies to address the global pandemic, climate challenges, cyber risks, and other threats to our economic security.
“But what about trade? The major challenges that require U.S. leadership also require a rethink of trade policies to break down trade barriers, keep markets open and create jobs. In the face of the pandemic, growing cyber vulnerabilities and ecological risks, trade can be an essential tool to address critical global challenges — and the administration must take action.
“The United States badly needs a forward-leaning, market opening trade agenda. We know the Biden administration can be a strong negotiator and problem-solver and has the capacity to lead coalitions to tackle trade barriers, subsidies and other market distorting practices. That work should start at home, with progress toward lifting the tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. To keep American businesses competitive, the United States will also need to lead on standard setting to protect cross-border data flows and develop common frameworks that safeguard both digital trade and privacy.”
The Chamber will press the case for a market-opening, growth-supporting trade agenda in the weeks and months ahead. For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
Chamber Comments on Labor Petition Guidance for USMCA
On June 22, the Chamber submitted comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Labor (DOL) ahead of the first U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Labor Council meeting taking place on June 29. The letter reiterates comments submitted last fall regarding the “Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement Procedural Guidelines for Petitions Pursuant to the USMCA” and its lack of due process protections for industry in connection with the novel mechanism. The Chamber’s submission also voiced concern with the USMCA labor chapter and related procedures following recent actions taken by USTR and DOL against companies in Mexico.
In the comments, the Chamber expressed its concern that “the final procedural guidance has yet to be published, hence any action on a petition is inappropriate and unfair to the owner of the covered facility and the respondent party” and contends that “clear, final procedural guidance must be published” before the Labor Committee acts on petitions.
The Chamber also raised issue with the timing of USMCA labor petitions, which violate industry’s right to due process. While the USMCA entered into force on July 1, 2020, the Labor Committee is acting on petitions that allege a denial of rights occurred, in part, before entry into force. Additionally, Mexico set three- and four-year timelines for collective bargaining agreements to be transferred to its newly created labor registry center, and these deadlines have not yet arrived in many states across Mexico, raising additional due process concerns.
For further information, please contact Senior Manager for Employment Policy Stephanie Ferguson (sferguson@uschamber.com).
Ways & Means Republicans Release GSP, MTB Legislation
On June 22, Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced the “Trade Preferences and American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act.” The bill reauthorizes the lapsed Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). The GSP provisions use identical language as that in the Senate-passed bill. The MTB provisions vary slightly and include an extension of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act (AMCA) to give way toward two future MTB cycles.
Last week, House Ways and Means Committee Democrats proposed similar legislation that reauthorizes these programs but bolsters GSP requirements through the addition of environmental sustainability, transparency, and economic equality criteria. The Democrats also introduced a second bill renewing soon-to-expire elements of the Trade Adjustment Assistance programs which were not included in the Republican or Senate-passed bill.
Following the release, the Republican members of the trade subcommittee held a roundtable to discuss how the expiration of these programs has harmed U.S. workers and small businesses as well as the bipartisan approach Congress should take to renew them. Ranking Member Brady made the following statement upon introduction:
“We are helping America’s Main Street businesses and manufacturers by renewing job-creating programs that maintain relationships with developing countries.
“House Democrats’ ideological go-it-alone approach has already cost American businesses more than $450 million in duties at a time when they already face a severe worker shortage, higher production costs, and the prospect of crippling tax hikes.
“Given strong Senate support, let’s work together to build on the bipartisan agreements in this bill.”
Rep. Buchanan also highlighted the urgency of renewing the GSP and MTB programs:
“American workers and businesses are in a race against China’s manufacturing infrastructure. The Generalized System of Preferences and Miscellaneous Tariff Bill are two of the best tools we have to maintain our economy’s competitive edge and help us remain a global leader on trade. As our economy slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, reauthorizing these valuable programs will put American workers and businesses first, encouraging growth and job creation.”
The Chamber has long advocated for renewal of GSP and MTB, emphasizing the positive impacts these two programs have on U.S. businesses, workers, and consumers. The Chamber will engage with the House on renewal of these trade programs, though it is unclear whether they will move forward in a standalone bill or as a component of a broader House China package.
For further information, please contact Senior Director for International Policy Kris Denzel (kdenzel@uschamber.com).
U.S.-Israel Business Council Issues “4 Big Ideas” for Relationship
On June 23, the U.S.-Israel Business Council submitted recommendations to the Biden administration, comprising ‘4 Big Ideas’ for the U.S. government to consider as areas to strengthen and advance the U.S.-Israel economic relationship. This is part of the Chamber’s ‘4 Big Ideas’ Middle East series.
The Council’s 4 Big Ideas for the Biden Administration are:
1) Establish a High-Level Economic Dialogue
2) Boost U.S.-Israel Digital Economy Policies and Innovation
3) Grow Energy and Environmental Partnerships
4) Institutionalize an Expansive U.S.-Israel Health Care Partnership
For further information, please contact Vice President of Middle East Affairs Steve Lutes (slutes@uschamber.com).
From the Home Front
Chamber Commends Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
On June 24, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark made the following statement commending the hard work and commitment in reaching a bipartisan infrastructure framework:
“Our nation’s economic strength and long-term competitiveness depend on a robust and modern infrastructure. We applaud the White House and G21 group of senators for agreeing on a framework to invest in critical, physical infrastructure. We will continue to work with all members of Congress to get this bill passed and signed into law.”
In January, the U.S. Chamber launched the Build By the Fourth of July initiative with over 300 national and local organizations, calling for comprehensive, bipartisan infrastructure legislation that would stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for every American. Since then, we have led and joined several coalitions with the same message, including issuing a joint statement with Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers, as well as joining No Labels, Business Roundtable and 130 other organizations in signing a statement supporting a two-party infrastructure deal.
Chamber Opposes House Judiciary Antitrust Bills
On June 22, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark issued the following statement:
“The antitrust bills scheduled for markup by the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow would overturn a century of U.S. antitrust law with dangerous consequences for America. Antitrust laws should not be rigged against a small number of companies. Such an approach punishes success and has the government picking winners and losers in our free market economy.
“Antitrust should remain a law of general application and focused on the economic interest of consumers. The misguided approach taken in these bills will stymie innovation, harm consumers, and weaken America’s technology leadership. While ostensibly targeting ‘Big Tech,’ this approach to antitrust would broadly impact American business and our economy. They should be voted down.”
For more on how our nation’s antitrust laws promote competition and protect consumers, please visit: https://www.uschamber.com/antitrust-laws
Chamber Applauds Advancement of NSF for the Future Act
In response to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s June 15 full committee markup of the “National Science Foundation for the Future Act,” Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) Executive Vice President Tom Quaadman issued the following statement:
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds the committee action today on the NSF for the Future Act. It is vital that Congress advances legislation to strengthen the National Science Foundation and build a strong foundation for U.S. global leadership in research and development. The Chamber looks forward to continuing to work with Congress on a bipartisan and bicameral basis on this issue moving forward.”
Commentary
From The Hill, by Myron Brilliant (June 21)
From “Above the Fold,” U.S. Chamber, by Josh Kram (June 24)

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