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U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Update (6/4)

5 June 2021 Saturday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Policy Update
June 4, 2021
Chamber Urges Transatlantic Cooperation Ahead of Summit
Senate to Resume Consideration of Innovation and Competition Act
Chamber Welcomes Administration Announcement on Global Vaccine Distribution
USTR Announces, Suspends DST Tariff Action
U.S.-UAE Business Program Issues “4 Big Ideas” for Bilateral Ties
U.S.-Japan Business Council Announces Newest Board Members
From the Home Front:
Chamber Launches Nationwide “America Works” Initiative
Transatlantic Policy Priorities Blog Series
Pushing Back Against FTC Overreach
Chamber Urges Transatlantic Cooperation Ahead of Summit
The U.S. Chamber has been making the case for action to strengthen transatlantic ties and address ongoing trade conflicts ahead of the June 15 U.S.-EU Leaders’ Summit, the first meeting of its kind since 2014. The Summit represents an opportunity to reaffirm American and European leadership in addressing today’s biggest global challenges, the Chamber has argued.
On May 26, the U.S. Chamber and BusinessEurope released a joint statement calling on the United States and EU to:
  • Chart a course to rescind the U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum and associated European countermeasures (see also this blog );
  • Agree on terms to resolve the large civil aircraft disputes and permanently lift the tariffs imposed in connection with them;
  • Reinforce bilateral cooperation in the manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to demonstrate global leadership toward defeating the pandemic and commit to the elimination of trade restrictions relating to goods tied to pandemic response; and
  • Swiftly conclude a successor to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement and refrain from targeting transatlantic data transfers until a new accord is in place.
The U.S. Chamber’s European Affairs and Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation teams also published a series of blog posts on policy priorities ahead of the U.S.-EU Summit:
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for European Affairs Marjorie Chorlins (mchorlins@uschamber.com) or Senior Vice President for International Regulatory Affairs Sean Heather ( sheather@uschamber.com).
Senate to Resume Consideration of Innovation and Competition Act
After days of debate and votes on amendments, the Senate on May 28 delayed passage of the “United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) of 2021 ,” consideration of which will resume June 8. Several Republican senators objected to the size and cost of the managers’ package and demanded further debate on the bill. When the Senate returns from recess, it will hold votes on Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) amendment comprising the managers’ package, a motion to waive a budget point of order (if raised), and an amendment from Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would remove language from a previously passed amendment to include Davis-Bacon labor provisions in the CHIPS for America Act. At that point, the Senate may proceed to pass the full bill as amended.
Notably, on May 27, Senate Finance Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) with support from Republican Leader Mitch McConnell overcame resistance from Schumer to compel a floor vote on the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee trade package that Crapo had earlier negotiated with Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR); it passed with broad support in a 91-4 vote. The package, titled the “Trade Act of 2021 ,” makes up Title G of the USICA and includes reauthorization of three expired trade programs: the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), and the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act (AMCA), which establishes the legal process for future MTBs. 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 legislation also includes provisions to:
  • Create a permanent exclusion process whenever Section 301 tariffs are applied (with some exceptions);
  • Reinstate all Section 301 exclusions to tariffs imposed on goods from China for entries filed on or before December 31, 2022, with retroactivity in some cases;
  • Establish an inspector general at USTR;
  • Require USTR to identify countries that deploy censorship as a trade barrier;
  • Direct USTR to consider digital trade agreements with like-minded countries;
  • Strengthen USTR’s and Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) enforcement efforts to address forced labor, counterfeit goods, intellectual property violations, and other anti-competitive practices, including through negotiation of an agreement with like-minded countries to halt importation of goods made with stolen intellectual property; and
  • Require USTR to initiate talks with the Quad countries to develop a strategy on critical minerals to counter China’s dominant share of that global supply.
Ranking Member Crapo made the following statement in floor remarks ahead of the vote:
“This is not just an amendment on one topic, this is an entire title—the Finance Committee’s title—and the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Wyden, and I have worked together for months to identify that intersection between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate on trade policy. This strong trade package will help stand up our efforts in pushing back against China in one of the most critical arenas that we face — trade, our economy, and working against the very nefarious activities that China is engaged in to try to undercut us economically, and to undercut our American companies in our trade relationship.”
Chairman Wyden also applauded the bill’s package. Read a section-by-section summary or the full text.
The Chamber advocated strongly — and successfully, for now — against inclusion in the package of an amendment introduced by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) dubbed the “National Critical Capabilities Defense Act,” which would establish a CFIUS-like screening mechanism for select outbound investments to some countries. The Chamber argued that the underlying concerns were already addressed in 2018 when Congress passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) and the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA), and ongoing concerns should be addressed through implementation of these recently enacted laws rather than passing new legislation. The Chamber also argued that USTR — tagged in the amendment as chair of the proposed inter-agency committee — lacks the resources and experience to scrutinize U.S. investments abroad for potential national security risks. While the amendment did not get a vote, the issue is likely to reappear.
Ahead of the May 27 vote, the Chamber sent a letter in support of the bill while urging improvements as the legislative process continues. Notably, the Chamber urged “elimination of the County of Origin Labeling requirements, which would impose significant burdens, liability, and costs on American retailers and companies. We also have significant concerns with provisions related to Cyber Shield, copyright and information in the public domain. We look forward to working with the Senate and the House on these and other important issues and we will communicate specific recommendations presently.” Member companies are encouraged to share their views and concerns with Chamber staff.
For further information, please contact Senior Director for International Policy Kris Denzel (kdenzel@uschamber.com).
Chamber Welcomes Administration Announcement on Global Vaccine Distribution
Following an announcement by President Biden of the administration’s intent to share some vaccine doses with other countries, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant issued the following statement in response to the administration’s announcement on global vaccine distribution:
“Economic recovery and public health will be at risk as long as the pandemic rages anywhere around the globe. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Biden administration’s efforts to boost global vaccine manufacturing and expand vaccine access, including the decision to distribute nearly 19 million doses through the COVAX coalition and provide millions of additional doses directly to countries in need.
“As countries around the globe struggle to manage the health crisis, we know that more can – and must – be done. As production exceeds demand in the United States, the Administration should release additional doses into the global supply.
“The good news: For months, vaccine producers have been scaling up production exponentially and sharing intellectual property (IP) with manufacturers via licenses to boost global capacity. These collaborations – rather than the risky move to circumvent them via IP waivers – will be key to vaccinating billions worldwide.
“The Administration’s stance on weakening IP protection for these complex, hard to manufacture vaccines will undermine ongoing and successful efforts to license and scale global production of safe, effective vaccines. Instead, we urge the administration to work with the business community to deliver on the President’s recent promise to make America the ‘arsenal of vaccines.’”
USTR Announces, Suspends DST Tariff Action
On June 2, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced — and immediately suspended for six months — its intention to impose Section 301 tariffs of 25% on about $2 billion worth of goods from the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Austria, India, and Turkey in connection with their unilateral digital services taxes (DSTs). Deferring the application of the tariffs through November 29, USTR indicated, will provide time for negotiators to reach a multilateral tax agreement in the ongoing talks at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai stated the following in the announcement:
“The United States is focused on finding a multilateral solution to a range of key issues related to international taxation, including our concerns with digital services taxes. The United States remains committed to reaching a consensus on international tax issues through the OECD and G20 processes. Today’s actions provide time for those negotiations to continue to make progress while maintaining the option of imposing tariffs under Section 301 if warranted in the future.”
Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant wrote in a tweet: “Unilateral digital services taxes #DSTs threaten global economic growth and discriminate against U.S. companies, but the @USChamber agrees the U.S. focus should be on reaching a global tax agreement addressing the #digitization of the world economy.”
The Chamber urged USTR in a submission on these investigations to press the six countries to drop their unilateral, discriminatory DSTs and focus their efforts on the multilateral negotiations taking place under the aegis of the OECD to address global tax issues, including those relating to digitization.
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
U.S.-UAE Business Program Issues “4 Big Ideas” for Bilateral Ties
On June 3, the U.S.-UAE Business Program 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.-UAE strategic partnership. This is part of the Chamber’s “4 Big Ideas” Middle East series.
The Program’s 4 Big Ideas for the Biden Administration are:
  1. Focus on Innovations in Sustainability, Decarbonization and Clean Energy;
  2. Institute a U.S.-UAE Digital Trade Dialogue with Private Sector Input;
  3. Foster Greater Cooperation in Innovation of Financial Services and Products; and
  4. Build a Long-Term U.S.-UAE Health Partnership.
For further information, please contact Vice President of Middle East Affairs Steve Lutes (slutes@uschamber.com).
U.S.-Japan Business Council Announces Newest Board Members
The U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Japan Business Council (USJBC) announced on May 27 that David Goeckeler, Chief Executive Officer of Western Digital, has been elected Vice Chairman of the USJBC. Goeckeler will join USJBC Chair Doug Peterson, President and Chief Executive Officer of S&P Global, in enhancing the USJBC’s policy advocacy strategy and promoting the USJBC’s mission. The Council also announced Eriko Sakurai, President of Dow Japan and Korea, as the latest addition to its Board of Directors.
Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the welcomed the new USJBC Board members, saying:
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is delighted to work with both Goeckeler and Sakurai, and their companies, to strengthen the U.S.-Japan commercial relationship. Digital economy and sustainability are key focus areas for the USJBC, and these senior executives’ breadth of experience in international business as well as in their respective sectors makes them both tremendous assets in helping to shape the Council’s work during this important time.”
For further information, please contact Executive Director of the U.S.-Japan Business Council Aiko Lane (alane@uschamber.com).
From the Home Front
Chamber Launches Nationwide “America Works” Initiative
On June 1, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched America Works, a new nationwide initiative mobilizing industry and government to swiftly address America’s deepening worker shortage crisis.
Through the initiative, the U.S. Chamber is advocating for—and rallying the business community to push for—federal and state policy changes that will help train more Americans for in-demand jobs, remove barriers to work, and double the number of visas available for legal immigrants. And the U.S. Chamber Foundation is expanding its most impactful employer-led workforce and job training programs and launching new efforts to connect employers to undiscovered talent.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark stated the following on the initiative:
“As we stand on the cusp of what could be a great American resurgence, a worker shortage is holding back job creators across the country. Together, we can and we must address our nation’s workforce challenges. When you lead the world in talent, you lead the world in solutions. With a highly skilled workforce, there’s nothing business cannot achieve and nothing we as a nation cannot do.”
“This is Operation Warp Speed for Jobs. We’re helping our members address the worker shortage by bringing the full strength of the Chamber’s advocacy muscle to this urgent crisis, expanding the Chamber Foundation’s most successful workforce programs, and mobilizing our nationwide federation of association and chamber partners to drive solutions that make America more competitive.”
Transatlantic Policy Priorities Blog Series
From Above the Fold, U.S. Chamber:
From Above the Fold, U.S. Chamber, by Sean Heather (May 26)

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