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9 May 2021 Sunday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Policy Update
May 7, 2021
Chamber to Host Global Forum on Economic Recovery
Chamber Rallies Support for India as COVID-19 Crisis Mounts
USTR Move to Negotiate Vaccine IP Waiver Draws Pushback
Ellard Tapped to Serve as Deputy DG at WTO
Chamber Responds to USTR’s Special 301 Report
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced new speakers for its Global Forum on Economic Recovery on May 18-19, including Prime Minister of Singapore H.E. Lee Hsien Loong, IMF Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Sayeh, UPS CEO Carol B. Tomé, and Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach.
Speakers will discuss how public-private partnerships are driving efforts to combat the global pandemic, the impact of U.S. trade relationships on business innovation and job creation, and how diversifying energy sources can be positive for both the environment and future economic growth.
For further information and to register for the event, please click here.
Chamber Rallies Support for India as COVID-19 Crisis Mounts
With India reporting more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases daily, the U.S. government and American businesses are working together to marshal their resources and mount a historic response. On May 4, the Global TaskForce on Pandemic Response, a newly formed U.S.-based public-private partnership organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and supported by Business Roundtable, announced it is working with the Chamber’s U.S.-India Business Council and the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum to take three immediate actions to help address the COVID-19 surge in India:
  • Provide 1,000 Medtronic ventilators to India by June 3, including a first shipment of 100 ventilators delivered on Wednesday;
  • Provide 25,000 oxygen concentrators by the end of May, with thousands already delivered to healthcare facilities across India; and
  • Launch a network of Resources leaders to offer practical guidance on supporting employees in India.
The Chamber also hosted several business briefings this week, including a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation humanitarian assistance coordination call and an executive briefing session with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark kicked off the meeting with comments, stating in part:
“This might be our first official Global Task Force on Pandemic Response meeting, but the business community has of course been helping fight the pandemic for more than a year. We know that no matter the challenge, the American business community has been answering the call. We’ve watched American businesses produce PPE and ventilators and help with the service centers around vaccination sites and more. And now as COVID-19 is surging in other parts of the world, the private sector here is coming together to provide humanitarian aid.”
Sullivan was effusive in remarks to the business leaders on the call, noting that public-private cooperation and the immense outpouring of resources from business has been “genuinely remarkable for us to watch.” He also emphasized the need for more regularized engagements between the U.S. government and the private sector — not just to deal with public health challenges such as COVID-19, but other challenges and crises in the future.
In 2021, the business community raised over $200 million to support India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the $50 million raised by the Global Task Force to date. If your organization is interested in providing contributions of cash or in-kind donations of goods and services, you can find more information on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Resources for India’s COVID-19 Crisis page.
For further information, please contact Vice President of the U.S.-India Business Council Amy Hariani (ahariani@usibc.com) or U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President for International Strategy and Global Initiatives Nisha Biswal (nbiswal@uschamber.com).
USTR Move to Negotiate Vaccine IP Waiver Draws Pushback
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on May 5 announced support for negotiations for a waiver of intellectual property protections under the WTO TRIPS Agreement for COVID-19 vaccines. In an interview with Bloomberg, Ambassador Tai elaborated: “We are for the waiver at the WTO, we are for what the proponents of the waiver are trying to accomplish, which is better access, more manufacturing capability, more shots in arms.” She said the talks will take time and “will not be easy,” given the complexity of the issue and the fact that the Geneva-based WTO is a member-driven organization that can only make decisions based on consensus.
The move elicited pushback from a variety of industry and congressional sources. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley stated:
“The administration has gotten this issue wrong; undermining intellectual property rights for complex, hard to manufacture vaccines will not accelerate global production, instead it will take us off track in the ongoing and successful efforts to license and scale global production of vaccines that individuals can be confident are safe and effective. Make no mistake, this move will undermine the global fight against COVID and it will diminish our ability to prepare for and respond to the next pandemic. We urge the administration to reverse course and work with the business community to deliver on the President’s recent promise to make America the ‘arsenal of vaccines.”
Among those expressing opposition were the Business Roundtable, the National Association of ManufacturersPhRMABIO, and House Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX). A range of activist groups and House Democrats expressed support.
While a number of other countries have continued to oppose the waiver, including the EU, Japan, Switzerland and the UK, analysts have speculated that positions may change in light of the U.S. announcement. (Notably, though, and the spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed opposition to a waiver on May 6.) At the WTO General Council meeting on May 5, the waiver’s proponents (India and South Africa) agreed to revise their original waiver proposal, with a view to making it narrower and more palatable to additional WTO members
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center Patrick Kilbride (pkilbride@uschamber.com).
Ellard Tapped to Serve as Deputy DG at WTO
On May 4, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala announced the appointment of Angela Ellard, longtime Republican Chief Trade Counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee, as one of the WTO’s four Deputy Directors-General (DDG). The other DDGs include Jean-Marie Paugam of France, Anabel González of Costa Rica, and Zhang Xiangchen of China. Gonzalez is also well known in Washington in connection with her recent work with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Ellard has served the committee for over two decades and has negotiated and delivered significant bipartisan trade policy outcomes and legislation. Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) released the following statements congratulating Ellard on her selection:
Ranking Member Brady:
“In the trade world, there is no one quite like Angela Ellard. She is brilliant, hard-working and devoted to getting trade right. She’s been a devoted public servant for nearly three decades on the Ways and Means Committee, advancing the prosperity of America’s workers and businesses. Through her work on 13 trade agreements, she has opened the doors for Americans to deliver goods and services worldwide, strengthening our economy, and securing our leadership abroad. While I and the Ways and Means Committee will miss her knowledge and insight, her experience and commitment to excellence will be a major asset for the World Trade Organization. Congratulations and best wishes in her new role as Deputy Director General.”
Chairman Neal:
“Angela Ellard is a great choice for one of the new WTO Deputy Directors-General, and will join the WTO as it ushers in a new era with more women in leadership than ever before. Throughout her nearly three decades on the Ways and Means Committee, she has skillfully negotiated trade deals and crafted our nation’s trade policy while gaining a sophisticated understanding of the opportunities available and the challenges facing the WTO. I look forward to working with her, as well as the Director General, to resolve the Committee’s long-standing concerns with the WTO. I also look forward to addressing issues that have not always been prioritized, particularly when it comes to climate change, labor, and women’s economic empowerment. I wish her the very best in this new endeavor and thank her for her commitment to public service.”
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai also released a statement:
“Director-General Okonjo-Iweala’s appointments reflect her commitment to bringing new voices to the WTO at a time when the organization faces real challenges and opportunities for reform and renewal. For the first time, half of the Deputy Directors-General at the WTO are women and the selection of Angela Ellard from the United States brings a proven negotiator and trade expert to this critical role.”
“I look forward to meeting all four Deputy Directors-General in Geneva later this year and working with them on an earnest and robust reform agenda while also prioritizing work with WTO members to find pragmatic, effective solutions that save lives and help end the pandemic.”
The Chamber’s John Murphy commented on Twitter: “Angela Ellard’s contributions to U.S. trade policy are immense. How often has her steady hand on the rudder turned the ship away from the shoals? The world will benefit greatly as she assumes this leadership role at the WTO.”
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
Chamber Responds to USTR’s Special 301 Report
On April 30, in response to the release of the Special 301 report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on the global state of intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center Patrick Kilbride issued the following statement:
“Innovations enabled by IP are delivering us from the current pandemic, and can defend us against the next one — if predictable, reliable, and enforceable intellectual property rights remain available world-wide to secure the underlying investments. USTR’s work to highlight strengths and weaknesses in the global IP infrastructure is critical to a healthy innovation ecosystem. With the Special 301 Report as a blueprint, we can enhance the legal and economic environment to support the vaccine researchers, movie and music producers, scientific journal publishers, software and telecommunications engineers, and countless others whose cutting-edge products have supported us throughout this crisis.
“This year, in its filing, the U.S. Chamber identified systemic and market-specific IP issues in global markets like: Brazil, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Vietnam, Turkey, Korea, China, and Mexico (among others). We focused on harmful policy realities like: insufficient patent protection; compulsory licensing; inadequate responses to counterfeiting and piracy; forced screen and broadcast quotas; localization requirements; regulatory approval delays; unfair competition law proceedings and extraterritorial remedies; data transfer restrictions; and general market access barriers.
“Today, we reiterate our concern that the mistaken belief that IP rights can be a barrier to access for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics has induced some countries, U.N agencies and special interest groups to seek to undermine those rights. Let me be clear: IP rights help — they don’t hinder — access to innovation by enabling long-term investments in technology in the first instance, and by supporting a wide range of public and private partnerships to appropriately share know-how and capabilities through IP licensing. The U.S. Chamber International IP Index shows that countries with strong IP systems have significantly higher innovation production, invention rates, and knowledge output — as well as greater access to innovation.
“We thank USTR and the U.S. government as a whole for their consideration of our filing and, more importantly, we commend them for their efforts to promote and protect American intellectual property at home and around the world.”
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center Patrick Kilbride (pkilbride@uschamber.com).
The Opportunities are Vast in a Potential U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement, by Sean Hackbarth: Above the Fold, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
A trade agreement between the two countries would be the first of its kind between the United States and a sub-Saharan African country.

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