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US Chamber policy update

9 August 2021 Monday

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
International Policy Update
August 6, 2021
Business Groups Press Biden Administration on China Priorities
Chamber’s Brilliant Outlines Trade Priorities
Global Task Force Mobilizes Pandemic Relief in Indonesia, Southeast Asia
Ways & Means Republicans Call for TPA Renewal
Chamber Hosts Kerry to Discuss Brazil’s Climate Ambitions
Groups Laud U.S. Move to Join WTO Talks on Services Domestic Regulation
From the Home Front:
Chamber Leads Campaign for Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Chamber’s Suzanne Clark on the Passing of Richard Trumka
Chamber Survey Finds Most Companies Have Increased Amount of Climate Change Disclosure
Business Groups Press Biden Administration on China Priorities
The U.S. Chamber co-led an August 5 letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai signed by more than 30 business organizations outlining policy priorities with regard to China. The letter urged the Biden Administration “to redouble efforts with China to meet Phase One purchase and structural commitments; restart a tariff exclusion process to mitigate damage to U.S. workers and other stakeholders; and increase broader economic and trade engagement to address structural concerns that will further open China’s market and level the playing field for U.S. goods and services.”
The letter offers further detail on continuing structural economic issues in China of priority to the U.S. business community. It also underscores “the tariffs’ significant and ongoing harm to the U.S. economy, U.S. workers, and U.S. national competitiveness.” The letter was reported in the Wall Street JournalBloomberg, and Politico.
For further information, please contact U.S. Chamber China Center President Jeremie Waterman (jwaterman@uschamber.com).
Chamber’s Brilliant Outlines Trade Priorities
On August 3, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant participated in an Aspen Institute virtual panel, “A Future Made in America? The Biden Administration’s Trade Agenda,” alongside former U.S. Trade Representatives Robert Zoellick, Susan Schwab, and Michael Froman. Highlighting the panel discussion, Brilliant wrote in a tweet: “The @USChamber take: While we’re pushing for market opening trade deals, in the short term there are other avenues for progress. Can remove Section 232 steel/aluminum tariffs, pare back tariff exclusion lists 3&4 with China, etc. @AspenSecurity.” The full panel discussion can be viewed here .
Brilliant recapped themes he raised in a June 21 column in The Hill urging the administration to take up a forward-leaning trade agenda. 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.”
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
Global Task Force Mobilizes Pandemic Relief in Indonesia, Southeast Asia
On August 5, the Global Task Force on Pandemic Response (GTF) — a public-private partnership of major U.S. companies organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with support from Business Roundtable — announced plans to mobilize in support COVID-19 pandemic relief and response in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
In partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (AICC) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (AmCham Indonesia), and working in cooperation with the Government of Indonesia, Global Task Force members will provide critically needed medical supplies and protective equipment in areas of highest need. Southeast Asia is experiencing a major outbreak, and Indonesia now accounts for approximately one in five fatalities globally as it grapples with shortages of oxygen and hospital capacity amid a surge in cases.
Senior Vice President for Asia Charles Freeman made the following statement:
“We have been in close touch with both the Indonesian and U.S. governments to identify critical needs and assess where private sector support can be most impactful. American companies are ready to step up and provide oxygen supplies and equipment, COVID treatments and other assistance.”
The announcement came during a meeting between Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi and senior executives from nearly two dozen U.S. companies, including Deloitte, Freeport-McMoRan and Microsoft, who will lead the Global Task Force Indonesia mobilization effort. During the event, several companies announced additional commitments to support Indonesia’s pandemic response.
The Global Task Force’s pandemic response efforts in Indonesia follow a major mobilization in India, which leveraged private sector contributions to deliver over 900 ventilators and 25,000 oxygen concentrators to cities and states across the country. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation also launched a COVID-19 Business Response portal, a platform for U.S. businesses to offer essential in-kind products and services needed outside of the United States. Visit the portal to review a list of critically needed supplies or offer in-kind donations to support Indonesia’s pandemic response.  For more information on the Global Task Force’s work, please visit pandemictaskforce.org.
For further information, please contact Executive Director for Southeast Asia John Goyer (jgoyer@uschamber.com) or Senior Vice President for International Strategy and Global Initiatives Nisha Biswal (nbiswal@uschamber.com ).
Ways & Means Republicans Call for TPA Renewal
On August 3, Ways and Means Committee Republicans, led by Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Vern Buchanan (R-FL), released a letter urging President Biden to begin consultations with Congress to renew the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) provisions of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which expired July 1.
They stated that renewing TPA and negotiating new, strong trade agreements would serve to counter China’s global influence, raise standards throughout the world, and ensure U.S. industry and worker competitiveness. The committee members also asserted that there is “strong bipartisan, bicameral support” for completing trade negotiations with the United Kingdom and Kenya, both of which have been on hold since President Biden took office and are under review by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
The letter reads in part:
“… it’s not enough to Buy American, we need to Sell American throughout the world. Opening markets for new customers, reducing trade barriers, and effectively enforcing existing trade agreements all are vital to America’s economic recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“TPA is the foremost tool at our disposal to ensure that the United States continues to have a leading role in writing the trading rules that regulate the global economy.
“TPA renewal is an essential component of a unified U.S. Government approach to determining our international trade negotiation and enforcement priorities. It is only with this unified approach that we can deepen relationships with our allies to counter China through trade policy.”
Flagging the letter, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant recapitulated the Chamber’s views expressed when TPA lapsed on July 1:
“Renewing Trade Promotion Authority is a critical priority, and the U.S. Chamber urges Congress to begin work to renew and update this important legislation. TPA is the vehicle that allows American workers, farmers, and companies to secure the benefits of a new market-opening trade agreements; it lets members of Congress set negotiating objectives and guarantees they will be consulted as trade talks proceed; and it strengthens the hand of U.S. trade officials as they engage with foreign governments. To advance a pro-growth, pro-jobs trade agenda, TPA is essential.”
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
Chamber Hosts Kerry to Discuss Brazil’s Climate Ambitions
On August 4, the Brazil-U.S. Business Council, in partnership with the Chamber-affiliated International Policy Coalition for Sustainable Growth, hosted a multi-panel virtual event titled “Unleashing the Power of Sustainable Investment: Addressing Climate Action in Brazil.” The event featured a conversation with U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, who discussed U.S.-Brazil cooperation on climate and sustainable development. In addition, Bruno Funchal, Special Secretary of Finance from the Brazilian Ministry of Economy spoke on establishing a regulatory framework to facilitate sustainable investment.
The meeting convened global executives from leading financial institutions and fund managers to address Brazil’s business climate for environmentally sustainable investments. This event is part of a series of high-level engagements with authorities, business communities, and stakeholders to support climate action in Brazil.
For further information, please contact Executive Director of the Brazil-U.S. Business Council Cassia Carvalho (ccarvalho@uschamber.com) or Vice President for Global Initiatives Gary Litman (glitman@uschamber.com ).
Groups Laud U.S. Move to Join WTO Talks on Services Domestic Regulation
The Chamber co-signed a letter this week with the United States Council for International Business and the National Foreign Trade Council thanking U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for the recent U.S. decision to become a full participant in WTO negotiations on the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on Services Domestic Regulation (SDR). Analysts and governments agree these plurilateral negotiations could be concluded before the end of the year. The letter reads in part:
“We laud this action as an important step in facilitating trade in the services sector which has been disproportionately encumbered by burdensome, unpredictable and opaque regulatory regimes. To make the negotiations even more beneficial to U.S. services exporters and workers, we urge the U.S. to work with like-minded countries to engage other JSI participants to apply the proposed disciplines to services sectors where no specific commitments have yet been made.”
For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (jmurphy@uschamber.com).
From the Home Front
Chamber Leads Campaign for Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
  • U.S. Chamber Key Vote Alert! Letter on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
  • Coalition Letter on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (76 association signatories)
  • Top 10 Reasons Why the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Is Beneficial to All Americans
Chamber’s Suzanne Clark on the Passing of Richard Trumka
On August 5, President and CEO Suzanne Clark today issued the following statement after the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:
“On behalf of the U.S. Chamber, we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Richard Trumka, who was a fighter, a fierce advocate, and, above all else, a decent man who earned the respect and admiration of anyone who worked with him.
“We enjoyed many years of strong partnership on shared priorities as well as spirited debate grounded in a common desire to better our nation. Our thoughts go out to his family and the millions of active and retired AFL-CIO members who benefited from his great leadership.”
Chamber Survey Finds Most Companies Have Increased Amount of Climate Change Disclosure
On August 4, the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC), in partnership with Nasdaq, Nareit, The Real Estate Roundtable, National Investor Relations Institute, TechNet, BIO, and Silicon Valley Leadership Group, released results from a climate change/environmental, social, and governance (ESG) survey . Over 430 companies participated in the survey, which was conducted to learn more about current practices and the outlook for climate change and ESG reporting from the public company perspective and to ultimately inform policymakers as they consider the impacts new mandates would have on public companies and their shareholders. The findings from the survey show that most companies are regularly communicating with their shareholders and disclosing more information regarding the evolving risks of climate change.
Upon the survey’s release, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness Executive Vice President Tom Quaadman made the following statement:
“ESG is continuously evolving and for many public companies these issues are increasing in importance. We believe communication between businesses and their investors is critical, and today’s survey results show that companies are doing their part to talk with their shareholders to better understand important issues and increase the amount of information they are disclosing. We will continue working with policymakers and our partners to ensure ESG and climate change disclosure is done in an effective way that incorporates input of those who will be most affected.”

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