Letter in New York Times on Trade and Climate

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at a press conference in Lima, Peru on December 8. “If a global agreement on climate change doesn’t work for and with businesses, it just won’t work,” he said.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at a press conference in Lima, Peru on December 8. “If a global agreement on climate change doesn’t work for and with businesses, it just won’t work,” he said.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson has a letter in today’s issue of The New York Times on climate change and trade policy. The letter is reproduced below, and you can view it on The Times’ website by clicking here.

Robinson rebuts a recent piece by Times columnist Eduardo Porter that suggested border taxes on products from countries outside a so-called “climate club,” saying that countries should instead offer trade incentives, rather than punitive tariffs, to reduce carbon emissions and spur the deployment and use of greener energy technologies.

This letter is especially timely, as it comes after the most recent negotiating session of the UN climate change talks in Bonn, where USCIB played an important role in voicing private-sector views. Click here to read our report. It also comes as we gear up for next week’s climate-focused meeting of USCIB’s Environment Committee and the North American Business Climate Consultation, held in conjunction with the International Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, USCIB continues to advance American business interests in the WTO’s Environmental Goods Agreement talks as well as other key trade negotiations, even as we grapple with the current trade deadlock on Capitol Hill.

The New York Times

June 15, 2015

The Opinion Pages/Letters

Climate Change and Trade Policy

To the Editor:

Eduardo Porter advocates launching a trade war as a way of ”solving” the climate challenge (”Climate Deal Badly Needs a Big Stick,” Economic Scene column, June 3), imposing tariffs on those countries that don’t join a ”climate club” committed to reducing carbon emissions.

But we should offer carrots instead of sticks to accelerate the transition to greener energy. Rather than threatening higher-emitting countries with punitive tariffs, we should roll back barriers to trade in environmental goods and services.

There is no contradiction between economic development and climate protection. Indeed, as countries grow richer, they can devote additional resources to cleaner energy.

To be viable, climate solutions must factor in real-world needs, including the need for economic growth, and deliver benefits today to people in both rich and poor countries.

And they need to be in line with political and market realities, including the global community’s common interest in keeping markets open and economic relations cordial.

The ”big stick” that Mr. Porter endorses fails to meet these criteria.

PETER M. ROBINSON
President and Chief Executive
United States Council for International Business
New York

Smaller shippers likely beneficiaries of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Journal of Commerce – April 28, 2015

The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, when ratified, will simplify and harmonize the flow of trade information from shippers and other supply chain partners into agencies responsible for monitoring and regulating trade. USCIB’s Kristin Isabelli is quoted.

Smaller shippers likely beneficiaries of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

US Treasury pressures Tony Abbott to drop ‘Google tax’

Australian Financial Review – April 28, 2015

The Obama administration is pressuring the government of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to back away from plans to target American technology multinationals with higher taxes in next month’s federal budget. USCIB’s Carol Doran Klein is quoted.

US Treasury pressures Tony Abbott to drop ‘Google tax’

Too much on the table? How businesses should approach the SDGs

Devex – April 14, 2015

The proposed post-2015 development agenda currently consists of 17 goals and 169 targets. From a business standpoint, how should the private sector make sense of these? Watch this video interview with USCIB’s Norine Kennedy:

Too much on the table? How businesses should approach the SDGs

Students Travel To D.C. To Discuss Antitrust Law With Federal Officials

Duke Today – April 6, 2015

Duke university undergraduate students met with the chair of USCIB’s Competition Policy Committee, among others, during their visit to Washington, D.C. as part of their research into the politics of market competition in the global economy.

Students Travel To D.C. To Discuss Antitrust Law With Federal Officials

 

FTC’s Brill Backs Enhanced Consumer ‘Right To Obscurity’

Law360 – March 10, 2015

Addressing USCIB’s Internet policy conference (held jointly with BIAC and the OECD), Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill says looking to aspects of a contentious European ruling on the “right to be forgotten” could help inform U.S. consumer protections.

http://www.law360.com/privacy/articles/629481

 

 

On trade, time for US to play offense

The Hill – March 9, 2015

An op-ed by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and former Congressman James Bacchus argues that the United States needs to capitalize on changes in global economics and energy markets to go on the offensive and negotiate new, market-opening trade agreements.

On trade, time for US to play offense

Global Business Stands Up for Strong Investor-State Dispute Settlement Rules

Tablet computer, smartphone and newspapersThe Financial Times has published a letter from the head of the International Chamber of Commerce forcefully rebutting some of the more widespread canards, circulating in Europe and elsewhere, concerning investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). (See below for the full text of the letter.)

ISDS provisions provide for the referral of disputes between foreign investors and host governments to neutral tribunals, rather than local courts, in cases of expropriation or other government actions that impact a company’s investment. Strong ISDS rules have been developed over the years via numerous European, U.S. and other trade and investment agreements as a way to promote cross-border investment, by providing a measure of certainty in investment decisions that might otherwise be lacking.

ISDS has emerged as a major lightning rod for opponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which seeks to remove many remaining barriers to cross-border commerce between the United States and the European Union.

In his letter, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said that “too much of the recent European debate on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has been driven by hearsay, superstition and myth,” and that anti-ISDS fervor has been largely motivated by misplaced anti-Americanism. Sixty percent of recent ISDS cases worldwide, he noted, were launched by European investors.

“A gold-standard agreement in TTIP,” Danilovich wrote, “could play a central role in fostering improved conditions for a much-needed expansion of global investment flows.”

Text of the ICC letter to the Financial Times on investor-state dispute settlement:

Financial Times

February 9, 2015

Letters

Ditching investor-state dispute settlement may come at quite a cost

Sir, John Kay is no doubt correct to conclude that excluding investment protection standards from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would make it “much easier” to sell the proposed deal to a sceptical European public (“Free trade should not put democracy in the dock”, February 4). But would this be the right thing to do?

While greater public engagement in trade policy making is welcome, too much of the recent European debate on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has been driven by hearsay, superstition and myth. Professor Kay shows that even the most reasoned commentators can fall into this trap, casually depicting big — “predominantly American” — businesses as rapacious users of ISDS.

The facts tell a different story: ISDS cases remain relatively rare and almost 60 per cent of claims filed over the past five years have been made by European investors. The importance of fact-based policy making is emphasised by the global dimension to the TTIP talks. Estimates may vary about the economic value of a transatlantic investment pact, but it would be short-sighted to ignore the negative precedent that a weak or non-deal would set for future negotiations.

By contrast, a gold-standard agreement in TTIP could play a central role in fostering improved conditions for a much-needed expansion of global investment flows. Prof Kay would be well advised not to lose sight of this broader perspective: ditching ISDS from TTIP might be the easy thing to do, but it may come at quite a cost in the long run.

John Danilovich
Secretary General,
International Chamber of Commerce,
Paris, France

View this letter on the Financial Times website (paid login may be required)