New York, N.Y., February 28, 2012 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s leading global companies, has joined 30 other leading U.S. business associations in pressing for an ambitious and comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, with robust enforcement and dispute settlement provisions. The business groups made their case in a letter to President Obama in which they urged the United States to push back strongly against Australian resistance to investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms like those found in other U.S. trade agreements.
The letter pointed out that investor-state provisions are already included in thousands of trade agreements and related instruments worldwide, including many to which Australia is a party. Such provisions, the business associations said, “promote the rule of law and serve as an important backstop to ensure that investors who risk their capital, property and talent in foreign countries will be able to enforce due process, non-discrimination, basic property and related protections in a neutral, balanced and objective forum.”
USCIB co-chairs the TPP Business Coalition’s investment committee, reflecting its role as a premier voice for liberalization of both trade and investment regimes around the world.
USCIB and the other letter signatories said Australia’s intransigence regarding investor-state provisions is thwarting the ability of the TPP negotiations to develop strong enforcement rules, and is “having a corrosive effect on the level of ambition and other key aspects of the TPP negotiations.” They expressed fear that, should Australia extract such a major exemption, “other countries would press forward to seek their own major exemptions from core commitments, which would ultimately unravel the ability to achieve a comprehensive, 21st-century TPP agreement.”
The letter noted that business concerns in this area are of practical, bottom-line importance. “As data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis has shown over the past several decades, the U.S. investment overseas that strong investment rules promote brings important benefits back to the United States,” the business groups wrote.
“Firms that invest overseas are more globally competitive, export more, invest more in research and development and capital investment in the United States and pay their workers more than purely domestic companies. Promoting and assuring a level playing field for both inbound and outbound investment is therefore vital for the United States and the other TPP negotiating partners.”
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
(212) 703-5043 or firstname.lastname@example.org