Accepting USCIB award, Harold McGraw III calls for a trade policy of “inclusion”
At USCIB’s December 4 annual award dinner in New York, Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies, called on fellow business executives to promote a substantive dialogue with the new Congress right away on international trade policy.
“I hope we will immediately engage the new Congress,” stated Mr. McGraw. “Historically, free trade has been a bipartisan issue, and it must continue to be.”
USCIB Chairman William G. Parrett, CEO of Deloitte, presented Mr. McGraw with USCIB’s 2006 International Leadership Award at the gala dinner at the Hudson Theatre. He praised Mr. McGraw as “a tireless advocate for the ideals that define our organization: openness, free trade and American leadership.”
Also speaking at the gala dinner was Congressman Charles B. Rangel of New York, slated to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee when Democrats regained control of Congress in January. Mr. Rangel said that Democrats would seek to forge bipartisan compromises on issues like taxes and trade, and he welcomed dialogue with business on these and other issues.
“We know that we were not overwhelmingly embraced by the electorate,” he said. “They’re just giving us a chance. We need to avoid the type of language that would lock us into confrontation. Where I am most optimistic is in the area of trade.”
On the extension of the president’s trade negotiating authority, which is set to expire next year, Mr. Rangel said Democrats wanted to ensure that Congress is fully consulted on all trade agreements under negotiation, and that aggressive trade measures are used where trading partners fail to live up to their commitments.
“We want to make certain that the U.S. Trade Representative realizes that this is a two-way track, that we can’t have countries pirating our intellectual property rights, and not even spank them on the wrist,” he said. “We want to take them to the World Trade Organization as often as they find it so easy to take us.”
Mr. McGraw, who has served since 1998 as chief executive of The McGraw-Hill Companies, a leading global information services provider, said international trade “rests on quintessentially American values of openness, fairness, competition, and an especially important value: inclusion. It helps the world’s poorest people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty through the creation of better jobs, improved living standards and increased opportunity.”
Mr. McGraw, chairman of Business Roundtable as well as the Emergency Committee for American Trade, said business should urge Congress to enact permanent normal trade status for Vietnam and pass bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to open markets abroad. In addition, he said Congress should reauthorize President Bush’s trade authority, and he called for the WTO’s Doha Round talks to be “re-energized” and completed in the first quarter of 2007.
He said the need for dialogue and understanding on trade was essential. “We can help citizens and government leaders throughout our great country understand that trade agreements open markets for goods and services that benefit American workers, families and farmers, promote stability and security, and reduce barriers that make American companies less competitive in the global economy,” he stated.
Each year since 1980, USCIB has honored a senior business executive for significant policy leadership in improving the global competitive framework for American business. Recent recipients of the International Leadership Award include Lee R. Raymond of ExxonMobil, Jean-René Fourtou of Vivendi Universal, Charles O. Holliday, Jr. of DuPont and George David of United Technologies.