USCIB Trade and Investment Update
USCIB members met with several key trade officials this month, as part of our ongoing efforts to advance a positive trade agenda in the United States and overseas.
At the September 8 meeting in Washington of USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee, members had a wide-ranging discussion with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro. Themeeting covered the status of the pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama, as well as Trade Adjustment Assistance, on Capitol Hill; the stalled WTO Doha Round negotiations; Russia’s accession to the WTO; and trade with the Middle East and North Africa. On hand at the meeting were additional representatives from USTR and the State Department to review the status of the U.S. model bilateral investment treaty (BIT) , as well as BIT negotiations with China, India and several other countries. Committee members also agreed to establish a task force to discuss and develop a USCIB paper on revitalizing the global trading system.
Also in Washington, on September 19, USCIB hosted a roundtable for members with Ken Ash, director of the OECD’s Trade and Agriculture Directorate, and Raed Safadi, his deputy. Mr. Ash discussed the OECD’s work on developing a Services Trade-Restrictiveness Index, a sector-by-sector database of trade-restrictive regulations. He said it was especially important to encourage the BRIC countries to take part in this effort. Mr. Safadi briefed members on the International Collaborative Initiative on Trade and Employment program, which is conducting a number of studies into the relationship between trade and jobs. 22 countries are participating in preparing papers on 24 themes.
On September 20, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) launched Making Globalization Socially Sustainable, a publication that is the product of a collaborative two-year research program funded by the ICC Research Foundation, the research arm of USCIB affiliate the International Chamber of Commerce.
The book underlines globalization’s potential to stimulate productivity and growth, while highlighting the importance of pursuing trade, employment and social policies together in order to harness this potential. It contains contributions from leading academic experts who analyze the various channels through which globalization affects jobs and wages.
“The International Chamber of Commerce will draw from the findings of this research project to make concrete policy recommendations to G20 leaders,” said ICC Chairman Gerard Worms. “The ICC Research Foundation is very pleased to have supported this project, which will contribute to a better understanding of making globalization sustainable.”
The ICC Research Foundation was created in 2009 to fund independent research that contributes to public knowledge and debate, with the goal of improving economic conditions around the world. It also aims to promote a deeper understanding by policymakers, the media and the public of the benefits of global trade and investment.
Separately, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy told the ICC Executive Board on September 16 he was happy that cooperation ICC and the WTO has increased in recent years. Mr. Lamy addressed the ICC Executive Board for more than an hour and then fielded questions from board members. He covered topics including the ICC-WTO working relationship, the Doha Round of trade negotiations, and issues surrounding protectionism and trade facilitation.
In addition to the above-mentioned book project, the ICC-WTO partnership has taken on various forms, with recent examples including ICC policy input on the topics of trade and investment, intellectual property and competition, ahead of the WTO Ministerial Conference on December 15-17.