Washington, D.C., February 12, 2007 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents hundreds of America’s top global companies, today urged renewal of trade negotiating authority, calling it essential for completion of the WTO’s Doha Round and a host of bilateral agreements.
The appeal came at the launch of a new campaign, Trade for America, at a National Press Club event featuring U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab. The president’s existing trade authority, which provides for an up-or-down vote by Congress on trade agreements negotiated by the administration, with no amendments, will expire at the end of June unless Congress takes action to renew or extend it.
“Renewing trade negotiating authority is essential if we are to complete the Doha Round, and to secure bilateral trade agreements currently before Congress or in the works,” said USCIB President Peter M. Robinson. “The business and agricultural communities are united in this belief, and we will do everything we can to promote legislation that enables companies, workers and farmers to continue to benefit from expanded trade.”
Mr. Robinson said USCIB is rallying global business support for completing the Doha Round, where negotiations recently re-commenced after several months of stalemate. USCIB serves as the American affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and other leading global business groups. Mr. Robinson noted that ICC Chairman Marcus Wallenberg of Sweden had met with senior government officials in the U.S., Europe, India and elsewhere in an effort to get the WTO talks back on track.
USCIB is a member of the steering committee of Trade for America, which represents a wide array of companies and associations from nearly every sector of the U.S. economy, united in their belief that renewal of trade negotiating authority is essential to ensure American competitiveness in the global economy.
Trade for America members welcomed recent statements by President Bush and leading members of Congress affirming the importance of renewing that authority. For example, Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D. – N.Y.) the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told a USCIB audience in December: “I want to see what compromises can be made so that we move forward, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as a Congress the nation can be proud of. Where I am most optimistic is in the area of trade.”
USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment. Its membership includes some 300 U.S. companies, professional service firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3 trillion. As American affiliate of the leading international business and employers organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade.