The U.S. government shutdown may have caused the cancellation of planned U.S.-EU trade talks (along with so much else) in the first half of October, but USCIB kept up a high level of activity on key trade and investment priorities, with a number of timely events and meetings in Europe.
Working with the National Foreign Trade Council and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), we organized a September 30 program in Geneva on “Localization Barriers to Trade.” The well-attended gathering focused on the importance of global value chains to corporate and national competitiveness (the subject of a recent USCIB-commissioned paper by Dartmouth’s Matthew Slaughter), and how forced localization requirements undercut the ability of global companies to effectively utilize their value chains to generate growth and jobs in those countries that impose them.
Speakers included Rob Mulligan, USCIB’s senior vice president for policy and government affairs, Hendrik Bourgeois (GE), Jeffrey Schott (Peterson Institute for International Economics) and Rob Atkinson (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation). Afterward, USCIB co-hosted a reception that provided additional opportunity for members to meet with representatives from the WTO delegations of several countries.
While in Geneva, USCIB’s Mulligan attended the WTO’s Public Policy Forum, and met with a number of officials at the WTO, the U.S. mission to the United Nations, and UNCTAD. He also took part in a meeting of the ICC Trade and Investment Commission. He later traveled to Brussels, where he joined other members of the Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade for meetings with EU negotiators as well as EU business representatives to discuss U.S. business priorities and views for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
According to Mulligan, key takeaways from the meeting included the EU’s emphasis on government procurement in the TTIP, and some concern about a slow response from the U.S. on regulatory cooperation issues, a key aspect of the talks. Mulligan and other business representatives highlighted a number of priorities for American business, including comprehensive coverage of investment issues and investor-state dispute settlement, forced localization, cross-border data flows and a comprehensive approach to services market access, including for financial services.
Not to be outdone, Shaun Donnelly, USCIB’s vice president for investment and financial services, journeyed to Copenhagen to take part in a well-attended conference on TTIP organized by the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI). Speaking on a panel with the heads of Business Europe and DI plus the CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk, Donnelly emphasized that U.S. business is insisting that a TTIP agreement be ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard.
The Copenhagen program was just one of a planned series of briefings and events Donnelly was scheduled to take part in across Western Europe, organized in cooperation with the State Department. Unfortunately, the government shutdown forced him to cancel the rest of the trip.