New CEO Clark: ‘We Will Lead with Bold Ideas, Take on the Big Fights and Win the Future for Our Members and Our Nation’
Biden Administration Takes Tariff Actions
Senators Cardin, Portman Reintroduce WTO Resolution
Biden Establishes White House Gender Policy Council
Mentor Program for Young Women Launched in Turkey
New CEO Clark: ‘We Will Lead with Bold Ideas, Take on the Big Fights and Win the Future for Our Members and Our Nation’ On March 11, Suzanne P. Clark took the helm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization, as its President and CEO. In addressing the Board of Directors, Clark outlined her vision to advance the Chamber’s mission to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. “We are in a period of accelerated transformation and face major challenges, changes and disruptions that will reshape our lives, businesses and country,” said Clark. “But change is not a threat; it’s an opportunity. We will lead with bold ideas, take on the big fights and win the future for our members and our nation.” Clark, who has served as president since 2019, set forth the following immediate priorities:
Defeat the PRO Act and Anti-Arbitration Legislation. While the Chamber will advocate for data-driven solutions to complex issues, it will battle proposals that threaten job and economic growth creation. The Chamber is focused on ensuring the defeat of the PRO Act in the Senate and ensuring it never becomes law. The PRO Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives, harms employees by threatening worker privacy, forcing employees to pay union dues or lose their jobs, and it tramples free speech rights. The U.S. Chamber will be running this ad in targeted states to remind Senators and voters of the importance of this issue throughout 2021. The Chamber also will fight to preservearbitration as the fastest, most fair, and least expensive way to solve workplace conflicts.
Expand Work in the States and Grassroots Support. The Chamber is launching a new State Policy Center to work with its members and the federation of state and local chambers to address issues of national significance that are increasingly under consideration in state houses across the country. Bad ideas are too quickly migrating from one state to another and from federal government to state governments. This new initiative will help the business community defeat bad policy and advance a pro-growth agenda at the federal and state levels. Additionally, the Chamber is expanding its grassroots supporters of small businesses, state and local chambers, and business associations to ensure policymakers hear their perspectives in policy debates.
Lead a Global Forum on Economic Recovery. The Chamber will strengthen U.S. leadership abroad, confront unfair trade and regulatory practices and promote the resilient supply chains that keep business moving. With those objectives in mind, and to overcome the COVID-induced slowdown in global growth, the Chamber will convene a Global Forum on Economic Recovery in May. The forum will bring together industry and government leaders to discuss how to support and stimulate widespread growth in the post-pandemic recovery and explore the role of American businesses in meeting the challenges of today while driving future innovation.
Launch a National Workforce Initiative. With 10 million people out of work yet 7 million jobs unfilled, developing the American workforce is an urgent economic challenge that needs to be addressed. The Chamber will soon launch a National Workforce Initiative that leverages its extensive, cross-organizational work and years of experience leading education, training, and talent solutions. To meet our nation’s medium and long-term workforce needs, the Chamber also will champion enactment of an immigration reform bill that advances greater border security and ensures that our nation continues to welcome the entrepreneurs and skilled workers it needs to prosper.
These initiatives will build on the work Clark has been leading during the pandemic, including:
Accelerating the Recovery Through Vaccines. The Chamber is focused on turbo-charging vaccinations to achieve immunity levels that allow for a safe and full reopening of the economy. Recently, the Chamber launched The Rally for Recovery Commitment to unite employers across the country to protect workers and defeat the pandemic. The business community continues to play a critical role in combating and conquering the pandemic and the Chamber is proud to be joined in the Rally for Recovery Commitment by leaders such as: Ford Motor Company, Google, HCA Healthcare, IBM Corporation, Lockheed Martin, United Airlines, and Walmart.
Building a Modern Infrastructure. To lift the economy out of the pandemic, the Chamber will put forward fresh ideas, reframe old debates, and drive productive solutions. Infrastructure has been a long-time priority with bipartisan support, but it needed fresh ideas and urgency. The Chamber built a diverse coalition– from unions to environmental groups – and set a deadline: Build by the Fourth of July. Outside of Washington, it is working with state and local chambers to highlight the most dire infrastructure projects, such as the Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio and Kentucky.
Biden Administration Takes Tariff Actions On March 5, the United States and the European Union announced an agreement to suspend for four months the WTO-authorized tariffs related to the ongoing transatlantic disputes concerning large civilian aircraft. The announcement came one day after the United States and the United Kingdom reached a similar agreement. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and its EU counterpart jointly stated: “The European Union and the United States today agreed on the mutual suspension for four months of the tariffs related to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Aircraft disputes. The suspension will cover all tariffs both on aircraft as well as on non-aircraft products, and will become effective as soon as the internal procedures on both sides are completed. “This will allow the EU and the US to ease the burden on their industries and workers and focus efforts towards resolving these long running disputes at the WTO. “The EU and the US are committed to reach a comprehensive and durable negotiated solution to the Aircraft disputes. Key elements of a negotiated solution will include disciplines on future support in this sector, outstanding support measures, monitoring and enforcement, and addressing the trade distortive practices of and challenges posed by new entrants to the sector from non-market economies, such as China. “These steps signal the determination of both sides to embark on a fresh start in the relationship.” U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant welcomed the news: “Suspending these tariffs should spur growth and job creation, and it’s good news for workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. Above all, it’s a hopeful signal that the U.S. and Europe are close to a negotiated settlement of the large civil aircraft trade disputes that will discipline subsidies and permanently lift these tariffs. The clock is running now: The transatlantic economy needs this deal.” With the WTO dispute settlement process for these matters exhausted after nearly two decades, the United States and the EU remain engaged in negotiations to reach a settlement that would discipline subsidies in the large civil aircraft sector. These developments signal an agreed deadline for reaching a settlement. Tariffs had been applied to aircraft and aircraft parts and components as well as wines, spirits, and cheeses. Separately, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a Federal Register Notice (FRN) on March 5 that extends product exclusions granted on December 29, 2020, for certain “medical-care and/or COVID response products” from Section 301 duties through September 30. The FRN also announced additional items would be given tariff exclusions as well. The Chamber has repeatedly called for using trade to support the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including urging the Biden administration to suspend all tariffs on medical supplies identified by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in a May 2020 report. In other news relating to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) filed cloture on Katherine Tai’s nomination to serve as U.S. Trade Representative on March 11. This sets up a vote in the Senate next week; she is expected to be easily confirmed. For further information, please contact Senior Director for International Policy Kris Denzel (email@example.com). Senators Cardin, Portman Reintroduce WTO Resolution On March 9, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) reintroduced a bipartisan resolution expressing support for U.S. leadership at the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to a press release from the senators, the resolution also calls for reforms at the WTO, including: “(1) expanding the use of multi-national trade agreements between countries to ensure that only countries party to the trade agreement get the benefits of membership; (2) restoring the intended meaning to trade remedy provisions that, thanks to the WTO’s judicial activism, have limited the ability of the United States to crack down on foreign trade cheats; (3) beefing up rules against currency manipulation; and (4) creating new rules to discipline subsidies and state-owned enterprises.” Upon introduction, Senator Cardin stated: “The United States, as the world’s largest economy, has responsibility to be a leader on the global stage. We must make every effort to create and maintain rules-based systems and advocate relentlessly to ensure stability, human rights, and economic development. The World Trade Organization is an important tool to engage with other international leaders to promote these fundamental ideals, but it is not without its shortcomings. Reforms must be pursued for the WTO to succeed in its mission of promoting a rules-based trading system. I look forward to working together with the WTO’s new leadership to take action.” Senator Portman stated: “As a former U.S. Trade Representative, I understand the value and usefulness of the United States’ involvement in the WTO. However, there has been a consistent bipartisan critique of certain aspects of the WTO, such as judicial activism of the Appellate Body and the lack of rules and norms that address non-market practices like forced technology transfer and industrial subsidies. By identifying the problem and suggesting some potential solutions, this bipartisan resolution is a start to addressing and fixing some of the shortcomings of the WTO in order to support American workers against unfair foreign trade practices and enhance the ability of American farmers, workers, and businesses to access foreign markets.” For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org). Biden Establishes White House Gender Policy Council On March 8, President Biden signed an Executive Order which, in part, established a new “Gender Policy Council” within the Executive Office of the President. According to the Executive Order and accompanying fact sheet, the Council will have “a role in both domestic and foreign policy development,” and “will work in coordination with the existing policy councils to advance gender equity and equality.” A component of this work will focus on “advancing gender equality globally through diplomacy, development, trade, and defense, and by recognizing the needs and roles of women and girls in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, democratic rights-respecting governance, global health and humanitarian crises and development assistance.” For further information, please contact Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy (email@example.com). Mentor Program for Young Women Launched in Turkey On March 8, International Women’s Day, the U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Turkey Business Council announced the launch of the Million Women Mentors/Milyon Kadına Mentor program with the goal of providing mentorship opportunities to young women in Turkey who wish to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. The program is a key pillar of the U.S.-Turkey Business Council’s new Women in Business Initiative and will be led by co-chairs Umran Beba, co-founder at Beba Foundation and partner at August Leadership, and Canan Özsoy, CEO, GE Turkey. The program convenes STEMconnector’s global expertise and TurkishWIN’s wide network of mentors and mentees in Turkey to connect private sector leaders with young women for mentorship opportunities in STEM via a digital platform. The program aims to build 1 million mentorship connections over the course of next 10 years. The U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Turkey Business Council will be working with partners and private sector leaders to build a robust group of mentors and aims to host a formal launch event of its Women in Business Initiative with participation from U.S. and Turkish governments in 2021. Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President for Middle East, Turkey and Kazakhstan Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said at the launch of the program: “The U.S. Chamber is delighted to announce the Million Women Mentors/Milyon Kadina Mentor program which was inspired foremost by the many accomplished women who hold prominent leadership roles across U.S. companies operating in Turkey. Building on the expertise of such partners as TOBB, STEMconnector and TurkishWIN, we are excited to implement this program that will not only contribute to the future of Turkey’s economy, but the overall U.S.-Turkey relationship.” For further information, please contact Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President for Middle East, Turkey and Kazakhstan Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org).