International Engagement | Page 7 | Business Roundtable

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What is Business Roundtable

Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy.

More Than Leaders. Leadership.

Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote a thriving economy and expanded opportunity for all Americans through sound public policy.

About BRT

It is in the national interest and imperative for the President, Congress and private sector to work together on economic initiatives that support stronger U.S. economic growth, create more economic opportunity and well-paying jobs for Americans and boost the competitiveness of U.S. companies and workers. To promote these goals, we need to move forward forcefully with a pro-growth economic agenda that includes a range of domestic initiatives and a proactive and constructive U.S. trade agenda.

That U.S. trade agenda should include supporting the rules-based international trading system and U.S. trade agreements that have shaped it, modernizing existing agreements and negotiating new high-standard agreements and strongly enforcing U.S. trade laws and agreements. Such an agenda should broadly aim to expand U.S. trade opportunities – exports and imports of goods and services – and address unfair foreign trade and investment practices and unfair imports, not narrowly focus on U.S. trade deficits. This document lays out key principles for U.S. leadership in achieving these objectives.

BRT Letter Urges Reauthorization of U.S. Export-Import Bank

Such a long-term reauthorization is urgently needed to address growing uncertainty among U.S. companies, of all sizes, that rely on Ex-Im Bank to enable their exports.

CEO Economic Outlook Survey: Tempered Optimism; Now, Trade and Tax Reform

Business Roundtable today released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2015, with BRT Chairman Randall Stephenson of AT&T briefing reporters via a conference call on the results. Shorthand version: The U.S. economy is trending upwards, but we could still do better, especially if Washington got busy enacting Trade Promotion Authority, business tax reform, infrastructure investment and smarter, less burdensome regulation.

Putting Data to Work

In today’s digital economy, businesses and manufacturers in every country – and in every sector – rely on data to operate, deliver, grow, innovate and prosper. Ensuring that international borders remain open to allow data to move easily between countries – so-called cross-border data flows – is key to connecting companies, both large and small, to their business units, trading partners, workers and customers. Furthermore, data flows are enabling new and innovative products and services that are driving economic growth and creating opportunities for businesses, governments and citizens.

From the World Economic Forum, ECB Easing and Much More

Things are looking up! Economically, that is.

Or so suggest interviews from Business Roundtable member CEOs attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The big news of the day is the European Central Bank's announcement of its quantitative easing plan, which CEOs comment on, as well as offering a wide range of insights, observations and some predictions on other issues.

Engler to Senate Finance: ‘Help America Reach Its Full Economic Potential’

In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, BRT President stresses expanded trade and tax reform as ways to increase growth and hiring.

BRT President Engler Testifies at Senate Finance Committee on Tax Reform and Trade

Business Roundtable President John Engler testified today before the Senate Finance Committee hearing, "Jobs and a Healthy Economy."

BRT Testimony: For Growth and Jobs, Expanded Trade and Tax Reform

The following is the oral testimony of Business Roundtable President John Engler at the Jan. 22 hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, "Jobs and a Health Economy." For the full prepared testimony, click here.

At Davos, So Many Topics for Business Leaders

As always, this week's meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, offers journalists a wealth of interview possibilities, including sit-downs with CEOs of major global companies who also are members of Business Roundtable.

From CNBC, here's a collection of the most recent interviews, covering a wide range of topics from Aetna's plans to raise its employees' wages, to net neutrality, to the necessity of tax reform and educational quality to improve economic growth. 

We'll add more citations as they come in.

Taxes, Trade, Transportation and More ... President Obama at Business Roundtable

President Obama spent a generous 90-plus minutes at Business Roundtable on Wednesday, delivering remarks and taking questions from BRT CEOs. A White House transcript is available here, and the White House also posted a blog entry. CSPAN has posted the video

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Committee Priorities

Trade is a Pillar of Economic Policy: U.S. Economic Growth and Jobs Depend on Domestic and International Policy Initiatives

The Administration, Congress and private sector need to collaborate on a range of domestic economic policy initiatives. These include modernizing the tax system, taking a smarter approach to regulation, investing in infrastructure and helping Americans develop new skills throughout their lifetime.

We also need to recognize that the U.S. economy will not realize its full potential unless the United States does more to create trade opportunities with other countries and attract foreign direct investment to the United States. The U.S. economy and American jobs benefit from both U.S. exports and imports and their central role in global and regional supply chains, which also lower costs for U.S. consumers. Expanded trade will allow U.S. companies and workers to sell more American-made goods and services to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside the United States. A fully functioning and globally competitive U.S. Export-Import Bank is a vital trade tool for maximizing such U.S. export opportunities and directly and indirectly supporting American jobs at U.S. companies of all sizes.

We Need More Trade Agreements: The United States Needs to Win the Race for Exports and Jobs

The United States needs a winning trade agreement negotiating strategy because our foreign economic competitors are not standing still. Such a strategy should rely on negotiating trade agreements – bilateral, regional, plurilateral and multilateral – that will maximize U.S. leverage and ensure the United States actively shapes the international trading system so U.S. companies and workers are not disadvantaged.

There are now more than 270 bilateral and regional trade agreements between countries worldwide, and the United States is a party to only 14 of those agreements. These U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) have greatly benefited the U.S. economy and American jobs by increasing U.S. exports and creating strong, enforceable rules for U.S. trade and investment with those countries. For example, while they include only six percent of the population outside the United States, the 20 U.S. FTA partner countries purchased nearly half of all U.S. goods exports worldwide in 2015. In that same year, the United States had a nearly $8 billion surplus in goods and services trade with FTA partner countries. This compares to a $509 billion U.S. deficit in goods and services trade with non-FTA countries. In the United States, U.S. trade and the trade agreements that help enable it support nearly 41 million U.S. manufacturing, services and other trade-related jobs – more than one in five.

Our foreign competitors are using their own FTA negotiations to advance their own national interests and gain competitive advantages over U.S. companies and workers by: (1) opening foreign markets and creating export opportunities on preferential terms for their companies and workers; (2) creating and supporting higher-paying domestic jobs tied to trade for their workers; (3) writing “free and fair” trade rules on their terms; and (4) advancing their foreign policy and national security goals.

Here are a few examples of other countries’ FTA efforts around the globe. The European Union (EU) has completed FTAs with Singapore, Vietnam and Canada. The EU is also negotiating FTAs with Japan, India, Indonesia, Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay), the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand and modernizing its existing FTA with Mexico. China is negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with 15 countries, including seven of the 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries, and a trilateral FTA with Japan and South Korea. Moreover, Mexico, which is the second- largest U.S. goods export market, has a network of FTAs with 44 countries.

High Standard is the Only Standard: The United States Must Negotiate High-Standard and Modern Trade Agreements

New U.S. trade agreements and existing U.S. trade agreements that need to be updated should achieve high standards, build on the rules-based international trading system and effectively address emerging economic and technological developments. They should ensure free and fair trade by breaking down foreign tariff and non-tariff barriers and addressing unfair foreign trade and investment practices and unfair imports.

Existing U.S. trade agreements should be periodically reviewed to see if they should be strengthened and modernized to address any trade issues and challenges that have emerged since they were negotiated. Examples of newer trade issues and challenges include: (1) promoting e-commerce and digital trade in goods and services, including the elimination of foreign barriers, for all sectors, to the free flow of data and requirements to store data locally; (2) ensuring market access for new types of services; (3) strengthening intellectual property rights; (4) eliminating foreign localization policies and domestic content requirements for goods and services; (5) ensuring fair competition with foreign state-owned and controlled enterprises; (6) simplifying and harmonizing rules of origin across U.S. trade agreements; and (7) promoting regulatory cooperation and coherence between the United States and its trading partners.

If trade agreements are not fully and properly implemented, enforced and upgraded over time, they risk delivering less value to American businesses and workers. In updating existing U.S. trade agreements, it is critical to maintain these agreements and build on the many benefits they have created for the United States.

The key objectives for negotiating new U.S. trade agreements and modernizing and strengthening existing U.S. trade agreements are set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015 law). The TPA-2015 law also establishes procedures for: (1) congressional oversight and consultation as well as public input on trade negotiations; and (2) implementation of a completed trade agreement. These requirements ensure that negotiations on U.S. trade agreements are as transparent and informed by Congress and the public as possible.

Enforcement is Essential: The United States Needs an Effective Trade Enforcement Strategy

It is essential to create a level playing field for U.S. companies and workers by stopping unfair foreign trade and investment practices and unfair imports. This should involve strong and effective enforcement of U.S. trade and investment agreements – including World Trade Organization agreements – and U.S. trade laws and trade-related regulations, consistent with U.S. statutory requirements and international trade obligations.

A successful enforcement strategy depends on the United States having strong trade agreements to enforce. This means strengthening and modernizing existing U.S. trade agreements and aggressively pursuing new U.S. trade deals.

Such enforcement efforts provide an important opportunity to hold our trading partners accountable to strong trade rules. These efforts are also critical to opening international markets, halting unfair foreign trade and investment practices and unfair imports and addressing emerging economic and technological developments vital to U.S. innovation and competitiveness across all sectors of the economy.