Ag Policy Blog

Chamber Details Trade, Infrastructure Priorities

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
Connect with Chris:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is helping lead a coalition of 186 groups calling on Congress and the incoming Biden administration to complete an infrastructure package in the first half of 2021 to spur the economy. (DTN file photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has detailed some of its goals for the incoming Biden administration to boost trade demand and revitalize U.S. infrastructure.

Looking at trade goals, Chamber officials on Wednesday said the big question going forward remains how the U.S. manages the relationship with China going forward. Myron Brilliant, who leads international affairs for the Chamber, said the group still sees a need to expand market access as the fastest-growing business market in the world.

"Beyond that, we want to secure additional structural reforms to China's unfair trade and regulatory policies," Brilliant said.

Brilliant's comments drew more attention over the suggestion that a "high-ranking delegation" of Chinese officials will come to Washington early in Biden's tenure.

The Chamber wants to see Biden roll back tariffs, starting with the hundreds of billions in tariffs the U.S. and China have placed on an array of products over the past three years. The Chamber also wants to end the Section 232 tariffs that have placed 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminum, largely affecting steel and aluminum imports from long-time trading partners and allies. The Chamber also would like to see an end to tariffs on medical supplies as well.

Brilliant said the Chamber supports the U.S. rejoining the Paris climate agreement and re-engaging with the World Trade Organization, while still recognizing the need for reforms at the WTO.

Brilliant also spotlighted trade talks with the United Kingdom and Kenya that have begun under the Trump administration. Brilliant added that the "incoming team" for Biden also has talked a lot about building strong relations with Europe, which is also a priority for the Chamber.

Right now, the Biden administration may need the Chamber and other groups to push for an extension of Trade Promotion Authority in Congress that will make it easier to negotiate any major trade deal.

Separately, the Biden transition team on Wednesday announced that Katherine Tai, the nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, met with leaders from the Ag CEO Council to discuss some trade priorities for agriculture.

INFRASTRUCTURE GOALS

The Chamber on Thursday also rolled out a new campaign with 186 other business, labor and policy organizations calling on Congress and the incoming Biden administration to pass a major infrastructure package by July 4.

The "Build by the Fourth of July" campaign led by the Chamber and the Bipartisan Policy Center does not put a dollar figure on an infrastructure plan, but the coalition seeks "a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package" by July 4. The campaign highlights the goals of a new comprehensive infrastructure package would be to repair and update crumbling infrastructure, stimulate the economy and create middle-class jobs, address climate change, promote fiscally and environmentally responsible policies, improve federal project approvals, and address the digital divide.

"National infrastructure investment is the best idea that never happens. Congress must seize this opportunity to jump start our economy, repair aging systems, and advance the modern technologies needed to confront climate change," said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Tom Donahue, CEO of the Chamber, said, "Our long-term economic recovery requires building a governing coalition committed to bipartisan solutions, and tackling a long overdue infrastructure package is an immediate way the new Congress and new administration can demonstrate their shared commitment to the betterment of the country. Rebuilding our nation's infrastructure is not only one of the fastest and most direct ways to create new jobs and spur economic growth now, but also it will sustain our modern economy for the long-term. The coalition members may not agree on every issue or detail, but we understand the importance of working together for the greater good of the American people. We strongly urge policymakers to do the same and enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package as one of their first priorities."

Chamber infrastructure campaign: https://www.uschamber.com/…

Biden proposed a $1.3 trillion to $2 trillion infrastructure plan (https://joebiden.com/…) over 10 years that would invest heavily in infrastructure but also tie into addressing climate change by moving the economy to "net-zero" emissions. One aspect of the plan would immediately spend $50 billion for highways and roads, but the plan would also invest more than $400 billion in various clean energy projects.

On Thursday, Biden detailed plans for a stimulus package focused on COVID-19 relief targeting vaccines and aid to communities hit by the loss of tax revenue from business closures. There was little mention about infrastructure, however.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Comments

To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .