Progress but No Handshake Deal on USMCA – U.S. Chamber International Policy Update



La Cámara de Comercio de Estados Unidos, hizo un reporte de como avanza el proceso final para completar el USMCA que reemplaza al NAFTA y la inversión Estados Unidos- Indonesia en la más reciente actualización de política internacional de la Cámara.

Progress but No Handshake Deal on USMCA

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met for an hour and a half on November 21 in their latest efforts to seek a path toward a congressional vote this year on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). While a so-called “handshake deal” addressing a small number of lingering concerns was not announced, Pelosi left the meeting declaring: “We made progress; I think we’re narrowing our differences”.

 

Despite the limited number of legislative days remaining in 2019, Chairman Neal said he “is still hopeful that a deal could be struck soon that would allow Congress to pass the pact this year. He said he would talk with Lighthizer again before Thanksgiving, and even joked he would be spending the holiday with the trade chief,” Politico reported.

 

“We’re going to stay right at this through the next week, and we’re going to have a couple counterproposals,” Neal told the press. “With all seriousness, we do think we’re down to two-and-a-half, maybe three issues.” The remaining issues reportedly relate to labor enforcement.

 

The meeting followed a week of mounting calls for action on the trade agreement, encouraged by the ongoing outreach of the Chamber and USMCA Coalition members. Over the past few days, more than half a dozen Democrats have seized the opportunity to make short speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives urging action on USMCA and describing its importance to their districts, including Representatives Stephanie Murphy, Greg Stanton, Ben McAdams, Abigail Spanberger, Harley Rouda, Jim Costa, and Kendra Horn. This follows a House Democratic Caucus meeting on November 14 in which more than a dozen members rose to stress the agreement’s importance to their districts.

 

The Chamber will continue to reach out to House members during the Thanksgiving recess to continue to prepare the ground for congressional action in December. The Chamber is continuing an aggressive advertising campaign urging approval of USMCA. To date, this six-figure campaign has focused on paid placements on broadcast television in a dozen House districts and digital advertising via social media. The latter features this explainer video detailing the benefits of USMCA.

 

This advertising effort complements the hundreds of events the Chamber has organized with local partners around the country and hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill. A summary of the Chamber’s USMCA advocacy is available here. The Chamber is coordinating these efforts with the extensive efforts of other members of the 500 organization-strong USMCA Coalition, for which the Chamber serves as Secretariat.

 


Chamber Launches Report on U.S.-Indonesia Investment

 

According to a new report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Indonesia on November 20, the United States remains the likely lead source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Indonesia and continues to be one of the country’s most impactful investment partners. The report was funded by USAID Indonesia and released at the 7th Annual U.S.-Indonesia Investment Summit.

 

This year’s investment report, entitled “Making an Impact,” found that the full scale of U.S. investment in Indonesia is not evident from official government figures, largely because it does not include the upstream oil and gas sector, which has traditionally been one of the major destinations for U.S. capital.

 

Research conducted for the report found that once upstream oil and gas activities are considered, U.S. companies invested at least $36 billion into Indonesia from 2013 to 2017 — almost five times the $7.78 billion recorded by the Indonesian government. This means the U.S. is likely the leading source of FDI in Indonesia in recent years, outpacing Singapore, Japan, the UK, and China. Beyond the dollar figures, interviews with government officials and industry leaders in Indonesia show that U.S. companies do more than just create jobs when they invest in a country: they build a skilled workforce, transfer knowledge and technology, support local businesses, and advocate for an improved business environment that benefits all.

 

Upon the release of the report, Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President of Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated:

 

“With President Joko Widodo’s second term beginning and his new cabinet just announced, the American business community is eager to hear his administration’s plans for economic and regulatory reforms that will continue to open Indonesia up to foreign investors. American companies are here and ready to invest to help Indonesia reach its ambitious development goals. We look forward to working with our counterparts to enhance our bilateral trade relationship.”

 

For Indonesia to achieve its full economic potential and become a more desirable destination for foreign direct investment, AmCham Indonesia and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recommend the following structural reforms:

  1. Require public consultations prior to the issuance of regulations. Governance experts have long contended that a systematic and effective system of public consultations not only leads to better regulations, but also improves compliance and reduces enforcement costs. 
  2. Create a dedicated government body for regulatory impact analysis. Having a government body dedicated to this, according to the World Bank, is recognized by most developed countries as a key instrument to improve the quality of regulatory decision-making and can help to substantially reduce unforeseen problems or unintended consequences of otherwise well-intentioned regulations. This includes mapping of potentially overlapping regulations.
  3. Improve coordination and communications between government bodies. Across various industries, this issue is consistent. Even if a regulation is good, inconsistent implementation and communication between government bodies can diminish its potential impact. 
  4. Focus on long-term goals over short term gains. A common observation by industry players and analysts alike is how policymaking in Indonesia is often “reactive” to needs and issues, instead of being a well-thought-out plan for the future. With the government focus on 2045, we are hopeful that long-term planning will guide policymaking moving forward.

At this year’s summit, the U.S. Chamber also launched a multi-year corporate social responsibility effort to help protect and develop Indonesia’s nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites for future generations. The Indonesia Heritage Preservation Initiative will match American and Indonesian companies with tailored projects that align with their strategic priorities or expertise, while highlighting the private sector’s key role in U.S.-Indonesia relations and its commitment to preserving humanity’s greatest treasures. The launch included representatives from the U.S. Chamber, UNESCO, and founding corporate partners – the American insurance company AIG and Indonesian law firm Adnan Kelana Haryanto & Hermanto.