NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 14, 2007 -- The United States Council for International
Business (USCIB), which represents hundreds of America's top global
companies, welcomed the agreement between the White House and Congress on a
new trade policy "template," which it said should clear the way toward
approval of pending U.S. free trade pacts and renewal of the president's
trade negotiating authority.
USCIB, the U.S. affiliate of the International Organization of Employers,
which represents business in the International Labor Organization, said it
was especially pleased that negotiators had forged a compromise approach to
incorporating international labor principles into U.S. trade agreements
that recognizes the role of the ILO to help its member countries advance
USCIB President Peter M. Robinson applauded the efforts of U.S. Trade
Representative Susan Schwab and Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House
Ways and Means Committee, to conclude the deal.
"Ambassador Schwab and Chairman Rangel have worked tirelessly to forge a
bilateral consensus on trade policy, paving the way for further trade
liberalization that will benefit business, workers, consumers and farmers,"
stated Mr. Robinson. He noted that, at last December's USCIB annual award
dinner, Congressman Rangel had underscored his strong interest in promoting
a forward-looking trade agenda. "The Chairman delivered, and we are most
Mr. Robinson said the way was now clear to gain approval of the free trade
agreements currently before the Congress. "Hopefully, Congress will
approve these FTAs and extend the president's trade promotion authority,"
he stated. "Extension of trade authority is urgently needed to generate
movement in the Doha Round, which is a high priority for U.S. business."
Mr. Robinson said he was gratified that the agreement's labor provisions
prominently feature the International Labor Organization's Declaration on
Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which was developed at the
initiative of the International Organization of Employers' members,
including USCIB. The ILO's tripartite structure encompasses representation
from governments, employers and trade unions, so the ILO declaration's
principles have the support of all three groups in the U.S. and
internationally. It is therefore appropriate to reaffirm them in U.S.
trade agreements as objectives that all countries should recognize and
strive to realize in their national laws.
USCIB said it recognized that the negotiations on transforming the
agreement, presently in the form of a joint "concept paper," into
legislation would require continued bipartisan cooperation between the
Executive Branch and Congress. It also recognizes that concerns may
persist in the business community on non-labor issues covered by the
agreement, particularly on intellectual property. "We are confident that,
at the end of the day, the same sense of bipartisanship that led to this
agreement will carry forward in the drafting of actual legislation," stated
The United States Council for International Business promotes an open
system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to
economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment. Its
membership includes more than 300 leading U.S. companies, professional
services firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3.5
trillion. As the exclusive American affiliate of three key global business
groups -- the International Chamber of Commerce, the International
Organization of Employers, and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee
to the OECD -- USCIB provides business views to policy makers and
regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international
trade. More information is available at www.uscib.org.