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NFTC Issues Policy Recommendations to President-elect Obama
Date: 11/18/2008

Underscores Need to Maximize U.S. Global Economic Leadership Through
Trade and Domestic Policies

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today sent a letter to President-elect Obama, urging him to enact policies that maximize the competitiveness of U.S. businesses and workers. The letter noted that expanding international trade and investment plays a key role in U.S. economic growth, but that trade policy must be coupled with domestic policies that promote competitiveness.

“Our trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. To make certain that our citizens gain maximum benefits from our participation in an open world trading environment, our domestic policies must assure that the United States is the most attractive location for global investment, as well as for research and development, particularly of advanced technologies,” wrote NFTC Chairman and CEO of DHL Express John Mullen.

Mullen continued, “We therefore look to issues not traditionally associated with trade policy but which constitute the environment in which competitiveness is fostered. These include our education and health care systems, the need for a secure and competitive energy supply, a modern infrastructure and environmental policies that address global warming. By focusing on these longer term issues as well, we seek a better world not only for ourselves but for our children and their children.”

The NFTC offered the incoming president 11 policy recommendations regarding the Doha Round, pending bilateral and regional trade agreements, trade negotiating authority, worker adjustment assistance programs, preference programs, climate change, U.S. immigration and visa policy, unilateral sanctions, divestment, regulatory reform and international tax policy.

With regard to the Doha Round, the NFTC recommended that the incoming Administration exercise its vision and leadership to bring the talks to a successful conclusion. The NFTC also suggested that instead of simply adopting the structure of past multilateral trade negotiations, the new Administration “look at new architectures for negotiations that encompass countries interested in further liberalization instead of relying on existing frameworks that produce least-common-denominator outcomes.”

The NFTC letter pointed out that “far from undermining our prosperity, bilateral and regional trade agreements are an important mechanism for opening markets for the export of American goods and services,” and pressed Obama to support passage and implementation of pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Equally important, the NFTC recommended that an improved and modernized Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program be a top priority for the next president.

The NFTC also expressed its support for U.S. visa and immigration system reforms that will make the United States more welcoming to foreign-born professionals, students and business travelers.

In the area of tax policy, the NFTC argued that the incoming Administration should enact international tax policies that “reflect both the position of the United States in the global economy and the position of the individual American firm seeking to grow and prosper in global markets.” The NFTC also restated its strong support of the bilateral tax treaty program that “promotes greater certainty, the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of discriminatory treatment against U.S. companies,” and recommended that the new Administration pursue policies that “permit American companies to pay roughly the same amount of tax as their foreign competitors in markets both at home and abroad.”

Further, the NFTC and its affiliate USA*Engage urged the new Administration to renounce the use of unilateral sanctions for foreign policy purposes, discourage state and local measures that require divestment by pension funds of shares in companies active in “problem” countries, and reform export control and sanctions licensing regulations.

Mullen wrote in closing, “The National Foreign Trade Council looks forward to working with your Administration to advance our common interest in a competitive U.S. private sector operating in a rules-based international economy.”

For a full copy of the letter, please click here.

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Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years
The National Foreign Trade Council (
www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.