U.S. Chamber's International Policy Update (September 30, 2010)
International Policy Update
In this Newsletter...
House Approves Currency Legislation Targeting China
Cuba Legislation Markup Postponed
Financial Services Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Trade Finance
U.S. Chamber Urges Congress to Extend Preference Programs
Senators Call on Clinton to Move Against Iranian Entities, Chinese Oil Firms
ChamberPost Blog: The Week in Trade
Recently in Sep 2010 Category
On September 28, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the administration to move against more Iranian entities and Chinese oil firms investing in Iran's energy sector. The letter states that Iran is coming closer to a nuclear weapons capability and called on Clinton to penalize companies that have continued to supply Iran with refined petroleum products since the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) was signed into law. The senators singled out the Turkish firm Turpas and three Chinese companies -- Sinopec, National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and Zhuhai Zhenrong -- for continuing to supply gasoline to Iran. The senators also drew attention to CNPC's investment in Iran's South Azadegan oil fields.
Financial Services Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Trade Finance .- On September 29, the House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on "Ex-Im Bank Oversight: The Role of Trade Finance in Doubling Exports over Five Years." Fred P. Hochberg , Chairman and President, Export-Import Bank of the United States, was among those who testified. Hochberg said, "As the official export credit agency of the United States, Ex-Im plays a critical role in President Obama's National Export Initiative that seeks to double exports to $3.14 trillion by 2015. The Bank's authorizations are up about 50% across the board, and Ex-Im has seen its direct lending go from an average of about $100 million annually from prior to the crisis to approximately $4.4 billion this year."
House Approves Currency Legislation Targeting China .- On September 29, the House passed H.R. 2378 as amended by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI). The vote passed by a vote of 348 to 79, with 249 Democrats and 99 Republicans supporting the bill. The "Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act" proposes to amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to clearly allow countervailing duties on products entering the United States from countries whose currency is so fundamentally undervalued that it functions as a subsidy for their exports.
The U.S. Chamber joined forces with 35 other trade associations on September 28 to send a letter to the House leadership opposing H.R. 2378. The Chamber agrees that China should move rapidly towards a market-determined exchange rate but argues the legislation will not help achieve that goal; moreover, Chamber members are concerned that the bill, if enacted, will undermine efforts to address other challenges in the bilateral relationship.
letter opposing H.R. 2378
• The Chairman's Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2378
• Ways and Means Summary of H.R. 2378 and Amendment
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) stated that the Senate will not take up the House legislation in advance of the election. However, both have indicated their intent to push for Senate consideration of companion legislation in a likely "lame duck" session following the November 2 elections.