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Business Roundtable Urges Fresh Look at U.S. Trade Policy
Washington, DC, USA, 14 September 2006 -- /PRNewswire/ -- To provide policymakers with recommendations for new approaches to international trade and investment policy that will help ensure continued U.S. economic growth, Business Roundtable, representing 160 chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, today released a policy blueprint entitled "Expanding Economic Growth Through Trade and Investment: A Blueprint for U.S. Leadership in the 21st Century."

Today, the global economy and business environment is moving more rapidly than trade negotiations. The paper offers a vision for U.S. trade and investment policy that spurs continued economic growth and ensures the nation's ability to keep pace with historic global changes -- including the rise of new trading nations, an economically integrating Asia, an expanding European Union, and revolutionary changes in technology.

"The United States faces significant economic challenges that require a practical reexamination of our trade policies to ensure continued U.S. leadership," said Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and CEO, The McGraw- Hill Companies, and chairman, Business Roundtable. "International trade and investment have been a key source of U.S. economic prosperity for more than a century. The importance of international markets to U.S. business is greater than ever, with more than 26% of the nation's GDP represented by trade and nearly one in five U.S. jobs related to trade."

Business Roundtable's recommendations address the following areas:

Multilateral Trade Negotiations -- How to maximize the World Trade Organization's effectiveness by considering more flexible negotiating approaches in future WTO negotiations, such as encouraging negotiations among smaller groups of countries who are more committed to trade liberalization and focusing on sectors where there is greater support for agreements to expand trade.

Regional and Bilateral Agreements -- How to make these trade agreements work better by integrating our regional and bilateral agreements and exploring how to reach new agreements with our major trading partners.

Foreign Regulations -- How to make sure that foreign regulatory systems do not unnecessarily or unfairly undermine the competitiveness of U.S. businesses and their workers, by integrating regulatory issues into the core of U.S. international economic initiatives.

Bilateral Investment and Tax Treaties -- How to ensure that U.S. investors are getting the same level of protection in key countries as their foreign competitors, and to ensure U.S. investors do not suffer discrimination in the application of foreign tax laws, by embarking on a more aggressive negotiation of investment and tax treaties.

Trade and Development -- How to make sure that developing countries can effectively participate in the global economy, and that advanced developing countries are doing their share to help the least developed countries in their regions, by better integrating U.S. trade objectives into U.S. trade preference and development programs.

American Competitiveness -- How to lay the domestic groundwork for American competitiveness by promoting an ambitious competitiveness agenda, narrowing the current account deficit, identifying and eliminating disincentives to international trade and investment, and revitalizing the Congressional-Executive relationship on trade negotiations.

"The recommendations we put forward today will require a new framework for U.S. trade and investment policies. This is a challenge we cannot afford to ignore if the U.S. is to continue to win in the global economy," McGraw concluded.

Expanding Economic Growth Through Trade and Investment: A Blueprint for U.S. Leadership in the 21st Century was delivered today to all members of Congress. A PDF copy of the paper is available at http://www.trade.businessroundtable.org/.

Business Roundtable (http://www.businessroundtable.org/) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than USD 4.5 trillion in annual revenues and more than 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market and represent nearly a third of all corporate income taxes paid to the federal government. Collectively, they returned more than USD 110 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy in 2005.

Roundtable companies give more than USD 7 billion a year in combined charitable contributions, representing nearly 60% of total corporate giving. They are technology innovation leaders, with USD 86 billion in annual research and development spending -- nearly half of the total private R&D spending in the U.S.

Source: Business Roundtable

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