International trade fuels our region’s economy. Protracted trade negotiations create uncertainty. Uncertainty is really bad for business.
That’s why trade policy is a top federal priority for the Charleston Metro Chamber. We support international trade agreements that are fair, accountable, consistent and that reduce barriers to free and open markets.
This year the Chamber asked our Congressional delegation to advance three specific trade outcomes:
- Reestablish a fair and consistent trilateral free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
- Resolve trade disputes with China to ensure long term market access.
- Reauthorize a fully-functional Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.
In the weeks leading up to August recess, progress was made on two top trade priorities.
Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank (S.2293) was introduced in the Senate with Sen. Lindsay Graham as a bill co-sponsor. As the country’s official export credit agency, the Ex-Im Bank provides financing support to help American manufacturers complete sales to foreign buyers.
The Ex-Im Bank is self-funded through transaction fees. It supports millions of jobs and costs the American taxpayer nothing. But because it operates on the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, it requires Congressional authorization. The deadline for reauthorization is September 30.
Meanwhile, urgency is building for Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Act (USMCA). U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has met multiple times in July with Democratic and Republican lawmakers and staff from the House and Senate.
Ratifying the USMCA will help preserve nearly $4 billion in trade per day with our two largest trading partners: Canada and Mexico. The Charleston Metro Chamber, along with a coalition of 600+ national, state, and local business organizations from all 50 states, urges Congress to pass the USMCA this fall.
Also before adjourning for August recesses, Congress averted a government shutdown this fall. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 suspended the debt ceiling until July 2021 and set overall spending caps for the next two years. This action prevents the federal government from hitting debt ceiling, which the Congressional Budget Office predicted could have happened as soon as mid-September.
Check out the Chamber’s full Federal Policy Agenda to learn more about our top priorities.