U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue on Tuesday called for the abolition of all tariffs on goods moving between the U.S. and the European Union as a principal effort in stimulating trade.
In tandem with trade, Donohue said the U.S. should focus new attention on the global supply chain.
In his annual State of American Business address, Donohue pledged to raise the stakes on the U.S. export initiative. The Obama administration calls for doubling exports in five years, but the chamber's effort aims to double them again in the next five.
The chamber's trade agenda includes the completion of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, protection of intellectual property rights, modernizing export controls, fair treatment in China, promotion of tourism, and an end to the standoff between Mexico and the U.S. over cross-border trucking.
Donohue called for a supply chain that seamlessly connects the U.S. economy with the world by way of better transportation, high-speed communications, and modern seaports, airports and border crossings.
"The single all-encompassing opportunity for us to drive national productivity is to significantly improve our global supply chain," Donohue later told reporters. "The supply chain now moves goods, people, money and information on a global basis, with half of the economy being in Asia. The supply chain is something we have to continue to refine and improve.
"We want to figure out how, on a public policy basis, that this institution, which represents the broadest scope of American business, can lead the way," Donohue said.
Donohue said he would soon travel to Europe to promote the zero-tariff plan.
"I think it would be a big stimulus to both economies. If we get it going, I think there will be a lot of snapping of heads around the world, of people asking 'How do I get in on that?'" Donohue said. "We really believe this would be a great stimulus to get people back in talking about a global trade agreement."
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