WASHINGTON, D.C.— In her first State of American Business address today, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark highlighted the innovation and resilience of American business while warning against increasing government overreach stifling competition and free enterprise.
“The state of American business is competitive,” said Clark. “Businesses are not simply competing to win today, but to build a better tomorrow … to propel our country and world toward a brighter future of growth, solutions, and opportunity.”
However, despite the clear innovation, the resilience, and the dynamism of our economy, we have leaders who think the government needs to step in and impose a heavy hand, Clark said.
“If bureaucrats and elected officials don’t stop getting in the way, we will stop them. We will challenge overreach and defend the rule of law at every turn, in every agency, and with every tool at our disposal … in Washington, in statehouses, and in the courts.”
“Competition will enable us to innovate our way through this pandemic,” she said. “And it will help us use all of the challenges, disruptions, and opportunities accelerated by the pandemic to shape a new economic era that will define our future.”
Addressing the worker shortage crisis, Clark called for doubling the number of people legally immigrating to the U.S.; a permanent solution for the “dreamers;” and the removal of barriers to work facing parents, those without broadband access, and formerly incarcerated individuals.
“Let’s ensure everyone in this country has the skills, the education, and the opportunity to go as high and as far as their hard work and talent will take them—for the 11 million jobs that sit vacant today,” she said. “And for the jobs of tomorrow that haven’t even been invented yet.”
Clark warned that by one vital measure—trade—the United States is falling behind.
“While other economies race to ink new deals, the U.S. hasn’t entered an agreement with a new trade partner in a decade. And the current administration is doing little to change that.”
Bold Business Advocates
Clark also warned against political gridlock and said we need more politicians who are focused on winning over voters to their ideas, and then building broad coalitions to turn those ideas into good policy.
“The U.S. Chamber is calling for a new movement of bold—and I mean bold—business advocates committed to defending those elected officials who dare to find the common ground necessary to enact durable policies to move our country forward.”
Following Clark’s speech, leaders in business and government including Pfizer Chairman and CEO Dr. Albert Bourla, UPS CEO Carol Tomé, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) discussed innovations and smart solutions that will move our country forward.
Over the next four weeks, the U.S. Chamber will continue the conversation through “The Competition” series of virtual events. The new series will feature business leaders, lawmakers, and policy experts exploring how competition is shaping the future of talent, ideas, the marketplace, and global leadership. Join us on Tuesday, January 18 at 11 a.m. for our first conversation: Competition for Global Leadership: Trade, AI, and Security.