Competition for Global Leadership: Why the U.S. Must Lead on Trade, AI, and Security
In the first episode of The Competition Series, policy experts examined how the U.S. must demonstrate global leadership on trade, artificial intelligence, and security.
Air Date: January 18, 2022
Moderator: Suzanne P. Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, John G. Murphy, Senior Vice President for International Policy, Christopher D. Roberti, Senior Vice President for Cyber, Intelligence, and Supply Chain Security Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Jordan Crenshaw, Vice President, C_TEC, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Featured Guests: Marjorie Chorlins, Senior Vice President, European Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, U.S.-UK Business Council, Scott Eisner, President, U.S.-Africa Business Center, Sr. Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President for Asia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Neil Herrington, Senior Vice President, Americas
To help the business community better understand the landscape, the U.S. Chamber launched The Competition Series, a four-week dialogue diving deeper into key issues outlined during State of American Business 2022. In the first episode, “Competition for Global Leadership: Trade, AI, and Security,” policy experts examined how the U.S. must demonstrate global leadership on trade, artificial intelligence, and security.
“Winning the future means competing in global markets and competing for global leadership,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark. “From a robust trade agenda, supply chain resilience, and a tough stance on cybersecurity to technology leadership and innovations to solve global problems, we must make sure government policy is supporting competition—not holding it back.”
Tackling Global Trade Issues
What happens overseas matters to American companies. “80% of the world’s purchasing power are in the hands of consumers outside the United States,” explained John Murphy, Senior Vice President for International Policy. “For the Fortune 500 half of all revenue comes from exports or foreign operations. And for small businesses, 97% of American exporters are small businesses.”
U.S. Chamber international experts then took a brief tour around the world, examining the big issues confronting U.S. companies.
On China, “We’re looking to the administration to move forward on addressing structural issues in the relationship,” said Charles Freeman, senior vice president for Asia. “A significant issue is Chinese domestic support for their own companies in international markets. They’re creating a distorted competitive landscape for American and other foreign companies.”
Across the Atlantic, the European Union is employing what it calls “technological sovereignty,” explained Marjorie Chorlins, Senior Vice President for European Affairs, “creating space for European companies to become more competitive in digital and advanced technologies.” But “instead of trying to win the race themselves, they’re going to make it tougher for some American companies to compete.”
As the African population grows, it opens opportunities for U.S. companies. “By 2050, Nigeria’s population will be larger than the United States. By 2050, there will be 2.5 billion people living on the continent,” said Scott Eisner, president of the U.S.-Africa Business Center.
As in other regions, digital issues are critical. “Regulatory harmony around the digital space on the continent will create new opportunities for American companies,” Eisner added.
In our backyard, trade with our most important partners–Canada and Mexico–is more essential than ever. “We saw in 2021 the highest level of goods traded with Canada and Mexico ever” despite two years of pandemic-driven supply chain dislocations and border closures, according to Neil Herrington, senior vice president for the Americas.
A year and a half into the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Herrington sees room for negotiations with Canada on some trade issues. However, the “challenges with Mexico are more vexing,” because we “have a Mexican president who has long championed state-centric economic policy at the expense of private enterprise.”
Taking the Lead on AI Policy Development
Winning the future means leading in the development of artificial intelligence (AI).
“AI is already contributing to economic growth—from developing vaccines for COVID-19 to promoting economic partnership through the use of inclusion scores and expanding access to credit,” explained Jordan Crenshaw, vice president at the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC).
To advance U.S. leadership in the use and regulation of AI technology, the U.S. Chamber announced the formation of the new Artificial Intelligence Commission on Competition, Inclusion, and Innovation. Co-chaired by former Representatives John Delaney (D-MD) and Mike Ferguson (R-NJ), the commission will work to develop durable, bipartisan AI policy solutions.
“There are things to think about from a policy perspective, from a regulatory perspective to ensure AI benefits as many people as possible,” said Delaney.
The commission will gather input from industry and academia as well as from consumer and civil rights groups. “When it comes to global competition, the country that best embraces the ethical use of artificial intelligence is really going to be the leader and best positioned economically going into the future,” said, Rep. Ferguson.
Maintaining National Security
Maintaining U.S. national security is crucial so that American companies can continue to compete. Christopher Roberti, Chamber senior vice president for Cyber, Intelligence, and Supply Chain Security Policy, discussed challenges like threats of war and supply chain issues with Michael Morrell, former acting and deputy director of the CIA.
On the situation with Ukraine, Morell explained that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is trying to extort from the West a pledge that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO.”
“If Putin invades Ukraine, and we impose harsh sanctions I think you will see increased Russian cyberattacks in the U.S.,” he added.
As for supply chains, Morell sees this as a long-term issue. While companies balance efficiency and robustness, countries “see vulnerabilities with the geostrategic competition that they’re facing. And everybody is taking steps to reduce those vulnerabilities.”
Winning the future means regaining leadership on trade, developing durable AI policy solutions, grappling with national security challenges, and addressing supply chain issues.
The Competition Series continues with “Competition in the Marketplace: Ensuring a Level Playing Field for Business,” Tuesday, January 25, from 11 a.m. to noon ET. Register here.