International Trade-Related Federal Legislation

International Trade-Related Federal Legislation

International Trade-Related Federal Legislation

State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program
The California State Trade and Export Promotion (California STEP) project combines a network of state, federal, private and non-profit trade promotion organizations in California to facilitate export promotion activities, serving targeted industries, to drive exports for small businesses.

State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program Fact Sheet 2015-2016

SBA STEP Fact Sheet 2015

Pre-register to access STEP Funds

In 2010, Congress established the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program which has been used to help businesses promote their products overseas.

In two years, 1,500 California Small businesses turned $4 million in federal funding into over $50 million in exports for the California economy.

From 2011 to 2013 California STEP supported 50 export promotion events (inbound, outbound and training), which included supporting 310 California companies to participate in overseas trade events on 5 continents (Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Europe). 

Here is a link to the fact sheet.  The funding for the program is set to expire, and Governor Brown has requested from Congress that the program be reauthorized.

Congresswoman Bass has introduced legislation to reauthorize the program.

Letter of support from Governor Brown for the STEP program re-authorization


Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) currently allows business and leisure travelers from 36 partnering countries to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a non-immigrant visitor visa. An enhanced Visa Waiver Program  would provide necessary updates to the VWP while also allowing the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to designate additional program countries.
Expand the Visa Waiver Program
U.S. Travel Association

Visa Waiver Program Myths and Realities
U.S. Travel Association

Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel Act (JOLT Act) Summary
U.S. Chamber, March 2012

U.S. Chamber Testifies on Job Creating Potential of Travel and Tourism
U.S. Chamber, Mar 27, 2012

On May 29, 2012, the U.S. Chamber sent a letter to the Senate in support of S. 3199, the “Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2012.”

On May 29, 2012, the U.S. Chamber sent a letter to the House in support of H.R. 5741, the “Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2012.”

Additional Information:
US Chamber Letter supporting the “Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act”

January 31, 2012

H.R.3855 — Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act
Representative Quigley’s Press Release on the Introduction of HR 3855
January 31, 2012
S. 2046 Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act
Senator Mikulski’s Press Release on the Introduction of S 2046
January 31, 2012
Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2012

On May 24,2012 the US Chamber sent a letter in support H.R. 4221 and S. 2215, the “Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2012.” It read in part: “This legislation would help U.S. companies doing business in sub-Saharan Africa compete for market share in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Gaining better access to these markets is of increasing strategic importance to the United States, both in terms of rates of return and sheer commercial potential. Over the past decade, six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world have been in sub-Saharan Africa. Demographic trends suggest that by 2050 one in four workers in the world will be African, and the continent’s population will top one billion.”


Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

On November 12, 2011, the Leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States – announced the achievement of the broad outlines of an ambitious, 21st-century Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs. President Obama along with the other eight TPP leaders agreed to seek to finalize an agreement in 2012.

CalChamber’s Comments in Support of Canada
CalChamber’s Comments in Support of Japan
CalChamber’s Comments in Support of Mexico

CalChamber’s Information page on the TPP
USTR’s Information page on the TPP


S. 1039 (Cardin)
To impose sanctions on persons responsible for the detention, abuse, or death of Sergei Magnitsky, for the conspiracy to defraud the Russian Federation of taxes on corporate profits through fraudulent transactions
and lawsuits against Hermitage, and for other gross violations of human rights in the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.

President Obama Signs into Law the APEC Business Travel Cards Act of 2011 
FACT SHEET: APEC on Travel Facilitation

On Saturday, November 12, President Obama signed into law the APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTC) Act of 2011, which was passed by Congress on November 4, bringing American business travelers one step closer to seamless travel in the region.

The ABTC Act will help American business travelers gain streamlined entry to the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. This legislation will authorize the United States Government to issue APEC Travel Cards to its citizens, allowing them to access expedited customs and immigration when they travel throughout Asia-Pacific.


APEC Business Travel Legislation
Per the US Chamber

In November 2011, the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Business Travel Card Act (S. 1487) bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House and will become law with the President’s signature. S. 1487 supports expanded business travel and trade with the Asia-Pacific region and would allow business leaders from the United States and senior government officials who are actively engaged in APEC business to receive APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTCs) that would expedite their international travel within the 21 APEC member countries.


October 12, 2011 – All four measures passed by both Houses of Congress.

Senate Amendment to H.R. 2832 – To extend the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes   As amended by the Senate, the bill would provide additional Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits to workers displaced by foreign trade in addition to extending the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
H.R. 3078 – United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3078: Implements the U. S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement.H.R. 3079 – United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3079: Implements the U. S.–Panama Free Trade Agreement.H.R. 3080 – United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3080: Implements the U. S.–South Korea Free Trade Agreement.
Previous Information: 

Joint Letter to Congress Opposing Buy American Proposals 10.6.11

Buy American Provisions in the American Jobs Act
Truth about Trade & Technology, October 6, 2011
·         NAFTA Cross Border Trucking Dispute with Mexico
The Department of Transportation published in the
Federal Register its proposal for a long-haul trucking pilot program with Mexico. Please submit your comments in support of the proposal by May 13, 2011

View CalChamber’s Support Letter
·         Federal Funding for Anti-Counterfeiting Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation in September 2009 that makes it a priority to fund intellectual property enforcement provisions in legislation enacted in 2008. A similar proposal is moving in the U.S. Senate.
CalChamber Urges Support of Funding to Enforce Federal Anti-Counterfeiting Act
Top Story – CalChamber, September 15, 2009
CalChamber Letter of Support
August 28, 2009
Promote America’s Competitive Edge website
·         International Tax Proposal
The proposal would raise taxes on U.S. companies doing business overseas. The limitation or repeal of deferral, as proposed by the Obama administration, would impose a unilateral tax on the foreign earnings of American companies, upsetting the competitive balance between U.S. and foreign companies. This will result in a loss of jobs for Americans and serious negative impacts on the U.S. economy. Oppose.
CalChamber Letter to Senators 6-3-09
Tech Companies Strategize for Next Round in Tax Fight
The Hill, October 14, 2009
Big Win for Business
CNBC, October 13, 2009
Obama Tax Proposal Feared by Silicon Valley is Now on Hold
San Jose Mercury News, October 13, 2009

·         The “Small Business Int’l Trade Enhancements Act of 2009”
(S. 1196 – Senator Mary L. Landrieu D-LA), which would increase the total amount of available trade financing, adjust collateral requirements, and encourage better collaboration on small business export assistance among federal government agencies.
·         The “Small Business Export Opportunity Act of 2009”
(S. 1208 – Senator Olympia Snowe R-ME ) , which would create a new Office of Small business Export Development and Promotion at the Small Business Administration.  It would also increase the maximum export loan amount and create a grant program that matches funds for expenses incurred by small businesses that are actively working to start or expand export activities.

·         The “Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act”
(H.R. 3012 – Congressman Mike Michaud D-ME), which would generate additional bureaucratic reporting requirements relating to international trade agreements on top of those that already exist, was introduced in the House on June 24, 2009. This legislation would place new roadblocks to future trade agreements intended to lower foreign taxes on U.S. exports and require the renegotiation of existing trade agreements. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate in July.

The TRADE Act: A Blow Against the Economy and Workers
U.S.Chamber Article, June 2009

·         The Federal “Travel Promotion Act”
On February 25, 2010 the US Senate passed the “Travel Promotion Act,” which will help increase overseas travel to the U.S. by creating a private-public partnership, to communicate changes to domestic travel policies and to promote the U.S. as a travel destination abroad.

U.S. Chamber press release  2.25.2010

See link – Section 9 on page 8 – Travel Promotion Act of 2009 establishing The Corporation for Travel Promotion as a nonprofit organization.
See link  – Section 202 and 203 on page16 – Office of Travel Promotion established in the US Department of Commerce.

·          The Food Safety Modernization Act Amendment 
(S. 510 – Senator Richard Durbin D-IL)
(Amendment proposed by Senator Feinstein)

    CalChamber Letter Opposed to Sen. Feinstein’s Amendment  4.27.10