08 November 2012 15:11 [Source: ICIS news]
By Joe Kamalick
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--With more hope perhaps than expectation, US chemical, energy and general business interests this week appealed to newly re-elected President Barack Obama to scale back his administration’s regulations, restrictions and taxes.
Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), noted that "it is no secret that the business community has had reservations about the president’s agenda of the last four years".
"But the election is over, and now American competitiveness is truly at stake," Timmons said.
In a conference call with reporters, Timmons said that whether the business community is disappointed that Obama won a second four-year term in the White House is beside the point.
"It is what it is," Timmons said, "and hindsight is irrelevant.
"The bottom line is that we have to grow jobs, and now that the political season is over, we have an opportunity to start working with the administration to focus on a blueprint for growth," he said.
But Timmons argued that the ?xml:namespace>
"Businesses have to operate in an environment of certainty, and our competitor nations are attracting investment to their countries because it is 20% more expensive to manufacturer products here in this country, and that is even after taking out higher US labour costs," he said, adding that part of that increased cost is regulations.
John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable and former governor of
"We are competing with countries around the world, and we have the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the world," Engler noted, citing the
Other industrialised nations have corporate tax levies as low as 11%, although some are only marginally lower than the
"The reason our corporate tax rate is so high is that other countries got smart and reduced theirs in order to attract businesses, investments and jobs," Engler said.
"We look forward to working with President Obama and bipartisan leaders in Congress to advance an agenda that will enable strong economic growth, domestic energy security and rational, science-based approaches to regulation," said Cal Dooley, president of the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
"Sound policies and regulations will be critical to continuing the recent growth our industry has experienced," he added.
Since Obama has been in office, Dooley and other chemical and energy industry leaders have been critical of policies, legislation and regulations that they contend could choke off development of new
"With the right approach to economic, energy and environmental policy from the administration and Congress, the chemical industry can serve as an engine that drives growth throughout the country," Dooley said.
Larry Sloan, president of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA), also congratulated Obama on his electoral win and said: "We look forward to working with the Obama administration and Congress to find common ground on advancing our industry’s priorities."
In an apparent reference to earlier concerns voiced about regulatory risks to proprietary business information and innovation, Sloan urged that the administration and Congress pursue "policies that help our members remain competitive and expand their markets".
Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), said: "We hope that in his second term, the president will truly work to advance an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that recognizes the importance of domestic energy resources and fuel and petrochemical manufacturers in rebuilding our nation’s economy."
During Obama’s first term, Drevna often had charged that the president and his administration were conducting a campaign against fossil energy resources in favour of non-hydrocarbon alternatives.
"President Obama should take actions in his second term to ensure our nation becomes a major force in the global energy picture," Drevna said, adding: "Such actions should include regulatory reforms necessary to maintain a strong American energy sector and immediate approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will create thousands of domestic jobs."
The American Petroleum Institute (API) also offered congratulations to the president and said it was looking forward to working with Obama in his second term.
But API president Jack Gerard urged Obama to "avoid the temptation to impose duplicative and unnecessary regulations on hydraulic fracturing" and to "follow through on his own executive order to eliminate overly burdensome regulations".
Gerard, who earlier was head of the ACC, also asked the president to "rein in EPA’s plans to impose regulatory burdens that could cost businesses hundreds of billions of dollars and chill economic growth".
"But over the last 20 years, there have been some 2,000 federal regulations imposed on US manufacturers," he said. "Just in terms of what are termed economically significant regulations, the cost to manufacturers has been three-quarters of a trillion dollars."
The federal government deems a regulation as "economically significant" if it will impose compliance costs of $100m (€78m) or more on business.
Engler said that he believes Obama was awarded a second term by voters "because he pledged to grow the economy and create jobs."
"But there are a lot of federal regulations that are pending, tons of regulations, and the impact of various pollution rules and many others could have significant impact on manufacturers and impede their ability to invest and hire workers,"he said.
"I hope the Obama administration now takes a fresh look and does a true cost-benefit analysis of its regulations," Engler added.
For Timmons, "the first thing that the administration and Congress must do is to work on a growth package".
"Until you figure out how to grow the economy, business is at a standstill," he said. "We don’t know what the future holds."
Timmons said that
Citing the newly abundant
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Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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