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Blue Skies Over Capitol Hill

Mark O’Connell – 28 Feb, 2018 – US Perspective

I’ve just attended the Invest In America Summit in Washington D.C. where I participated in a panel to discuss how to finance and upgrade US infrastructure renewal.  The US has been slow to embrace PPP and more creative forms of infrastructure financing seen elsewhere in the world, and the Administration has advanced a $1.5tn expenditure bill of which $200bn will be federal money.  The private sector appetite for rushing in to plug the gap seems muted so far, and there is considerable inconsistency at State level around the regulations governing PPP, if indeed they even exist.

We also heard from Steve Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury, and several State Governors.  The position on NAFTA and TTP seems to be softening or even reversing, with universal consensus on the need to update these agreements rather than scrap them. That all went down well with the audience which consisted of a significant number of representatives border States and delegations from Japan and China. CFIUS was also identified as a growing obstacle for foreign investment and needs to be more transparent in its workings.

So all in all some blue skies appearing through the clouds on Capitol Hill as far as international trade is concerned.