“Landmark” Executive Order Promotes International Regulatory Cooperation

May 2, 2012

Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

American companies of all sizes often have difficulty exporting because the various ways countries regulate the same products. Supply chains that crisscross the globe and the increased reliance on exports for job creation mean that these non-trade barriers burden businesses and cost jobs.

Yesterday, Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), announced that President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO 13609) promoting international regulatory cooperation.

In a speech at the U.S. Chamber, Sunstein said the EO states explicitly that “differences between the approaches of U.S. agencies and those of foreign counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of American businesses to export and compete internationally.” It goes on to make OIRA a forum for the public and private sectors to coordinate in fostering international regulatory harmonization and an “obligation for the agencies to consider the relevant reforms” if it can be shown that they’re unnecessary differences between U.S. and its trading partners.

Sean Heather, vice president of the U.S. Chamber's Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation, was very pleased with yesterday’s announcement, calling it a “landmark executive order,” which “recognizes that good regulatory policy supports good trade policy.” He went on to say that the EO “provides a much needed political emphasis and sharpens the administration's focus on international regulatory cooperation in APEC, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and in bilateral regulatory dialogues with key trading partners such as Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.”

Cutting through red tape and eliminating unjustified regulatory costs will help American companies better compete globally.

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