Joint Statement on the Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding Between the United States and Argentina on Regulatory Coherence and Private Sector Engagement

Apr272017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, together with Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Linda McMahon and Argentine Minister of Production Francisco Cabrera, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Regulatory Coherence and Meaningful Engagement with the Private Sector, a key outcome of the U.S.-Argentina Commercial Dialogue. They are pleased to release the following Joint Statement.

We are pleased with the collaborative spirit of the U.S.-Argentina Commercial Dialogue, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Argentine Ministry of Production, with participation from the U.S. Small Business Administration and a broad range of private sector stakeholders in both nations. 

Today we celebrated an important step by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Regulatory Coherence and Meaningful Engagement with the Private Sector. Regulatory coherence emphasizes transparent regulatory procedures and is distinct from regulatory convergence or harmonization.

We recognize the importance of institutionalizing government-wide good regulatory practices (GRPs) such as transparent public consultation, regulatory impact analysis and evidence-based decision-making, and interagency consultation and coordination in the development of regulations.

The MOU underscores the importance of GRPs to global competitiveness, particularly for small and medium-sized companies, and lays out a roadmap for our two countries to cooperate to improve regulatory processes and prevent regulatory barriers to trade from inadvertently arising.

We emphasize the need to reduce burdens to trade and reduce costs for our businesses and workers. We commit to work together and with key stakeholders in our two countries and in the region to promote greater transparency, predictability, and consistency in regulatory processes. Improvements to the regulatory environment will enable U.S. and Argentine companies to compete fairly in the market on a level playing field.

BACKGROUND:

The MOU will facilitate the discussion of best practices for issuing regulations that affect private industry.  The goal of the MOU is to assist the signatories’ individual efforts to implement practices that normally afford all interested parties opportunities to participate, on a non-discriminatory basis, in the development of proposed regulations of general application.

To achieve the MOU’s objectives the parties agree to facilitate roundtables and seminars regarding procedures used to develop and adopt regulations.  These include exchanges on best practices for publishing drafts of regulations, including an explanation of the regulation’s purpose and rationale, providing reasonable opportunity for comment on proposed measures, and address public comment in developing any final regulations.   In addition, the parties will discuss best practices for publishing cost benefit assessments of proposed regulations and considering impacts on small and medium sized businesses.

In the United States, the Administrative Procedures Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act provide the general framework within which agencies like the Department of Commerce publish proposed regulations, seek public comment, and address comments received in the final regulations.  The Department looks forward to discussing with Argentina the best practices of the Department and other Federal agencies through this MOU. 

Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Production of the Argentine Republic, on the one side, and the United States Department of Commerce, and the United States Small Business Administration, on the other side, (hereinafter referred to as “the Participants”), on Joint Cooperation on Regulatory Coherence and Meaningful Engagement with the Private Sector

Considering the mutual benefits created by greater economic and commercial cooperation between the Participants’ countries;

Recognizing that institutionalizing transparency and other good regulatory practices, including the option to reduce regulation, can control regulatory costs and burdens and promote competitiveness, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and increase the economic well-being of both Argentina and the United States;

Reaffirming the importance of public-private cooperation in order to advance the adoption by governments of good regulatory practices, including increased transparency in rule-making; and

Recognizing the importance of establishing mutual understandings on recent global innovations in regulatory policy-making, particularly affording early and meaningful opportunities for all interested persons to participate on a non-discriminatory basis in the regulatory process,

Have reached the following understanding:

Section I

Informational Exchanges

  1.  The Participants, under the United States – Argentina Commercial Dialogue, intend to build on and strengthen their cooperation in the promotion of good regulatory practices, including government-wide transparency, with a view to increasing mutual understanding of their respective systems and enhancing bilateral trade and investment.
  2. The Participants acknowledge that this MoU is not legally binding and is not intended to give rise to any rights or obligations under either domestic or international law. This MoU does not cover financial services. The Participants may modify this MoU at any time in writing
  3. The Participants recognize that transparency and other good regulatory practices help ensure that regulations inter alia: (i) serve clearly identified policy goals and are effective in achieving those goals; (ii) have a sound legal basis; (iii) are based on evidence and the best available science; (iv) maximize net benefits to society, taking economic, environmental, and social effects into account; (v) minimize costs and market distortions; (vi) promote innovation through market-based incentives and goal-based approaches; (vii) are drafted to be clear, simple, and practical for users; (viii) are consistent with the Participants’ other central government regulations and policies; (ix) consider the views of appropriate local government officials; (x) are compatible as appropriate with domestic and international competition, trade, and investment principles; and (xi) are consistent with international obligations.
  4. The Participants intend to cooperate and exchange experiences on ways to ensure that laws, regulations, procedures, and administrative rulings of general application are promptly published so as to enable interested persons and the other Participant to become acquainted with them.
  5. The Participants intend to conduct joint cooperative activities, such as roundtables and seminars, which may include, inter alia, exchanges on best practices regarding:

(a) publishing in advance in draft form any measure of general application that a Participant’s central government proposes to adopt, including significant revisions or amendments thereto;

(b) providing interested persons and the other Participant a reasonable opportunity to comment on such proposed measures;

(c) publishing proposed regulations, including an explanation of their purpose and rationale, on the Internet and in a single official journal of national circulation;

(d) providing timely online access to an official public regulatory file, i.e., docket, containing the following as they become available: a proposed regulation, relevant supporting documents (e.g. analyses, reports, and studies), appropriate public comments related to the regulation, and the final regulation.

(e) providing an adequate comment period (e.g., 60 days) to gain meaningful input from interested persons;

(f) addressing in a final regulation significant, substantive issues raised in comments received during the comment period and explaining substantive revisions made to the proposed regulation;

(g) for regulations that may have significant adverse economic effects on small and medium-sized enterprises, publishing an estimate of those effects and considering alternatives to minimize those effects consistent with the legitimate objectives of the regulation;

(h) for significant regulations, publishing, along with the text of the proposed regulation, an estimate of the potential costs and benefits of the proposed regulatory action and alternative regulatory approaches, e.g., a regulatory impact assessment, in compliance with applicable laws and procedures; and

(i) increasing interagency consultation and coordination associated with processes for developing central-level regulations.

Section II

Results Presentation

Outcomes or developments as a result of activities conducted pursuant to this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) are expected to be presented at the United States – Argentina Commercial Dialogue meetings.

Section III

General Clauses

  1. This MoU comes into operation on the date of signature by the Participants. This MoU is intended to cover activities for a period of two years and for any subsequent period as the Participants may decide in writing.
  2. Either Participant may, at any time, notify the other in writing of its intention to discontinue its activities pursuant to this MoU, but should endeavor to do so at least 90 days in advance of the discontinuation.
  3. Each Participant intends to bear its own costs and expenditures incurred in connection with this MoU. The activities of each Participant in connection with this MoU are contingent on the availability of funds and other resources, and are subject to the laws and regulations that govern each Participant. No funds are obligated by this MoU.
  4. The Participants should address any differences of opinion that may arise with respect to the MoU through consultation.

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