BHP Billiton Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie delivered a speech to business leaders at a Chamber of Commerce event in Washington DC where he called for support for trade deals and the repeal of the four-decade US oil export ban.
The head of the world’s largest mining company said that trade remains below its 2007 peak and fell in absolute terms in the first half of 2015, resulting in lower projections for global growth.
“Open markets promote job creation, economic growth and innovation. All are jeopardised by the pressure placed on trade over the last decade when fears of competition, prompted by rapid growth in emerging economies, resulted in increased protectionism that was compounded by the financial crisis,” Mr Mackenzie said.
According to him, the continued growth of China, India, and other emerging economies will create jobs, raise productivity and lift living standards across the globe.
“The US could see significant benefits. If the remaining trade barriers to new markets were eliminated the economy would grow by hundreds of billions of dollars and 1.5 million jobs. And the world would see better productivity and more competition, supporting growth in developed nations as well as emerging economies looking to meet the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Mr Mackenzie also urged lawmakers to resuscitate talks for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would span the Pacific.
“The Trans Pacific Partnership and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would both be strong steps forward. And policy makers should also consider the measures their countries can take unilaterally to remove the barriers to trade,” he said.
“The US would send a strong signal with the repeal of the oil export ban. A change in policy would add hundreds of thousands of jobs. Importantly, it would further demonstrate the nation’s ongoing commitment to economic freedom and the promotion of global growth.”
BHP has significant operations in the US, including assets offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.