USCIB Urges Withdrawal of Global Tax “Toolkit”

USCIB recently submitted comments to the Platform for Collaboration on Tax concerning a proposed draft “toolkit” on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers of assets. The Platform for Collaboration on Tax is a joint effort launched in April 2016 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group (WBG). USCIB urged The Platform that the taxation of offshore indirect transfers should not be considered in the context of a “toolkit.”

The discussion draft proposes potentially significant shifts in taxing rights for “source” and “residence” countries.

“Decisions on significant shifts in taxing rights ought to be debated among countries at the appropriate multilateral fora and not resolved by guidance provided by the staff of international organizations without debate among the countries,” said Carol Doran Klein, USCIB’s vice president for tax policy.  “As such, the letter recommends withdrawal of the toolkit.”

Doran Klein added: “USCIB is concerned that tax authorities may treat the toolkits as authoritative guidance. Each toolkit should make clear that they are not authoritative and cannot override contrary guidance that is authoritative.”

Hampl Advocates for Open and Fair Investment Policies at OECD

As USCIB continues to advocate for open and fair investment policies in NAFTA and at recent discussions in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, USCIB Director of Investment, Trade, and Financial Services Eva Hampl was in Paris last week, participating in the meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Investment Committee. Hampl also held several bilateral meetings with various OECD investment staff and officials from the U.S. Mission to the OECD.

The agenda of the OECD Investment Committee was extensive, including the work of the Freedom of Investment Roundtable, covering issues including societal costs and benefits of international investment agreements, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and related issues, particularly regarding an overview of arbitrators in investment arbitrations and adjudicator compensation systems in dispute settlement. The meetings also discussed the strategic direction for the OECD investment work.

During the stakeholder consultation, Business at OECD made strong statements focused primarily on international investment agreements, specifically ISDS and related issues.

“We maintained our position that investment agreements are very important to business, and are necessary for a robust international investment environment,” said Hampl. “Unfortunately, the OECD has not yet been able to produce reliable data definitively proving the benefits of IIAs,” she added.

Hampl also made an intervention on behalf of U.S. industry, underlining the importance of empirical research in this area, and raising concerns about leaving a vacuum of information in the space related to IIAs.

“In today’s political environment that appears to be progressively more hostile toward foreign investment, advocating for these protections is vital,” said Hampl. “As the OECD continues to develop policy documents on these issues, USCIB will actively participate in shaping these policies.”

USCIB Leads Geneva Fight for Strong Investment Agreements

 

As anti-business rhetoric continues to emerge in various intergovernmental forums, USCIB Vice President for Trade and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly led a small but vocal international business delegation at last week’s annual High-level International Investment Agreements (IIAs) Conference at the UN Conference on Trade and development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.

As with many UNCTAD events, this three-day investment conference was dominated by government, UN and international organization experts, NGO activists and academics.  Donnelly was joined by USCIB’s partner BDI, the leading German business association, as the only business voices among over 200 delegates.

Issues on the UNCTAD agenda included reforming investment agreements, alternatives to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) to resolve disputes, rebalancing rights and obligations between investors and host governments and alternative strategies to fix IIAs.

UNCTAD gave Donnelly a prominent spot in the opening plenary and keynote slots on two major breakout groups as well as in the closing plenary. In addition to rebuting some anti-IIA and anti-ISDS political diatribes, Donnelly emphasized some basic themes, including that it is private investors who drive growth, jobs and progress. “The IIA protections do matter to investors,” emphasized Donnelly. “Strong ISDS provisions are critical to ensure implementation of investment agreements. Investment agreements which earn rave reviews from governments, academics and UN bureaucrats but which don’t work for business won’t yield investments and all the benefits which flow from private investment flows,” he added.

Communicators Meet in Ireland for 2nd Business at OECD Roundtable

Last week, in Dublin and Cork, Ireland, Business at OECD welcomed more than 20 representatives from member federations and companies to its annual Heads of Communication Roundtable, jointly organized with its Irish member federation IBEC. Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs, represented USCIB alongside several representatives of USCIB member companies.

“This was a valuable series of meetings,” said Huneke. “We discussed the challenges, in the current international environment, of communicating the views and priorities of the globally oriented business community to governments and the public at large. We also explored ways to support our fellow federations’ activities, and to learn from one another, in a communications and policy environment that only seems to get more fast-paced and unpredictable every year.”

High-level speakers at the roundtable included Irish Ambassador to OECD Dermot Nolan, IBEC President Edel Creely and CEO Danny McCoy, and Irish experts who had helped “move the needle” on contentious public debates over economic development and marriage equality.

“The meetings also showcased some of the substantive factors Ireland brings to the table for companies when they make location decisions, Huneke added. “Hence the decision to visit the country’s high-tech hub of Cork.” The communicators held site visits and discussions with Cathy Kearney (CEO, Apple Ireland), Donal O’Sullivan (CEO, Johnson Controls) and Kyran Johnson (General Manager, Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson).

Huneke said he made sure to remind all three companies of their USCIB membership, and offered to support their efforts in whatever way possible.

2018 OECD Tax Conference

SAVE THE DATE!

The 2018 OECD International Tax Conference

 June 4-5, 2018

Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C

This annual conference provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. business community to interact with key representatives from the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, including the new Head of the Transfer Pricing Unit, Tomas Balco, the new Head of theTax Treaty Unit, Sophie Chatel, and senior tax officials from the U.S. and other key countries involved in the OECD’s international tax work. The conference will focus on the latest developments in the taxation of multinational enterprises including tax treaties, transfer pricing, the work of the Task Force on the Digital Economy, dispute resolution and more.

For more information, please contact Erin Breitenbucher (202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org).

2017 Final Agenda

2017 Topics:

  • Tax Reform Trends
  • Improving Tax Certainty
  • Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI)
  • Transfer Pricing
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Inclusive Framework on BEPS & Developing Countries

2017 Featured Speakers:

  • Mark Prater – Chief Tax Counsel and Deputy Staff Director for the Republican staff of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Finance
  • Pascal Saint-Amans – Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration, OECD
  • Martin Kreienbaum – Director General, International Taxation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany
  • Mike Williams – Director, Business and International Tax, HM Treasury
  • Doug O’Donnell – Commissioner, Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, IRS
  • Grace Perez-Navarro – Deputy Director of the CTPA, OECD
  • Achim Pross – Head of International Cooperation and Tax Administration, OECD
  • Jefferson Vanderwolk – Head of the Tax Treaty, Transfer Pricing & Financial Transactions Division, OECD
  • James Karanja – Head of joint OECD/UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Initiative
  • Will Morris – Chairman, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Other Senior Treasury and Foreign Tax Policy Officials

More on USCIB’s Taxation Committee

2017 Conference Sponsored By:

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Exhibitors:

 

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Presented by:

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OECD

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In association with:

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OECD Business Communicators to Meet in Ireland

Dublin’s Samuel Beckett Bridge: The Irish capital will welcome business communicators from across the OECD.

Continuing its efforts to re-frame the global narrative on trade and economic openness, on October 12-13, Business at OECD (BIAC) will hold its 2nd Heads of Communications Roundtable in Dublin and Cork, Ireland, in cooperation with its Irish member Ibec . This is a two-day program for heads of communications from BIAC’s global membership, and USCIB company representatives are encouraged to attend.

“The roundtable will include a series of meetings, company visits, and guest speakers on themes relevant to communications professionals within business federations and individual companies, and will facilitate a solution-based discussion on the challenges we face in the current international socio-political environment,” according to Ali Karami-Ruiz, BIAC’s director of policy and communications. “Through the event, we will showcase the success and substance globalization has brought to Ireland’s economy.”

In the context of a growing populist narrative in some economies, Irish business leaders will address participants on the challenges and opportunities we face in communicating business and open markets. The program will include a number of company visits and inputs from the communications team behind the “Yes Equality” campaign for marriage equality in Ireland, and from the Irish government’s director of strategic communications.

Communications professionals from USCIB member organizations who are interested in participating in the roundtable should contact Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs.

 

OECD Week Addresses Global Challenges with Business Input

 

Peter M. Robinson at OECD Week in Paris

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was in Paris last week for OECD Week, which tackled issues such as international tax rules, globalization challenges and anti-trade rhetoric. Addressing Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on June 7, Business at OECD (BIAC) Chair Phil O’Reilly called on governments to address the challenges of strengthening growth and boosting economic participation, emphasizing that ultimately societies can only support economic openness, when it is accompanied by appropriate domestic policies to prepare people for change, with better skills and more opportunities for economic participation.” O’Reilly drew upon principles highlighted in the recently released Business at OECD 2017 Statement to Ministers, which contains the core business recommendations to strengthen open economies and inclusive societies. This paper is a call to action for OECD governments to implement a comprehensive competitiveness agenda, and also better engage with the public, especially regarding the opportunities that come with trade and investment.

In a similar statement, Business at OECD Secretary General Bernhard Welschke encouraged governments to better address an increasing anti-trade rhetoric in OECD countries, highlighting that “both business and trade unions have a responsibility to communicate in a fair, balanced, and responsible manner.” Also speaking at the session on International Trade and Investment for the Benefit for All, Business at OECD (BIAC) Vice Chair and USCIB Board member Charles R. Johnston (Citi) encouraged governments to counteract on protectionist action in the form of growing non-tariff barriers, and pointed to areas where new OECD work would help better inform this debate. Business also emphasized that governments should fully use the OECD Investment Restrictiveness Index and implement the Policy Framework for Investment.

On international tax policy, Business at OECD (BIAC) was present at the official signing ceremony for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures (MLI) to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which took place at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. The MLI opens the door to changes in the tax treaty process, and to a number of key international tax rules, that are significant. Concurrently, USCIB and the OECD were holding their 12th annual international tax conference in Washington DC, which brought together over 300 tax policy experts.

Annual OECD Tax Conference Showcases Tax Reform

Mark Prater, chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, spoke at the conference.

Against the backdrop of new global tax rules developed under the BEPS Action Plan and efforts to advance tax reform in the United States, USCIB members and others from the business community gathered in Washington, D.C. on Monday and Tuesday for the 12th annual OECD International Tax Conference.

Organized by USCIB in concert with the 35-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as Business at OECD (BIAC), the conference has grown into an annual must-attend event for tax practitioners, experts and regulators from around the world.

With an eye toward the direction of possible U.S. tax reform, including reduction of the top corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent, Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD’s Center for Tax Policy and Administration, told conference-goers that he expects most OECD economies to adopt corporate tax rates in the 20-30 percent range. Saint-Amans said there may be some exceptions, including in the UK, where top rates may drop below 20 percent.

Other speakers picked up the theme. “The current U.S. system is broken,” said Mark Prater, chief tax counsel and deputy staff director of the Senate Finance Committee, during keynote luncheon remarks. “Tax reform is a difficult political transaction,” he observed, but “the U.S. sits at a crossroads of reform, which is an opportunity that has not been available in a generation.”

Over the course of the two-day conference, which took place at the Four Seasons Hotel, participants discussed tax policy trends, current tax reform, tax uncertainty, digitalization, increases in intangible assets, and dealing with tax-related disputes through arbitration. They also focused on transfer pricing as well as the OECD’s new multilateral instrument, signed today in Paris.

“The conference provides a real opportunity for dialogue between business, governments, and the OECD,” said USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel Carol Doran Klein. “This year, because the focus is now on BEPS implementation, there was good discussion of opportunities to improve tax certainty, including a pilot International Compliance Assurance Program, Advanced Pricing Agreements and an improved Mutual Agreement Procedure.”

On the multilateral instrument, Will Morris, chair of the BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs, told Bloomberg BNA: “Many of us in the business community doubted the OECD would get the consensus necessary for a document of this scope and substance. But they have, and [the multilateral instrument] opens the door to changes in the tax treaty process, and to a number of key international tax rules, that are significant.”

Business at OECD Gears Up for OECD Ministerial Council Meeting

Business at OECD (BIAC) will be hosting executive leadership, including USCIB’s President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, and Citi’s Rick Johnston, USCIB board member and BIAC vice chair at their General Assembly in Paris this week. Business at OECD will also participate in the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, which will bring together economy, finance and trade ministers from OECD countries to discuss strategic orientations for the coming years under the theme “Making Globalization Work.”

Business at OECD will provide guidance to OECD and governments on addressing the challenges of strengthening growth and boosting economic participation, drawing upon its 2017 statement to Ministers, which includes recommendations on:

  • Support a better business environment and map competitiveness
  • Create the conditions to benefit from trade and investment on a level playing field
  • For growth and investment, ensure good governance and predictable tax policies
  • Increase participation by promoting the skills and competencies to thrive in the digital era
  • Focus on entrepreneurship

OECD Tax Conference: Information for Participants

Conference Materials:

  • USB Flash Drives with Background Documents will be included in materials handed out to attendees. Electronic copies are available to registered participants upon request.

PowerPoint Presentations

  • Hard Copies of PowerPoint Presentations will not be distributed. Electronic copies are available to registered participants upon request. 

Conference Logistics:

Location Details: The conference will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel located at 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The meeting portion of the conference will take place in the Corcoran Ballroom located on the Banquet level. The Reception on Monday, June 5th will take place in the Seasons Restaurant on the Lower Lobby Level.  The Luncheon on Tuesday, June 6th will take place in the Dumbarton Conservatory next door to the Corcoran Ballroom.

Wireless Internet:  Wireless internet is available for conference attendees in the meeting room.  Please ask a member of the conference staff for the wireless password. Complimentary internet is also available to conference participants in your hotel room.

Parking:  Discounted Valet Parking is available at the conference venue, The Four Seasons Hotel, for conference attendees. The discounted rate is $29 per day.  Please pick up a parking validation sticker at the registration table for each day of the conference.

Metro: The nearest metro station is the Foggy Bottom-GWU station.  Both Blue and Orange lines stop at the Foggy Bottom Metro.  The Hotel is approximately a four block walk from the metro. (Map below)

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