USCIB Supports UN Convention on Receivables

Last week, USCIB joined nine other trade associations to sign on to a letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in support for the United Nations Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade, asking the committee to move expeditiously toward its ratification.

Enactment of the convention would make it easier for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses to access additional financing from lenders based on their sales of goods and services to customers located in other countries that ratify the convention.

“The Receivables Convention is self-executing and would not change U.S. law in any material respect, because U.S. law already reflects the modern legal principles embodied in the convention,” said Eva Hampl, USCIB’s director for investment, trade and financial services. “We believe that U.S. ratification would prompt other countries to ratify as well, which will then make it easier for U.S. lenders to accommodate the financing needs of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses, enabling them to compete more vigorously in the international marketplace and foster the growth of American jobs.”

No state or federal legislation is needed for executing the Convention so there is no cost to the U.S. government or taxpayers in ratifying it. Furthermore, experts from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws participated fully in the formulation of the Convention and have determined that there would be no implementation issues in ratifying the Convention.

 

 

USCIB Disappointed at Lack of Multilateral Progress at WTO Ministerial

But business group holds out hope on promising efforts by major groups of countries

Buenos Aires and New York, December 13, 2017 – The United States Council for Inte–rnational Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, expressed disappointment at the lack of meaningful multilateral progress at the World Trade Organization ministerial that concluded today. But it said that potential new group efforts on electronic commerce and other issues offered some limited hope for the future.

“Expectations for Buenos Aires were low coming in, and unfortunately the results largely lived up to them,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, who represented USCIB at the ministerial. “The business community, which relies on cross-border trade and investment to help contribute to economic growth and societal well-being around the world, is disappointed. But we do hold out some hope for future progress based on the commitment by large groups of countries in pursuing new agreements.”

On the sidelines of the ministerial, 70 countries, led by Australia, Japan, and Singapore, and including the United States and the European Union, agreed to begin discussions toward negotiations on electronic commerce. USCIB joined the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which it serves as the American national committee, in welcoming the move.

“Today’s statement is a very welcome step forward by governments representing 77 percent of global trade,” said ICC Secretary General John Danilovich. “We firmly believe that with the right global policies in place there is an opportunity to unleash a new era of inclusive trade, one in which all companies – regardless of size, sector or location – can benefit from equal access to the global trading system.”

Separately, ministers from over 60 countries issued a joint statement pledging to pursue negotiations on domestic regulations that limit cross-border trade in services. They also renewed a landmark 1998 moratorium on duties on electronic transmissions.

“Taken together, these results offer some hope for the future, and set a new and positive direction for the WTO,” said Robinson. “We are especially grateful for the persistence and vision of those members that pushed for continued positive movement on e-commerce.”

Robinson continued: “However, the lack of truly meaningful multilateral deliverables is worrisome. Members will need to think long and hard about what kind of WTO they really want – one that simply adjudicates trade disputes and sanctions trade enforcement remedies, or one that expands trade through new, market-opening agreements.”

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
jhuneke@uscib.org, +1 212.703.5043

 

ICC Marketing Commission Looks to Bring Sense to Debate Over Children’s Advertising

ICC Marketing & Advertising Commission members met at Microsoft’s San Francisco offices.

Amid a year-long celebration of the 80th anniversary of the International Chamber of Commerce’s landmark global marketing code (formally known as the ICC Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice), ICC members gathered in San Francisco on December 4-5 to discuss emerging challenges to the self-regulatory framework exemplified by the ICC Code.

The ICC Marketing and Advertising Commission, chaired by Brent Sanders, associate general counsel with Microsoft, meets twice annually, and this gathering marked the commission’s first visit to the West Coast in several years. Among the guest speakers was Jurgen Van Staden, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook, who addressed the evolving landscape for advertising self-regulation in a fast-evolving digital landscape and encouraged ICC members to ensure that the ICC Code remains fit for purpose.

Top of mind for many participants were new regulatory threats that may impose overly stringent constraints on the marketing of products to children and teenagers. National and global regulatory bodies are increasingly focused on the topic, and many policy responses seek to address “up-aging” (increasing the upper age limit of childhood), limitations on screen time, and privacy and data security, as well as many other concerns.

According to Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs, who attended the ICC meetings, business representatives are seeking to bridge the significant divergence of regulatory practice between the United States, the European Union and other jurisdictions.

“Not surprisingly, national standards for marketing and advertising can vary widely between countries,” he said. “To take one example, the EU’s soon-to-be-implemented General Data Privacy Regulation imposes an absolute right to privacy that may complicate efforts to comply with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, where restrictions on the use of data is less restrictive for those aged 13 and over. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential regulatory divergence.

ICC members agreed to develop a toolkit to respond to threatened bans on marketing to children and teens, drawing upon the ICC Code, as well as related ICC guidance on food and beverage marketing, online advertising, and other issues. They will also explore conducting an outreach and educational campaign for policy makers around the world, to raise awareness of self-regulation as an effective means of maintaining high standards of marketing and advertising practice.

Commission members also reviewed proposed changes to the ICC Code in the areas of data-driven and interactive marketing. The next meeting of the ICC Marketing and Advertising Commission will take place in Paris in late June. You can view and download copies of the ICC Code and many other resources on marketing and advertising at ICC’s Codes Centre website.

Read more about USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee here.

USCIB Washington Update October – November 2017

Highlighting Key Activities, October-November 2017

During the months of October and November 2017, USCIB Staff met with Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat on U.S. trade policy, discussed OECD policy work with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Brian McFeeters, engaged on CFIUS with Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS Aimen Mir, spoke on a NAFTA panel at the Services Summit conference, submitted a comment letter to OECD on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy, raised concerns regarding the work of the OECD Health Committee with the Director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the OECD Stefano Scarpetta, reviewed questions on customs treatment of international postal shipments with Deputy Post Master General Ronald A. Stroman, provided the business view at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

    1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
    2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
    3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
    4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
    5. Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    6. Innovation and Intellectual Property – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    7. APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region
    8. Membership
    9. Upcoming Events
    10. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

Mulligan Talks NAFTA at CSI Summit: USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Rob Mulligan spoke at a Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) summit on October 17, where he outlined USCIB’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) priorities. Mulligan noted that NAFTA can be brought into the 21st century by including provisions that ensure cross-border data flows, include strong e-commerce rules, protect against data localization requirements, and level the playing field for firms competing against state-owned enterprises. More can also be done to improve the customs processes with Canada and Mexico. These steps will help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs. Mulligan noted that USCIB member companies strongly support NAFTA and have greatly benefited from it over the last 23 years, so they want the governments to avoid changes to existing parts of NAFTA that would harm trade rather than expand it. He especially highlighted concerns with U.S. government proposals on rules of origin, government procurement, ISDS and a sunset clause.

USCIB Lobbies Senate and House on NAFTA and Co-sponsors Reception: As part of a wider Coalition effort related to NAFTA, Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, and Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, lobbied the Senate and the House, respectively, in October as the fourth round of talks unfolded. Private-sector representatives spent two full days talking to House and Senate Republicans and Democrats. Issues addressed included proposals coming from the U.S. side in the NAFTA talks addressing rules of origin, government procurement, investor-state dispute settlement, and a proposed sunset provision that would essentially force NAFTA to be renewed at regular intervals. There continues to be great concern in the business community that NAFTA is being set up to fail with some of the proposals that are being tabled. USCIB also co-sponsored a reception on the sidelines of the NAFTA talks, where Hampl amplified USCIB’s central message of urgency, noting that USCIB members rely on the agreement and its benefits for their operations, which provide jobs for U.S. workers.

USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meets with USTR on NAFTA Digital Trade Negotiations:  Jonathan McHale, Deputy Assistant USTR for Telecommunications Policy briefed the USCIB Digital Trade Working Group on the NAFTA negotiations at its meeting on November 7, 2017.  He provided an update on the digital trade elements of the NAFTA negotiations as well as an outlook for e-commerce at the WTO Ministerial.  Jonathan highlighted several positive developments with regard to the digital trade issues and noted areas where the U.S. has proposed additional provisions for negotiation.  Members also heard from Nick Ashton-Hart, calling in from Geneva, who has been assisting the Friends of E-Commerce for Development group of countries seeking to have the WTO move forward with work on e-commerce issues.  He noted that there is a group of African countries opposing these efforts to address e-commerce more actively in the WTO and urged USCIB and ICC to work with affiliate business groups in those countries.  The DTWG also discussed planning for 2018 and will look to prioritize advocacy and engagement that capitalizes on USCIB’s access to global organizations.

USCIB Joins BIAC Board for Meetings in Washington, D.C. with Key U.S Officials:  The Business at OECD (BIAC) Board of Directors held its most recent meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2017.  Rick Johnston, Citi, who is the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Chair, also serves as a Vice-Chair of the BIAC Board and hosted their meeting at his office.  In addition to a day-long strategy meeting which included a presentation from Rob Mulligan as the representative of the U.S. affiliate to BIAC, the Board Members had the chance to exchange views with a number of key U.S. officials and thought leaders including Everett Eissenstat (Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs), Andy Taylor and Matthew Zweig (Staff for House Committee on Foreign Affairs), and Brian McFeeters (Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs).  They also had a lunch discussion with Greg Ip (Wall Street Journal) and Shawn Donnan (Financial Times).  Peter Robinson, CEO and President of USCIB, and Rob Mulligan joined the Board for these meetings.

Hampl Advocates for Strong Investment Policies in Paris: In October, Eva Hampl, Director, Investment Trade and Financial Services, participated in the meetings of the OECD Investment Committee. In addition to a formal stakeholder consultation, and a dinner with leadership from the Investment Committee as well as the OECD Secretariat, Hampl had bilateral meetings with various OECD investment staff, as well as with officials from the U.S. Mission to the OECD. During the stakeholder consultation, BIAC made strong statements focused primarily on international investment agreements, specifically ISDS and related issues. BIAC maintained the position that investment agreements are very important to business, and are necessary for a robust international investment environment. Unfortunately, the OECD has not yet been able to produce reliable data definitively proving the benefits of IIAs. 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.

Donnelly Speaks Up for Business at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements (IIAs): USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly was the lead business speaker at the October 9-11 annual High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements in Geneva. Shaun kept reminding the government, NGO and academic “experts” that strong IIAs, including effective Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) disciplines, help drive investment flows and all the benefits (economic growth, trade and good jobs) we are all seeking. Donnelly authored a blog post on the UNCTAD IIA Conference, including key talking points from his several interventions.

Donnelly Touches Base on Geneva Issues, Tees up Peter Robinson’s Meetings with U.S. Mission: While in Geneva in early October, USCIB’s Shaun Donnelly met with the Charge d’Affaires (the Acting U.S. Ambassador) to the Geneva UN agencies, Ted Allegra. They reviewed USCIB priorities and concerns across a range of UN agencies (World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, and Human Rights Commission, in addition to UNCTAD. Donnelly also had a detailed roundtable with key U.S. Mission staff from multiple U.S. agencies (State, HHS, USTR). Donnelly met formally or informally with other Geneva-based foreign Ambassadors and staff in other UN agencies. About a month later, USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was back at the U.S. Mission for a more detailed follow-up session with the Charge, focused especially on serious challenges for USCIB members at the WHO, HRC, and ILO. Peter also was able to have a busy round of high-level meetings at UN agencies and beyond.

USCIB Discusses Transparency at OECD SOE Integrity Roundtable: On October 23, 2017, represented USCIB at a special roundtable at the OECD on Integrity, the “Fight Against Corruption and Responsible Business Conduct in the SOE Sector”. As a discussant on the issue of transparency, Hampl made comments addressing the importance of transparency regarding state-owned enterprises (SOEs). SOEs are increasing in global commerce, disadvantaging companies operating without state support or control. SOEs are particularly vulnerable to corruption due to factors such as a close relationship between government, politicians and the SOE senior management, and in some cases lack of transparency and reporting. To truly level the playing field between SOEs and companies competing in the global market, SOEs must be held to the same standards. Following the roundtable, Hampl also participated in the consultation with the OECD Working Party on State Ownership and Privatization Practices, where she reiterated many of the points made at the roundtable, as well as emphasized the importance of the OECD to focus on the demand side of bribery.

Discussing the Cost of Corruption on OECD Anti-bribery Convention and FCPA Anniversary: On November 8, 2017 Eva Hampl, took part in a panel at the event “Celebrating the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention at 20, the FCPA at 40 & Addressing the Challenges Ahead”. She addressed the cost that corruption and bribery present to business, and the important role the OECD plays to level the playing field in that regard. The OECD Anti-bribery Convention is a landmark instrument addressing the bribery of foreign officials. With its multi-disciplinary nature, the OECD has the capacity to take a coordinated approach to the fight against corruption, including addressing such issues as increased adherence to the Convention, increased efforts to address the demand side of bribery, more measures to facilitate voluntary self-disclosure, and addressing the growing complexity and costs of complying with multiple anti-bribery regimes by promoting clarity and greater international consistency.

USCIB Urges High Standards in Colombia’s OECD Accession: Through its Business at OECD (BIAC) affiliation, USCIB has been extensively involved in representing member interests in the OECD accession process of Colombia. Eva Hampl traveled to Paris in November with member companies and associations, to attend meetings with OECD officials and various OECD delegations. BIAC led the global business delegation in meetings with Ken Ash, OECD director for trade and agriculture, Nicola Bonucci, OECD director for legal affairs and coordinator for accession, Catalina Crane, high-level contact for Colombia’s OECD Accession Process, and delegation representatives from the United States, including Andrew Haviland, chargé d’affaires, as well as representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and Mexico. Colombia started the accession process in 2013, and currently 20 of the 23 OECD Committees have approved them for accession. One of the outstanding committees is the Trade Committee, which is currently drafting its Formal Opinion, which is the final stage in the process. USCIB’s current advocacy surrounds pre-accession recommendations, which we urged the OECD Trade Committee to include in the Formal Opinion. This ask is central to resolving our various business issues. Following the November 2017 meeting, the next meeting of the OECD Trade Committee will be in April 2018. USCIB will aggressively continue our advocacy efforts as this accession process moves forward, to ensure that as many of our priority issues are resolved as possible before Colombia joins the OECD.

Checking in with New Economic Leadership at State: On October 26, Shaun Donnelly had a wide-ranging introductory session on USCIB and our key priorities with the then new Acing Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs (the “EB Bureau”) Brian McFeeters plus other senior EB staff. Brian, just back from a tour as Deputy Chief of Mission in Indonesia, is the new Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (“P/DAS”) in EB but was holding the fort until his new boss was confirmed and sworn in. As a former EB PDAS in his own 36-year Foreign Service career, Shaun had a lot of common experiences to draw on with Brian as he laid out USCIB’s unique role representing U.S. business around the world and our current policy priorities. Former Senate staffer Manisha Singh was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate on November 2 to be the next EB Assistant Secretary. Ms. Singh, who served as EB’s Trade DAS in the George W. Bush Administration, should be formally sworn in very soon. Here’s a link to McFeeters’ official State bio.

Helping Mark 20 Years of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention: The Coalition for Integrity (“C4I”) organized an afternoon long seminar on the afternoon of their annual dinner in Washington marking the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention and the 40th Anniversary of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, two key tools in the fight against international bribery. USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly spoke on the panel focused on the panel focused on the OECD’s Anti-Bribery convention (officially the “Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions”) which was signed in December 1997. Shaun and fellow panelists evaluated process and highlighted priorities for future work. Shaun emphasized two key areas for concerned USCIB member companies – balancing the now well-established work on the “supply” side of corruption from the business side to bring equal focus on the “demand” side, unmasking and punishing corrupt senior government officials attempting to extorting payments from businesses. Shaun also urged the participating governments to open more of the committee meetings and activities to business and other stakeholders.

Talking CFIUS with Treasury: With the long-awaited Cornyn Bill to reform and strengthen the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (“CFIUS”) finally now getting more attention, USCIB staffers Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl ventured over to Treasury (the lead agency on CFIUS) to meet with Aimen Mir, Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS. We had an excellent, wide-ranging discussion on key CFIUS issues with the result that DAS Mir and his boss new Treasury Assistant Secretary Heath Tarbert will be speaking with USCIB member companies at our upcoming USCIB Trade and Investment Committee meeting on December 12.

Talking Trade Hither and Yon: Beyond his part-time USCIB work, our VP for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly remains a sought-after after-hours speaker on broad trade topics both in Washington and on the road. Recently Shaun spoke on Trump Administration trade policies and related trade issues at the Louisville (Kentucky) Committee on Foreign Relations and at his long-ago high school in Indiana. Here in Washington, Shaun was a dinner speaker for the prestigious Foreign Policy Discussion Group and to a “Road Scholar” group as part of a week-long program on “Sovereignty Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy.” Helps keep the old Ambassador off the street and, hopefully, helps in a small way to improve public understanding on important trade issues for our country.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Members Engage with the Internet Society on Internet Governance Issues, Commerce Debriefs on Privacy Shield Annual Review: The ICT Policy Committee Meeting on October 4 featured a dialogue with senior executives of the Internet Society (ISOC) to explore potential collaboration in developing new approaches to increasing challenges in the Internet governance space. It was noted that Internet governance issues have become more complex and the multistakeholder model has come under fire in multilateral organizations due to geopolitical pressures often couched in security terms. Members agreed that USCIB and ISOC should leverage our organizations’ positive multistakeholder experiences to showcase a new alternative. ISOC’s Chief Technology Officer Olaf Kolkman also gave a presentation on ISOC’s Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) Initiative, which is aimed at bringing companies and other stakeholders together to develop a set of norms focused on routing security. In addition, Nasreen Djouini, International Trade Specialist at International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, debriefed members on the generally successful first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. USCIB issued a statement just before the September 18-19 review reaffirming its support for the Framework, underscoring that it is accomplishing its intended goal of creating stronger, more effective means for transferring and safeguarding personal data from the EU to the United States.

USCIB Members Shape Discussions on EU Privacy Regulation Impact, Amazon Application, and Board Accountability at ICANN 60: The 60th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 28-November 3 was dominated by discussions about the implications of the May 25, 2018 implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ICANN’s WHOIS database policies and the contractual obligations of Registries and Registrars. USCIB member representatives from Amazon, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, VeriSign and Verizon actively contributed to their expertise. In addition, the long-running dispute concerning Amazon’s application for the Amazon generic top-level domain (gTLD) was the focus of a standing-room only session of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The ICANN Board’s abrupt suspension of a review to ensure the security, stability and resilience of the domain name system (DNS) came under tough scrutiny. Barbara Wanner, ICT Vice President, participated in her capacity as the BC’s representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG), a position that facilitated important meetings with senior ICANN officials and other key constituencies.

Key Inputs to OECD Horizontal Project on the Digital Economy are Influenced by USCIB Members: On October 25, USCIB member representatives from Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Facebook, and Microsoft, made key contributions to a joint BIAC/OECD workshop, “OECD Going Digital Scenarios,” which considered four different potential scenarios for how the digital economy may evolve over the next several decades. They provided feedback about the likelihood of these scenarios occurring and the impacts on business, consumers, and other participants in the economy and society. Selected members followed this up October 26-27, providing industry insights to a joint OECD/Government Japan conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Their substantive contributions continued through the week of October 30 at meetings of the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP), the Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy (MADE), and the Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE) as well as at the November 21-22 meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP). Working through BIAC, USCIB member input will feed into the OECD’s Going Digital project on the digital transformation of the economy. This is the most ambitious horizontal project that has ever been undertaken by the OECD, the goal of which is to help governments approach the digital transformation of the economy in a coherent, proactive, and whole-of-government manner.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Participates in OECD Conversation on the Tax Challenges of the Digitalized Economy: In response to a request for input by the OECD, USCIB submitted a comment letter on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy. The letter emphasized the need to consider the impact of changes on global growth and the need to ensure that new rules are based on sound principles. The letter analyzed the proposals under the Ottawa principles that have been used to evaluate tax proposals in the past and that the OECD has supported in the Action 1 Final Report. The written comments were followed by a public consultation held in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley meeting was well-attended by USCIB members, including Bill Sample, Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee, Will Morris, Vice Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee (and Chair of the BIAC Tax Committee), and Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel. In addition to global growth and sound principles, business emphasized the need for income taxation to follow value creation; the difficulty of valuing data, that raw data does not create value, rather value is created by what businesses do with data; that the digital economy cannot be ring-fenced (although many of the proposals seem to try to do precisely that); that gross basis taxes are especially flawed given that most businesses fail and that even successful businesses may incur start-up losses for extended periods; and that any short-term solution must be genuinely short-term and comply with both tax treaty and trade obligations.

USCIB members also met separately with officials from the German Finance Ministry to discuss their views on these issues. We will also be having a meeting in Washington, D.C., on November 30th, with the French Finance Ministry to these topics.
It is clear that there is tremendous political pressure to shift taxation rights. The EU wants new “source” rules that put more profit in market jurisdictions. It seems that the OECD may have a short window to produce results that the EU and other jurisdictions that are seeking more “source” taxation rights consider appropriate. Beyond that time-frame, which may coincide with the April 2018 report to the G20, unilateral measures become increasingly likely.

USCIB Submits Comments on Platform for Collaboration on Tax’s Draft Toolkit on the Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers: USCIB submitted a comment letter on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers. The comment letter strongly made the point that, if adopted as drafted, the toolkit would reverse fundamental policies on the taxation of capital gains and therefore should be considered (and adopted or rejected) by country delegates, not recommended by staff of international organizations.

USCIB Attends and Presents Comments at the OECD’s Public Consultations on Profit Splits and Profit Attribution: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein represented USCIB at two days of public consultations at the OECD in Paris on profit splits and profit attribution. Business emphasized that the use of the transactional profit split method should be rare. There was a great deal of discussion concerning risk and the accurate delineation of the transaction. Many of the business commentators argued that applying the TPSM to companies that do not assume the risk under Chapter 1 is inappropriate. Another frequent comment of business on the profit split method was that more clarity is needed particularly on the definition of unique and valuable intangibles. On profit attribution, business criticized the high-level nature of the current discussion draft, making the point that more detail is needed to achieve certainty.

USCIB Participates in BIAC Tax Committee Meeting: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein participated in a BIAC Tax Committee meeting in Paris that was held at the offices of Baker & McKenzie. There were presentations by a number of OECD staff summarizing the status of a number of important work streams. On the digital economy work, the OECD indicated that there is no consensus on any of the options, but external developments are sharing the conversation and the report. The OECD wants to ensure that the interim report provides a pathway to long-term solutions. With respect to profit attribution, the OECD expected that the WP6 would reach agreement on a final version by November 17. A draft should go to the CFA/Inclusive Framework for approval in January 2018. The timing is similar for finalizing the profit split discussion draft.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

Giblin Represents USCIB and ICC at WCO 60th HSC Meetings: From September 27 – October 6, 2017, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director of Customs and Trade Facilitation, participated in the World Customs Organization 60th Harmonized System Committee (HSC) Meetings in Paris, France. At the 60th HSC, there were 53 individual product classification decisions taken, and a number of issues important to USCIB membership were discussed, including 3D Printers, certain Tobacco Products, Toys, Footwear, and more.

Engaging with ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission on E-Commerce: Megan Giblin participated in the ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission Meeting in Paris, France, November 9-10, 2017. ICC provided an update on its engagement in the WCO working group on e-commerce as a co-lead of the sub-working group on Revenue Collection. Other topics covered at the meeting included a discussion on the European Union Customs Code (UCC), implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and an update on the WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (TCCV) developments.

Customs Committee Members Meet with Key Players on International Postal Shipments: In efforts to address member questions related to customs treatment of international postal shipments, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee had meetings with Manuel (Manny) Garza of CBP, Mr. Joseph Murphy of the Department of State, and Deputy Post Master General, Mr. Ronald A. Stroman, to continue our discussions and information gathering on current and pending regulations.

Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise

Stefano Scarpetta, OECD, Has Candid Conversation with USCIB Food and Agriculture and Health Care Working Groups: USCIB’s Food and Agriculture and Healthcare Working Groups met with Stefano Scarpetta, director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on October 25, 2017. The meeting reinforced longstanding USCIB and Business at OECD cooperation in other issue areas and the need to improve the engagement between business and the OECD Health Committee. Members also raised several concerns with a draft paper on sustainable access to innovative therapies.  USCIB outlined four areas of recommendations to Scarpetta in the hopes of improving future interactions with member states and the health division secretariat, including helping member states understand the role of Business at OECD and its national affiliates, tracking input from Business at OECD and national affiliates, increasing diversity in perspectives among OECD health division staff and better use of OECD expert groups.

Innovation and Intellectual Property – Strengthening International Protections for U.S. IP

USCIB Intellectual Property Committee is Re-Launched with Focus on Innovation: USCIB has redoubled its efforts to promote American competitiveness with the launch of its Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee. The new committee, chaired by Sharon Reiche, corporate counsel for global patents and policy at Pfizer Inc., builds upon USCIB’s longstanding commitment to improved protection of intellectual property – and the innovation and creativity it underpins – via robust U.S. trade policy and expanded international diplomatic commitments.

The inaugural meeting of the new USCIB committee took place on October 18 in Washington, D.C. Special guests at the meeting included John Sandage, Deputy Director General for Patents and Technology at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Paul Salmon, Senior Counsel for International Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Daphne Yong-d’Hervé, Chief IP Officer for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), also addressed the committee via conference call, and highlighted the ICC’s new status as Observer to the UN General Assembly.

APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region

USCIB Attends 2017 APEC CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam: Mike Michener, USCIB Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation, attended the 2017 APEC CEO Summit on November 7-10 in Da Nang, Vietnam. Under the leadership of NCAPEC, USCIB and other business groups joined a diverse array of American CEOs and other executives (including numerous USCIB members) in both the official CEO Summit programming and other meetings with governments. Meetings were scheduled with the President of Vietnam, Tran Dai Quang, Ambassador Matt Matthews, U.S. Ambassador for APEC, the Trade Minister of Australia, Steven Ciobo, and Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Michener also participated in a meeting with the Philippine’s Secretary of Trade Roman Lopez.  

Throughout 2017, USCIB has addressed a number of key priorities through APEC, including chemicals policy, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, digital trade, and women in the economy. Our members and staff have engaged in several APEC working groups, including the Chemical Dialogue, APEC Business-Customs Dialogue, Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group, Alliance for Supply Chain name=”MEM”> Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup. Currently, USCIB has just finalized the 2018 APEC Priorities and Recommendations paper. Papua New Guinea will serve as the host economy for APEC 2018.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Gilead Sciences and DowDuPont to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Reed Smith LLP and Uber as new members.

Upcoming Events

  • WCO 53rd RSC, Paris, France – December 4-12
  • ICC Marketing Commission Meeting, San Francisco – December 4-5
  • Third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3), Nairobi, Kenya – December 4-6
  • Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina – December 10-13
  • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 12
  • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 13
  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Geneva, Switzerland – December 18-21
  • USCIB Arbitration Committee Luncheon, New York – January 23
  • BIAC/OECD Meeting of Chemicals Committee, Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotech, Paris, France – February 5-7
  • ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida – April 3-6

Staff

 


USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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Rigg Herzog Speaks at UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

Last week, USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog participated in the 6th Annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. The annual forum is the world’s largest gathering of government, civil society, business and other stakeholders focused on the promotion and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This year’s theme, “Realizing Effective Access to Remedy” focused on the third pillar of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, and discussions revolved around a wide range of mechanisms for remedy, from state-based judicial and non-judicial to remediation and grievance mechanisms, as well as others.

Herzog spoke on a panel focused on the peer review process of the functioning of National Contact Point offices under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Several other USCIB members also attended the forum and participated on panels, including BP, The Walt Disney Company, Coca-Cola, Walmart and Littler Mendelson.  

“USCIB and our members have participated actively in the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights every year since it was launched following the approval of the UNGPs by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011,” said Herzog. “The Forum provides an opportunity for annual stock-taking on UNGPs implementation progress by governments, business and civil society. “

On November 27, USCIB, along with other business organizations such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), co-hosted a Business Briefing and Networking Event, an exclusive business event that provided private sector attendees the opportunity to meet and network with colleagues, learn more about the UN Forum and how to engage meaningfully, while discussing the important “Access to Remedy” topic with peers. 

Among other pre-and-post-Forum events, USCIB also participated in a briefing with the U.S. government delegation on November 29 where several government representatives shared updates on their office’s initiatives to protect human rights as articulated in the government’s duty to protect human rights under the UNGPs. 

“We appreciated seeing continued strong U.S. Government participation at the UN Annual Forum this year, and welcomed the updates they shared on their sustained focus on promoting implementation of the UNGPs by governments and businesses around the world,” added Herzog. “No one actor can single-handedly carry out the full UNGPs vision. U.S. businesses stands ready to engage constructively with U.S. Government – as well as civil society – on this important effort.”

Donnelly Offers Business Views on OECD Anti-bribery Convention

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly represented business on a panel discussion on November 29 marking the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention organized in Washington by the Coalition for Integrity, “C4I”.  Donnelly joined senior anti-corruption officials from the OECD secretariat and the World Bank on a panel assessing the progress twenty years after the OECD’s “Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions” and where the convention and OECD’s anti-bribery work might be headed. 

Donnelly, who also serves as a member of the C4I’s Policy Advisory Board, emphasized three points in his comments.  First, while the OECD convention has delivered greater international attention on corrupt practices, much more effort is still needed from many convention member states on enforcement and prosecutions.

Second, the lack of any focus on the “demand side’ of the bribery dynamic, corrupt government officials extorting bribes from business, remains a very serious problem.  “Companies are not the origin of all, or even, most of the bribery in international business, and OECD anti-briery efforts need to recognize those inconvenient realities,” said Donnelly.

Finally, Donnelly urged the OECD’s Bribery Working Group and the Secretariat to open up their closed door proceedings to the established OECD stakeholders, including the Business and Industry Advisory Committee, where USCIB represents U.S. business.   

The C4I program included another panel, focused on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the landmark U.S. anti-bribery law which really launched government efforts to combat corruption.  That FCPA panel included representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and the securities and Exchange Commission.   The afternoon panel program was organized around C4I’s annual awards dinner that evening where Senator John McCain received the prestigious “Integrity Award” and the OECD was recognized with a special award for its international leadership on anti-bribery and integrity issues. Donnelly represented USCIB at that awards dinner.

USCIB Gears Up for WTO Ministerial

Over 160 governments will gather next week in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial (MC 11). USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson will also be attending on behalf of U.S. business and will support the International Chamber of Commerce activities planned in conjunction with MC11.

On December 12, Robinson will take part in the WTO Business Forum, which ICC is co-sponsoring with the Argentina government and several other groups. The Forum has been designed as a platform to amplify the voice of the private sector within the context of the WTO Ministerial with a view to promoting an enriching public-private dialogue about the multilateral trading system and contributing to foster closer engagement between governments and business leaders at the WTO.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macro and Director-General of the WTO Roberto Azevedo are expected to give keynotes while ICC Secretary General John Danilovich will be part of the final panel discussing the future of global trade. USCIB member companies serving on panels at the Forum include Mastercard, GE, DHL Express, Dow Chemical, Boeing, Monsanto, IBM, UPS, Walmart, Google, Amazon, and E-bay.  The Forum will feature sessions on fostering micro, small and medium enterprises, progress in trade facilitation, food security and e-commerce.

At the Ministerial next week, Robinson will urge governments to agree on an action plan for moving the WTO forward on market opening agreements as well as improvements to operations.  He will encourage progress on multilateral negotiations in key issue areas such as fisheries subsidies, an e-commerce work program, tackling needed reforms to the dispute resolution system, and providing a framework for more effective market opening negotiations.  The MC11 action plan should also encourage pursuit of plurilateral initiatives by groups of interested countries when a multilateral negotiation does not have broad support.

USCIB had already begun planning for the Ministerial earlier this year and, most recently, with Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan’s trip to Geneva in September for the WTO’s annual Public Forum and related meetings organized by ICC. The issues mentioned most often in these meetings as having the potential for some type of action at the Ministerial included investment facilitation, fisheries subsidies, e-commerce, services facilitation and agriculture.  However, it also seems that each of these are facing challenges that could prevent a deliverable at MC 11.

“While the Ministerial may not produce a number of deliverables, business engagement will be needed to ensure that the WTO moves forward after the Ministerial on issues that address meaningful concerns with the global trading system,” said Mulligan. “This will be important to preserving the relevance and value of the WTO in opening global markets,” he added.

USCIB Statement on US Withdrawal From Global Compact on Migration

New York, NY, December 4, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, issued the following statement on U.S. withdrawal from negotiations surrounding the UN Global Compact on Migration:

Like many others in the U.S. business community, USCIB is disappointed by the news that the Administration has elected to withdraw from the UN Global Compact on Migration, which aims to enlist international cooperation to ensure the rights of migrants and refugees, including dissemination of best practices surrounding their access to education and jobs. This non-binding instrument is currently under negotiation and due to be adopted next year.

The U.S. business community regards migration as a positive and necessary phenomenon. It is a vehicle for fulfilling personal aspirations, for balancing labor supply and demand, for supporting competitiveness and sparking innovation, and for transferring and spreading skills.

Companies are frequent and important users of national migration systems. To remain successful and competitive in the global economy, they require clear and consistent migration policies, national laws and procedures in both sending and receiving countries.

The U.S. has benefited immeasurably from the contribution of migrants to our economy and our society. As the home to the largest number of migrants in the world, our government has experience with the practical workings of immigration laws, procedures, and policies that can contribute to a positive international dialogue. Without U.S. leadership, we fear an opportunity will be missed to ensure clear, transparent, and efficient national immigration laws and policies in the U.S. and around the world that permit the movement of workers when and where they are needed.

About USCIB:

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S-based global companies and professional service firms from every sector of the economy, with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, including the International Organization of Employers (IOE), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, including through the Business Mechanism to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

US Business Helps Launch First Ever Business Meeting at UN Environment Assembly

President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lascak

The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), the highest level policy making forum on environment in the UN system, opened its 3rd session under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP or UN Environment) on December 4 in Nairobi, Kenya.  Environment Ministers from over 60 countries and delegates from all UN member states are gathered to refocus UN system environmental policy towards combatting pollution and its impacts. 

The overall theme of this session is, “Towards a Pollution Free Planet,” and governments are considering decisions to limit plastic debris in oceans, increase cooperation on air pollution and more closely link environment and health policies, with an emphasis on the “precautionary principle.”  Responding to numerous statements welcoming business involvement at UNEA3 and encouraging greater involvement by business at future UNEA meetings by UN officials and government representatives, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy stated, “U.S. business is attending this meeting to keep the focus on infrastructure, alignment with SDGs and enabling frameworks for private sector innovation and investment, and is keen to keep this fruitful dialogue and partnership going.”

USCIB and its members have led the U.S business presence at this session, working closely with the American Chemistry Council, American Plastics Council and Croplife, among others.  USCIB took part in the first ever Science-Policy-Business Forum, and organized for the first time a Global Business Symposium at UNEA with the Global Business Alliance for Environment.   The President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lascak welcomed the business initiative, stating that “Businesses are critical to achieving sustainable development.”

In his presentation at the Business Symposium, Erick Omollo Juma, Novozymes, drew attention to how his accompany is pursuing opportunities to link cooperative implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and environmental protection through business action.   

Commenting on the examples of business initiatives to reduce risks from pollution during the Business Symposium, Walker Smith, director of global affairs and policy, U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), recognized efforts by USCIB members, including the Walt Disney Company, the Coca-Cola Company, Dow Chemical, IBM and Procter & Gamble, to reduce food and plastic waste, and eliminate lead in paint.  USCIB has worked closely with the U.S, Department of State, EPA and NOAA representatives attending these meetings to reflect U.S. business views and achievements.

As part of her statement on behalf of the Business and Industry Major Group at the UNEA3 Opening Plenary Kennedy stated, “We need tailored specific responses to each source of pollution, reflecting economic and social circumstances. Business emphasizes the importance of building national capacity and infrastructure to address pollution through sound regulation and management, stimulating innovation and seeking pragmatic policy options and partnerships.”

On partnerships, Kennedy noted, “Business in its diversity is a critical part of solutions and investment, and is ready to work with governments and other stakeholders to act on UNEA outcomes to reduce pollution and associated risks – let’s identify practical solutions and policies and get to work.”

USCIB will present and discuss outcomes and next steps from UNEA3 at its next Environment Committee meeting on December 15 in Washington DC.

USCIB Launches Video Highlighting Business for 2030 Initiatives

USCIB held its annual international leadership award gala on November 28th in New York at the United Nations headquarters to honor Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga. The event also served to showcase the private sector’s efforts to align its activities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including via a new video, “Business Makes It Happen: The Private Sector and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” The piece spotlights a number of USCIB member companies, for the Business for 2030 web platform launched by USCIB two years ago.

The video showcases select USCIB member initiatives including those from AT&T-DIRECTV, Bechtel, Deloitte, Mastercard, Novozymes and Walmart.

Please visit www.Businessfor2030.org to learn more about what companies are doing to achieve the SDGs.