USCIB Urges Trump Administration to Remain Engaged in UN Climate Talks

With senior advisors in the Trump administration set to meet tomorrow to discuss U.S. engagement in the UN and other international climate change discussions, USCIB has urged the administration to keep the U.S. seat at the table.

Earlier this month, in a letter to the White House, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson wrote: “In spite of challenges and shortcomings in the UN climate policy arena, USCIB reaffirms its support for the United States to continue as a Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.”

However, USCIB’s letter, which was sent April 17 to National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, explicitly recommended that the U.S. place a number of conditions on continued engagement, including reassessing existing U.S. emissions reduction and related commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement in the context of broader consultation with the private sector.

The letter further recommended that the U.S. insist on greater access and transparency in the UN climate negotiation process for U.S. economic stakeholders, call on the UN to discourage unilateral trade measures related to climate, and work through the UN and other international forums to foster speedier development and deployment of environmentally sound technologies.

“Addressing climate change and its impacts will require a long-term international cooperative approach with due attention to national circumstances and priorities to assure ongoing economic development,” Robinson wrote. “USCIB members are convinced that U.S. engagement and leadership are required to champion economically sound approaches to energy and climate change risks that advance U.S. economic prosperity and create new job and market opportunities for U.S. businesses at home and abroad.”

Mulligan Attends London ICC Meeting on Brexit, WTO

London USCIB’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Rob Mulligan, represented USCIB at International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) meetings with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the British government on March 23 in London. The meeting was organized by ICC’s Trade and Investment Commission and focused on a wide range of global trade issues.  Ian Ascough, deputy director, multilateral trade, Department for International Trade, United Kingdom briefed ICC members on how the Brexit process will impact UK trade work.  He stressed their desire for a free trade agreement with the EU, no border in Ireland, and to be champions of free trade globally.  Ascough also noted that they will seek to secure a UK schedule in the WTO and build up their capability in the WTO. In discussing the implications of Brexit, Mulligan also raised business concerns related to trade, noting that “companies need sufficient transition times coming out of Brexit to address any changes related to customs, value chains, and regulatory requirements.”

Bernard Kuiten, head of external relations, WTO briefed the Commission on planning for the WTO Ministerial which will be held in Argentina this December.  Some areas that could be addressed in the Ministerial if member countries agree would include fisheries subsidies, e-commerce, services facilitation, agriculture, and investment.  The Commission also agreed to a suggestion by Mulligan to prepare a short paper on key ICC trade policy principles.

ILO Endorses Revised MNE Declaration

United FlagsThe International Labor Organization (ILO) held the 329th Session of its Governing Body (GB) from March 9-23 in Geneva. The session’s landmark outcome was an endorsement of the revised Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration), which offers guidelines to multinational enterprises, governments, and employers’ and workers’ organizations in such areas as employment, training, conditions of work and life and industrial relations. This guidance is founded substantially on principles contained in international labor conventions and recommendations.

While the original MNE Declaration was adopted forty years ago, the revised version responds to new economic realities across international trade and supply chains, addressing decent work issues, forced labor and guidance on “due diligence” processes, which are consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

USCIB and its members Coca-Cola, Disney, IBM and Littler Mendelson, among others, worked closely with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to provide comments to the Tripartite Working Group.

Ed PotterUSCIB international labor counsel and member of the GB, was nominated by USCIB to serve as the U.S. employer representative to the ILO and represent U.S. business in the Working Group. Potter noted, “This is the most extensive update of the MNE Declaration since it was first negotiated in 1977. It is a forward looking tripartite agreement that applies in all countries wherever large or small MNE’s operate or have business relationships.”

“We are grateful to Ed for his tireless work on behalf of business,” said USCIB’s President and CEO Peter Robinson. “Multiple employers expressed their appreciation to me for Ed’s continuous leadership on these issues during the GB last week.”

The revised MNE Declaration can be found here.

Business Finalizes Recommendations to G20 Sherpas

USCIB President Peter Robinson and IOE President Daniel Funes de Rioja (2ns and 3rd from right, respectively) at the B20 session in Paris
USCIB President Peter Robinson and IOE President Daniel Funes (2nd and 3rd from right, respectively) at the B20 session in Paris

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson took part in today’s Special B20 Germany-OECD-BIAC meeting at the OECD in Paris, designed to provide coordinated private-sector input to the G20 leaders, in advance of a key G20 sherpas meeting this week in Germany. The main G20 leaders summit is scheduled for July 7-8 in Hamburg, Germany.

“Today’s meetings were important because we finalized key recommendations to the G20 sherpas on trade and investment policy, job-creation and the digitalization of the economy, among other topics,” said Robinson, who serves as co-chair of the B20 Employment and Education Task Force. “We hope the G20 governments will take these recommendations to heart.”

B20 President Jürgen Heraeus stated: “If we want to ensure future-oriented, sustainable economic growth, business has an important role to play. We are ready to do so. This cooperation offers the outstanding opportunity to shape global economic governance. Our global economy is changing rapidly. We are facing a multitude of risks: climate change, political conflicts, terrorism to name just a few. The G20 can serve as an agenda-setter.”

The B20 meeting was co-hosted by Business at OECD (BIAC), and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria addressed the gathering. “Business at OECD provides continuity and expertise across G20 and B20 presidencies,” said Business at OECD Chairman Phil O’Reilly. “We support the OECD in its vital mission to improve domestic and global economic governance. At a time when trade and investment across borders are subject of much ill-informed debate, OECD evidence on the substantial benefits of open and competitive markets is more important than ever.”

Daniel Funes de Rioja, chairman of the International Organization of Employers, also took part in today’s meetings. Meanwhile, USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan participated in meetings in London around the conclusion of the G20 finance ministers meeting, which was notable in part for the ministers’ decision not to re-emphasize their shard commitment to resisting trade protectionism.

Following the conclusion finance ministers meeting, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John Danilovich issued a statement calling on the G20 governments to commit to shared values of openness and cooperation.

“We continue to face the challenge of global growth being too low and benefiting too few,” said Danilovich. “This is the defining economic test of our times, and we urge all G20 economies to take concerted and urgent action to enable inclusive growth. A retreat into protectionism would be the wrong response to this challenge.”

Danilovich continued: “Trade and globalization are complex processes, but at their heart are some simple truths. Trade means more choice for consumers. It means lower prices, so the money in your pocket goes further. Companies that trade are more competitive, and create more and better-paid jobs. That’s why trade matters if we’re to deliver the increases in prosperity, and reductions in inequality, that G20 finance ministers rightly committed to realize this weekend.”

“The global business community is naturally concerned by any weakening of the G20’s decade-long stance on resisting protectionism. We remain encouraged that discussions on this issue will continue in the coming months at official level. ICC will do all it can to urge G20 leaders to take the strongest possible stance on maintaining open markets at their annual summit in Hamburg in July. Protectionism is no path to progress.”

Wanner Represents Business at ICANN Meetings in Denmark

Wanner at ICANN Meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Wanner at ICANN Meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark.

USCIB vice president for ICT policy, Barbara Wanner, attended meetings of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Copenhagen, Denmark last week, concluding a first of three rounds of meetings scheduled for 2017. Wanner joined 2,400 participants from business, government, civil society, and the technical community for a six-day meeting largely focused on domain name system (DNS) policy issues and inter-stakeholder discussions.

Wanner participated in DNS related meetings in her new capacity as the Business Constituency representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group, enabling greater input to policy discussions at the executive committee level on behalf of USCIB members.

A noteworthy addition to this meeting – and reflecting heightened global concerns about protections of personal data – was a special “privacy summit,” which featured senior privacy officials from the Council of Europe and EU Article 29 Working Party. “An important result of the “summit” was recognition by the ICANN community of the need for timely, legal analysis of the implications of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect May 28, 2018, on the processing of data related to domain name registrations and related contractual obligations of companies that register domain names,” observed Wanner.

Donnelly Leads Business Push at OECD for FDI

ShaunDonnelly_BIAC_OECD_InvestmentForumUSCIB’s Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly was leading the business voices at multiple events around the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Investment Week in Paris last week. Donnelly was the lead business speaker at the panel on “Is Investment Liberalization Shifting into Reverse?” at the OECD Global Forum on International Investment and the lead business respondent to presentations by academic experts on “Societal Benefits and Costs of Investment Treaties” at the OECD’s Third Annual Conference on Investment Treaties.

In both formal presentations, as well as in formal and informal interactions with government delegations from both ‎OECD member countries and leading developing and emerging governments, Donnelly emphasized the importance of investment agreements, including strong enforcement provisions, to facilitate much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows.

Per established OECD practice, Donnelly played a lead role in BIAC’s formal consultation, along with the parallel labor and civil society stakeholder groups, with the OECD’s Investment Committee on Wednesday, March 8.  With investment agreements under attacks from some quarters, it is important for business to speak up these sorts or international fora, whether at OECD or elsewhere, on the importance of FDI for both the host economy and the home country and especially on the important role high standard investment agreements and strong enforcement provisions play in today’s global economy.

Senior investment policy experts from the State Department, U.S. Trade Representative and Treasury Department also participated in the meetings last week.

USCIB, OECD and BIAC Leadership Discuss Trade, Digital Revolution

Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs addresses OECD and USCIB members, alongside USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) and Rick Johnston, Citi (left)
Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs addresses OECD and USCIB members, alongside USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) and Rick Johnston, Citi (left)

USCIB hosted leadership from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Business at OECD (BIAC) on March 9 in Washington DC, following a successful joint OECD-BIAC-USCIB Fostering Digital Transformation Conference the day prior. Nearly forty of USCIB’s leadership and members attended the meeting, including USCIB Vice Chair Rick Johnston (Citi) and Vice-Chair of USCIB’s China Committee Tad Ferris.

OECD and Business at OECD officials included OECD’s Deputy Secretary General Doug Frantz, Secretary General of Business at OECD (BIAC) Bernhard Welschke, Senior Policy Director at BIAC Nicole Primmer and Acting Head of the OECD Washington Center Susan Fridy.

This was a timely opportunity for USCIB, OECD and BIAC to have a roundtable discussion on a wide range of issues that are being addressed in the OECD such as tax, cross-border data flows, health, investment, digital trade, the Sustainable Development Goals and the G20. These issues were framed in a larger discussion of the role of business in the current political and economic climate in the U.S., about which Frantz said, “we need help from business to convey that free trade, open borders and anti-corruption guidelines require multilateral engagement. The U.S. and the U.S. business community benefit enormously from the work done at the OECD.”

Doug Franz, Deputy Secretary General OECD addresses USCIB members
Doug Frantz, Deputy Secretary General OECD addresses USCIB members

Frantz also emphasized the role of digital innovation in providing future growth, prosperity and equal distribution of wealth to curtail the negative effects of the digital revolution, noting “taking digital innovation and its breakthroughs and making sure that the breakthroughs are more evenly distributed through training, skills-building and education that is based on deductive reasoning, will cushion the fall for people who are at risk of losing their jobs to the digital revolution.”

Upcoming ICC Arbitration Events

The International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration will be hosting two upcoming events in San Francisco and Washington DC.

ICC Institute Advanced Training on the Conduct of the Proceedings and Case Management

Location: San Francisco, CA

Description: This training is of an advanced level and will focus in depth on how the arbitrator should establish his or her authority over the parties throughout the proceedings, including hearings, and interact with his or her fellow-arbitrators. Attendees are supposed to already master the basics of ICC international commercial arbitration. The training will consist of presentations and interactive discussions using mock case scenarios designed to hone participants’ understanding of critical theoretical concepts while also emphasizing many practical aspects involved in conducting an international arbitration.

To register, please visit the registration website. Early Bird rate is available through March 31.

ICC Institute Masterclass for Arbitrators: Overview of fundamentals and best practices related to serving as an arbitrator

Registration is now open for the upcoming ICC Institute Masterclass for Arbitrators: Overview of fundamentals and best practices related to serving as an arbitrator.

Date: March 13-15, 2017

Location: Washington, DC

This advanced level training will provide participants with an opportunity to gain a deeper insight into some of the provisions of the 2012 ICC Rules of Arbitration while learning about the latest developments and best practices related to serving as an international arbitrator.

Topics to include:
• The role and appointment of arbitrators
• Establishing the arbitrator’s authority to create a suitable working framework
• Conduct of the proceedings and case management techniques
• Mock arbitral tribunal to explore issues pertaining to relations between arbitrators
• Drafting enforceable awards and scrutiny by the ICC International Court of Arbitration

Who should attend:
• Practitioners who have significant experience in international commercial arbitration as counsel, but little or no experience as arbitrators.
• Arbitrators who wish to reinforce their knowledge.

Registration and event details are available on this website.

USCIB Urges Administration to Maintain Leadership on Trade

Harbor_tradeNew York, N.Y., January 23, 2017Peter M. Robinson, president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

“While we are disappointed that the United States will not take part in this ambitious and market-opening agreement, we hope this move sets the stage for future trade agreements that build upon the best in the TPP.

“As we noted in USCIB’s American Competitiveness Agenda 2017, which was released earlier today, the Asia-Pacific region is a very important market for U.S. business and the jobs they support. By 2030, two-thirds of all middle-class consumers in the world will be in Asia, so the area continues to be key to the future growth of many U.S. companies and their SME suppliers. We will work with Congress and the Administration to determine the best ways to further open markets in the Asia-Pacific region to U.S. goods and services, including by carrying forward key provisions from TPP.

“Maintaining U.S. leadership in the region should be a strategic priority. Trade relationships provide economic security but also important national security benefits. Letting other nations – including some with very different economic systems and priorities – write the rules in this fast-growing region would be a mistake. Moreover, some of our most important trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region have already ratified TPP or are continuing to undertake reforms consistent with the agreement.

“We encourage the Trump Administration to move quickly in pursuing its plan for the region, both to help American companies and workers compete, and to ensure that regional trade rules are not driven by others. We look forward to working with the Administration in support of these objectives.”

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. As the American affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, International Organization of Employers, and Business at OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at

Jonathan Huneke, USCIB, +1 212.703.5043

Priorities for the Trump Administration

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson
USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson

By Peter M. Robinson
President and CEO, USCIB

As I write this, the administration of President Donald Trump is taking shape. Uncertainty remains as to how his campaign promises will be acted upon, and what his top priorities will be. But one thing is clear: our nation’s continued prosperity and security demand that the United States remain engaged internationally on key issues including trade, climate change, sustainability and support for a rules-based global economy.

American companies are heavily invested in creating the conditions for expanded U.S. influence internationally, and for renewed investment and growth at home. USCIB is well positioned to work with the new administration and Congress – and with the overseas business partners with whom we have established longstanding close ties – to support our member’s interests by focusing attention on the key issues and initiatives that will undergird America’s growth and success, and strengthen the global economy, in the 21st century.

Defining America’s role in the 21st century must be a top priority. USCIB is ready to work in concert with the Trump administration and Congress to develop the strategy for U.S. engagement with the wider world – one that both continues and augments the benefits that American businesses, workers and consumers draw from active participation in the global economy and international institutions. We need policies that anticipate, address and support the demands of a changing American workplace, while addressing the legitimate needs of those displaced or disadvantaged by the 21st-century global economy.

Building on strength

Such a strategy must recognize and build upon America’s strengths in innovation, entrepreneurship, world-class work force and know-how. It should further seek to leverage American business to reinforce U.S. global leadership, and effectively engage with multilateral institutions to foster international rules and a level playing field that support our competitiveness. The U.S. should also seek to make these institutions more accountable and representative of key global stakeholders, including the private sector, in pursuit of shared goals and values. As the recognized U.S. business interface — by virtue of our unique global network — with the UN, OECD, ILO and other multilateral bodies, USCIB is especially well-positioned to help bring this about.

Broadly speaking, we are looking to advance four themes with the new administration:

  1. Making globalization work for everyone – The benefits to the United States of increased trade and investment with the world are significant and broadly dispersed across the entire population. But the painful downside of job loss as the result of foreign competition is felt sharply by many individuals and localities. We need policies that effectively address the short-term losses while ensuring the broad gains remain intact, demonstrating the value of economic openness and dynamism for all Americans.
  2. Growing a dynamic, 21st-century economy – Keeping an open door to trade and investment is only part of the equation in building a robust, dynamic economy for the 21st century. Many of the biggest handicaps to U.S. competitiveness are self-inflicted: poor investment in infrastructure, lagging educational institutions, an antiquated and byzantine tax system and poorly constructed immigration policies. We need to build bipartisan support for sensible, long-term investments and policy reforms in each of these areas.
  3. American leadership in the wider world – Farsighted U.S. policies have helped foster global growth and stability ever since World War Two. This in turn has provided direct benefits to America in terms of national security, as well as our ability to grow and compete in the international economy. The world now confronts multiple challenges (such as climate change, terrorism, migration and slow growth in many economies) that demand continued American leadership and close international cooperation.
  4. Transparent and accountable international institutions – America, and American business, led the way in building the postwar international institutions and a rules-based system to foster global stability, growth and development. Unfortunately, some international organizations in the UN family are becoming hostile to the private sector, seeking to exclude business representatives from key meetings and to impose an anti-business agenda. We need to confront that discrimination, while actively supporting and growing the mutually beneficial relationships that do exist after over 70 years of consultative status by global business with various UN agencies. In this regard, we welcome the UN’s recognition of the positive role of business through the recent granting of Observer Status at the UN General Assembly to the International Chamber of Commerce.

We are ready to work with the Trump administration and Congress to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, reap the gains from participation in global markets and trade, and deliver benefits in the form of jobs and opportunities for U.S. workers. These objectives can and must be pursued together.