Official Report from USCIB Nutrition Event Now Published

Wilton Park USA, in partnership with the USCIB Foundation and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), has published a report as follow up to last October’s successful joint dialogue on “No More Missed Opportunities: Advancing Public-Private Partnerships to Achieve the Global Nutrition Goals.” The report summarizes the details of the meeting as well as the “Principles of Engagement,” which were developed during the meeting to provide a useful framework through which to approach future public-private partnership and a valuable reference point for developing effective solutions.

The report concludes that “effective partnerships and better nutrition outcomes can be facilitated through policy and legislative frameworks more conducive to collaboration. This could include better application of the clout of financiers, shareholders, and consumers on the business side and constituencies, NGOs, and civil servants on the government side.”

“Every country is now struggling with some aspect of malnutrition, and a growing number are experiencing both undernutrition and obesity,” said USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, who leads USCIB’s policy work on nutrition, food and health. “The roundtable sought to support the accelerated achievement of internationally agreed global nutrition goals, and broader commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by convening a high-level group of leaders from government, business and other key stakeholders.”

This meeting aimed to tackle the problem of poor diet as the number one risk factor for early death, contributing to 20 percent of global deaths, with the burden falling disproportionately on children under five and women of reproductive age, a situation nutrition experts have described as a “missed opportunity” (Lancet, 2013). Each year, malnutrition is a factor in almost half of the six million deaths of children under five, and 159 million children are stunted, with impacts on their physical and cognitive abilities that last a lifetime. More than 500 million women are anemic, with an increased risk of maternal death and delivering premature and low-birth-weight babies. At the same time, 600 million adults are obese, and 420 million have diabetes, with rates rising steeply.

USCIB in the News: Fighting for American Business

Throughout 2017, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, alongside other USCIB leaders and staff, garnered important coverage from the news media on issues critical to USCIB members. Policy issues ranged from NAFTA and the need to enshrine investor protections to the need for reform at the United Nations.

USCIB members and committee leaders, particularly Jerry Cook of Hanesbrands and Tam Nguyen of Bechtel, also made headlines on issues such as customs and trade facilitation and the evolution of corporate sustainability standards, respectively.

“USCIB won important news coverage in a wide variety of areas,” said Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs. “Thanks to outstanding thought leadership from USCIB President Robinson, as well as committee leaders and our staff experts, we were able to consistently punch above our weight, holding our own in a crowded media environment.”

Read the full 2017 media review here. To request an interview with a USCIB expert, contact USCIB Communications.

USCIB Urges President Trump: Secure Growth Through Engagement

President Trump addressing a joint session of Congress in February 2017

As the annual State of the Union address approaches, USCIB is urging President Trump to use the occasion to commit his administration to pursuing strong U.S. economic growth and improved competitiveness by engaging with our trading partners and key international institutions.

In a letter to the president, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson wrote: “It is essential for our citizens and world markets to hear and understand that the U.S. will be engaged and committed to growing the U.S. and global economies. … In your upcoming State of the Union address you have the chance to press forward in 2018 with an agenda for international engagement that will build on the recent tax reform to drive economic growth by improving U.S. competitiveness.”

USCIB’s letter recommended commitments to U.S. action in the following areas:

  • increasing U.S. trade in goods and services by opening markets
  • continuing to reduce regulatory barriers here and abroad
  • promoting education and skills development for the jobs of the future
  • facilitating innovation
  • increasing international leadership where it matters.

You can read the full USCIB letter to President Trump here.

IGF Discusses Gender, Trade, Digital Security and More

Speakers from L-R: Heshadharani Poornima (India), Barbara Wanner (US Council for International Business), Jennifer Chung (DotAsia), Louise Marie Hurel (Gender Youth/Youth Observatory), Bruna Santos (Gender Youth/Youth Observatory, Brazil)

More than 2,000 stakeholders from business, government, civil society, the technical community, and academia gathered in Geneva, Switzerland December 18-21 for the 12th Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The four-day conference featured wide-ranging discussions under the overarching theme, “Shape Your Digital Future.” USCIB Members joined global business colleagues under the aegis of ICC-BASIS in urging that the IGF continue to serve as a forum for mulitstakeholder discussions about Internet governance issues and as an incubator of ideas and best practices about how to most effectively address opportunities and challenges in the digital ecosystem.

ICT Policy Committee Chair Eric Loeb, senior vice president, international external and regulatory affairs, AT&T, provided the business perspective on Internet governance issues in a special high-level thematic session, “Shaping our Future Digital Global Governance,” which officially opened the IGF. Paying tribute to the late Joseph Alhadeff, former USCIB board member and ICT Policy Committee vice chair, Loeb highlighted how Alhadeff approached Internet governance with collegiality, collaboration and empathy, with an eye to solving immediate problems but not losing sight of where we need to be. “In this spirit, the IGF facilitates working together across respective and varied interests to achieve progress and share issues,” said Loeb told the standing-room-only opening plenary.

USCIB members and USCIB Vice President, ICT Policy Barbara Wanner made important contributions on leading topics of this year’s nearly 200 IGF workshops. Wanner who spoke on the panel, “Navigating Gender and Youth Challenges: Telling Stories about Women, Technology, and Creation,” emphasized the role of both governments and business in ensuring that the digital gender divide is bridged.

“One of the largest barriers to many women and youth in terms of entering the digital system has to do with culture,” said Wanner. “A government cannot simply have on the books policies that ensure equal rights.  They have to follow up and see that the laws are properly implemented and effectively transcend cultural mores that can hold back women of all ages. I have been very inspired by the various initiatives pursued by USCIB members aimed at developing STEM skills and coding by young women to enable their involvement in the digital economy.  Going to the heart of my topic, though, I would say that business also is keenly aware of the importance of enabling generational exchange as a means of bringing more youth and women into the digital ecosystem.”

Additional topics discussed during the IGF included digital trade, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and the “Internet of Things.” Additionally, the OECD’s Going Digital project was featured in a special session, which enabled USCIB members to reiterate points of support and concern offered by Business at OECD (BIAC) at the November meeting of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy.

Business at OECD Calls for Action Against Corruption

While progress has been made in creating cultures of integrity, corruption continues to seriously affect economies. Marking the 20th anniversary of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, Business at OECD (BIAC) and USCIB affirm the importance of an integrated and effective approach in the fight against corruption, which is a global challenge and requires international cooperation.

“Corruption is a cancer for the global economy and seriously compromises the health and productivity of our economies and value chains across the globe. The legally binding standards of the Anti-Bribery Convention have clearly positioned the OECD as a leading force in the international fight against corruption,” said Dr. Klaus Moosmayer, chief compliance officer of Siemens and BIAC anti-corruption chair. Speaking at the OECD Roundtable on 20 years of the Anti-Bribery Convention, Moosmayer called on the OECD and governments to step up efforts and also address the demand side of bribery, recognize the compliance efforts of companies, and support voluntary self-disclosure. “We recognize the urgency of this agenda,” said Moosmayer. “The private sector should be considered as a key partner in this struggle.”

USCIB has been actively promoting the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, especially during last month’s OECD events in the U.S. that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Anti-Bribery Convention. USCIB’s Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services  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”.

Hampl 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. Specifically, companies from OECD countries, who have to comply with the OECD Anti-bribery Convention, compete with companies from non-OECD countries that are not subject to the same anti-bribery measures.

“This leads to unfair competition and can even create an environment favorable to corrupt practices,” warned Hampl. “U.S. companies of course have to comply with the FCPA, which means they spend a significant amount of resources on developing anti-corruption policies and compliance programs as well as training systems for employees so that they are well-equipped to withstand demands for corruption.”

US-Issued ATA Carnets Now Allowed Into Brazil

After months of awareness building on the scope of the ATA Carnet usage with Brazilian Customs, Brazil has officially announced the acceptance of ATA Carnets. This exciting new development will allow all contracting parties to the ATA and/or the Istanbul Convention to enjoy ATA Carnet facilitations in Brazil. This change is also accompanied by an acceptance of hand-carried goods into the country.

Most explicitly, this new development will provide for duty and tax-free temporary admissions, allowing companies to use U.S. issued ATA Carnet to temporarily enter goods.

“Companies generally pay between 35-60 percent in duties exporting to Brazil, which will now be saved,” said Andy Shiles, USCIB’s senior vice president for ATA Carnet and trade services. “This program will be particularly advantageous for U.S. companies bringing in products temporarily for trade shows and exhibits.”  Prior to the amendment, U.S. companies, as per domestic regulation, could not use U.S. issued ATA Carnets as they were not accepted in Brazil.

The ATA Carnet is the global gold standard for temporary admissions under the auspices of the World Customs Organization. ATA Carnets are international tools of trade facilitation, which serve as a temporary export-import documentation. The ATA System is in place in 87 countries and territories, and provides duty-free and tax-free imports on goods that will be re-exported within 12 months.

In calendar year 2017, there were over $6 billion worth of goods that moved under U.S. issued Carnets that helped to stimulate international trade for American businesses.

For more information, please visit our page dedicated to Brazil.

 

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 International 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.

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.”