USCIB and ILO Hold Dialogue on Disabilities in the Workplace

USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg facilitates panel at the joint USCIB-ILO-AT&T event on Disability Inclusion in Washington DC

U.S. companies are increasingly sensitive to the importance of enhancing workplace diversity, particularly for people with disabilities. In an effort to promote U.S. company membership in the ILO Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN), USCIB, AT&T and the ILO held an event at the AT&T Forum in Washington DC on June 20 for business leaders, “Promoting disability inclusion globally.”

The GBDN is a network of multinational enterprises, employers’ organizations, business networks and disabled persons’ organizations who share the conviction that people with disabilities have talents and skills that can enhance virtually any business and can be a powerful tool for sharing global best practices and accessing relevant networks around the world. In addition to hosting the event, AT&T was also a featured speaker and has a strong corporate commitment to employing persons with disabilities.

USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg gave opening remarks and facilitated a panel on “Best Practices in the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Global South,” which also featured speakers from L’Oreal, Repsol, Accenture and Cisco.

Panelists discussed some of their company initiatives such as Cisco’s Project Life Changer and Accenture’s Tech4Good, which support employees with disabilities through technological and work culture integration. Many of the companies discussed the importance of building an employable skill-set while others, such as Cisco, go even further to alter the recruitment process, placing more emphasis on internships and experience.

“Smart companies have known for some time that there is a robust business case for workplace diversity in general and for hiring people with disabilities in particular,” said Goldberg. “All the data suggests that people with disabilities are productive, reliable and highly motivated employees.  They can also constitute a significant market, and some companies have prospered by developing products and services for people with disabilities, their families and friends.”

Goldberg noted that USCIB members are global enterprises, with employees and customers in every part of the world.  “The network and opportunities for best practice and information sharing provided by the ILO GBDN can be an important resource for MNEs as they devise and implement their human resource, product development, and marketing strategies in diverse communities across the globe,” she said.

The event also featured USCIB members from Deloitte, Boeing and Accenture.

Celebrating 80 Years of the ICC Marketing Code

ICC Marketing & Advertising Commission members met in Paris on June 16.

USCIB and others in the International Chamber of Commerce family are celebrating this year’s 80th anniversary of the ICC Consolidated Code of Marketing and Advertising Communication Practice.

Earlier this week, ICC presented the Code during a networking cocktail hosted in partnership with the French Association of the Communications Agencies, at the French Camp Cannes held on the margins of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The event followed the semi-annual meeting of ICC’s Commission on Marketing and Advertising, which took place in Paris on June 16 and was chaired by Brent Sanders, associate general counsel with Microsoft and chair of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee.

During the celebratory event in Cannes, Ximena Tapias Delporte, vice chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising and president of the Colombian Commission on Advertising Self-Regulation, joined Stéphane Martin, director general of the French self-regulatory organization ARPP and chair of the European Advertising Standards Alliance, to share perspectives on the Code and its broader application at international level as the foundational instrument of advertising self-regulation.

The ICC Code was also presented at the International Advertising Association (IAA) cabana in Cannes, where Carla Michelotti, vice chair of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee and vice president of the IAA, interviewed Martin on using the Code to ensure best practices in the advertising industry and to build trust with consumers.

“Over the past 80 years, the ICC Code has played a key role in providing principles that help build trust with consumers, assuring them of advertising that is honest, legal, decent and truthful,” Martin said during the interview.

According to USCIB Vice President Jonathan Huneke, at the ICC commission meeting in Paris, members discussed possible revision of the Code in the coming years to more fully reflect changes in technology and advertising practice, and finalized a draft ICC guide on responsible mobile marketing communications. The latter document is expected to be finalized and issued by ICC in the coming weeks.

USCIB Emphasizes Government Role in Labor Migration Policy at ILC

USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs gives remarks during the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland

USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog was among approximately 6,000 delegates who attended the 106th session of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland (June 5-16). The ILC touched upon pressing global issues such as the application of labor standards, peace and stability, women in the workplace, immigration and climate change. Herzog attended the ILC as a member of the U.S. Employers Delegation, headed by Ed Potter, USCIB senior counsel and U.S. employer spokesperson to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Governing Body.

Herzog gave remarks at the Committee for Labor Migration, emphasizing the important role the ILO has to play in ensuring that labor migration policies are grounded in sound facts in order to assist governments in devising and implementing policies in ways that work for both employers and workers.

“Labor migration is a necessary and important phenomenon,” said Herzog in her remarks. “It can help fulfill personal aspirations, balance labor supply and demand, spark innovation, and develop and transfer skills.  But for workers to be able to move of their own volition, where and when their labor is needed and valued, and with their rights protected, governments must have clear, transparent and efficient migration policies.”

Update NAFTA, but Keep What’s Working, Says USCIB

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents the global interests of American companies, has released its recommendations to the Trump administration on priorities for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The group calls on the administration to update the 20 year-old pact to accommodate new realities in global commerce, including the rise of the digital economy, while keeping what works from the original agreement.

“Our member companies, who collectively encompass America’s most successful enterprises on the global stage, strongly support modernization of NAFTA,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “But they are united in believing that this must take place as part of a broader strategy to open international markets for U.S. companies, and remove barriers and unfair trade practices in support of U.S. jobs.”

USCIB calls upon the administration to update and strengthen key NAFTA provisions, including the liberalization and protection of investment flows, protection of intellectual property, trade facilitation and improved agricultural market access. It also recommends tackling new areas not included or anticipated in the original agreement a quarter-century ago, such as the digital provision of goods and services, data localization requirements, treatment of state-owned enterprises. It further urges U.S. negotiators to work closely with a range of private-sector stakeholders to ensure that a revamped agreement meets business needs in the 21st century.

The USCIB statement notes that, since NAFTA’s implementation, U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico has more than tripled, with a positive impact on U.S. GDP of 0.5%, or several billion dollars of added growth per year. It cites a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics which found that NAFTA did not foster noticeable growth in the overall U.S. trade deficit, and that increased trade with Mexico did not perceptibly raise U.S. unemployment.

USCIB says that several other areas currently covered by the agreement also require modernization, including rules on intellectual property protection, regulatory cooperation, services market access, and customs and trade facilitation. The group says that language agreed during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations provides a useful foundation on these topics upon which to build for NAFTA modernization, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have remarked. In other areas where NAFTA disciplines have stood the test of time, USCIB is urging the administration to focus on ensuring that those provisions not be weakened.

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 U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, 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
Tel: +1 917 420 0039
jhuneke@uscib.org

OECD Week Addresses Global Challenges with Business Input

 

Peter M. Robinson at OECD Week in Paris

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

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

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

Robinson Signs B20 Recommendation on Investment in Africa

The B20 recommendations Boosting Investment in Africa- Towards Inclusive Compacts in Africa have been signed in Berlin by the majority of the B20 taskforce and cross-thematic group Chairs and Co-Chairs, including USCIB President and CEO Peter M Robinson, who serves as Co-Chair of the B20 Employment and Education Taskforce. Robinson also recently attended the B20 Summit in Berlin in May. The Partnership with Africa is one of the key priorities in the German G20 presidency, as well as in the B20.

The B20 Secretariat offered these recommendations to the press and B20 Chairman Jürgen Heraeus introduced the recommendations at the G20 Africa Partnership – Investing in a Common Future Conference. BDI, the pre-eminent German business group, hosted the event as a partner within the framework of the Sub- Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) on June 12 in Berlin.

The “African Economic Outlook” is an annual report produced by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Speakers at the African Economic Outlook will include President of the Republic of Rwanda S. E. Paul Kagame, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Thomas Silberhorn and Secretary-General of the OECD Ángel Gurría.

Rigg Herzog Attends 2017 International Labor Conference

Secretary General Guy Ryder at 2017 ILC

USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog is among approximately 7,000 delegates currently attending the 106th session of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva (taking place June 5-16). The ILC will touch upon pressing global issues such as women at work, application of labor standards, peace and stability, migration and climate change. Rigg Herzog is attending the ILC as a member of the U.S. Employers Delegation, headed by Ed Potter, USCIB senior counsel and U.S. employer spokesperson to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Governing Body.

Rigg Herzog will be participating in the Committee for Labor Migration, while Potter will participate in the Committee for Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which is a follow-up to the ILO’s Social Justice Declaration. Adopted in 2008 by the representatives of governments, employers and workers from all ILO member States, the Social Justice Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization.

This year’s conference also includes a Committee on Employment and Decent Work for the Transition to Peace, as well as the Committee on the Application of Standards.

Upcoming Event: USCIB to Sponsor Reframing Human Rights Symposium

USCIB is sponsoring the second annual Reframing Human Rights Symposium, “Shared Value through Global Corporate Citizenship” by Skytop Strategies on June 28-29, hosted by Bard College. This two-day program will assess the connection between human rights, human capital development and operational opportunity for resiliency and return on investment. Several USCIB members will be featured speakers, including representatives from Chevron, Intel, Marriott International, Pirelli, Dell, Bechtel, AT&T and GE. The full agenda is available here.

USCIB members will receive a 25% discount on the registration fee. If you would like to attend, please contact Joshua Galow (jgalow@skytopstrategies.com).

Annual OECD Tax Conference Showcases Tax Reform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business at OECD Gears Up for OECD Ministerial Council Meeting

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

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

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