USCIB’s Klein Tells Media Dispute Resolution is Crucial for BEPS

taxes-portIn a Bloomberg BNA article, Carol Doran Klein, USCIB’s vice president and international tax counsel, explained that effective dispute resolution will be necessary for the success of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) project on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), designed to rewrite the rules of the international tax system. The OECD released its final BEPS recommendations on October 5.

At an international tax conference on October 15 in Toronto, Klein told attendees that BEPS’s new rules on profit attribution and allocation of risk will lead to more controversy, because there is no guarantee that governments will interpret these rules consistently. Effective dispute resolution is therefore key for the successful implementation of the BEPS recommendations.

“I think that the arm’s-length standard, as set out in the guidelines, can work—but only with real functioning dispute resolution,” Klein told Bloomberg BNA. “It is going to be key to resolve disputes early, for this process to have success,” she said. “You could have real transfer pricing reform, but only in my view if the dispute resolution is implemented as indicated in the guidance.”

Klein also said that questions risk analysis about risk analysis were likely to cause dispute, and the implementation could be subjective.

“It is clear that the risk-adjusted return depends on the credit-worthiness of the borrower and the riskiness of the investment, but there’s very little guidance on how these factors should be determined and weighted,” Klein told Bloomberg. “Tax administrations may also be examining the riskiness of a transaction after that risk has played out, so reaching agreement on a risk-adjusted return may be challenging.”

Read more: “Companies See Dispute Resolution as Crucial in BEPS” (Paywall)



ICC: Business Leaders Call for Collaborative SDG Effort

John Danilovich (ICC)
John Danilovich (ICC)

Business leaders representing companies with operations in over 190 countries have thrown their weight behind the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs – launched at a major summit in New York during the UN General Assembly – set out a new vision for a brighter, safer and more prosperous world for all. In a letter to the Financial Times the business leaders wrote: “Many businesses are already playing a leading role in promoting sustainable development, but with the right support and incentives from government we can do much more. A collaborative effort is also required to enable the transformation of business practices towards sustainability more broadly – including within the small business sector.”

Commenting on the release of the letter, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “This is a clear and visible demonstration of the business community’s commitment to the new Global Goals. We call on governments to work constructively with the private sector to deliver fully on the promise of the SDGs”.

Read the full text of the letter at ICC’s website.

Bit-by-Bit Won’t Get it Done on US-China BIT Negotiations

by Shaun Donnelly, USCIB’s vice president for investment and financial services

When Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Washington later this month for what may well be the final full-blown U.S.-China summit of the Obama administration, there will be a lot of important bilateral and global issues on the agenda – cyber security, South China Sea, democracy and human rights, climate change, Internet freedom, North Korea, Iran, Syria and a whole lot more.  But I want to make a strong plea that the U.S. and Chinese governments also use this upcoming summit to push for real breakthroughs on the long-running U.S.-China negotiations on a bilateral Investment treaty – the “U.S.-China BIT.”

The U.S.-China BIT has the potential to be a win-win agreement to provide broad legal protections, market-opening and dispute settlement mechanisms for foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in both directions. China already has over 100 BITs with other nations, so current and potential U.S. investors are presently at a disadvantage in competing for investment opportunities in China’s fast-growing economy.  And make no mistake, this is not a one-way street; Chinese investors are already investing, and looking to invest more, in the U.S., which we should welcome to help increase investment, jobs and economic growth here at home.

Continue reading the full post on Investment Policy Central.

TPP: A 21st Century Trade Agreement

by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

Golden_GateLike many in the U.S. business community and other key stakeholders, we at USCIB and our member companies are eagerly anticipating a successful and swift conclusion to the long-running Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. We are encouraged by senior White House National Economic Council official Carolyn Atkinson’s suggestion last week that a successful conclusion may be imminent.

Experience dictates that the endgame of any international negotiation is always more complicated, more challenging and less predictable than foreseen. However, getting a comprehensive, ambitious, high-standard TPP agreement over the finish line is absolutely a top priority for our organization and our member companies. A strong TPP is good news for American workers, companies, communities and taxpayers.

From what I have heard about the prospective TPP agreement, I am forcefully reminded how different this agreement will be from other trade agreements that have gone before. We love NAFTA, CAFTA and the network of bilateral and plurilateral FTAs the U.S. has built over the past 30 years. They have paid tremendous dividends for our country. But it is not just for semantic reasons that the TPP is branded as a “Partnership.” rather than a “Free Trade Agreement”; the TPP goes well beyond a traditional FTA.

Continue reading the full post on Investment Policy Central.

Enable Trade for Development, ICC Secretary General Writes in FT

John Danilovich (ICC)
John Danilovich (ICC)

During the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which took place in Addis Ababa from July 13 to 16, the Financial Times published a letter by ICC Secretary General John Danilovich underscoring the need to reform the global trading system to support the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The full text of the letter follows:

Addis declaration must mark the start of a push on three commitments

Sir, Your editorial “Global leaders must back broader growth tactics” (July 13) on this week’s Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, rightly centres on the disconnect between diplomatic rhetoric and real world action when it comes to fostering development. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the issue of reforming the global trading system in support of the world’s poorest.

If we are to make 2015 the year of sustainable development, the Addis declaration must mark the start of a concerted push to deliver on three longstanding commitments.

First, governments should ratify and implement the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) without delay. This deal – forged in 2013 but ratified by only eight governments to date – would have a transformational effect on the ability of entrepreneurs in developing countries to access global markets by reducing unnecessary red tape at borders. Implementing the TFA, which would also support broader efforts to eliminate corruption and reduce rates of food wastage, should be seen a quick win to deliver on the promise of the post-2015 development agenda.

Second, action is needed to address a growing shortage of bank finance to support trade. Trade finance is one of the safest forms of financing and has the advantage of directly promoting development through trade. According to the Asian Development Bank, there is currently a $1.9tn financing gap for trade globally – with as much as $900bn of the shortfall in developing Asian economies alone. The causes of this problem are multi-faceted: from skills shortages in the financial and commercial sectors through to the unintended effects of national financial crime policies. None will be easy to resolve, but that must not be an excuse for inaction.

Finally, it is imperative that world leaders exercise the political will to conclude the long-stalled Doha Round of trade talks after almost 14 years of periodic crises and missed deadlines. Recent reports have once again called into question whether governments will be able to meet their latest goal of striking a grand bargain by the end of the year. G20 leaders, in particular, must definitively commit to an agreement and give their negotiators the necessary latitude to deliver it. Concluding the round would send the clearest of signals that the international community is finally serious about turning words into action when it comes to enabling trade for development. We must all invest the time and effort to get the Doha deal done.

John Danilovich
Secretary General,
International Chamber of Commerce,
Paris, France

Click here to read the original letter published on July 14 by the Financial Times

Letter in New York Times on Trade and Climate

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at a press conference in Lima, Peru on December 8. “If a global agreement on climate change doesn’t work for and with businesses, it just won’t work,” he said.
USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at a press conference in Lima, Peru on December 8. “If a global agreement on climate change doesn’t work for and with businesses, it just won’t work,” he said.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson has a letter in today’s issue of The New York Times on climate change and trade policy. The letter is reproduced below, and you can view it on The Times’ website by clicking here.

Robinson rebuts a recent piece by Times columnist Eduardo Porter that suggested border taxes on products from countries outside a so-called “climate club,” saying that countries should instead offer trade incentives, rather than punitive tariffs, to reduce carbon emissions and spur the deployment and use of greener energy technologies.

This letter is especially timely, as it comes after the most recent negotiating session of the UN climate change talks in Bonn, where USCIB played an important role in voicing private-sector views. Click here to read our report. It also comes as we gear up for next week’s climate-focused meeting of USCIB’s Environment Committee and the North American Business Climate Consultation, held in conjunction with the International Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, USCIB continues to advance American business interests in the WTO’s Environmental Goods Agreement talks as well as other key trade negotiations, even as we grapple with the current trade deadlock on Capitol Hill.

The New York Times

June 15, 2015

The Opinion Pages/Letters

Climate Change and Trade Policy

To the Editor:

Eduardo Porter advocates launching a trade war as a way of ”solving” the climate challenge (”Climate Deal Badly Needs a Big Stick,” Economic Scene column, June 3), imposing tariffs on those countries that don’t join a ”climate club” committed to reducing carbon emissions.

But we should offer carrots instead of sticks to accelerate the transition to greener energy. Rather than threatening higher-emitting countries with punitive tariffs, we should roll back barriers to trade in environmental goods and services.

There is no contradiction between economic development and climate protection. Indeed, as countries grow richer, they can devote additional resources to cleaner energy.

To be viable, climate solutions must factor in real-world needs, including the need for economic growth, and deliver benefits today to people in both rich and poor countries.

And they need to be in line with political and market realities, including the global community’s common interest in keeping markets open and economic relations cordial.

The ”big stick” that Mr. Porter endorses fails to meet these criteria.

President and Chief Executive
United States Council for International Business
New York

Smaller shippers likely beneficiaries of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Journal of Commerce – April 28, 2015

The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, when ratified, will simplify and harmonize the flow of trade information from shippers and other supply chain partners into agencies responsible for monitoring and regulating trade. USCIB’s Kristin Isabelli is quoted.

Smaller shippers likely beneficiaries of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

US Treasury pressures Tony Abbott to drop ‘Google tax’

Australian Financial Review – April 28, 2015

The Obama administration is pressuring the government of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to back away from plans to target American technology multinationals with higher taxes in next month’s federal budget. USCIB’s Carol Doran Klein is quoted.

US Treasury pressures Tony Abbott to drop ‘Google tax’

Too much on the table? How businesses should approach the SDGs

Devex – April 14, 2015

The proposed post-2015 development agenda currently consists of 17 goals and 169 targets. From a business standpoint, how should the private sector make sense of these? Watch this video interview with USCIB’s Norine Kennedy:

Too much on the table? How businesses should approach the SDGs

Students Travel To D.C. To Discuss Antitrust Law With Federal Officials

Duke Today – April 6, 2015

Duke university undergraduate students met with the chair of USCIB’s Competition Policy Committee, among others, during their visit to Washington, D.C. as part of their research into the politics of market competition in the global economy.

Students Travel To D.C. To Discuss Antitrust Law With Federal Officials