Broadening the Oversight of a Free and Open Internet

Via the Wall Street Journal

USCIB and the International Chamber of Commerce were cited in a Wall Street Op-Ed about the transition of the stewardship of the Internet from the United States to the broader multistakeholder community. Author Stephen Crocker, chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board notes that business has a keen understanding of the importance of the Internet in strengthening the global economy and creating jobs and economic growth.

On March 17, representatives from the Intel Corporation, the Internet Society and others told Congress they supported the transition. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Council for International Business, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Software & Information Industry Association and others also approve of the plan.

Business leaders from companies like Google, Verizon, AT&T, Cisco and Yahoo participated in the development of the proposal. Academics from Harvard, George Mason University and other institutions also weighed in. From the International Chamber of Commerce to the Center for Democracy and Technology, diverse organizations have voiced support.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article (Subscription required)

Waiting a BIT for China

Via Politico Pro Trade

Shaun Donnelly, USCIB vice president for investment and financial services, spoke to Politico about the prospects of a U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty as President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jingping are scheduled to meet this afternoon.

Against the backdrop of President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting this afternoon, the window is closing on China’s pledge that it would submit an updated market access offer in its investment talks with the U.S. in March. While an offer might have come overnight, Beijing had still not put forward an updated “negative list” offer for the bilateral investment treaty by late Wednesday.

“I understand that a comprehensive, high-standard U.S.-style negative list is a new and daunting proposition for a country like China, which has a long tradition of controlling investment, both domestic and foreign, quite tightly,” said Shaun Donnelly, vice president for investment and financial services at the U.S. Council for International Business.

But it would be disappointing if the two sides missed the opportunity of Xi’s visit to make progress on the talks, he said, even though the Nuclear Security Summit is largely focused on defense and security issues.

Read the full story

ICC: Trade Policymakers — Here are Your Priorities

newspapers_lo-resInternational Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John Danilovich urged policymakers to revitalize cross-border trade in a letter to the editor of the Financial Times on March 9.

The letter is available on the Financial Times’s website, and has been reproduced below:

Sir, Your editorial on the regulation of cross-border services (“New global trade under old national rules”, March 7) rightly highlights the imperative for trade policymaking to keep pace with changing patterns of global commerce. But the growing importance of data, services and investment does not obviate the need for policymakers to take urgent action to revitalize cross-border merchandise trade.

The tendency to explain sluggish trade growth by reference to structural shifts in the global economy obscures some of the key factors underlying the recent fall in global merchandise trade — and, in doing so, underplays the potential for simple policy levers to be deployed to boost global growth. Three areas, in particular, warrant further attention.

First, urgent action is needed to address the growing shortage of bank finance to support trade. According to the Asian Development Bank, there is currently a $1.4tn financing gap for trade globally — with small businesses often facing severe difficulties accessing the credit they need to trade internationally. Second, it is time for the international community to get serious when it comes to tackling protectionism. Recent research shows that the sectors in which world trade has fallen the most are those which have been hit hardest by trade barriers over the past two years. This is a worrying trend and one which should be a first-order priority for the G20 in the year ahead.

Finally, governments should ratify and implement the World Trade Organisation’s landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement without delay. This deal — forged in 2013 but ratified by only 70 governments to date — would have a transformational effect on the ability of small business to access global markets by reducing unnecessary red tape at borders. Official estimates suggest that the deal could add more than $1tn to global trade flows, creating 20m jobs in the process. A push to realise the real-world benefits of this agreement would bring a somewhat more optimistic outlook for the future of trade-led growth and development.

John Danilovich
International Chamber of Commerce,
Paris, France

Trump’s Apple Rant Raises ‘Forced Localization’ Fears

Via Politico Pro

Trade experts and economists have criticized Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s proposals to force Apple and other U.S. companies to bring manufacturing jobs back from China, saying that such a move would raise costs for consumers, force companies to reorganize their supply chains and harm prospects for trade liberalization.

USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan spoke with Politico about how Trump’s plans are similar to the forced localization policies that many countries adopted after the financial crisis, with negative effects on global trade:

Trump’s proposal also smacks of “forced localization” policies that the United States is currently fighting around the world, where governments use the power of public procurement to require goods to be made domestically to qualify for contracts, said Rob Mulligan, a senior vice president at the U.S. Council for International Business.

If all countries started requiring their companies to bring manufacturing jobs back home, “it’s going to raise the cost for everybody,” Mulligan said.

Read the full Politico Pro article. (Paywall)

IRS Sees Potential Problems with Surrogate Filings

USCIB’s Carol Doran Klein spoke to Bloomberg BNA about the surrogate filing option of the country-by-country reporting template, recommended by the OECD’s action plan on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).

Tax experts cited the challenges created by differences in timing in the implementation of the country-by-country reporting requirements, part of the OECD’s plan to combat tax avoidance. Klein expressed skepticism about U.S. multinationals filing their country-by-country reporting in the UK.

Read the full Bloomberg BNA article. (Paywall)

U.S., China Offer New Environmental Goods Staging Proposals

Bloomberg BNA

“For China, EGA is a part of their climate agenda and certainly something that can move forward for them,” said Eva Hampl, a director of investment, trade and financial services at the U.S. Council for International Business. “Whereas the December WTO ministerial was an action-forcing event, now the G-20 would appear to be the next opportunity to move something forward,” she told Bloomberg BNA in a telephone interview.

Read the full article Bloomberg BNA article. (Paywall)

Delay in Country-by-Country Reporting Rules Incites Backlash

Bloomberg BNA

“The decision to delay IRS rules implementing country-by-country reporting requirements from the OECD is stoking fears of increased administrative complexity for the upcoming year…The OECD’s language “implies that there ought to be some sort of allowance for a country to get their legislation in order, but it doesn’t explicitly say that,” said Carol Doran Klein, vice president for tax at the U.S. Council for International Business. “It’s confusing, and people would like to have certainty.””

Read the full Bloomberg BNA article.

Does the Paris climate deal sideline business?

BBC News

“The US Council for International Business has said it is “disappointing” that the document makes no specific reference to business at all. In the words of Norine Kennedy, its vice-president of strategic international engagement, energy and environmental affairs: “Given how important business will be to delivering so many of the issues in the agreement, it would be appropriate for business to be mentioned.”

Read the full BBC News article.

Human Rights First Summit Explores Solutions to Human Trafficking

Human Rights First

“The 2015 Human Rights First Summit, held December 9 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., featured experts who sought to answer difficult questions on how to combat human trafficking…a diverse panel of experts…moderated by Ariel Meyerstein, Vice President of Labor Affairs at the United States Council for International Business (USCIB)—delved deeper into the issue.”

Read the full Human Rights First article.