Doran Klein Attends UN Tax Committee Meetings

UN headquarterUSCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein attended meetings at the UN related to tax policy earlier this month along with USCIB’s Tax Committee Chair Bill Sample. A major outcome of the meeting was the launch of the 2017 version of the UN Transfer Pricing Manual at the UN’s Economic and Social Council. The manual is almost 700 pages and is intended to be consistent with the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines. It also includes country practices for Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa.  The UN Committee of Tax Experts also approved a handbook on extractive industries, including a section on transfer pricing.

The Committee also approved final changes to its model income tax treaty and commentaries.  The 2017 version of the model will likely be released in October at the next meeting of the Committee of Tax Experts in Geneva, Switzerland.  The new model will adopt many of OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting treaty provisions including a new article on entitlement to benefits and modifications to the permanent establishment rules.  The new model will also include a controversial new article on taxation of fees for technical services.

“This article, if adopted in a bilateral income tax treaty, would permit the country where technical services are consumed to impose a tax on those services regardless of where the services are performed or whether the person performing the services had any presence in the country of consumption of the services,” said Doran Klein.

Members from countries that export services objected strongly to the inclusion of this new Article in the model.

USCIB Welcomes New Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Gabriella Rigg Herzog

USCIB welcomed Gabriella Rigg Herzog as its new Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility yesterday, April 17. Herzog will be based in USCIB’s New York office.

Most recently, Herzog served as Senior Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Hess Corporation and actively participated in the USCIB Corporate Responsibility Committee.  She worked with her predecessors Adam Greene and Ariel Meyerstein and knows many of the company representatives on the committee including the Chair, Laura Rubbo.  At Hess she handled CSR and human rights issues and was active in a wide-range of internal and outside activities that led to Hess being recognized as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens.

Prior to her work with Hess, Herzog was a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, where she led the Bureau’s global CSR policy and program practice.  She also worked at the U.S. Department of Labor developing and implementing labor cooperation programs to help labor ministries improve enforcement capacity.

“We are excited to have Gabriella join the USCIB team and fortunate to be able to bring in someone who has worked with us in her previous roles,” said Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs. “She brings a strong background in CSR and Labor issues to the role at USCIB with the added advantage of already being very familiar with the work of the committees she will manage.”

USCIB’s Sustainable Development Event to Focus on Infrastructure

Vertical Garden – Green Wall – BioWallSince the global adoption of the UN Agenda for 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has turned its attention to implementation, and the resources from governments and business required to set the SDGs into motion. In this regard, a pressing priority across all seventeen SDGs is upgrading and building infrastructure for sustainability. USCIB will host a roundtable on infrastructure for sustainability this Friday, April 21 in Washington DC.

“Roundtable participants will discuss where and how business is already planning for and investing in infrastructure for sustainability, what are the enabling frameworks, policies and partnerships that can be scaled for impact, what new sources and approaches exist to mobilize resources and advance bankable projects for sustainability infrastructure and which indicators to use to measure and report impacts of infrastructure investments by the private sector,” said Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment.

Both “hard” and “soft” forms of infrastructure have also figured prominently in the UN Financing for Development (FfD) process. The USCIB Roundtable will immediately precede the FfD Infrastructure Forum, and inform recommendations by USCIB to the UN High Level Political Forum meetings in July when they review SDG actions by governments, business and others.

Notable speakers at USCIB’s event will include Ambassador Lisa Kubiske, deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of State, Albena Melin, principal operations officer at the International Finance Corporation, Krishan Sharma, senior economist at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Alan P. Larson, senior international policy advisor at Covington.

For further details and registration information please contact Mia Lautermlauter@uscib.org.

Robinson Writes Commentary to Adam Smith Project on Trump Priorities

OECDweek_PMRUSCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson recently contributed commentary to the Adam Smith Project on what he believes should be priority issues for the Trump Administration. Priorities should include balancing globalization challenges with the values of economic openness and dynamism for Americans, growing the economy, maintaining American leadership in the world, and ensuring transparency and accountability in international institutions, such as the United Nations.

“Our nation’s continued prosperity and security demand that the United States remain engaged internationally on a range of key issues, including cross-border trade and investment, climate change, sustainability and support for a rules-based global economy,” writes Robinson.

The full commentary is available on the Adam Smith Project website, subscription is required.

 

B20 Issues High-Level Digitalization Statement

blue tone city scape and network connection conceptThe B20 issued a high-level statement on “Digitalization for All: Towards an Inclusive Interconnected World” which was signed by fifty leading business representatives including USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, who serves as co-chair of the Employment and Education Task Force. The high-level statement emphasizes the benefits of digitalization, from boosting consumer welfare to facilitating equality, and highlights it as a critical cross-sectoral and cross-cutting mean to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. However, obstacles remain in terms of inadequate internet access, insufficient broadband coverage and the need to build skills to realize the full potential of the digital economy.

The statement recommends public-private collaboration to better prepare business and people for the digital economy and the need to regularly adjust curricula in schools, continuing education and requalification programs, especially for women and girls. The statement notes that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) also need government support in increasing knowledge exchange and fostering expertise on technology application.

In addition to Robinson, signatories include Tom Donohue, co-chair of the Employment and Education Task Force and president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a USCIB Trustee, Daniel Funes, chairman, International Organization of Employers and co-chair of the Employment and Education Task Force and Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Trade and Investment Task Force.

The B20 Task Force on Digitalization also released a policy paper on “Digitalization for All: Future-Oriented Policies for a Globally Connected World.” Key recommendations in the policy paper include: (1) fostering global connectivity, which includes improving cybersecurity and enabling cross-border data flows; (2) strengthening Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet by fostering innovation and ICT infrastructure deployment; and (3) supporting the evolution of human-centric artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies.  USCIB actively contributed to this paper.

Mulligan to Speak on Brexit Panel on Impact to US Business

LondonWith the government of UK Prime Minister Theresa May having recently delivered formal notice of the country’s intention to leave the European Union, attention is turning to the practical implications of Brexit for business. USCIB Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy Rob Mulligan will speak on a panel at a two-day conference on “The impact of Brexit on U.S. Business” on May 30-31 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Mulligan will speak on a panel titled “Market Access and Trade: Opportunities and Challenges for U.S. Business invested in the UK and EU.”

Mulligan recently represented USCIB at meetings related to Brexit with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the British government on March 23 in London. The meeting was organized by the International Chamber of Commerce’s Trade and Investment Commission and focused on a wide range of global trade issues.  In discussing the implications of Brexit at this meeting, 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.” See the full story here.

USCIB members receive a $200 discount on registration for “The impact of Brexit on U.S. Business” conference when using the discount code USCIB, and the conference organizers have agreed to extend the Super Early Bird Rate until Friday, April 14. When used with the USCIB discount code, USCIB members will receive $600 off the normal registration price. You can register for the conference here. USCIB has partnered with The Forum Companies for this conference. The full agenda can be found here.

USCIB CEO and President in New York Times

Robinson_OECDforumToday’s edition of The New York Times features a letter to the editor from USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson on UN reform and the need for the United States to continue to play a leading role in the UN system. The letter is available below as well as on the New York Times’s website.

Robinson’s letter responds to U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley‘s recent comments criticizing the UN Human Rights Commission and other agencies, and comes against the background of recent calls from some in Congress and the Trump administration to defund the UN.

 

The New York Times

April 7, 2017

The Opinion Pages | Letter

‘Tough Love’ at the U.N.

To the Editor:

Re “American Envoy Calls U.N. Human Rights Council ‘Corrupt’ ” (news article, March 30):

As a longtime participant in United Nations deliberations on behalf of the private sector — which has not always enjoyed a warm welcome in the organization — I think that it is always better to be at the table than to walk away.

For us, this is important because the United Nations and its member governments are looking to business to make important contributions on climate change, human rights and many other challenges.

But I agree with Ambassador Nikki Haley that it is entirely appropriate for the United States, as the world body’s biggest funder, to apply some “tough love.”

In my view, some United Nations agencies, including the Human Rights Council, may need to be reformed so that they align with the expectations of United States taxpayers and better reflect the global consensus in favor of strong protection of human rights.

PETER M. ROBINSON, NEW YORK

The writer is president and chief executive of the United States Council for International Business.

Donnelly Emphasizes Importance of US-China BIT

Donnelly_CSISWith President Trump set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, bilateral commercial relations are high on the agenda. Against this backdrop, Shaun Donnelly, USCIB’s vice president for investment and financial services, wrote a blog post “Don’t Give Up on a Gold Standard US-China BIT!” in Investment Policy Central. Donnelly argues that abandoning a decade-long effort to negotiate a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with China would be a “serious mistake” for U.S. interests. The agreement, if done right, would be a “win-win” for both countries, with the U.S. gaining plenty from a good, comprehensive and high-standard agreement.

“A strong BIT, is in America’s broad interest, good for American companies, workers, investors, states and communities and for American values. The U.S. wins when Chinese companies invest in the U.S., hire American workers, pay American taxes, and follow American standards and rules. And we also win when great American companies can invest successfully in China, pulling U.S. exports and brands, and business practices into fast-growing markets,” wrote Donnelly.

To achieve a comprehensive agreement, Donnelly argues that the Trump administration should consult key stakeholders in business, labor and civil society, as well as take the time to carefully assess best options and pros and cons.

Donnelly has over 30 years’ experience with the U.S. Department of State in a wide range of roles including: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs; U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka; Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Trade; Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia; and a detail as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East.

Paris Meetings Urge Global Level Playing Field for SOEs

SOE_PARIS_meeting_croppedThe Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a meeting in Paris on Corporate Governance on March 28, which featured a special roundtable on flexibility and proportionality of corporate governance. Business at OECD (BIAC) attended the meeting and expressed strong support for the effective implementation of the G20/OECD Corporate Governance Principles. USCIB member Dan Konigsburg, managing director, corporate governance and public policy, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu attended these meetings.

BIAC also provided input to discussions on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) earlier this month, highlighting the need for transparency and a global level playing field, and calling for good practices for anti-corruption and integrity in SOEs. USCIB contributed comments to BIAC’s advocacy effort, reflecting priorities that transparency, including on the governance structure and the precise nature of the advantages SOEs enjoy, is a crucial first step for ensuring a level playing field.

“SOEs have become increasingly active in the global market place, with the highest percentage of the world’s largest first effectively under state control in decades. Transparency alone, however does not automatically level the playing field, and should merely be considered the minimum requirement for any good faith effort for SOEs to compete in the global market,” said Eva Hampl, USCIB’s director for investment, trade and financial services.

Giblin Represents Business at World Customs Organization Meetings in Brussels

Brussels

USCIB’s expert on customs Megan Giblin joined CompTIA’s Ken Montgomery as an authorized delegate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) 59th Harmonized System Committee (HSC) in Brussels, Belgium from March 15 to 24. Montgomery served as ICC head of delegation at this meeting.

Per the WCO, some key HSC deliverables included settling classification questions and disputes, revising Explanatory Notes and classification opinions, securing speedy and uniform implementation of classification decisions and drafting recommendations.

The Committee took up a number of topics including the implementation of the HS2017, re-examined the classification of several products, took global classification decisions on many other products and held preliminary discussions on yet others. Classification decisions taken at this meeting are subject to a two-month reservation period under which any administration can request that the decision essentially be placed on hold and re-examined at a future HSC session. Decisions where no reservations have been filed, become final at the conclusion of the stipulated timeframe.

A key topic of discussion for both governments and industry relates to the current version of the HS Nomenclature. The WCO owns the HS Nomenclature, the language of international trade. Today, nearly 210 countries, territories or customs unions use the HS as the basis of their domestic customs tariff.

“The HS is important. It is not only used for customs classification, but it is used as the basis of market access negotiations for free trade agreements, flagging other government agency requirements, and more. Companies of all sizes depend on timely completion of domestic processes and full implementation of the current version of the HS to ensure necessary predictability for their products,” said Giblin.

While the HS2017 entered force January 1, 2017, there are still several countries that have yet to complete domestic legislative approvals or processes necessary for implementation.

Giblin will serve as ICC head of delegation at the fall HSC meeting.