USCIB Washington Update October – November 2017

Highlighting Key Activities, October-November 2017

During the months of October and November 2017, USCIB Staff met with Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat on U.S. trade policy, discussed OECD policy work with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Brian McFeeters, engaged on CFIUS with Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS Aimen Mir, spoke on a NAFTA panel at the Services Summit conference, submitted a comment letter to OECD on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy, raised concerns regarding the work of the OECD Health Committee with the Director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the OECD Stefano Scarpetta, reviewed questions on customs treatment of international postal shipments with Deputy Post Master General Ronald A. Stroman, provided the business view at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

    1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
    2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
    3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
    4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
    5. Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    6. Innovation and Intellectual Property – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    7. APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region
    8. Membership
    9. Upcoming Events
    10. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

Mulligan Talks NAFTA at CSI Summit: USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Rob Mulligan spoke at a Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) summit on October 17, where he outlined USCIB’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) priorities. Mulligan noted that NAFTA can be brought into the 21st century by including provisions that ensure cross-border data flows, include strong e-commerce rules, protect against data localization requirements, and level the playing field for firms competing against state-owned enterprises. More can also be done to improve the customs processes with Canada and Mexico. These steps will help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs. Mulligan noted that USCIB member companies strongly support NAFTA and have greatly benefited from it over the last 23 years, so they want the governments to avoid changes to existing parts of NAFTA that would harm trade rather than expand it. He especially highlighted concerns with U.S. government proposals on rules of origin, government procurement, ISDS and a sunset clause.

USCIB Lobbies Senate and House on NAFTA and Co-sponsors Reception: As part of a wider Coalition effort related to NAFTA, Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, and Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, lobbied the Senate and the House, respectively, in October as the fourth round of talks unfolded. Private-sector representatives spent two full days talking to House and Senate Republicans and Democrats. Issues addressed included proposals coming from the U.S. side in the NAFTA talks addressing rules of origin, government procurement, investor-state dispute settlement, and a proposed sunset provision that would essentially force NAFTA to be renewed at regular intervals. There continues to be great concern in the business community that NAFTA is being set up to fail with some of the proposals that are being tabled. USCIB also co-sponsored a reception on the sidelines of the NAFTA talks, where Hampl amplified USCIB’s central message of urgency, noting that USCIB members rely on the agreement and its benefits for their operations, which provide jobs for U.S. workers.

USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meets with USTR on NAFTA Digital Trade Negotiations:  Jonathan McHale, Deputy Assistant USTR for Telecommunications Policy briefed the USCIB Digital Trade Working Group on the NAFTA negotiations at its meeting on November 7, 2017.  He provided an update on the digital trade elements of the NAFTA negotiations as well as an outlook for e-commerce at the WTO Ministerial.  Jonathan highlighted several positive developments with regard to the digital trade issues and noted areas where the U.S. has proposed additional provisions for negotiation.  Members also heard from Nick Ashton-Hart, calling in from Geneva, who has been assisting the Friends of E-Commerce for Development group of countries seeking to have the WTO move forward with work on e-commerce issues.  He noted that there is a group of African countries opposing these efforts to address e-commerce more actively in the WTO and urged USCIB and ICC to work with affiliate business groups in those countries.  The DTWG also discussed planning for 2018 and will look to prioritize advocacy and engagement that capitalizes on USCIB’s access to global organizations.

USCIB Joins BIAC Board for Meetings in Washington, D.C. with Key U.S Officials:  The Business at OECD (BIAC) Board of Directors held its most recent meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2017.  Rick Johnston, Citi, who is the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Chair, also serves as a Vice-Chair of the BIAC Board and hosted their meeting at his office.  In addition to a day-long strategy meeting which included a presentation from Rob Mulligan as the representative of the U.S. affiliate to BIAC, the Board Members had the chance to exchange views with a number of key U.S. officials and thought leaders including Everett Eissenstat (Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs), Andy Taylor and Matthew Zweig (Staff for House Committee on Foreign Affairs), and Brian McFeeters (Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs).  They also had a lunch discussion with Greg Ip (Wall Street Journal) and Shawn Donnan (Financial Times).  Peter Robinson, CEO and President of USCIB, and Rob Mulligan joined the Board for these meetings.

Hampl Advocates for Strong Investment Policies in Paris: In October, Eva Hampl, Director, Investment Trade and Financial Services, participated in the meetings of the OECD Investment Committee. In addition to a formal stakeholder consultation, and a dinner with leadership from the Investment Committee as well as the OECD Secretariat, Hampl had bilateral meetings with various OECD investment staff, as well as with officials from the U.S. Mission to the OECD. During the stakeholder consultation, BIAC made strong statements focused primarily on international investment agreements, specifically ISDS and related issues. BIAC maintained the position that investment agreements are very important to business, and are necessary for a robust international investment environment. Unfortunately, the OECD has not yet been able to produce reliable data definitively proving the benefits of IIAs. Hampl also made an intervention on behalf of U.S. industry, underlining the importance of empirical research in this area, and raising concerns about leaving a vacuum of information in the space related to IIAs.

Donnelly Speaks Up for Business at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements (IIAs): USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly was the lead business speaker at the October 9-11 annual High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements in Geneva. Shaun kept reminding the government, NGO and academic “experts” that strong IIAs, including effective Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) disciplines, help drive investment flows and all the benefits (economic growth, trade and good jobs) we are all seeking. Donnelly authored a blog post on the UNCTAD IIA Conference, including key talking points from his several interventions.

Donnelly Touches Base on Geneva Issues, Tees up Peter Robinson’s Meetings with U.S. Mission: While in Geneva in early October, USCIB’s Shaun Donnelly met with the Charge d’Affaires (the Acting U.S. Ambassador) to the Geneva UN agencies, Ted Allegra. They reviewed USCIB priorities and concerns across a range of UN agencies (World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, and Human Rights Commission, in addition to UNCTAD. Donnelly also had a detailed roundtable with key U.S. Mission staff from multiple U.S. agencies (State, HHS, USTR). Donnelly met formally or informally with other Geneva-based foreign Ambassadors and staff in other UN agencies. About a month later, USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was back at the U.S. Mission for a more detailed follow-up session with the Charge, focused especially on serious challenges for USCIB members at the WHO, HRC, and ILO. Peter also was able to have a busy round of high-level meetings at UN agencies and beyond.

USCIB Discusses Transparency at OECD SOE Integrity Roundtable: On October 23, 2017, represented USCIB at a special roundtable at the OECD on Integrity, the “Fight Against Corruption and Responsible Business Conduct in the SOE Sector”. As a discussant on the issue of transparency, Hampl made comments addressing the importance of transparency regarding state-owned enterprises (SOEs). SOEs are increasing in global commerce, disadvantaging companies operating without state support or control. SOEs are particularly vulnerable to corruption due to factors such as a close relationship between government, politicians and the SOE senior management, and in some cases lack of transparency and reporting. To truly level the playing field between SOEs and companies competing in the global market, SOEs must be held to the same standards. Following the roundtable, Hampl also participated in the consultation with the OECD Working Party on State Ownership and Privatization Practices, where she reiterated many of the points made at the roundtable, as well as emphasized the importance of the OECD to focus on the demand side of bribery.

Discussing the Cost of Corruption on OECD Anti-bribery Convention and FCPA Anniversary: On November 8, 2017 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”. She 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. The OECD Anti-bribery Convention is a landmark instrument addressing the bribery of foreign officials. With its multi-disciplinary nature, the OECD has the capacity to take a coordinated approach to the fight against corruption, including addressing such issues as increased adherence to the Convention, increased efforts to address the demand side of bribery, more measures to facilitate voluntary self-disclosure, and addressing the growing complexity and costs of complying with multiple anti-bribery regimes by promoting clarity and greater international consistency.

USCIB Urges High Standards in Colombia’s OECD Accession: Through its Business at OECD (BIAC) affiliation, USCIB has been extensively involved in representing member interests in the OECD accession process of Colombia. Eva Hampl traveled to Paris in November with member companies and associations, to attend meetings with OECD officials and various OECD delegations. BIAC led the global business delegation in meetings with Ken Ash, OECD director for trade and agriculture, Nicola Bonucci, OECD director for legal affairs and coordinator for accession, Catalina Crane, high-level contact for Colombia’s OECD Accession Process, and delegation representatives from the United States, including Andrew Haviland, chargé d’affaires, as well as representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and Mexico. Colombia started the accession process in 2013, and currently 20 of the 23 OECD Committees have approved them for accession. One of the outstanding committees is the Trade Committee, which is currently drafting its Formal Opinion, which is the final stage in the process. USCIB’s current advocacy surrounds pre-accession recommendations, which we urged the OECD Trade Committee to include in the Formal Opinion. This ask is central to resolving our various business issues. Following the November 2017 meeting, the next meeting of the OECD Trade Committee will be in April 2018. USCIB will aggressively continue our advocacy efforts as this accession process moves forward, to ensure that as many of our priority issues are resolved as possible before Colombia joins the OECD.

Checking in with New Economic Leadership at State: On October 26, Shaun Donnelly had a wide-ranging introductory session on USCIB and our key priorities with the then new Acing Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs (the “EB Bureau”) Brian McFeeters plus other senior EB staff. Brian, just back from a tour as Deputy Chief of Mission in Indonesia, is the new Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (“P/DAS”) in EB but was holding the fort until his new boss was confirmed and sworn in. As a former EB PDAS in his own 36-year Foreign Service career, Shaun had a lot of common experiences to draw on with Brian as he laid out USCIB’s unique role representing U.S. business around the world and our current policy priorities. Former Senate staffer Manisha Singh was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate on November 2 to be the next EB Assistant Secretary. Ms. Singh, who served as EB’s Trade DAS in the George W. Bush Administration, should be formally sworn in very soon. Here’s a link to McFeeters’ official State bio.

Helping Mark 20 Years of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention: The Coalition for Integrity (“C4I”) organized an afternoon long seminar on the afternoon of their annual dinner in Washington marking the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention and the 40th Anniversary of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, two key tools in the fight against international bribery. USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly spoke on the panel focused on the panel focused on the OECD’s Anti-Bribery convention (officially the “Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions”) which was signed in December 1997. Shaun and fellow panelists evaluated process and highlighted priorities for future work. Shaun emphasized two key areas for concerned USCIB member companies – balancing the now well-established work on the “supply” side of corruption from the business side to bring equal focus on the “demand” side, unmasking and punishing corrupt senior government officials attempting to extorting payments from businesses. Shaun also urged the participating governments to open more of the committee meetings and activities to business and other stakeholders.

Talking CFIUS with Treasury: With the long-awaited Cornyn Bill to reform and strengthen the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (“CFIUS”) finally now getting more attention, USCIB staffers Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl ventured over to Treasury (the lead agency on CFIUS) to meet with Aimen Mir, Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS. We had an excellent, wide-ranging discussion on key CFIUS issues with the result that DAS Mir and his boss new Treasury Assistant Secretary Heath Tarbert will be speaking with USCIB member companies at our upcoming USCIB Trade and Investment Committee meeting on December 12.

Talking Trade Hither and Yon: Beyond his part-time USCIB work, our VP for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly remains a sought-after after-hours speaker on broad trade topics both in Washington and on the road. Recently Shaun spoke on Trump Administration trade policies and related trade issues at the Louisville (Kentucky) Committee on Foreign Relations and at his long-ago high school in Indiana. Here in Washington, Shaun was a dinner speaker for the prestigious Foreign Policy Discussion Group and to a “Road Scholar” group as part of a week-long program on “Sovereignty Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy.” Helps keep the old Ambassador off the street and, hopefully, helps in a small way to improve public understanding on important trade issues for our country.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Members Engage with the Internet Society on Internet Governance Issues, Commerce Debriefs on Privacy Shield Annual Review: The ICT Policy Committee Meeting on October 4 featured a dialogue with senior executives of the Internet Society (ISOC) to explore potential collaboration in developing new approaches to increasing challenges in the Internet governance space. It was noted that Internet governance issues have become more complex and the multistakeholder model has come under fire in multilateral organizations due to geopolitical pressures often couched in security terms. Members agreed that USCIB and ISOC should leverage our organizations’ positive multistakeholder experiences to showcase a new alternative. ISOC’s Chief Technology Officer Olaf Kolkman also gave a presentation on ISOC’s Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) Initiative, which is aimed at bringing companies and other stakeholders together to develop a set of norms focused on routing security. In addition, Nasreen Djouini, International Trade Specialist at International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, debriefed members on the generally successful first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. USCIB issued a statement just before the September 18-19 review reaffirming its support for the Framework, underscoring that it is accomplishing its intended goal of creating stronger, more effective means for transferring and safeguarding personal data from the EU to the United States.

USCIB Members Shape Discussions on EU Privacy Regulation Impact, Amazon Application, and Board Accountability at ICANN 60: The 60th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 28-November 3 was dominated by discussions about the implications of the May 25, 2018 implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ICANN’s WHOIS database policies and the contractual obligations of Registries and Registrars. USCIB member representatives from Amazon, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, VeriSign and Verizon actively contributed to their expertise. In addition, the long-running dispute concerning Amazon’s application for the Amazon generic top-level domain (gTLD) was the focus of a standing-room only session of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The ICANN Board’s abrupt suspension of a review to ensure the security, stability and resilience of the domain name system (DNS) came under tough scrutiny. Barbara Wanner, ICT Vice President, participated in her capacity as the BC’s representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG), a position that facilitated important meetings with senior ICANN officials and other key constituencies.

Key Inputs to OECD Horizontal Project on the Digital Economy are Influenced by USCIB Members: On October 25, USCIB member representatives from Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Facebook, and Microsoft, made key contributions to a joint BIAC/OECD workshop, “OECD Going Digital Scenarios,” which considered four different potential scenarios for how the digital economy may evolve over the next several decades. They provided feedback about the likelihood of these scenarios occurring and the impacts on business, consumers, and other participants in the economy and society. Selected members followed this up October 26-27, providing industry insights to a joint OECD/Government Japan conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Their substantive contributions continued through the week of October 30 at meetings of the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP), the Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy (MADE), and the Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE) as well as at the November 21-22 meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP). Working through BIAC, USCIB member input will feed into the OECD’s Going Digital project on the digital transformation of the economy. This is the most ambitious horizontal project that has ever been undertaken by the OECD, the goal of which is to help governments approach the digital transformation of the economy in a coherent, proactive, and whole-of-government manner.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Participates in OECD Conversation on the Tax Challenges of the Digitalized Economy: In response to a request for input by the OECD, USCIB submitted a comment letter on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy. The letter emphasized the need to consider the impact of changes on global growth and the need to ensure that new rules are based on sound principles. The letter analyzed the proposals under the Ottawa principles that have been used to evaluate tax proposals in the past and that the OECD has supported in the Action 1 Final Report. The written comments were followed by a public consultation held in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley meeting was well-attended by USCIB members, including Bill Sample, Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee, Will Morris, Vice Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee (and Chair of the BIAC Tax Committee), and Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel. In addition to global growth and sound principles, business emphasized the need for income taxation to follow value creation; the difficulty of valuing data, that raw data does not create value, rather value is created by what businesses do with data; that the digital economy cannot be ring-fenced (although many of the proposals seem to try to do precisely that); that gross basis taxes are especially flawed given that most businesses fail and that even successful businesses may incur start-up losses for extended periods; and that any short-term solution must be genuinely short-term and comply with both tax treaty and trade obligations.

USCIB members also met separately with officials from the German Finance Ministry to discuss their views on these issues. We will also be having a meeting in Washington, D.C., on November 30th, with the French Finance Ministry to these topics.
It is clear that there is tremendous political pressure to shift taxation rights. The EU wants new “source” rules that put more profit in market jurisdictions. It seems that the OECD may have a short window to produce results that the EU and other jurisdictions that are seeking more “source” taxation rights consider appropriate. Beyond that time-frame, which may coincide with the April 2018 report to the G20, unilateral measures become increasingly likely.

USCIB Submits Comments on Platform for Collaboration on Tax’s Draft Toolkit on the Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers: USCIB submitted a comment letter on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers. The comment letter strongly made the point that, if adopted as drafted, the toolkit would reverse fundamental policies on the taxation of capital gains and therefore should be considered (and adopted or rejected) by country delegates, not recommended by staff of international organizations.

USCIB Attends and Presents Comments at the OECD’s Public Consultations on Profit Splits and Profit Attribution: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein represented USCIB at two days of public consultations at the OECD in Paris on profit splits and profit attribution. Business emphasized that the use of the transactional profit split method should be rare. There was a great deal of discussion concerning risk and the accurate delineation of the transaction. Many of the business commentators argued that applying the TPSM to companies that do not assume the risk under Chapter 1 is inappropriate. Another frequent comment of business on the profit split method was that more clarity is needed particularly on the definition of unique and valuable intangibles. On profit attribution, business criticized the high-level nature of the current discussion draft, making the point that more detail is needed to achieve certainty.

USCIB Participates in BIAC Tax Committee Meeting: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein participated in a BIAC Tax Committee meeting in Paris that was held at the offices of Baker & McKenzie. There were presentations by a number of OECD staff summarizing the status of a number of important work streams. On the digital economy work, the OECD indicated that there is no consensus on any of the options, but external developments are sharing the conversation and the report. The OECD wants to ensure that the interim report provides a pathway to long-term solutions. With respect to profit attribution, the OECD expected that the WP6 would reach agreement on a final version by November 17. A draft should go to the CFA/Inclusive Framework for approval in January 2018. The timing is similar for finalizing the profit split discussion draft.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

Giblin Represents USCIB and ICC at WCO 60th HSC Meetings: From September 27 – October 6, 2017, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director of Customs and Trade Facilitation, participated in the World Customs Organization 60th Harmonized System Committee (HSC) Meetings in Paris, France. At the 60th HSC, there were 53 individual product classification decisions taken, and a number of issues important to USCIB membership were discussed, including 3D Printers, certain Tobacco Products, Toys, Footwear, and more.

Engaging with ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission on E-Commerce: Megan Giblin participated in the ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission Meeting in Paris, France, November 9-10, 2017. ICC provided an update on its engagement in the WCO working group on e-commerce as a co-lead of the sub-working group on Revenue Collection. Other topics covered at the meeting included a discussion on the European Union Customs Code (UCC), implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and an update on the WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (TCCV) developments.

Customs Committee Members Meet with Key Players on International Postal Shipments: In efforts to address member questions related to customs treatment of international postal shipments, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee had meetings with Manuel (Manny) Garza of CBP, Mr. Joseph Murphy of the Department of State, and Deputy Post Master General, Mr. Ronald A. Stroman, to continue our discussions and information gathering on current and pending regulations.

Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise

Stefano Scarpetta, OECD, Has Candid Conversation with USCIB Food and Agriculture and Health Care Working Groups: USCIB’s Food and Agriculture and Healthcare Working Groups met with Stefano Scarpetta, director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on October 25, 2017. The meeting reinforced longstanding USCIB and Business at OECD cooperation in other issue areas and the need to improve the engagement between business and the OECD Health Committee. Members also raised several concerns with a draft paper on sustainable access to innovative therapies.  USCIB outlined four areas of recommendations to Scarpetta in the hopes of improving future interactions with member states and the health division secretariat, including helping member states understand the role of Business at OECD and its national affiliates, tracking input from Business at OECD and national affiliates, increasing diversity in perspectives among OECD health division staff and better use of OECD expert groups.

Innovation and Intellectual Property – Strengthening International Protections for U.S. IP

USCIB Intellectual Property Committee is Re-Launched with Focus on Innovation: USCIB has redoubled its efforts to promote American competitiveness with the launch of its Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee. The new committee, chaired by Sharon Reiche, corporate counsel for global patents and policy at Pfizer Inc., builds upon USCIB’s longstanding commitment to improved protection of intellectual property – and the innovation and creativity it underpins – via robust U.S. trade policy and expanded international diplomatic commitments.

The inaugural meeting of the new USCIB committee took place on October 18 in Washington, D.C. Special guests at the meeting included John Sandage, Deputy Director General for Patents and Technology at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Paul Salmon, Senior Counsel for International Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Daphne Yong-d’Hervé, Chief IP Officer for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), also addressed the committee via conference call, and highlighted the ICC’s new status as Observer to the UN General Assembly.

APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region

USCIB Attends 2017 APEC CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam: Mike Michener, USCIB Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation, attended the 2017 APEC CEO Summit on November 7-10 in Da Nang, Vietnam. Under the leadership of NCAPEC, USCIB and other business groups joined a diverse array of American CEOs and other executives (including numerous USCIB members) in both the official CEO Summit programming and other meetings with governments. Meetings were scheduled with the President of Vietnam, Tran Dai Quang, Ambassador Matt Matthews, U.S. Ambassador for APEC, the Trade Minister of Australia, Steven Ciobo, and Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Michener also participated in a meeting with the Philippine’s Secretary of Trade Roman Lopez.  

Throughout 2017, USCIB has addressed a number of key priorities through APEC, including chemicals policy, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, digital trade, and women in the economy. Our members and staff have engaged in several APEC working groups, including the Chemical Dialogue, APEC Business-Customs Dialogue, Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group, Alliance for Supply Chain name=”MEM”> Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup. Currently, USCIB has just finalized the 2018 APEC Priorities and Recommendations paper. Papua New Guinea will serve as the host economy for APEC 2018.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Gilead Sciences and DowDuPont to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Reed Smith LLP and Uber as new members.

Upcoming Events

  • WCO 53rd RSC, Paris, France – December 4-12
  • ICC Marketing Commission Meeting, San Francisco – December 4-5
  • Third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3), Nairobi, Kenya – December 4-6
  • Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina – December 10-13
  • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 12
  • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 13
  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Geneva, Switzerland – December 18-21
  • USCIB Arbitration Committee Luncheon, New York – January 23
  • BIAC/OECD Meeting of Chemicals Committee, Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotech, Paris, France – February 5-7
  • ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida – April 3-6

Staff

 


USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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USCIB Washington Update August – September 2017

Highlighting Key Activities, August – September 2017

During the months of August and September 2017, USCIB staff arranged a meeting with John Melle, USTR, and Angela Ellard, Ways and Means staff, on NAFTA negotiations; engaged with Alan Wolff, WTO, and Chris Wilson, USTR, in Geneva on deliverables for MC 11; organized a Symposium on Business and Human Rights with over 70 business representatives; submitted comments to USTR on China’s compliance with its WTO commitments; hosted a meeting for members with Ken Ash, OECD, on their trade work and Colombia accession; had a dialogue with Martha Newton, Department of Labor Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs on ILAB; received briefings from USTR’s Jason Bernstein and Christina Kopitopoulos on Customs in NAFTA; shared business views on the OECD Going Digital project with Andrew Wyckoff, OECD; and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

      1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
      2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
      3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
      4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
      5. Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions
      6. Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

    1. Membership
    2. Upcoming Events
    3. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

John Melle, USTR, and Angela Ellard, Ways and Means, Brief USCIB Trade Committee: On September 12, 2017, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere and Lead Negotiator for NAFTA modernization, John Melle, provided an off-the-record briefing for members on the latest round of NAFTA talks. He engaged with members on questions concerning negotiating timelines and deadlines, text proposals, investment and ISDS, rules of origin, addressing the trade deficit, digital trade, energy, and other topics. Members reinforced with Melle that withdrawing from NAFTA would go against the principal of “do no harm”. 

Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means Committee Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives, discussed NAFTA and other trade and investment topics in Congress, off-the-record. Ellard highlighted how closely Congress was working with USTR and the administration on the NAFTA process, despite the tight timelines. She noted the strong pushback from Congress to withdrawing from the Korea Free Trade Agreement. Ellard also discussed Trade Enforcement issues, implementation of the Customs Bill, the Miscellaneous Tarif Bill (which has 1,800 provisions suggested for inclusion), and GSP renewal. All of which she emphasized take significant time and resources. Members inquired about potential timelines for the 232 case, specific chapters in NAFTA, the U.S.-China trade relationship, and TPA renewal.

 USCIB Calls on Administration to Do No Harm in NAFTA Modernization: On June 12, 2017, USCIB released its recommendations to the Trump Administration on priorities for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The submission calls on the Administration to update the 23-year-old agreement to accommodate new realities in global commerce, including the rise of the digital economy, while keeping what works from the original agreement. Specifically, the document 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, such as the digital provision of goods and services, data localization requirements, and 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 With the third round of negotiations just having concluded in Ottawa, Canada, the negotiations are continuing at a rapid pace.

USCIB Co-chairs Business Meeting with USTR’s NAFTA Investment Negotiators: USCIB co-chaired an August 29, 2017, meeting for a coalition of U.S. companies and trade associations with USTR’s key NAFTA negotiators on investment. In a free-wheeling session with USTR’s Chief of Staff, lead NAFTA negotiator and the key USTR investment policy team, business laid out a strong view on the importance of maintaining, indeed strengthening, key investment provisions in the NAFTA, including strong enforcement mechanisms through a proven Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system. We and other business representatives made very clear to USTR leadership that any reported “opt-in/opt-out” system for ISDS would undercut the proven implementation/enforcement system which is critical to mobilizing the foreign direct investment flows so essential for business in today’s competitive global markets.

Rob Mulligan Meets with WTO Officials on Planning for Ministerial: While participating in the WTO Public Forum and the ICC Trade and Investment Commission meeting in Geneva from September 25-30, 2017, Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, met with the new WTO Deputy Director General, Alan Wolff, the WTO Director for Information and External Relations, Keith Rockwell, and the WTO Director for Services, Hamid Mamdouh. He also met with Chris Wilson, DCM for USTR in Geneva, Didier Chambovey, Swiss Ambassador to the WTO, and Julian Braithwaite, Ambassador to the UK Mission in Geneva. In the discussions with them and others there is still much uncertainty about the potential for significant results coming out of the WTO Ministerial (MC 11) in Argentina being held in December. There is hope that at least work plans can be developed for movement on a range of issues such as e-commerce/digital trade, investment facilitation, fisheries, services facilitation and other areas and this may involve pursuing plurilateral approaches in some cases.

USCIB Hosts Meeting with Ken Ash, OECD, on Trade Work and Colombia Accession: On September 20, 2017, Ken Ash, Director of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate, met with USCIB members and staff to discuss the projects he has planned over the next year. He detailed the work the OECD has done over the past year on both Trade and Agriculture policy, as well as the outlook for his upcoming work with the G20. Members raised issues and offered ideas for the OECD Trade Committee to pursue, and were also able to inquire about the status of Colombia and other countries seeking to join the OECD. Ken provided an open and frank perspective on Colombia, as well as the other countries including Brazil and Argentina.

Donnelly and Hampl Defend ISDS for a NAFTA 2.0: USCIB’s Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnellyalong with its Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl contributed an op-ed in The Hill titled, “NAFTA 2.0 needs to enshrine investor protections” on July 28, 2017. In the leadup to the update of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Hampl and Donnelly noted that, “overall, the administration’s “NAFTA 2.0” wish-list is solid.” However, one of the more crucial objectives, investor protection under the agreement’s Chapter 11, is not included. “These provisions, which allow U.S. investors both small and large to seek compensation for unfair, discriminatory or inequitable treatment at the hands of foreign governments, are based on bedrock principles embedded in our own Constitution prohibiting abusive government treatment and the taking of private property without just compensation. Without this provision, domestic courts become the only legal recourse for a wronged investor. While Mexico has made great strides in many respects, its court system is still far from impartial. Indeed, miscarriages of justice can happen in any country, including advanced democracies like the United States and Canada,” they noted.

USCIB Urges China Compliance with WTO Commitments: On September 20, 2017, USCIB submitted a statement to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on China’s compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, which incorporated a wide array of input from USCIB members across various sectors. In the statement, which is submitted annually, USCIB commended the U.S. and Chinese governments for important work in on-going bilateral dialogues, as well as in support of working relationships between U.S. and Chinese agencies which provide invaluable opportunities for exchanging information and addressing agency-specific issues. The statement addressed important issues to U.S. business including taxation, customs and trade facilitation, information technology and intellectual property rights. Furthermore, it advocated for continuing negotiations of a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the U.S. and China. While USCIB acknowledges the efforts China has made since joining the WTO in 2001 to meet its obligations under the terms of its accession agreement, there still remain significant WTO obligation compliance concerns. These concerns include government procurement, trade restrictions in information technology and continued intellectual property violations in audiovisual, software, agriculture biotechnology and chemicals.

USCIB Pushes Market Access Concerns in BIAC Colombia Paper: USCIB has been working with Business at OECD (BIAC) to advocate on behalf of business in the OECD accession process of Colombia. With the Market Openness Review concluded by the OECD Trade Committee, and the Formal Opinion now in draft form, Business at OECD finalized a document in September with recommendations for pre-accession commitments. These recommendations, which include significant USCIB member input, address market access concerns for industry on issues where Colombia has not yet risen to the standard of OECD countries. The draft formal opinion is set to be reviewed in November at the next meeting of the OECD Trade Committee.

GSP Back on the Agenda: With the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) system facing another of its periodic reauthorization deadlines at the end of the year, USTR is moving to get ducks in a row on pending country and product eligibility petitions, some of very long standing. USCIB has played and will continue to play a lead role on a specific request by Ecuador, with its problematic record toward international investors and respecting international arbitral awards, to add flowers and vegetables to the GSP eligible products list. USTR’s kick-off hearings September 26-27, 2017, focused on country eligibility petitions where, again, Ecuador was a key country of concern. Beyond the policy issues inherent to GSP and the challenge of identifying budget offsets for “foregone revenues”, the yearend legislative calendar looks daunting with urgent competing legislation so GSP risks again lapsing.

USCIB Aggressively Blogging for Strong Investment Protections: USCIB Staff have been actively blogging on major investment policy issues over the summer. Posting on the blog site of Investment Policy Central, Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl jointly penned “NAFTA 2.0 Needs to Enshrine Investor Protections” (an op-ed originally placed in The Hill in early August. Shaun also had an IPC blog post in mid-August “U.S. Business Speaks Up Forcefully for Strong Investment Provisions in NAFTA.” Investment Policy Central is a joint effort of USCIB, the U.S. chamber and other leading U.S. trade associations, committed to strong policies and program to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Donnelly Co-Authors Commercial Diplomacy Volume 2: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly has co-authored Part 2 of “Support for American Jobs”, a major report on “commercial diplomacy” by the American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD), a prestigious organization of former senior U.S. government foreign policy leaders where Shaun is a member. Shaun and co-author Ambassador (ret.) Chuck Ford lay out in their report the progress made and also the challenges remaining for the U.S. Government, including its embassies and Ambassadors abroad, to provide the kind of high-level aggressive support needed to assist U.S. companies to win sales, contracts, investment and joint venture deals in today’s competitive global environment. Thanks to the USCIB member companies and others in the business community who provide valuable input to this important study.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Discourages Regulatory Overreach in Comments to ITU: USCIB filed comments with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on August 14, 2017 as part of the its public consultation on “Public Policy Considerations for OTTs.” USCIB urged the ITU to avoid expanding its jurisdiction and work programs to include Internet-related issues. USCIB acknowledged the ITU’s primarily technical mission to develop international technical standards and enable telecommunications network interconnectivity, noting that these are the ITU’s “core competencies and uncontested remit that should not be compromised.” Expanding the ITU’s work program to included Internet-related issues is well beyond its remit, core competencies, and budgetary resources, USCIB underscored. USCIB further highlighted: (1) the promise of innovative online services and applications for realizing the economic, developmental, and societal benefit goals set forth in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and (2) the related need to ensure an enabling environment for continued innovation and investment in these services.

USCIB Members Promote APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) Work with EU: Members of USCIB’s ICT Policy Committee made important contributions at the August 20-23 meetings of APEC’s Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. USCIB’s Barbara Wanner, Vice President, ICT Policy, joined representatives from Apple, C&M International, Cisco, HP, ITI, and The Walt Disney Company. They shared best practices and highlighted the benefits of participating in APEC’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules System (CBPR) via formal presentations, interventions, and informal discussions with other delegates. Highlights of this meeting included: (1) formal announcement that South Korea was approved to become the fifth APEC member economy to participate in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system and that Singapore had submitted dual applications to be certified under the CBPR system and the complementary Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP) system; (2) a dialogue with the European Commission concerning possible approaches to realize interoperability of the CBPR and EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); and (3) consideration of a U.S. Government proposal to “Modernize the ECSG.” The latter is aimed at broadening the scope of the ECSG work to addressing issues arising from the digital transformation of the economy.

USCIB Members Engage with OECD Secretariat on Going Digital Project: On September 6, 2017 USCIB hosted a special meeting to enable members to engage with Andrew Wyckoff, Director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in informal discussions about the status of various elements of the OECD’s ambitious Going Digital horizontal project. The OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) will lead this effort, working closely with the Trade and Agriculture Committee and some 12 other OECD committees. Wyckoff encouraged USCIB members to comment on papers that will form the substantive foundation of the Going Digital project as well as to actively intervene during November meetings of the CDEP and its Working Parties. Related to the Going Digital Project, on September 7, USCIB convened a video conference with Rachael Bae, OECD Senior Counsellor for Trade and Agriculture, and her colleagues. The video conference enabled USCIB members to provide feedback and engage in discussions with Bae and colleagues about elements of a draft scoping paper aimed at providing a conceptual framework for thinking about market openness in the digital economy.

USCIB Members Help Develop 2017-2018 Strategy for ICC Digital Economy Commission: Microsoft and USCIB co-hosted the fall meeting of the ICC Digital Economy Commission (ICC-DEC) on September 13-14, 2017, in Washington, D.C.. The meeting featured guest remarks by Susan Ritchie, U.S. Department of State, and Christopher Smart, Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. Ritchie discussed the U.S. Government’s digital economy policy priorities and challenges to them in the United Nations, G20/G7, and OECD; Smart explored the difficulties of setting common guidelines for data flows that promote economic and commercial interests while also protecting privacy and security. Joining Barbara Wanner, Vice President, ICT Policy, were USCIB members from Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BT America, CCIA, Facebook, Google, KPMG, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, The Walt Disney Company, TMG, and Verizon. They made important contributions to ICC-DEC discussions concerning: (1) prime international forums at which to advocate the ICC policy statement on ICT, Policy and Sustainable Economic Development; (2) application of technology in financial services; (3) real-time business transaction controls; (4) identity management for business; (4) effective engagement on cybersecurity; (5) navigating policy dialogues on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and creating a special ICC-DEC Working Group to take this work forward; (6) preparing for the 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary; (7) and developing a roadmap of activities and targeted forums at which to promote the ICC’s vision of an enabling environment for ICT investment and innovation.

USCIB Supports Continuation of EU-US Privacy Shield Framework: On September 15, 2017 – the eve of the first joint review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework — USCIB reaffirmed support for the Framework and issued a statement underscoring its importance in ensuring continued robust and reliable transatlantic data flows, which have proved vital for healthy U.S.-EU commercial relations. USCIB highlighted three important points for consideration in the Annual Review: (1) the Framework is realizing stronger personal data protections; (2) the Framework is serving as an effective mechanism for certification by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); and (3) the longevity of the Framework remains important.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness 

USCIB Represents Members at OECD VAT/TAG Meeting: Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel, participated in the recent VAT/TAG meeting where the TAG discussed issues relating to collecting VAT on transactions that take place on platforms. As this was an initial discussion of platforms most of the discussion related to the operation of various business models. There is concern that collecting the proper amount of VAT in the context of platforms is difficult as the information on the customer and supply may be separate from the payment. These issues would be similar to the issues that would arise in the context of some of the proposals that have been floated as methods to increase the amount of tax paid on digital transactions.

USCIB Submits Letters to OECD on Profits Splits and Attribution of Profits to Permanent Establishments. USCIB submitted comment letters on the discussion drafts on profit splits and profit attribution. The letters both emphasized the lack of detailed guidance in areas where detailed guidance is needed. The profit split letter also pointed out the guidance might create a de facto preference for profit splits in cases in which other methods would be more appropriate. The letter on the profit attribution guidance pointed out that the discussion draft seemed to move away from the Authorized OECD Approach. The move away from the AOA and lack of detail may lead to increased disputes as countries interpret the guidance in various inconsistent ways.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices


Speakers from USTR, CBP, USAID Meet with USCIB Customs Committee: The September 20, 2017, USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting featured six speakers, including five from the U.S. Government. Jason Bernstein, USTR Director of Customs Affairs, World Trade, and Christina Kopitopoulos, USTR Director for Customs and Trade Affairs, provided an update on the status of the Customs chapters in the ongoing NAFTA modernization process. Jose Raul Perales, Deputy Director of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, and Virginia Brown, USAID Director, Office of Trade and Regulatory Reform, discussed the latest in the work of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, as well as its next projects. Finally, Kristin Isabelli U.S. CBP Congressional Liaison Specialist, and Michael Schreffler, U.S. CBP International Trade Liaison, discussed their team, the WCO E-Commerce Working Group, and the COAC E-Commerce/Section 321 Working Group.

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Hears from Martha Newton, Department of Labor: USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee met on September 11-12, 2017, in Washington D.C., under the direction of Gabriella Rigg Herzog, USCIB Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs. Hosted by Baker McKenzie, the meeting was attended by over 50 representatives from member companies, and speakers included a variety of U.S. government officials, civil society and industry. Martha Newton, the newly appointed Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) spoke about the engagement between DOL’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) and U.S. business, and other DOL officials demonstrated the newly-launched “Comply Chain” app, a toolkit for responsible business. Members also heard from officials from USAID on partnerships with the private sector, and Lewis Karesh of USTR and Steve Moody of the State Department spoke on trade and labor. Several other USCIB members and civil society organizations served as guest speakers, touching on the UN Business & Human Rights Forum, the 2017 International Labour Conference, the future of work, and other topics.

USCIB leads Symposium on Business and Human Rights: In partnership with Article One and Barrick Gold, and hosted by Marriott International, USCIB coordinated a “Symposium on Human Rights and Remedy in Business Relationships with Limited Leverage” on September 13, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Attended by over 70 business representatives, as well as U.S. government officials and civil society, the symposium discussed stakeholder expectations for business, brainstormed on how to increase trust between stakeholders and business on the issue of leverage, the challenge of defining remedy, and moving from theory to action around key issues like performance, timing and achieving scale. Speakers included representatives from Mars, Inc., The Walt Disney Company as well as the Global Business Initiative (GBI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

USCIB Foundation Organizes Roundtable on Apprenticeships: In partnership with the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) and the U.S. Department of Labor, and hosted by the Citi Foundation, USCIB held a Roundtable on Apprenticeships on July 20, 2017 in New York City. Participants discussed apprenticeship models and practice in the U.S. and included representatives of approximately 25 companies who are either actively implementing apprenticeship programs or are interested in getting started. The keynote remarks were given by John Ladd, the Administrator for the Office of Apprenticeship of the US Department of Labor. Apprenticeships were a priority with the previous U.S. Administration, and continue to be so with the new Administration. Underscoring that commitment, President Trump and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta have launched a series of initiatives that call on Congress to pass reforms expanding apprenticeships and raise awareness about the fact that there are important, very viable career paths outside of the traditional four-year college experience. Apprenticeships are also a priority for the B20 and G20 leaders. USCIB has compiled a White Paper from the roundtable, available here

Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

ICC/USCIB Competition Meeting Hosts DOJ Antitrust Expert: USCIB’s Competition Committee held its annual joint meeting on September 11, 2017 in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Competition. Introductory remarks included comments by Paul Lugard, partner, Barker Botts LLP and chair of the ICC Competition Commission, and John Taladay, partner, Baker Botts LLP and chair of the USCIB Competition Committee. The meeting included an off-the-record exchange of views with Bernard A. Nigro, Jr., deputy assistant attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, antitrust division, on issues of relevance to USCIB membership, including international engagement, trade related competition issues and mergers. The remainder of the meeting provided updates on the ongoing projects of the various task forces of the ICC Competition Commission, including on compliance and advocacy, merger control regimes, due process, the International Competition Network (ICN), cartels and leniency, and court proceeding in antitrust damage claims. Finally, the membership received an update on ASEAN competition issues by Hatasakdi Na Pombejra from HN Pro International, who presented on behalf of ICC Thailand.

Membership

  • Membership Meetings: USCIB President and CEO, along with the membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies CenturyLink, 3M, Sidley Austin, Chubb and DIAGEO to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Barrick Gold, Comcast, Cooley LLP, and Gilead Sciences as new members.

Upcoming Events:

    • ICC Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption Meeting, Paris, France – October 3
    • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – October 4
    • UNCTAD 2017 High-Level conference on International Investment Agreements, Geneva, Switzerland – Oct 9-11
    • World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17), Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 9-20
    • USCIB Environment Committee/Product Policy Working Group Joint Meeting, Washington, D.C. – October 12
    • OECD Freedom of Investment Roundtable, Paris, France – October 12
    • BIAC Consultation with OECD Investment Committee, Paris, France – October 17
    • USCIB IP and Innovation Committee Re-Launch Event, Washington, D.C. – October 18
    • BIAC Finance Task Force Meeting, Paris, France – October 20
    • USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meeting, Washington, D.C. – October 23
    • OECD Working Party on State Ownership and Privatization Practices Meeting, Paris – France October, 23-24
    • BIAC Employment, Labor & Social Affairs Committee Meeting, Paris, France – October 24
    • ICANN 60, Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 28-November 3
    • Meeting of the OECD Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE), Paris, France – October 30-31
    • OECD Corporate Governance Committee Meeting, Paris, France – November 2
    • Meeting of the OECD Working Party on Communications Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP), Paris, France – November 2-3
    • Meeting of the OECD Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy (MADE), Paris, France – November 2-3
    • ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation, Paris, France – November 9-10
    • Meeting of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP), Paris, France, November 21-22

  • Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina – December 10 – 13
  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Geneva, Switzerland – December 18-21

 


USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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USCIB Washington Update – April and May 2017

During the months of April and May, 2017, USCIB Staff met with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, arranged for an exclusive member meeting with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, met with Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Patricia Haslach, participated in a Special White House Meeting about the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, submitted letters to Treasury on reviewing regulations and defending U.S. tax interests at the G7, G20 and the UN, testified on trade deficits, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

  1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
  2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
  3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
  4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
  5. Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions
  6. Health – Business Engagement for Balanced International Health and Nutrition Regulations
  7. Product Policy – Ensuring U.S. Products Timely Access to Markets Around the World
  8. Innovation and Intellectual Property – Strengthening International Protections for U.S. IP
  9. Membership
  10. Upcoming Events
  11. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

OECD Secretary General Gurria Addresses USCIB Members: On Friday, April 21, 2017, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria met with Senior Representatives of USCIB members at the Citigroup offices in Washington, DC. The Secretary General spoke about the work of the OECD in addressing growing anti-globalization sentiments and engaged members on their perceptions of the OECD and the outlook for OECD funding in the new administration.

USCIB CEO and Members Raise Concerns with Patricia Haslach, Acting Assistant Secretary of State: On Thursday, May 11, 2017, USCIB President and CEO, Peter Robinson, along with senior staff and members met with Patricia Haslach, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. In a meeting held at the USCIB DC Offices, Members discussed a range of concerns about the attitudes of many international organizations towards business engagement, including at the WHO, the UN in Climate Change talks, in UN work on access to medicine, and World Bank efforts on payment systems. Ambassador Haslach recognized and appreciated our concerns and committed to working with us in tackling these issues.

Mulligan Tackles Colombia Accession and Trade Policy at OECD/BIAC Trade Committee Meetings: During the week of April 24, Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, represented USCIB at the OECD and BIAC Trade Committee meetings held in Paris and attended the OECD Trade Communications Conference. Working with BIAC and key USCIB members, we met with OECD staff and delegates from several countries to raise concerns related to Colombia’s accession to the OECD and pressed the OECD Trade Committee to include certain contingencies for Colombia to satisfy before getting final committee approval. The BIAC Trade Committee finalized and released its paper “Trade as a Priority for All” which recommends the ten priority issue areas the OECD Trade Committee should address as part of its workplan. The Committee also discussed concerns with the draft OECD Trade Committee paper circulated that week outlining views on the causes of increased public opposition to trade and proposing how governments should best address these concerns. While in Paris, Rob was also able to meet with Doug Frantz, OECD Deputy Secretary General, Peter Haas, Deputy Permanent Representative of the U.S. Mission to the OECD, and Ken Ash, Director of the OECD Trade Directorate.

USCIB Brainstorming on CFIUS: On April 19, 2017 USCIB staff (Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl) and a group of members had a good wide-ranging discussion on issues related to the U.S. Government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). CFIUS is a long-standing interagency committee chaired by the Treasury Department charged with reviewing the national security aspects of foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms. With a new Administration and reports of various CFIUS-related bills in preparation or discussion on the Hill, we wanted to review the bidding on USCIB’s long-standing support for open investment regimes, both inward and outward. There seemed to be a consensus among members on USCIB’s orientations on CFIUS; we’ll be distilling the discussion into basic policy pillars to guide our work in this area.

Donnelly Keynotes Annual Meeting of ACFR: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly was the keynote speaker at the 22nd annual Washington meeting of the American Councils on Foreign Relations (ACFR), a network of foreign policy discussions groups around the country. Shaun discussed U.S. and global policy issues on trade and investment and led a vigorous Q and A session.

USCIB Working with AmChamEU: Susan Danger, the widely-respected CEO of the Brussels-based American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmChamEU) met with USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson in New York May 5, then followed up with a session with SVP Rob Mulligan in Washington on May 8. AmChamEU Policy Advisor Tim Atkinson accompanied Susan. Trade and investment policy (including TTIP, TPP. NAFTA, WTO, and the EU-Canada “CETA” agreement) and the political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic were the focus of the discussion. USCIB and AmChamEU membership lists overlap to a considerable degree so it not surprising that our analyses and priorities generally align closely. We agreed to continue working together and look for concrete areas where we can deepen our partnership. We welcome specific suggestions from members on areas/initiative/events where USCIB and AmChamEU can cooperate going forward.

USCIB Weighs in on the Debate about Trade Deficits with Submission and Testimony: In May USCIB submitted a statement Regarding Causes of Significant Trade Deficits to the Department of Commerce in response to the Federal Register Notice responding to the executive order requesting the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits from Commerce and USTR. USCIB’s comments as well as a public testimony that was delivered by USCIB’s Director for Investment, Trade, and Financial Services Eva Hampl on May 18, 2017 reflect USCIB’s view that the U.S. Government’s approach to trade and international economic policy-making must be much broader than bilateral trade deficits in goods. Given the multi-sectoral nature of our membership and the significant work we do in the multilateral space, our comments present a high-level view on the question more broadly, rather than getting into detailed analysis or focusing on individual sectors and markets. In her testimony, Hampl emphasized USCIB’s view that trade deficits are a product of broader macroeconomic factors, not trade policy, and that the trade balance should not be viewed as a straightforward indicator of a country’s economic health. While it is useful to address trade barriers that impede access for U.S. goods and services exporters to specific markets, we should not set up bilateral trade balances as the metric of successful trade policies.

USCIB Discusses Colombia’s Accession Process to the OECD with Japan and France: In April, Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, led a group of companies in a meeting and a call with the Embassy of Japan and the Embassy of France, respectively, to discuss important market access issues related to Colombia’s accession to the OECD. The meetings took place ahead of the OECD Trade Committee meetings in Paris in late April, for which Colombia accession was on the agenda. The U.S.-Colombia trade relationship is important to USCIB and its members. USCIB has been continuously engaged in this effort to resolved all remaining market access issues prior to Colombia’s accession to the OECD, and looks forward to Colombia raising their standards to the level of the OECD in a timely manner.

USCIB Signs Association Letter Raising Concerns with China Cybersecurity Rules: On April 6, 2017, USCIB’s China Committee held a meeting via phone to discuss the USCIB 2017 China Committee Priorities. One of the specific concerns focused on China’s broad cybersecurity law which took effect on June 1, 2017. In anticipation of this date, USCIB joined with a range of industry groups from the United States and other countries in appealing for the country to delay its entry into force. Among other things, the new law gives law enforcement enhanced authority to access private data and require data to be stored on servers located in China. In a joint letter, the business groups said they are “deeply concerned that current and pending security-related rules will effectively erect trade barriers along national boundaries that effectively bar participation in your market and affect companies across industry sectors that rely on information technology goods and services to conduct business.” The letter called on China to ensure that cybersecurity regulations comply with China’s World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments and encourage the adoption of international models that support China’s development as a global hub for technology and services.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Participates in Special White House Meeting on the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework: On April 5, USCIB joined eight other business groups at a special meeting with key administration staff. It was billed as a “listening” meeting, which primarily was aimed at enabling staff from the NSC, NEC, State and Commerce Departments, FTC, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to gain a better understanding of the business community’s interests and concerns about continuation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework. Trade association representatives highlighted several issues important to maintaining Privacy Shield when it comes up for annual review in September 2017. USCIB underscored the need to fill the Ombudsperson position in a timely manner and ensuring adequate funding to carry out the duties of the position. Business also highlighted Presidential Policy Directive 29 (PPD-28) and the need to preserve limits on surveillance of non-U.S. persons as well as the political importance of the Judicial Review Act to the Privacy Shield, among other issues. In anticipation of the September review, business expressed interest in working closely with the U.S. Government to provide information requested by the European Commission, such as: (1) examples of how companies are complying with Privacy Shield; and (2) records indicating how many times U.S. authorities asked Shield-certified companies to provide EU citizens’ private data.

USCIB Files IGF Workshop Proposal Underscoring the Importance of Digital Trade to Development and the Negative Impact of Localization Requirements: On May 3, 2017, USCIB submitted a workshop proposal for the 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, December 18-21, 2017, under the theme, Shape Your Digital Future! USCIB’s proposed workshop, “Internet Governance 2017: Realizing SDGs through Policies Enabling Digital Trade,” was co-organized with IEEE and would feature USCIB speakers from Amazon, AT&T, Intel, Microsoft, and the digital content community, and others from government and civil society. Underscoring the power of ICTs and digital innovation to help realize many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the workshop proposes examining digital trade rules and other essential policies to enable investment, competition, sufficient infrastructure, and cross-border flows of data and information. Speakers also would explore how some government measures that aim to promote domestic industry by establishing local requirements have the potential to limit growth of the digital economy and inhibit global development. USCIB will learn whether this workshop proposal is accepted later in June.

USCIB Members Shape Continued Development of OECD Horizontal Project on Digital Transformation of the Economy: USCIB Members participated in the May 15-19 meetings of the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties, where they made important contributions to discussions aimed at establishing the framework for the OECD’s Going Digital project on the digital transformation of the economy. This is the most ambitious horizontal project that has ever been undertaken by the OECD, the goal of which is to help governments approach the digital transformation of the economy in a coherent, proactive, and whole-of-government manner. USCIB members made key interventions to influence the development of work products that will feed into the Going Digital Project produced by the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP), the Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy (MADE), and the Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE).

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Represents Members at UN Committee of Tax Experts Meeting: Bill Sample, Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee, and Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel, participated as observers at the recent UN Committee meeting in New York the week of April 3-7, 2017. This meeting was the last meeting of the current membership of the committee and wrapped up a number of topics. The UN will be issuing a new UN Model Income Tax Treaty and a new UN Transfer Pricing Manual for the next several months. When the committee is reformed in July they will take up topics of interest to members including taxation of the digital economy.

USCIB Submits Letters to Treasury on Reviewing Regulations and Defending U.S. Tax Interests at the G7, G20 and the UN: In response to Executive Order 13789, USCIB submitted a letter requesting that the Treasury Department review a number of regulations including regulations under 987, 367, 482, 385 and 901(m). The letter emphasized the undue burden imposed by these regulations and the need to defer effective dates to prevent taxpayers from expending resources on regulations that might be eliminated or substantially modified. The second letter urged the Administration take immediate action to ensure that tax principles that would adversely affect U.S.-based multinational companies and the rights of the United States to tax the income earned by such companies are not encouraged or endorsed by international bodies (the G7, G20, OECD and UN) focusing on taxation rules, particularly those applicable to businesses operating in the digital economy.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

Peter Robinson and Members Meet with Acting CBP Commissioner McAleenan: On Wednesday, May 10, 2017 USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and a group of USCIB staff and members met with the Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, who has been nominated by the President to be Commissioner. Member company representatives including the Chair of the USCIB Customs Committee, Jerry Cook, Vice President for Government and Trade Relations at Hanesbrands. Robinson expressed support for the work of CBP and its team and noted USCIB’s longstanding engagement with CBP on customs policy issues as well as the ATA Carnet program. Members identified various issue areas of concern related to customs valuation, implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, engagement with the work of the World Customs Organization, and continued progress and eventually closure on ACE, forced labor, e-commerce, and more.

Giblin Attends ICC Customs Meetings in Dubai: On May 17-18, 2017, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation, attended the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation Meetings in Dubai, UAE. Topics discussed included Free Trade Zones, humanitarian shipments, customs valuation, customs classification, rules of origin, guarantee schemes, refill-reuse containers and more. Giblin was joined by several USCIB members, including FedEx, Roanoke, and Phillip Morris International. In addition, there were ICC National Committee representatives from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, UAE, Georgia to name a few. On the sidelines of the ICC Commission meeting, Megan also attended a half day Customs and Trade Facilitation Forum co-organized by ICC UAE, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and ICC as well as a tour of the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone.

USCIB Strongly Represented at U.S. CBP West Coast Trade Symposium: Giblin also attended the CBP West Coast Symposium from May 24 -25, in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spoke on the panel “The Business of Small Business: Is there a window of opportunity for Small Businesses to work in conjunction with consumers as well as other businesses?” The panel discussed compliance issues, transportation and logistics, as well as national and international business models, and considered the importance of building relationships with other industries such as e-commerce arena. The panel was moderated by Shaun Keller, Chief, E-Commerce and Small Business Branch, OT, CBP, and panelists included Rene Romero, President, Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder, AM-Mex International, and USCIB members Al Kaufman, Senior Vice President of Technical Affairs at The Toy Association, and Lisa Schimmelpfenning, Vice President, Importer/Export, Compliance and Administration, Wal-Mart.

Customs Committee Meets with Sushan Demirjian, USTR: On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee met with Sushan Demirjian, Deputy Assistant USTR for Market Access and Industrial Competitiveness, to discuss the topic of remanufactured and refurbished goods and their current treatment in U.S. Free Trade Agreements. Sushan highlighted and welcomed industry feedback on the new Remanufacturers Industries Council document, RIC001.1-2016: “Specifications for the Process of Remanufacturing”, which was approved by the ANSI Board of Standards Review and is now an approved American National Standard. Members also discussed customs valuation, the STOP Act, and e-commerce efforts in the customs space. Additionally, the Committee developed positions on issues for the ICC Customs Commission Meeting in Dubai, including on bond, humanitarian shipments, and reference price databases.

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions

Secretary of Labor Acosta Consults with Senior USCIB Leadership on G20 Labor Ministers Meeting: On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, CEO Peter Robinson, as well as Rob Mulligan and Senior Counsel, Ronnie Goldberg, met with the new Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, to discuss the upcoming G20 Labor and Employment Ministers meeting in Bad Neuenahr, Germany, as well as the Global Employers Summit and “B20/L20” (both employer and trade union representatives) dinner meeting the day before. Robinson raised the recommendations of the B20 Labor and Employment taskforce, on which he has served as a Co-Chair. Secretary Acosta was very interested in how governments can do a better job of matching training and skills development with the needs of employers. In that regard, he was especially interested in the work we are doing with ILO on apprenticeships and with BIAC on womens’ participation in the workforce, and expressed interest in highlighting U.S. government and business leadership in these areas.

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Hears from Melike Yetken, State Department: USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee met on May 2-3, 2017, in Washington D.C., under the direction of the new USCIB Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs, Gabriella Rigg Herzog. Hosted by Foley & Lardner, the meeting was attended by over 40 representatives from member companies, and speakers included a variety of U.S. government officials, civil society and industry. Melike Yetken, Senior Advisor for Corporate Responsibility, U.S. Department of State, spoke about the U.S. National Action Plan and held a discussion with Hanni Rosenbaum, Senior Director, Policy and Strategic Planning, BIAC, on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. Garance Pineau from MEDEF and Marhijn Visser from VNO-NCW-MKB presented on the recent French and Dutch due diligence laws, respectively. Several other USCIB members and civil society organizations served as guest speakers, touching on topics of forced labor, corporate responsibility benchmarks and conflict minerals, among others.

Health – Business Engagement for Balanced International Health and Nutrition Regulations

USCIB Supports BIAC Health Committee Plans for Outreach to Capitals: On May 30, 2017 Mike Michener, USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation, attended meetings of the Business at OECD (BIAC) Health Committee. At a morning strategy session, pharmaceutical industry committee members prepared for a June 28th consultation on sustainable access to pharmaceutical innovations. After lunch with Belgium’s Ambassador to the OECD, Jean-Joel Schittecatte, the Committee reviewed policy input on 2017-18 OECD projects, heard about outreach projects and events, and discussed ways to improve communications and coordination between Committee members and their capitals.

Product Policy – Ensuring U.S. Products Timely Access to Markets Around the World

USCIB Product Policy Working Group Meets with Executive Secretary of UNEP Chemicals Conventions: The Executive Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, Dr. Rolph Payet, met with industry representatives on May 25, 2017. The representatives communicated key issues and concerns which have the potential to undermine implementation of the Conventions, limit their effectiveness and waste resources. The industry positioned itself as a constructive contributor and resource to help modernize the various Convention processes and increase the level of expertise available to the Conventions, while also exploring specific opportunities where industry might partner with the BRS Conventions and demonstrate proactive, ongoing product stewardship efforts being led by industry.

Innovation and Intellectual Property – Strengthening International Protections for U.S. IP

 USCIB Relaunches and Renames Intellectual Property Committee: After more than a year in hiatus, the USCIB IP Committee met on May 11, 2017, and decided to increase its focus on new technologies and other areas of private sector research and innovation. The Committee agreed to a new name, the Innovation and Intellectual Property (IIP) Committee, and a new structure that created four working groups to focus on specific sectors of IIP: copyrights, trademarks, patents, and confidential business information (CBI). Sharon Reiche of Pfizer has agreed to serve as Chair of the IP Committee, and we are currently seeking expressions of interest to serve as Vice Chair and as head each of the working groups – if you are interested, please contact Mike Michener, USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The Washington, D.C. membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Grant Thornton, Dentons, Applied Materials, and CenturyLink to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Cargill and Hilton as new members

Upcoming Events:

USCIB/OECD/BIAC 2017 International Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 5-6

BIAC General Assembly, Paris, France – June 6

USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meeting, Washington, D.C. – June 9

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum, Geneva, Switzerland – June 12-16

USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – June 14

ICC Marketing Commission Meetings, Paris, France – June 15-16

OECD Competition Week, June 19-23

BIAC China Task Force Meeting, Paris, France – June 19

USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – June 21

USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – June 21

ICANN 59, Johannesburg, South Africa – June 26-29

OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct Roundtable for Policy Makers, Paris, France – June 28

OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct, Paris, France – June 29-30

UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) High-Level Policy Forum & Ministerial, UN-HQ, New York – July 10-19

APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 3), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – August 15-30

 


USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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USCIB Washington Update – February and March 2017

During the months of February and March, 2017, USCIB Staff hosted a conference with BIAC/OECD on Digital Transformation, discussed Brexit with Alexander Lau of the UK government and Chris Southworth of ICC UK, arranged a member briefing with Doug Frantz, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, and Bernhard Welschke, Secretary General of Business at OECD (BIAC), presented at the OECD Investment Committee meetings in Paris,  participated in the ICC Trade Committee meetings in London, provided comments on NTIA’s Internet of Things Green Paper, addressed customs issues at the APEC SOM 1 meetings in Vietnam, shared member views at the OECD Meetings on VAT in Paris, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

  1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
  2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
  3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
  4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
  5. Membership
  6. Upcoming Events
  7. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

  • UK Government Briefs USCIB Trade and Investment Committee on Brexit: On March 7, 2017, at the Citigroup offices in Washington, D.C., the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee held a conference call with Chris Southworth, Secretary General of ICC UK, and Alexander Lau, Senior Policy Adviser (Trade) at the Trade and Partnerships Directorate in the UK Department for Exiting the European Union. Alexander Lau provided an overview of the current political and legislative situation for the UK withdrawal process from the EU and Chris Southworth commented on the state of the government and the Brexit process from a business perspective. The Committee also received a briefing from Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel, on the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) that has been proposed in the House and how it compares to existing tax law. Other topics discussed at the meeting included reports out from the BIAC and ICC Trade and Investment Committee meetings, a discussion on a potential NAFTA renegotiation, and the USTR’s 2017 Trade Agenda.
  • Mulligan Represents USCIB at ICC Meeting with WTO and UK Government Speakers: On March 23, 2017 the ICC Trade and Investment Commission held a full day meeting in London on a wide range of global trade issues.  Ian Ascough, Deputy Director, Multilateral Trade, Department for International Trade, United Kingdom briefed members on how the Brexit process will impact UK trade work.  He stressed their desire for a free trade agreement with the EU, no border in Ireland, and to be champions of free trade globally. They will seek to secure a UK schedule in the WTO and build up their capability in the WTO.  Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, raised the trade concerns of business in needing sufficient transition times coming out of Brexit to address any changes related to customs, values chains, and regulatory requirements. Bernard Kuiten, Head of External Relations, WTO briefed the Commission on planning for the WTO Ministerial which will be held in Argentina this December.  Some areas that could be addressed in the Ministerial if member countries agree would include fisheries subsidies, e-commerce, services facilitation, agriculture, and investment.  The Commission also agreed to a suggestion by Mulligan to prepare a short paper on key ICC trade policy principles.
  • Members Raise Issues with OECD’s Doug Frantz and BIAC’s Bernhard Welschke: On March 9, 2017, USCIB members met with Doug Frantz, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, and Bernhard Welschke, Secretary General of Business at OECD (BIAC) who described current priority work at the OECD. Members raised issues they had on work related to trade and investment, digital trade, the G20 process, U.S. funding for international organizations, state owned enterprises, and broader themes regarding the anti-globalization rhetoric on the rise. Members directly voiced both concerns and support for specific work streams and ongoing processes at BIAC and the OECD.
  • Donnelly Speaks for Business at State’s OECD Delegate Training: On February 14, 2017, USCIB Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly was a guest speaker at an all-day training session for experts around the U.S. government who represent the U.S. at various OECD Committees, expert groups, and conferences. The training, organized and hosted by the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (“EB”) which coordinates overall U.S. participation in the OECD, focused on ensuring USG subject matter experts are also effective USG delegates, representing not their home agency but the overall U.S. government. Donnelly represented the official “stakeholders” in the OECD system, specifically Business at OECD (BIAC). He urged USG delegates to consult closely with BIAC representatives at and around OECD meetings in Paris and to work here at home with USCIB and our members as the sole USG affiliate of, and entry point into, the BIAC business network.
  • Speaking Up at the OECD for Strong Investment Protections: Shaun Donnelly led the BIAC team during the March 6-10, 2017, OECD Investment Committee meetings in Paris. As a lead speaker at the OECD’s Global Forum on Investment on March 6 and its Annual Meeting on Investment Agreements on March 7, as well as in the BIAC Investment Committee delegation’s formal and informal meetings with the OECD committee and key delegations, Shaun delivered our key messages on the importance of strong investment agreements to provide predictable security assurances for foreign direct investments around the world. Strong International Investment Agreements (IIAs) need to include broad coverage and definitions, high-level core protections, strong enforcement provisions, and tightly drawn exceptions and carveouts. The tried-and-true Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) arbitration system generally works very well. Shaun was very clear about our deep skepticism over the EU’s radical new “investment court system” to replace ISDS. He also challenged advocates of new “multilateral investment frameworks” to explain how such multilateral bodies could reach the high-level protections and enforcement procedures in gold-standard Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) like those of the U.S.
  • USCIB Leads Industry Meetings with USTR on Colombia OECD Accession: On February 16, 2017, Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, led a group of companies and associations in a meeting with Dawn Shackleford, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs, Zoe Sophos, Deputy Director for WTO and Multilateral Affairs at U.S. Trade Representative and Leslie O’Connor, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Latin America to discuss the OECD Accession process for Colombia. Companies in certain sectors have been facing serious market access barriers in Colombia, which USCIB has been advocating must be dealt with before Colombia’s accession to the OECD can move forward. The group met again with Dawn Shackleford, Leslie O’Connor, and Joe Whitlock, USTR Senior Director for Innovation and Intellectual Property on March 23 for further discussions, given recent developments. USCIB also provided input into updated Business at OECD (BIAC) discussion papers on alcoholic beverages, pharmaceutical and health care issues, and scrapping incentives, which were finalized in March and submitted to the OECD for consideration.
  • USCIB Comments on the EU Investment Court: In March, USCIB submitted comments in response to the EU Consultation on their proposed Investment Court System. The comments reflect USCIB’s long-held and frequently articulated view that the EU’s proposal is an inadequate response to what is largely a political problem in the EU. USCIB calls on the EU to further elucidate why some of these changes are necessary in their view, and how those changes address the alleged problems they cite.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

  • USCIB Urges U.S. Government to Avoid Prescriptive Regulation of the Internet of Things (IoT): On March 6, 2017, USCIB filed comments in response to the Federal Register notice requesting public comments on NTIA’s Internet of Things Green Paper. Echoing our 2016 submission, USCIB applauded the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) examination, “The Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Roles for the Government in Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things,” as timely and important. We expressed support for the themes of the so-called “green paper,” which included (1) continued private-sector leadership in the development of IoT, (2) government efforts to enable infrastructure availability and access; (3) removal of regulatory barriers, and (4) collaboration with the private sector to address potential IoT cybersecurity and privacy risks. However, we urged NTIA to avoid overly prescriptive regulation as well as duplicative or conflicting regulatory mandates for IoT.
  • USCIB Hosts Conference with BIAC/OECD on Digital Transformation: On March 8, 2017, the USCIB Foundation, the educational arm of USCIB, in partnership with Business at OECD (BIAC) and the OECD, organized a conference in Washington, DC on the digital transformation of the economy. “Fostering Digital Transformation: The OECD’s Role”, which was held at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center, explored how policy makers and the business community can work together to ensure that new technologies and digital applications can be utilized to realize a more prosperous, productive, inclusive, and socially beneficial world. David Redl, chief counsel for communications and technology at the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, kicked off the conference, underscoring the importance of fostering investment in U.S. networks, streamlining regulation, and improving online trust and security to bring the benefits of the Internet to every American. Other featured speakers included OECD Deputy Secretary General Douglas Frantz, and Andrew Wyckoff, director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as USCIB member company experts from AT&T, Citi, Disney, Facebook, GE Digital, Google, IBM, Mastercard, Microsoft, and Verizon.
  • State/Commerce Officials Brief USCIB Members on the Multilateral ICT Agenda, Privacy Frameworks: At the ICT Policy Committee Meeting on March 9, 2017, Julie Zoller, Acting Coordinator for Communications and Information Policy, State Department, provided a comprehensive overview of the multilateral ICT agenda, noting key issues that will be addressed in the OECD, G20, and International Telecommunications Union (ITU). She encouraged continued engagement with USCIB in shaping the policy outcomes. In addition, Nasreen Djouini, International Trade Specialist at International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, offered an update on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework and other EU privacy-related developments. Michael Rose, Policy Advisor, Office of Digital Services Industries, Commerce Department then debriefed members on the outcome of the February 22-25, 2017, meetings of the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup, noting that support for APEC’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules System has grown substantially. In the past six months, as many as five countries (Korea, China, Singapore, Australia and the Philippines) have demonstrated active interest in joining the CBPR system in the near-term, with Korea at the head of the queue, according to Rose.
  • USCIB Helps Further Business Priorities at ICANN 58: USCIB Vice President for ICT Barbara Wanner attended meetings of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 11-16, 2017. USCIB member representatives from 21st Century Fox, Amazon, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Verizon also participated. The meeting largely focused on domain name system (DNS) policy issues and inter-stakeholder consultations. Wanner participated in DNS meetings in her new capacity as the Business Constituency representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group, enabling great input to policy discussions at the executive committee level on behalf of USCIB members.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

  • USCIB Represents Members at VAT/TAG Meeting: Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel, participated in the VAT/TAG in Paris. Two important topics that were discussed were the implementation of the VAT/GST guidelines and the role of platforms in collecting VAT/GST. The implementation of the guidelines is important, in part, because improving collection of VAT in the cross-border context was the only recommendation to come out of the BEPS work on the digital economy. To the extent that business argues that the proper tax to reflect the value of the market is a consumption tax, it is important that the VAT can be made to work across borders.
  • Carol Doran Klein Speaks at the Pacific Rim Tax Conference in Palo Alto: Carol addressed the Pacific Rim Tax Conference on the challenges and opportunities of the BEPS process. Carol focused on the need for consistent implementation of the BEPS outcomes and the importance of dispute resolution to that goal. The conference also provided an opportunity to interact with officials from many Pacific Rim governments including Australia, Canada, China and the U.S.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

  • Giblin Represents USCIB at APEC SOM 1 in SCCP VWG and A2C2: February 20-24, 2017, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation, attended APEC meetings in Vietnam in her Co-Chair role of the Subcommittee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) Virtual Working Group (VWG), where she briefed on the Industry Chemicals Project Status. SCCP participation provides visibility to USCIB members on key topics of discussion with the Customs representatives of the 21 APEC Economies.
  • USCIB Participates in Washington, D.C. COAC Meetings: On March 1, 2017, Megan Giblin represented USCIB and its members at the quarterly COAC meeting where, among other topics, formal COAC working group recommendations on the rulings process were approved and presented to Treasury, DHS, and CBP. Several of USCIB’s core issues and concerns were addressed in the recommendations.
  • USCIB Participates in Q4 COAC Meeting: Giblin also attended the World Customs Organization (WCO) 59th Harmonized System Committee (HSC) Session in late March along with Ken Montgomery of CompTIA, who served as the lead ICC delegate for this Session. On the agenda for the 59th Session were important USCIB member issues, including EHTP (Electrically Heated Tobacco Product), Crab Flavor, Petroleum Preparations, and technology matters issues like 3D printers and Selfie Sticks.

Membership

  • Membership Meetings: The Washington, D.C. membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies IBM, 3M, McDonald’s, UTC, Chevron, Cisco, Marriott, S&P Global and Visa to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Mars as a new member.

Upcoming Events:

Meetings of the UN’s Committee of Tax Experts, New York – April 3-7

ICC Commission on Taxation Meeting, New York – April 7

ICC Digital Economy Commission (ICC-DEC) Meeting, New Delhi, India – April 4-5

B20 Task Force on Digitalization & G20 ICT Ministerial, Dusseldorf, Germany – April 5-7

BIAC and OECD Trade Committees, Paris, France – April 25-27

B20 Summit, Berlin, Germany – May 2-3

OECD Committee on Digital Economy and Its Working Parties, Paris, France – May 15-19

USCIB/OECD/BIAC 2017 International Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 5-6

USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – June 14

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum, Geneva, Switzerland – June 12-16

ICANN 59, Johannesburg, South Africa – June 26-29

 


USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation &
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

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Washington Update: December 2016 – January 2017

During the months of December 2016 – January 2017, USCIB Staff met with Everett Eissenstat of the Senate Finance Committee, Elif Eroglu of U.S. CBP, released a U.S. Competitiveness Agenda for 2017, contributed to B20 Task Forces on Trade and Digitalization Policy, participated in BIAC Tax meetings in China, facilitated a Dialogue on U.S.-China Cybersecurity, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

  1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
  1. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
  1. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
  1. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
  1. Corporate Responsibility – Developing Standards and Principles, Increasing Awareness of Positive Business Impact
  1. China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business
  1. Environment – Promoting appropriate environmental protection and energy security integrated with open trade, investment and economic growth.
  1. Membership
  1. Upcoming Events
  1. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment 

  • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meets with Everett Eissenstat, Senate Finance: On December 8, 2016, at the Citigroup offices in Washington, D.C., the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee met with Everett Eissenstat, Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. Everett provided an off-the-record briefing on his expectations for the Senate trade work in 2017, after which members posed questions on NAFTA, China, the WTO, and the necessity of protecting our gains from existing trade agreements and policies. Before hearing from Everett, members exchanged views on the draft USCIB America Competitiveness Agenda 2017 and suggested several edits to the document. Other topics discussed at the meeting included reports out from the BIAC and OECD Trade and Investment Committee meetings, the ICC Trade Committee meeting in Geneva at the end of September, and the latest draft recommendations from the Germany B20 Trade and Investment Task Force.
  • USCIB American Competitiveness Agenda 2017 Outlines Priorities for New Administration: On January 23, 2017, USCIB released its American Competitiveness Agenda 2017, which stresses the importance of U.S. engagement and leadership in creating and enforcing rules for international trade and investment. Essential to U.S. leadership will be continuing to work with our global partners on trade and investment agreements that will establish a level playing field for U.S. business while ensuring that open trade and investment delivers the widest benefit to the most people here at home. It sets out a Seven-Point Plan to serve as a framework for continuing to open markets and improve U.S. competitiveness.
  • USCIB Meets with Dawn Shackleford, USTR, on WTO and OECD 2017 Work: On January 24, 2017, Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President Policy and Government Affairs, Shaun Donnelly, Vice President for Investment and Financial Services, and Eva Hampl, Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services, met with Dawn Shackleford who has recently taken on the role of Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs. We discussed likely areas for the WTO to develop in 2017 and what might be expected at the Ministerial in Argentina, including the state of play on digital trade/e-commerce work. We also discussed preparation for the OECD Trade Committee meeting in April including the latest developments on Colombia accession and ongoing member issues with certain Colombia government policies.
  • Several USCIB Members Participate in ICC Brexit Advisory Group: The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has established a Brexit Advisory Group under the leadership of ICC UK that will provide an international business perspective to the UK and EU governments as they move forward with the Brexit process. The Advisory Group will include representatives from a wide range of ICC national committees including Rob Mulligan for USCIB and several USCIB member company representatives: Greg Walters (3M), Dorothy Dwoskin (Microsoft), Jeremy Priess (UTC), and David Williams (Deloitte). The initial call of the group was held on January 24, 2017 to reach agreement on the scope and terms of reference for the group.
  • USCIB Participating in CFR Brexit Roundtable: Shaun Donnelly, a former Assistant USTR for Europe with long experience on U.S.-EU issues, participated in a January 18 small informal roundtable at the Council on Foreign Relations on “Brexit”, the UK’s exit from the European Union. A senior British Government official speaking off-the-record, focused on Prime Minister May’s recent speech on Brexit. Participants, including from USTR, debated the challenges and opportunities Brexit may provide the UK, EU and U.S. Governments as well as businesses around the world. More questions than answers at this stage.
  • USCIB Represents Business at EGA Ministerial: Representing the Coalition for Green Trade, Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services was on the ground in Geneva for the final round of negotiations and Ministerial for an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), which took place on December 3 and 4, 2016. Leading up to the Ministerial, the Coalition hosted a well-attended reception for negotiators at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 1. Hampl, together with other Coalition members, met with various negotiating delegations, as well as repeated meetings with Ambassador Punke and U.S. negotiators throughout the week and the Ministerial. Despite great efforts by U.S. negotiators as well as many other negotiating delegations, the negotiations eventually broke down on Sunday, December 4, resulting in a statement issued by the U.S. and the EU, who were the Ministerial co-chairs. The Coalition issued a press release expressing disappointment with the outcome. Following the Ministerial, USCIB hosted Jennifer Prescott, Assistant USTR for Environment and Natural Resources and Bill McElnea, USTR Director for Environment and Natural Resources, at our offices on December 13, 2016 on behalf of the Coalition to provide a readout of the round and the Ministerial, as well as discuss next steps, particularly in light of the incoming Administration. The Coalition remains active, however no further rounds of negotiations have been scheduled for the EGA at this time.
  • Strengthening USCIB Links with State’s IO Bureau: In the past six weeks USCIB has reached out to the two key offices in the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) to strengthen our links with U.S. policy makers on key UN agencies. In early December, a USCIB team of SVP Rob Mulligan, and VPs Norine Kennedy, Shaun Donnelly, and Helen Medina met with leadership of State IO’s Office of Economic and Development Affairs (EI/EDA) which manages U.S. participation in organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labor Organization), UNCTAD, and the Rome-based UN Food Agencies FAO and WFP. IO/EDA also coordinates much of the U.S. Government for on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some of these organizations seem to work pretty well but WHO is particularly troubling given its distinctly anti-business bias.
  • Mulligan, Donnelly, and Wanner Meet with State Dept. IO/STA Leadership: In mid-January, Rob and Shaun plus USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner went back to State to meet with the leadership of IO’S Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies (IO/STA) which coordinates U.S. participation with other international organizations from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Internet Governance Forum to the UN Environment Program (UNEP), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Universal Postal Union (UPU), and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). With our unique status (through the International Chamber of Commerce) in the UN system and long experience with key UN agencies, we at USCIB want to be able to help members solve problems and even use key international organizations to advance important interests. Links with key policy makers at State and in other USG agencies are key tools for those efforts.
  • USCIB Member Companies Honored by State Department: On January 5, 2017, two leading USCIB member companies, General Electric and McDonald’s, were honored with the Department of State’s prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) for exceptional proactive corporate responsibility programs overseas. (Then) Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken presented GE for an award for “Inclusive Hiring Practices” for co-founding the country’s first all-women business services center, which now employs over 1,000 Saudi and non-Saudi women. McDonald’s Deutschland was honored for its leadership supporting refugees’ integration into Germany’s society and workforce. Since 2015, McDonald’s Deutschland has employed over 900 refugees across the country. The company also provided over 20,000 online German Language learning course licenses to help refugees prepare for the workforce in Germany. USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly, a former U.S. Ambassador and senior State Department economic policy official represented USCIB at the ACE ceremony.

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ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

  • USCIB Members Address Gender Issues, Demand-Side Capacity at Internet Governance Forum (IGF): USCIB members from 21st Century Fox, Amazon, AT&T, BT Americas, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, The Walt Disney Company, TMG Legal, VeriSign, Verizon, and Wiley Rein, among others, participated as moderators and panelists in plenary sessions and workshops at the 11th IGF, December 6-9, 2016, Guadalajara, Mexico. USCIB co-organized workshops that addressed (1) bridging the gender digital divide by 2020 and (2) building demand-side capacity to spur Internet deployment. Barbara Wanner moderated the first workshop, which featured USCIB Members Hibah Kamal-Grayson (Google), Carolyn Nguyen (Microsoft), and Jackie Ruff (Verizon). They discussed what their companies are doing to bridge the gender digital divide by improving digital literacy and ICT-related professional opportunities for women. Ellen Blackler, The Walt Disney Company, moderated the second workshop, which looked broadly at efforts by business, civil society, and the creative community to create locally relevant content and considered challenges they face.
  • NTIA Officials Debrief USCIB Members on ICANN 57 and Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Developments: On December 13, 2016, Ashley Heineman and Ryan Carroll, both with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and U.S. Representatives on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), debriefed ICT Policy Committee members on latest developments in ICANN stemming from its 57th annual meeting in Hyderabad, India, November 3-9, 2016. They noted that this was the historical first meeting following the transition of oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) from NTIA to the multistakeholder Internet community. Heineman and Carroll also offered insights into some challenging topics on the GAC agenda, which included the role of the GAC in ICANN’s post-NTIA Empowered Community. The U. S. Government favored an advisory role, but countries such as Brazil and France advocated for more active involvement; there was no consensus and consultations will continue. Chris Wilson (21st Century Fox), who chairs ICANN’s Business Constituency, noted that two of the nine subgroups focused on issues aimed at enhancing ICANN’s accountability to the global stakeholder community are on track to complete their drafts by ICANN 58, March 11-16, 2017.
  • USCIB Participates in Special Briefing by USTR Digital Trade Working Group: On January 12, 2017 USCIB joined other industry groups and member company representatives at a special briefing by USTR to update the business community on the work of the USTR’s Digital Trade Working Group. Deputy USTR Robert Holleyman, who convened the meeting, reviewed the key work of the group since its inception and USTR staff highlighted key activities in APEC, China, G20, WTO and in trade negotiations. Holleyman noted USTR’s request to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct three investigations that would update the ITC’s two recent reports on digital trade: (1) a description of recent developments in the markets for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) digital technologies and services; (2) a qualitative and (if possible) quantitative analysis of measures in key foreign markets that affect the ability of U.S. firms to develop or supply B2B digital services and products abroad; and (3) a qualitative and (if possible) quantitative analysis of measures in key foreign markets that affect the ability of U.S. firms to develop or supply B2C digital products and services abroad. Holleyman said it would to the incoming Trump Administration to determine how to move this work forward.
  • USCIB Continues to Shape B20 Task Force on Digitalization Policy Recommendations: During December 2016 and January 2017, USCIB members continued to provide important inputs that shaped development of the 1st and 2nd drafts of the B20 Digitalization Taskforce policy paper. The topics around which these recommendations will be developed include: (1) global connectivity; (2) Industry 4.0, which refers to policies aimed at increasing the use of digital technologies to boost innovation, growth, and productivity in manufacturing and related services; and (3) Artificial Intelligence (AI). Importantly, USCIB member inputs helped to broaden the focus of the second topic – Industry 4.0 – to also include the Industrial Internet. In addition, B20 Germany accepted member edits and comments encouraging broader dialogues on how AI can be shaped to maximize its potential at its current nascent stage of development and broad industry deployment, rather than begin with the assumption that AI needs to be regulated. Finally, USCIB members were able to realize important textual changes to potentially problematic privacy-related elements of the 2nd draft.

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Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

  • USCIB Tax Leadership Joins BIAC Meetings with Chinese Government: USCIB Tax Committee Chair and BIAC Vice Chair Bill Sample joined BIAC Tax Committee Chair Will Morris and other Business Tax Bureau Members (including USCIB International Tax Counsel and BIAC Vice Chair Carol Doran Klein) in Beijing in January to meet with Chinese government authorities on issues related to implementation of BEPS project guidance. This was BIAC’s fourth trip to China, with the objective to ensure a constructive dialogue on BEPS-related issues and also in the broader context of tax and foreign direct investment.
  • Brian Jenn, U.S. Treasury, meets with USCIB Tax Committee: USCIB held a Tax Committee meeting on January 25, 2016. Brian Jenn, Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Treasury, presented remarks and answered questions concerning the OECD’s work on profit attribution to PEs, profit splits and the impact of the transition on developing international tax policy at Treasury. Ray Beeman, Washington Council-EY provided an overview on tax reform. The Committee also discussed ongoing work at the UN on the taxation of royalties.

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Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices 

  • Committee Members Engage Commerce and USTR on Latin America, Mexico, IT Products: Megan Giblin, USCIB Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation, with members of the Customs Committee, met with representatives from the Department of Commerce, Latin America and Mexico desk and USTR Textiles, Customs, and Mexico desk to discuss the USCIB Customs Committee Mexico Issues paper, which covers a wide array of customs and trade facilitation concerns that members are experiencing. USCIB members also participated in a USTR led meeting on the Expansion of Trade in IT Products and next steps. This meeting was led by USTRs Jim Sanford, and attended by company representatives as well as representatives from other engaged industry associations.
  • Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Briefed by Elif Eroglu: The Customs & Trade Facilitation Committee welcomed Elif Eroglu, the U.S. delegate to the World Customs Organization (WCO) Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (TCCV) at its January 12, 2017 meeting. Elif gave a debrief of the recent TCCV meeting, outcomes, and open items. These inputs were supplemented by several USCIB Customs Committee members, who represent industry as authorized delegates under the ICC to the WCO TCCV. Following the Committee meeting, in person participants headed to CBP offices for a farewell open house for Maria Luisa Boyce, an appointee, who served as the Senior Advisor for Private Sector Engagement at CBP.
  • Giblin Participates in Q4 COAC Meeting: Megan Giblin attended the Q4 COAC meeting held in Washington, D.C., where amended COAC recommendations originating from the Working Group on Forced Labor were announced. The COAC Working Group on Forced Labor is expected to continue, and CBP is expected to respond to the recommendations approved by the COAC at the next quarterly meeting. Forced Labor remains a priority issue for USCIB, specifically the Customs Committee, CSR and Labor Committees. USCIBs Megan Giblin and Ariel Meyerstein are leading engagement on this topic.
  • USCIB Provides Support in Resolving Member WTO Tariff Issue: Megan Giblin provided technical support necessary to resolve a tariff treatment issue resulting from the U.S.’ first round of World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) Expansion Commitments implemented in July 2016. Giblin developed technical facts and arguments, engaged relevant government agencies, and secured a fix for USCIB members in a recent Presidential Proclamation, which restored the duty-free treatment to e-readers with a translation or dictionary function. From July 1, 2016 – December 2, 2016, these e-readers were being subject to a 1.9 percent duty rate vs. a 0 percent general rate of duty. Moreover, not only was the 0 percent general rate of duty restored to these products, but the PP included a means to recover duties paid between July and December 2016. Such a win has a significant impact to a company’s bottom-line. For example, some members have paid in excess of USD $1.5M duties during this timeframe, which they will now be able to recover from U.S. CBP.

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Corporate Responsibility – Developing Standards and Principles, Increasing Awareness of Positive Business Impact

  • Stakeholder Advisory Board Meeting for U.S. National Contact Point: On December 12, 2016, Ariel Meyerstein, USCIB’s Vice President of Labor Standards, Corporate Responsibility and Governance participated in a meeting as a member of the multi-stakeholder Stakeholder Advisory Board to the U.S. National Contact Point (USNCP) for the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The SAB includes representatives from companies, unions and academia. The meeting focused on governance and future work of the Stakeholder Advisory Board and the continued development of the National Contact Point system, including the commitment by the U.S. government to submit its NCP to peer-review by fall 2017 in accordance with its commitment in the 2015 G7 Leaders Declaration.
  • Meyerstein Addresses Multi-Stakeholder Discussion on U.S. NAP RBC: At an event on January 12, 2017 titled “The U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct: Reflections on the Way Here and the Road Ahead” USCIB’s Ariel Meyerstein spoke at a multi-stakeholder discussion on the U.S. National Action Plan. The event took place at the Washington College of Law in Washington D.C., and brought together representatives from U.S. government, business, academia, civil society, labor and community stakeholders. The participants reflected on the development of the U.S. NAP as well as its current substance, discussed future implementation processes, and the role of stakeholders in ensuring implementation and accountability. Other speakers included Eric Biel, former Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, Cathy Feingold, Director, International Department AFL-CIO, and Katie Shay, Legal Counsel at Yahoo!

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China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

  • USCIB Facilitates Dialogue on US-China Cybersecurity: On December 16, 2016, USCIB facilitated an off-the-record dialogue with U.S. Government officials on the topic of U.S.-China cybersecurity in Washington D.C. The meeting brought together officials from the White House, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, and USTR. After brief introductions by Tad Ferris, partner at Foley & Lardner LLP and chair of USCIB’s China Committee, Barbara Wanner, USCIB’s Vice President of ICT Policy and Eva Hampl, USCIB’s Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, the group received a strategic overview of the U.S.-China cybersecurity relationship from Christopher DeRusha, senior cybersecurity advisor, Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer. Discussions focused on the issue of cybersecurity from the perspective of different agencies. One of these perspectives was highlighted in a panel on trade-related aspects of the U.S.-China cybersecurity relationship, moderated by Hampl, which was discussed by Jonathan McHale, Deputy Assistant USTR for Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce Policy, and Christopher Wong, International Trade Specialist, Office of China and Mongolia, Department of Commerce.

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Health – Business Engagement for Balanced International Health and Nutrition Regulations

  • USCIB’s Food & Agriculture Working Group Engages with U.S. Government Representatives on Global Nutrition Issues: On January 12, 2017, USCIB members connected with three U.S. Government representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of State: Caitlin Blair (USDA), Elle O’Flaherty (USDA), and John Tuminaro (State Department). The purpose of the meeting was to give USCIB members the opportunity to share their priorities for the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) activities and hear about U.S. government engagement at the CFS. The U.S. government officials agreed to work with USCIB in the future as the U.S. continues to develop its agenda for CFS this year.

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Environment – Promoting appropriate environmental protection and energy security integrated with open trade, investment and economic growth

  • Environment Committee Develops Priority Recommendations on International Environmental Policy for Trump Administration: USCIB’s Environment Committee met at Beveridge & Diamond on December 15, 2016 in Washington D.C. to discuss the potential implications of the New Administration on international environmental policy impacting U.S. companies. The Committee welcomed Sue Biniaz, Senior Legal Advisor for Climate Change, U.S. Department of State Department and the Honorable James Bacchus, Greenberg Traurig and Chair of the ICC Trade and Investment Commission who offered their perspectives and experience on long-term multilateral negotiations. The meeting discussed the future U.S. role in the Paris Climate Agreement, steps to avoid trade barriers while advancing climate policy and opportunities to improve access and accountability in UN bodies for the U.S. private sector. USCIB will finalize its overall messages to the Trump Administration in coming weeks, and develop a list of key near term actions for the Administration’s consideration.
  • SDG Working Group Plans Business Roundtable Meetings on Infrastructure and Innovation, Hears from Lena Gerber of the U.S. Department of State: USCIB’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Working Group will organize two roundtable events to discuss enabling frameworks for infrastructure and innovation as they each relate to the SDGs. These roundtable events will present examples of business action to promote and track infrastructure/innovation investments for the SDGs, and highlight new opportunities for cross-sectoral business partnerships to implement and advance the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The roundtable events will be planned to coincide with relevant events where target audiences of government and UN officials will be on hand, for example, the Financing for Development Infrastructure Forum, April 22, 2017 in D.C. and the 2nd UN Science Technology and Innovation Forum on May 15-16, 2017 in New York. USCIB’s SDG Working Group conference call on January 17, 2017 featured a discussion with guest speaker Lena Gerber of the U.S. Department of State who presented U.S. government goals and engagement in SDG meetings in 2017. The call updated members on recent developments in metrics and indicators for the UN SDGs and the 2030 Agenda and identified new opportunities for consultation with the Administration.

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Membership

  • Membership Meetings: The Washington, D.C. membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Viacom, PvH and Pepsi to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Applied Materials and Dechert LLP as new members.

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Upcoming Events:

APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group, Nha Trang, Vietnam – February 22-25

BIAC and OECD Investment Committees, Paris, France – March 6-8

USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – March 7

USCIB/BIAC/OECD Digital Economy Conference, “Facilitating Digital Transformation: The Enabling Role of the OECD”, Washington, D.C. – March 8

ICT Policy Committee Meeting and Joint BIAC/USCIB Committee on

 Digital Economy Policy Meeting, Washington, D.C. – March 9

ICANN 58, Copenhagen, Denmark – March 11-16

B20 Joint Taskforce/Cross-Thematic Group Meeting, Paris, France – March 21

ICC Digital Economy Commission (ICC-DEC) Meeting, New Delhi, India – April 4-5

B20 Task Force on Digitalization & G20 ICT Ministerial, Dusseldorf, Germany – April 5-7

BIAC and OECD Trade Committees, Paris, France – April 25-27

B20 Summit, Berlin, Germany – May 2

USCIB/OECD/BIAC 2017 International Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 5-6

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USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Ariel Meyerstein
Vice President, Labor Affairs, Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Governance
212-703-5056 or ameyerstein@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

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Washington Update: October-November 2016


Washington DCDuring the months of October and November, 2016, USCIB Staff filed a 65-page submission with USTR on foreign trade barriers, testified before the U.S. Government on China concerns, launched a new Working Group on Digital Trade, led coalition meetings in Geneva pressing completion of the EGA, contributed to the OECD public consultation on transfer pricing, met with government leaders at the 2016 APEC CEO Summit, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

  1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
  1. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
  1. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
  1. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
  1. China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business
  1. APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region
  1. Membership
  1. Upcoming Events
  1. Staff List

Trade and Investment-Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

  • BIAC Trade Committee Engages with Chair of OECD Trade Committee on Business Priorities: On November 3, 2016, Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs participated as a Vice Chair in the meeting of the Business at OECD (BIAC) Trade Committee. He also attended the OECD Trade Committee meeting later in the day. The BIAC group received a briefing from Didier Chambovey, Chair of the OECD Trade Committee, on OECD’s key work streams and responded to questions from members regarding OECD’s work on digital trade, the future priorities for the WTO, and the nexus between trade and environmental policy. The BIAC committee also discussed updating its Trade Priorities paper to address the changing global environment and to include new issues for the OECD to tackle in its work. Members provided input at the meeting and a revised draft has been circulated for input with the goal of finalizing the updated paper early in 2017. The committee also agreed to update its papers on several issues related to Colombia accession to the OECD.
  • USCIB Providing Input to Germany B20 Trade and Investment Taskforce: Rob Mulligan joined the first call of the Germany B20 Trade and Investment Taskforce on November 3, 2016 to discuss preparation of draft recommendations around three main topics: digital trade, multilateral trade system, and investment facilitation. Mulligan provided input on the call and in writing with suggested improvements related to the focus and action items under these topics. The first draft policy paper was shared with the taskforce members on November 25 and USCIB is seeking member input on the draft in preparing its comments for submission by December 9.
  • USCIB Meets the New Team OECD at the State Department: On November 2, 2016, USCIB staff from Washington and New York hosted a meeting with the new team of officers from the State Department’s Economic and Business (EB) Bureau who manage and coordinate the U.S. Government’s relationship with the OECD. That team from the EB Bureau’s Office of economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy (EB/EPPD), led by Office Director Marc Dillard and Deputy Office Director Robert Gabor plus two OECD desk officers, Tom O’Keeffe and Stacy Wood, all rotated into their jobs over the summer. The session enabled us to familiarize the new team at State with USCIB and the OECD’s Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), as well as our unique roles in representing business throughout the OECD system. We were also able to lay out USCIB substantive views on some important issues in OECD Tax, Health, and Investment Committees as well as on some important accession issues.
  • ICC Sweden Secretary General Visits USCIB: Lena Johansson, Secretary General of ICC of Sweden, visited USCIB’s Washington office on November 3, 2016, comparing assessments with USCIB staff on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and a range of transatlantic issues, from data flows and privacy to competition and regulatory coherence. Ms. Johansson was in Washington on a private trip but it was very useful to compare notes with the head of our ICC national committee counterpart in one of Europe’s most resolute pro-trade countries.
  • USCIB Pushes for Strong Investor Protections at OECD/BIAC Investment Meetings: Eva Hampl, USCIB Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, participated in the October 19-21 OECD and BIAC investment meetings. The meetings included a dinner with the chair of the OECD Investment Committee, as well as the Chair of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct, which provided another opportunity to advocate on behalf of USCIB members on investment issues. The discussions throughout the week covered international investment agreements (IIAs), market openness, state-owned enterprises, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. USCIB continues to advocate strongly on the importance of IIAs and investor protection. The OECD continues to focus research in this area, and request stakeholder input on the direction of their research. One issue that is repeatedly raised by opponents of IIAs, and came up again, is the lack of concrete evidence linking IIAs to investment flows. The OECD is looking into this area for further research, and USCIB will be monitoring this work closely.
  • Hampl Advocates for OECD SOE Panel Discussion: At the end of October, Eva Hampl spoke on a panel as part of a full day of meetings on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) at the OECD. Hampl spoke on the gaps remaining in the SOE space, focusing on the issue of transparency, specifically addressing a proposed transparency check-list the OECD has drafted. This document addresses the various issues of concern regarding SOEs, including the governance structure and any benefits SOEs receive by virtue of their status. Hampl pushed back strongly against the idea that transparency will solve all concerns regarding SOEs that companies competing with them in the global market may have. The OECD will continue to focus on the SOE issue in the investment committee, to which USCIB will continue to provide active stake-holder input.
  • USCIB Hosts USTR and Leads Business Delegation at EGA Negotiations:  On October 27, 2016 USCIB hosted Jennifer Prescott, Assistant USTR for Environment and Natural Resources and Bill McElnea, USTR Director for Environment and Natural Resources, at our offices on behalf of the Coalition for Green Trade, to provide a readout on the October round of negotiation of an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), as well as the WTO Mini Ministerial that took place in Oslo, Norway immediately following the Geneva round of negotiations. Representing the Coalition, Eva Hampl was on the ground in Geneva for the round, leading a group of Coalition members in meetings with various negotiating delegations, as well as Ambassador Punke. The goal of that round was to move things forward significantly on the product side, with everybody coming to the table with new proposals on potential flexibilities and opportunities for compromise. The final round of negotiations takes place starting November 26, with a concluding Ministerial scheduled for December 3 and 4, which Hampl and the Coalition for Green Trade will attend.
  • USCIB Participates in Important Investment Discussions at World Bank Investment Forum: On November 1, 2016, Shaun Donnelly, USCIB Vice President, Investment and Financial Services, and Eva Hampl attended an all-day conference at the World Bank on Enabling Investment Retention and Expansion, together with several member companies. The roundtable discussion, which was led by Anabel Gonzales, Senior Director of Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank, focused on maximizing the investment potential of international trade and investment agreements. The discussion, guided by the World Bank’s new work in the international investment space, suggested that rather than focusing on attracting investment and the arbitration mechanism (ISDS), the focus should be fixing the underlying issues to retain and expand investment. The goal of the World Bank’s work is to quantify why investment is gained and lost. Amb. Lisa Kubiske, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, International Finance and Development, also spoke on one of the panels generally supporting the World Bank’s work and noting that FDI is a critical driver in development by supporting investor confidence, reducing regulatory risk, and improving the business climate.
  • Hampl Speaks to Foreign Service Officers About USCIB Anticorruption Work: On November 18, 2016, Eva Hampl spoke at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) about USCIB’s work on anticorruption and anti-bribery issues, specifically addressing the private sector’s role on these issues. USCIB works closely with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD on the OECD Working Group on Bribery’s work implementing the OECD Bribery Convention. In addition to advocating for issues like improving compliance and including voluntary disclosure, USCIB participates in roundtables with the working group to continue to build relationships and increase transparency between governments and the private sector on these important issues. In addition, USCIB also works with the ICC and their Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anticorruption. Both BIAC and the ICC also provide input into the G20/B20 process, which for the upcoming German G20 will feature a B20 working group on Responsible Business Conduct and Anticorruption.

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ICT Policy- Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

  • USCIB Launches Digital Trade Working Group: On October 18, 2016, USCIB launched a special Digital Trade Working Group (DTWG), co-chaired by Jackie Ruff (Verizon) and Sahra English (MasterCard). The DTWG was created in response to the substantial increase in the number of projects and initiatives on digital trade, the digital economy, and e-commerce undertaken in various international forums such as APEC, WTO, WCO, UN, G20, UNCTAD and OECD. Within USCIB, these topics are currently covered by several different committees including Trade and Investment, ICT, Customs, Tax, IP, APEC, and China. The new group, coming from a cross-sectoral background, will work to coordinate the views from these policy committees in order to provide coherent and effective input into these wide ranging work streams on digital trade. The group will create a list of USCIB priorities on digital trade and help determine where we decide to engage and focus our resources. The October 18 meeting provided an opportunity for preliminary discussion of members’ priority topics. Members were encouraged to offer additional inputs in the coming weeks in response to developments in several forums, such as APEC, the OECD, the UNCTAD Ministerial, and the B20 Task Forces. The DTWG will meeting quarterly, with the next meeting planned for January 2017. If you are a USCIB member and want to be included on the DTWG, please contact Erin Breitenbucher at ebreitenbucher@uscib.org.
  • USCIB Submits Comments Regarding Foreign Trade Barriers to Telecommunications, Other US Exports: On October 25, 2016 USCIB submitted comments concerning significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for inclusion in the annual National Trade Estimate (NTE) report. Pursuant to Section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1998, we also included comments concerning the operation and effectiveness of U.S. telecommunications trade agreements. USCIB’s submission included comments detailing a wide assortment of trade barriers affecting a broad range of industries. Such cross-sectoral barriers include local content requirements, data storage requirements, customs-related issues (de minimis), and intellectual property protections. The submission also delved into burdensome financial services regulations, problems with food safety laws, problematic tax laws, foreign direct investment restrictions, and foreign telecommunications policies and regulations that have the effect of restricting efficient and economic provision of these services, among others trade barriers.
  • USCIB Contributes to Launch of B20 Task Force on Digitalization, Shapes Induction Document: On October 26, 2016, Barbara Wanner, Vice President of ICT Policy, Joseph Alhadeff (Oracle), Chair of the ICC Digital Economy Commission, Chair of BIAC’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy, and Vice Chair of USCIB’s ICT Policy Committee, and other USCIB members joined the teleconference launch of the B20 Germany Task Force on Digitalization to discuss the process for developing a policy paper with key recommendations for the G20. The recommendations will be developed around three topics: (1) Global Connectivity; (2) Industry 4.0, which refers to policies aimed at increasing the use of digital technologies to boost innovation, growth, and productivity in manufacturing and related services; and (3) Artificial Intelligence (AI). On October 31, 2016, USCIB contributed comments on the induction document. Among other points, USCIB urged B20 Germany to encourage broader dialogues on how AI can be shaped to maximize its potential at its current nascent stage of development and broad industry deployment. USCIB proposed that the potential challenges put forward by B20 Germany concerning liability and agency should be addressed as part of the technology development, but not as the sole focus.
  • USCIB Members Refocus ICANN’s Domain Name Policy Initiatives and Shape its Organizational Future: Barbara Wanner and USCIB Member representatives from 21st Century Fox, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Verizon, VeriSign and others participated in ICANN 57, November 3-9, 2016, in Hyderabad, India. In what was described by ICANN President Goran Marby as the “historical first meeting” following the transition of oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), a set of core functions necessary for the running of the Internet domain name system, from the U.S. Commerce Department to the global multistakeholder community, participants focused on implementing post-transition changes aimed at holding ICANN accountable to global stakeholders. ICANN 57 also enabled re-energized focus on domain name policy (DNS) issues, such as subsequent procedures for the next generation of generic top-level domain names, reviewing rights protections mechanisms for domain names, and development of a new Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace the current WHOIS (domain name directory).
  • USCIB Endeavors to Shape Launch of OECD’s post-Ministerial Digital Economy Agenda: Barbara Wanner, Joseph Alhadeff (Oracle), Chair BIAC’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy(CDEP), and USCIB Member representatives from AT&T, Apple, Juniper Networks, Fenwick and West, among others participated in the November 14-18, 2016, meetings of the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties. They made important contributions to discussions aimed at developing new work streams and projects that respond to mandates that emerged from the June 2016 Digital Economy Ministerial — “2016 Ministerial on the Digital Economy: Innovation, Growth, and Social Prosperity” — held June 22-23, 2016 in Cancun, Mexico. These include: (1) a horizontal project “Seizing the Benefits of Digitalization for Growth and Well-Being,” a holistic, comprehensive analysis that will consider impacts of digitalization across tax, trade, education, health, and other disciplines; (2) a related Program of Work and Budget (PWB) for 2017-2018 that will establish priority work areas that will feed into the horizontal project as well as focus on policies that strengthen the foundations of the digital economy; and (3) renewal of the Working Parties’ mandates and working methods to better address important new demands in relation to the 2017-2018 PWB, particularly an improvement of digital economy measurement, statistics, and analysis, among other initiatives.

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Tax – Advancing Tax Policies That Promote US Competitiveness

    • Bill Sample Represents USCIB at OECD Public Consultations: The OECD held a public consultation on October 11-12, 2016, on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments and the transactional profit split method. Bill Sample, Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee, presented on both of these issues on behalf of USCIB focusing on overarching issues with respect to profit attribution and on risk sharing with respect to the profit split method. Agreement to use the AOA should tend to minimize double taxation and disputes because a common standard would apply. On profit splits, USCIB recognized the need for a transactional two-sided method, but argued that the two-sided method should not become the default method nor should it be interpreted in such a way as to support formulary apportionment. The presentations are linked here and here.
    • Carol Doran Klein Participates as an Observer in UN Committee of Tax Experts Meeting: Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel, attended the October 2016 meeting of the UN Committee of Tax Experts. The meeting covered a series of topics of interest to members including: taxation of royalties in respect of the leasing of industrial, commercial and scientific equipment; taxation of services; the UN response to BEPS; and the update of the UN Transfer Pricing Manual. Changes to the Transfer Pricing Manual were approved at the October meeting. USCIB is preparing a comment letter on the draft report on royalties for submission to the UN. Another meeting of the UN Committee will be held the week of December 5th. Carol will also attend that meeting and report on developments.

  • USCIB Members Participated in an October Meeting of the BIAC Tax Committee: BIAC held a Tax Committee meeting in October that was attended by many USCIB members. Members of the OECD Secretariat updated the Tax Committee on important work streams including: the work of the Digital Economy Task Force, the work on the deductibility of interest expense, the work on profit attribution to permanent establishments and the transactional profit split method.

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Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

    • USCIB Customs Committee Meeting Hears from CBP on E-Commerce: At the October 18, 2016, meeting of the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee, members were joined by representatives from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including Michael Wash, Director of the IPR Division at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Shaun Keller, Chief, E-Commerce and Small Business Branch, CBP. They provided the committee with an overview of CBP’s role in facilitating e-commerce, and how it works with other government agencies in the e-commerce space. Members discussed e-commerce efforts underway at the WCO and ICC, and encouraged CBP to take a leading role in developing e-commerce policy. Members were later briefed by Ariel Meyerstein, USCIB Vice President, Labor Affairs, Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Governance, to discuss the latest developments regarding the Forced Labor provisions of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2016.

  • Giblin Leads ICC Delegation to WCO Harmonized System Committee Session: From September 28 – October 7, 2016, Megan Giblin served as the ICC delegate to the 58th Session of the World Customs Organization Harmonized System Committee (WCO HSC) in Brussels, Belgium which deals with product classifications. The 58th HSC had the most items on its agenda in over 10 years, with over 80 items up for discussion and 29 classification decisions made. Some of the topics discussed of importance and interest to USCIB members included: classifications of “coconut water”, “crab flavor”, the scope of terms “non-alcoholic beer” and “beer made from malt”, and the classification of certain virtual reality headsets, among many others.
  • E-Commerce and FTA Take Center Stage at Meeting of ICC Customs Commission: The November 3-4, 2016, meeting of the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation, chaired by ICC Commission Chair Norm Schenk (UPS), was hosted by the World Customs Organization in Brussels, Belgium. Members discussed core issues of interest for USCIB members, including e-commerce, customs valuation and classification, origin and more. The Commission also heard directly from several WCO representatives including Kuniyo Mikuriya, Secretary General, and Ana Hinajosa, Director of Facilitation and Enforcement. The e-commerce discussion covered the establishment of the WCO E-Commerce Working Group and the results of its kick-off meeting which included consideration of the ICC papers on e-commerce, preferential rules of origin, and humanitarian shipments, among others. Also prominent was the continued ratification process of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which was highlighted in an address by Secretary General Mikuriya, and at the time of the meeting had been ratified by 96 of the 110 WTO members needed for entry into force.
  • Mexico Customs and Trade Facilitation Issues Key for USCIB Members: The USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee completed a Mexico Issues paper covering a wide array of topics from valuation, legislation, proposed regulatory changes and more. Megan Giblin, along with Committee Chair, Jerry Cook, Hanes, as well as several member companies met with Jason Bernstein, Director of Customs Affairs at USTR; Elizabeth Branson, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles; and Daniel Watson, Deputy Assistant USTR for North America; and Geri Word, Director, Office of North and Central America and the Caribbean; Leslie Wilson, International Trade Specialist; and Matt Siordia, Mexico Desk Officer; of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Currently, meetings with relevant CBP representatives are underway. We are seeking a coordinated approach to leverage all government to government engagement to address USCIB member concerns.

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China – Supporting Policies and Relationships That Enhance US-China Business

  • USCIB Testifies to USTR on China’s Compliance with WTO Commitments: On October 5, 2016, Eva Hampl, USCIB Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services testified on behalf of USCIB at a hearing convened by the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), which is chaired by USTR, concerning China’s compliance with its WTO commitments. Her remarks drew on comments USCIB submitted in response to the annual request from USTR concerning China’s compliance with its WTO commitments. The submission, which is based on member input, includes cross-sectoral business issues like the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), Certification, Licensing and Testing Barriers, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Intellectual Property Rights, IT Security Measures, Market Access, National Treatment and Non-Discrimination, Regulatory Environment, Standards, State-Owned Enterprises, and Taxation. It also includes sectoral issues such as Agricultural Biotechnology, Audiovisual, Chemicals, Express Delivery Services, Software, and Telecommunications.

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APEC – Enhancing US Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region

  • USCIB CEO Attends 2016 APEC CEO Summit in Lima, Peru: Throughout 2016, USCIB has addressed a number of key priorities through APEC, including chemicals policy, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, digital trade, and women in the economy. Our members and staff have engaged in several APEC working groups, including the Chemical Dialogue, APEC Business-Customs Dialogue, Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group, Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup. Currently, USCIB is in the process of finalizing the 2017 APEC Priorities and Recommendations paper.
    USCIB President and CEO, Peter Robinson, and Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation, Helen Medina, attended the 2016 APEC CEO Summit on November 17-19 in Lima, Peru. Under the leadership of NCAPEC, USCIB and other business groups joined a diverse array of American CEOs and other executives (including numerous USCIB members) in both the official CEO Summit programming and other meetings with governments. Robinson met with Ambassador Robert Holleyman, Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Trade Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, and Trần Đại Quang, the President of Vietnam. Vietnam will serve as the host economy for APEC 2017. He also participated in a meeting with Peru’s Finance Minister Alfredo Eduardo Thorne and Prime Minister Fernando Zavala. Robinson also gave introductory remarks at the Deloitte-U.S. APEC Business Coalition Roundtable, which focused on APEC’s current work in the areas of services and good regulatory practices.
  • USCIB Urges All APEC Economies to Join APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules: On October 21, 2016, Rob Mulligan joined a small group of business representatives for a meeting at the old Executive Office Building with Him Das, David Edelman, and Alex Greenstein, who were working on preparation for the APEC Summit, to discuss the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) and our support for expanding the scope of countries and companies participating in this system. Since only the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Japan have committed to CBPR so far, the number of companies participating has been limited. It is believed that several countries (Australia, NZ, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong) have the ability to move quickly on participation in CBPR. Others would likely need some help in building the capacity to meet the requirements of the CBPR. To build momentum for CBPR participation, USCIB joined with six other business groups issuing a statement in advance of the APEC Summit in November urging all APEC member economies to commit to joining the CBPR by the next Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting in 2017 in Vietnam.

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Membership

  • Membership Meetings: The Washington, D.C. membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies JELD-WEN and Koch Industries to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed JELD-WEN, Marriott International, and WeiserMazars LLP as new members.

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Upcoming Events:

B20 Task Force on Digitalization Face to Face Meeting, Berlin, Germany – December 1-2

Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Guadalajara, Mexico – December 5-9

USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 8

2016 BIAC Business Day, Paris, France – December 8

WCO 51st Harmonized System Review Sub-Committee Meeting (RSC), Brussels, Belgium – December 12-16

USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 13

USCIB Environment Committee Briefing on the New Administration, Washington, D.C. – December 15

USCIB-USG Dialogue on U.S.-China Cybersecurity, Washington, D.C. – December 16

USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – January 12

USCIB/BIAC/OECD Digital Economy Conference, “Facilitating Digital Transformation: The Enabling Role of the OECD”, Washington, D.C. – March 8

ICT Policy Committee Meeting and Joint BIAC/USCIB Committee on Digital Economy Policy Meeting, Washington, D.C. – March 9

USCIB/OECD/BIAC 2017 International Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 5-6

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USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Helen Medina
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
212-703-5047 or hmedina@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Ariel Meyerstein
Vice President, Labor Affairs, Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Governance
212-703-5056 or ameyerstein@uscib.org

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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BIAC Trade Committee Engages with Chair of OECD Trade Committee on Business Priorities

Harbor_tradeOn November 3, 2016, Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs participated as a Vice Chair in the meeting of the Business at OECD (BIAC) Trade Committee. He also attended the OECD Trade Committee meeting later in the day. The BIAC group received a briefing from Didier Chambovey, Chair of the OECD Trade Committee, on OECD’s key work streams and responded to questions from members regarding OECD’s work on digital trade, the future priorities for the WTO, and the nexus between trade and environmental policy. The BIAC committee also discussed updating its Trade Priorities paper to address the changing global environment and to include new issues for the OECD to tackle in its work. Members provided input at the meeting and a revised draft has been circulated for input with the goal of finalizing the updated paper early in 2017. The committee also agreed to update its papers on several issues related to Colombia accession to the OECD.

Washington Update: October – November 2016

Washington DCDuring the months of October and November, 2016, USCIB Staff filed a 65-page submission with USTR on foreign trade barriers, testified before the U.S. Government on China concerns, launched a new Working Group on Digital Trade, led coalition meetings in Geneva pressing completion of the EGA, contributed to the OECD public consultation on transfer pricing, met with government leaders at the 2016 APEC CEO Summit, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Download the full update.

Washington Update: August – September 2016

washington-Lincoln-MemorialsDuring the months of August and September, 2016, USCIB Staff met with Robert Holleyman, Deputy USTR, Angela Ellard, House Ways and Means, and Michael Tracton and Julie Zoller, U.S. Department of State; produced a series of comment letters on OECD BEPs discussion papers; discussed WTO priorities with key officials in Geneva; submitted extensive comments on China’s compliance with its WTO commitments; participated in the Third APEC Senior Officials Meetings (SOM 3); and much more.

Download the full update.

Washington Update: June – July 2016

washington-Lincoln-MemorialsDuring the months of June and July 2016, USCIB hosted the 11th annual OECD International Tax Conference with over 350 attendees; participated in the OECD Digital Economy Ministerial and related BIAC Stakeholder Day; held committee meetings with high-level government officials including Everett Eissenstat, Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, S. Deepak, Secretary of the Indian Department of Telecommunications, and Bruce Hirsch, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea, and APEC; presented as part of a WITA panel on trade and investment; hosted a briefing for members on FENSA and other key WHO issues; and much more.

Download the full update.