USCIB Disappointed at Lack of Multilateral Progress at WTO Ministerial

But business group holds out hope on promising efforts by major groups of countries

Buenos Aires and New York, December 13, 2017 – The United States Council for Inte–rnational Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, expressed disappointment at the lack of meaningful multilateral progress at the World Trade Organization ministerial that concluded today. But it said that potential new group efforts on electronic commerce and other issues offered some limited hope for the future.

“Expectations for Buenos Aires were low coming in, and unfortunately the results largely lived up to them,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, who represented USCIB at the ministerial. “The business community, which relies on cross-border trade and investment to help contribute to economic growth and societal well-being around the world, is disappointed. But we do hold out some hope for future progress based on the commitment by large groups of countries in pursuing new agreements.”

On the sidelines of the ministerial, 70 countries, led by Australia, Japan, and Singapore, and including the United States and the European Union, agreed to begin discussions toward negotiations on electronic commerce. USCIB joined the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which it serves as the American national committee, in welcoming the move.

“Today’s statement is a very welcome step forward by governments representing 77 percent of global trade,” said ICC Secretary General John Danilovich. “We firmly believe that with the right global policies in place there is an opportunity to unleash a new era of inclusive trade, one in which all companies – regardless of size, sector or location – can benefit from equal access to the global trading system.”

Separately, ministers from over 60 countries issued a joint statement pledging to pursue negotiations on domestic regulations that limit cross-border trade in services. They also renewed a landmark 1998 moratorium on duties on electronic transmissions.

“Taken together, these results offer some hope for the future, and set a new and positive direction for the WTO,” said Robinson. “We are especially grateful for the persistence and vision of those members that pushed for continued positive movement on e-commerce.”

Robinson continued: “However, the lack of truly meaningful multilateral deliverables is worrisome. Members will need to think long and hard about what kind of WTO they really want – one that simply adjudicates trade disputes and sanctions trade enforcement remedies, or one that expands trade through new, market-opening agreements.”

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
jhuneke@uscib.org, +1 212.703.5043

 

USCIB Gears Up for WTO Ministerial

Over 160 governments will gather next week in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial (MC 11). USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson will also be attending on behalf of U.S. business and will support the International Chamber of Commerce activities planned in conjunction with MC11.

On December 12, Robinson will take part in the WTO Business Forum, which ICC is co-sponsoring with the Argentina government and several other groups. The Forum has been designed as a platform to amplify the voice of the private sector within the context of the WTO Ministerial with a view to promoting an enriching public-private dialogue about the multilateral trading system and contributing to foster closer engagement between governments and business leaders at the WTO.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macro and Director-General of the WTO Roberto Azevedo are expected to give keynotes while ICC Secretary General John Danilovich will be part of the final panel discussing the future of global trade. USCIB member companies serving on panels at the Forum include Mastercard, GE, DHL Express, Dow Chemical, Boeing, Monsanto, IBM, UPS, Walmart, Google, Amazon, and E-bay.  The Forum will feature sessions on fostering micro, small and medium enterprises, progress in trade facilitation, food security and e-commerce.

At the Ministerial next week, Robinson will urge governments to agree on an action plan for moving the WTO forward on market opening agreements as well as improvements to operations.  He will encourage progress on multilateral negotiations in key issue areas such as fisheries subsidies, an e-commerce work program, tackling needed reforms to the dispute resolution system, and providing a framework for more effective market opening negotiations.  The MC11 action plan should also encourage pursuit of plurilateral initiatives by groups of interested countries when a multilateral negotiation does not have broad support.

USCIB had already begun planning for the Ministerial earlier this year and, most recently, with Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan’s trip to Geneva in September for the WTO’s annual Public Forum and related meetings organized by ICC. The issues mentioned most often in these meetings as having the potential for some type of action at the Ministerial included investment facilitation, fisheries subsidies, e-commerce, services facilitation and agriculture.  However, it also seems that each of these are facing challenges that could prevent a deliverable at MC 11.

“While the Ministerial may not produce a number of deliverables, business engagement will be needed to ensure that the WTO moves forward after the Ministerial on issues that address meaningful concerns with the global trading system,” said Mulligan. “This will be important to preserving the relevance and value of the WTO in opening global markets,” he added.

USCIB Ramps Up Work on Intellectual Property and Innovation

L-R: John Sandage (WIPO) and Paul Salmon (USPTO) at the October 18 launch of USCIB’s Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee

Washington, D.C., October 25, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most innovative and successful global companies, 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.

“Broad-based business groups like USCIB sometimes find it difficult to reach consensus on some aspects of innovation and IP policy,” said Michael Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation, who is the lead USCIB staff member supporting the new committee. “We are confident that, with a new structure and a new commitment to working proactively toward the common goal of improving our members’ global competitiveness, we will be able to forge ahead and identify new international initiatives to secure IP rights and promote innovation.”

Michener said the committee will focus its activities via four newly created working groups, covering trademarks, trade secrets, patents and copyrights.

Another guest at the October 18 meeting was Daphne Yong-d’Herve, chief intellectual property officer with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the world business organization for which USCIB serves as the exclusive American affiliate. Yong-d’Herve provided an overview of ICC’s newly elevated status as an observer in the United Nations General Assembly. This is expected to augment ICC’s longstanding work with WIPO and other international agencies, as well as national governments, to promote effective protection of intellectual property around the world.

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide.

As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

 

Thevenin Joins USCIB as General Counsel

Nancy Thevenin

New York, N.Y., October 11, 2017Nancy M. Thevenin has joined the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s leading global companies, as general counsel. USCIB serves as the U.S. affiliate of several global business bodies, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the world business organization whose International Court of Arbitration is the world’s leading forum for the settlement of cross-border commercial disputes.

Thevenin’s portfolio will include supporting USCIB’s Arbitration Committee and coordinating the work of the U.S. Nominations Committee to the ICC Court. Additionally, she will coordinate amicus requests and responses from USCIB members and other interested parties. Further, Thevenin will work closely with USCIB’s business development team to ensure more comprehensive membership recruitment outreach to both law firms and corporations.

“Nancy Thevenin brings extensive experience to this important position within USCIB,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “Our members, including both companies and law firms, have broad experience and knowledge of global arbitration and other legal matters. I am confident that Nancy will be able to fully leverage those relationships to drive further organizational growth and improved services to members.”

Thevenin previously served as deputy director of the ICC Court’s North American marketing office, which at that time also managed USCIB/ICC-USA’s Arbitration Committee. During her tenure, the group helped launch the ICC International Mediation Competition and developed USCIB’s Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF), which Thevenin helped develop and wrote the proposal to turn into a global organization under the ICC umbrella. She later joined Baker & McKenzie as a special counsel and global coordinator of the firm’s International Arbitration Practice Group. Thevenin left Baker in 2014 to start her own practice as arbitrator and mediator. She is the chair of the International Section of the New York State Bar Association and an adjunct professor of the international commercial arbitration course at St. John’s Law School.

A graduate of Tulane Law School where she obtained certificates in European legal practice and in commercial arbitration, Ms. Thevenin also attended the University of Paris at Panthéon-Assas in France, where she studied the French legal system and European Community law. She is a graduate of Cornell University, where she obtained a double major in history and Spanish literature. While at university, Ms. Thevenin lived in Madrid, Spain and studied international relations, Spanish law and Spanish literature. Thevenin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is licensed to practice law in New York and Florida.

About USCIB:

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

USCIB Welcomes New General Counsel for Arbitration

Nancy Thevenin

USCIB welcomed a new staff member last week to lead its work on Arbitration. Nancy M. Thevenin joined on October 2nd as General Counsel, coordinating the work of the U.S. Nominations Committee for the ICC Court of Arbitration. Thevenin’s portfolio will include supporting the USCIB Arbitration Committee. Additionally, she will coordinate amicus requests and responses. Thevenin will work closely with USCIB’s Business Development team in ensuring a more comprehensive policy, legal and arbitration membership outreach to both law firms and corporations.

Thevenin previously served as deputy director of the ICC Court of Arbitration’s North American marketing office. During her tenure, the group helped launch the ICC International Mediation Competition and developed USCIB Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF), with Thevenin drafting the proposal for the ICC to make YAF a global organization. Nancy then joined Baker & McKenzie as a special counsel in and global coordinator of their International Arbitration Practice Group. She left Baker in 2014 to start her own practice as arbitrator and mediator and continues to teach the spring semester international commercial arbitration course at St. John’s Law School.

We hope you join us in welcoming her to the USCIB team!

USCIB Partners With Global Business Organizations at UNGA Opening Week

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich opens the UN SDG Business Forum in July 2017

USCIB is proud of its affiliations with leading global business organizations in the multilateral system and had the privilege to work with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to make the case for recognized opportunities for the private sector to cooperate and dialogue with the UN across the range of issues covered by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

This year marked ICC’s first UNGA session attending as a recognized observer organization. ICC’s delegation was led by ICC Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and included ICC executive board members and ICC Secretary General John Danilovich.  ICC’s planned engagement was intended to firmly establish ICC’s presence at the UN as the definitive voice of global business – building on engagement at this year’s UN Financing for Development Forum in May and the High-Level Political Forum in July.

ICC drew on the work of several ICC Commissions to inform deliberations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) – from the important role of digital technologies in delivering the SDG’s to ICC’s trade facilitation activities, to its efforts to promote small and medium sized companies in trade and other commercial activities. ICC involvement during the UNGA’s opening week included:

-ICC High-Level week side-event, in conjunction with the governments of Indonesia, Norway and Mexico, as well as UNDESA and the Mobile association GSMA.

-Joining events on Digital Entrepreneurship for 2030,  the UN Innovation Summit, and the UN private Sector to discuss the role of private sector technology and innovation in implementing the SDG’s.

As in previous years, ICC played a leading role in the Concordia Summit, specifically in the session on “Innovative Financing Solutions to achieve SDG’s.”

International Organization of Employers (IOE)

USCIB President and CEO Peter M Robinson, who also serves as regional vice president for North America for the IOE, represented IOE during several employer-organized side-events, including the launch of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC). EPIC is a strategic multi-stakeholder partnership founded by the International Labor Organization (ILO), UN Women and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to assist UN Member States in achieving the SDG’s, specifically those that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Robinson spoke on a panel on “Drawing top talent for innovation and growth at leading businesses through equal pay policies,” alongside business leaders from IKEA, Accenture, Barclay’s, GAP and Catalyst. Robinson emphasized the compelling business and economic case for unleashing women’s skills and talents and empowering women to enjoy equal access to job opportunities and career advancement. Rather than increasing regulation and legislation, Robinson pointed out that solutions for closing gender parity gaps include a better understanding of the barriers behind such gaps, with cultural and legal barriers differing widely among countries.

“The IOE, with its global membership, is well positioned to help in this regard in both education and advocacy: it is able to share and leverage the experiences of its membership in providing practical services to members and in informing and advising governments and international organizations on policy actions,” said Robinson.

Robinson also represented employers at an Alliance 8.7 launch of the ILO’s Modern Slavery and Child Labor Global Estimates where he provided insight on the position of employers with regards to child labor and forced labor. In his remarks, Robinson emphasized the continued dedication of employers to eradicate child labor and forced labor, noting the importance of collaboration between governments and the private sector, especially given the complexity of today’s global supply chains.

“While the primary responsibility lies with governments to establish and enforce national labor laws, business also has a desire and responsibility to do what it can to respect and follow those laws and looks forward to working with governments and other civil society actors in the shared fight to eliminate child and forced labor,” said Robinson.

The new Modern Slavery Global Estimates encompass forced labor and forced marriage and it is the first time such research was conducted. The ILO and the Walk Free Foundation jointly published the new Modern Slavery Global Estimates. Additionally, the new Child Labor estimates will be an update to the Global Estimates on Child Labor published by the ILO in 2012.

WTO Meetings in Geneva Set the Stage for Upcoming Ministerial

As governments begin to prepare for the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial (MC 11) in December, USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan traveled to Geneva last week for the WTO’s annual Public Forum, as well as related meetings organized by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).  Mulligan also met separately with a range of officials from the WTO, U.S. government, foreign governments and international organizations.

The issues mentioned most often in these meetings as having the potential for some type of action at the Ministerial included investment facilitation, fisheries subsidies, e-commerce, services facilitation and agriculture.  However, it also seems that each of these are facing challenges that could prevent a deliverable at MC 11.

Discussions during the Public Forum around the impact of trade often looked at the impact of technology and the need for better approaches to education and training, as well as more effective safety nets for those losing jobs. Additionally, some countries, including the United States, voiced the need for institutional reform at the WTO. According to Mulligan, it was suggested that business could play an important role in pressing for reforms.

“While the Ministerial may not produce a number of deliverables, business engagement will be needed to ensure that the WTO moves forward after the Ministerial on issues that address meaningful concerns with the global trading system,” said Mulligan. “This will be important to preserving the relevance and value of the WTO in opening global markets,” he added.

In addition to the Public Forum, ICC hosted a panel that highlighted the report they had sponsored in March with a range of ideas for the WTO to take up at the December Ministerial.  Panelists also discussed the importance of investment protections and cross-border data flows to business.  ICC noted that they will be working with the government of Argentina in organizing a Business Day in Buenos Aires on December 12 that will deliver recommendations to the WTO on future work.

This year’s WTO Ministerial will be hosted by Argentina.

Shiles to Promote Trade Services at World Chambers Congress

This year’s World Chamber Congress is taking place in Sydney, Australia

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) kicks off the tenth installment of its biennial World Chambers Congress this week in Sydney, Australia, which will bring over 1,200 delegates from across the globe to discuss challenges impacting the business and chamber communities and to exchange knowledge and expertise while promoting result-oriented innovation. In an ever-changing business climate, the Congress, with its high level speakers, addresses and examines today’s most significant global issues.

Among them will be USCIB’s Senior Vice President for ATA Carnet and Trade Services Andy Shiles who will be attending ATA Carnet global management meetings in Sydney. Stay tuned for next week’s e-newsletter for a report from the field!

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian will officially opened the World Chambers Congress. While the Congress is taking place in Australia during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, ICC First Vice-Chair and Corrs Chambers Westgarth Partner and CEO John W.H. Denton acknowledged the important discussions taking place in New York and called on business and chamber leaders to show support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and help ensure that businesses worldwide are doing all they can —in their daily operations and investments—to drive their implementation.

The #10WCC is jointly organized by the Sydney Business Chamber, a division of NSW Business Chamber and the ICC.

ICC/USCIB Competition Committee Hosts DOJ Antitrust Expert

USCIB’s Competition Committee held its annual joint meeting on September 11 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.

Business and Climate Summit Highlights Business Leadership

The third annual Business and Climate Summit—the leading forum for business leaders, investors and policymakers on climate action—took place from August 31 to September 1 this year in New Delhi, India. The Summit showcased business leadership in addressing climate change and highlighted how business can help governments achieve climate objectives.

This year’s Business and Climate Summit in New Delhi delivered a powerful statement as private sector representatives from around the world gathered for the first time in an emerging country to showcase their commitment to tackling climate change. While the Paris Agreement aims to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, current government pledges will only contain the increase in global warming to approximately 3°C. Business has already stepped up to bridge the gap, and the Summit aimed to highlight how.

Hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce and other partners, the Summit consisted of two days of high-level discussions across six plenary sessions and nine ‘focus sessions’, covering topics from urban mobility to energy security. The Summit hosted high-level deliberations to voice messages from businesses on private sector actions around climate change and future visions for a low-carbon trajectory.

“Business has a vital and constructive role to play in informing climate policy,” ICC Secretary-General John Danilovich said. “This year’s Business and Climate Summit comes at a crucial time and offers business the opportunity to show the positive steps we are taking towards a more sustainable economic future.”

Bharat Salhotra, managing director of Alstom India and South Asia, said, “The transport sector has a key role towards delivering the mitigation and adaptation objectives of the Paris Agreement. Getting city-dwellers out of their private fossil-fueled vehicles and into sustainable mass transport must be an objective of city authorities.”

The Business and Climate Summit brought together more than 70 high-profile speakers from around the world—comprising CEOs of top companies, ministers and high-level representatives of governments, international agencies and global climate-related organizations—with participation from more than 15 countries representing over 30 sectors of the economy. Participants aim to amplify key policy messages ahead of the UNFCCC’s COP23 meetings.

The New Delhi Summit is being shown a high level of support from the Indian Government, with key ministries such as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Ministry of Railways represented by speakers at the event.