USCIB Members Play Lead Role at 2017 SelectUSA

President Donald Trump‘s administration has adopted and expanded upon the Obama Administration’s “SelectUSA” annual conference to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) into the U.S. The 2017 “SelectUSA” conference was held June 18-20 at National Harbor in suburban Maryland, outside Washington.  Senior Executives from USCIB member companies including General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and UPS President of Global Public Affairs Laura Lane, as well as representatives from Deloitte, Lockheed Martin, AT&T and JPMorgan Chase shared the podium as speakers in plenary, panels and breakout sessions with U.S. cabinet members, state development officials, and foreign business leaders.

USCIB congratulates the Administration for the successful conference and commends them for recognizing the importance of FDI for U.S. economic growth, global competitiveness and job creation.  Details on the SelectUSA’17 conference are available here.  Questions about SelectUSA or U.S. government support for foreign investment into the United States should be addressed to SelectUSA office at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

USCIB and ILO Hold Dialogue on Disabilities in the Workplace

USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg facilitates panel at the joint USCIB-ILO-AT&T event on Disability Inclusion in Washington DC

U.S. companies are increasingly sensitive to the importance of enhancing workplace diversity, particularly for people with disabilities. In an effort to promote U.S. company membership in the ILO Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN), USCIB, AT&T and the ILO held an event at the AT&T Forum in Washington DC on June 20 for business leaders, “Promoting disability inclusion globally.”

The GBDN is a network of multinational enterprises, employers’ organizations, business networks and disabled persons’ organizations who share the conviction that people with disabilities have talents and skills that can enhance virtually any business and can be a powerful tool for sharing global best practices and accessing relevant networks around the world. In addition to hosting the event, AT&T was also a featured speaker and has a strong corporate commitment to employing persons with disabilities.

USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg gave opening remarks and facilitated a panel on “Best Practices in the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Global South,” which also featured speakers from L’Oreal, Repsol, Accenture and Cisco.

Panelists discussed some of their company initiatives such as Cisco’s Project Life Changer and Accenture’s Tech4Good, which support employees with disabilities through technological and work culture integration. Many of the companies discussed the importance of building an employable skill-set while others, such as Cisco, go even further to alter the recruitment process, placing more emphasis on internships and experience.

“Smart companies have known for some time that there is a robust business case for workplace diversity in general and for hiring people with disabilities in particular,” said Goldberg. “All the data suggests that people with disabilities are productive, reliable and highly motivated employees.  They can also constitute a significant market, and some companies have prospered by developing products and services for people with disabilities, their families and friends.”

Goldberg noted that USCIB members are global enterprises, with employees and customers in every part of the world.  “The network and opportunities for best practice and information sharing provided by the ILO GBDN can be an important resource for MNEs as they devise and implement their human resource, product development, and marketing strategies in diverse communities across the globe,” she said.

The event also featured USCIB members from Deloitte, Boeing and Accenture.

Celebrating 80 Years of the ICC Marketing Code

ICC Marketing & Advertising Commission members met in Paris on June 16.

USCIB and others in the International Chamber of Commerce family are celebrating this year’s 80th anniversary of the ICC Consolidated Code of Marketing and Advertising Communication Practice.

Earlier this week, ICC presented the Code during a networking cocktail hosted in partnership with the French Association of the Communications Agencies, at the French Camp Cannes held on the margins of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The event followed the semi-annual meeting of ICC’s Commission on Marketing and Advertising, which took place in Paris on June 16 and was chaired by Brent Sanders, associate general counsel with Microsoft and chair of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee.

During the celebratory event in Cannes, Ximena Tapias Delporte, vice chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising and president of the Colombian Commission on Advertising Self-Regulation, joined Stéphane Martin, director general of the French self-regulatory organization ARPP and chair of the European Advertising Standards Alliance, to share perspectives on the Code and its broader application at international level as the foundational instrument of advertising self-regulation.

The ICC Code was also presented at the International Advertising Association (IAA) cabana in Cannes, where Carla Michelotti, vice chair of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee and vice president of the IAA, interviewed Martin on using the Code to ensure best practices in the advertising industry and to build trust with consumers.

“Over the past 80 years, the ICC Code has played a key role in providing principles that help build trust with consumers, assuring them of advertising that is honest, legal, decent and truthful,” Martin said during the interview.

According to USCIB Vice President Jonathan Huneke, at the ICC commission meeting in Paris, members discussed possible revision of the Code in the coming years to more fully reflect changes in technology and advertising practice, and finalized a draft ICC guide on responsible mobile marketing communications. The latter document is expected to be finalized and issued by ICC in the coming weeks.

USCIB Urges Administration to Push Anti-Bribery Agenda in G20

USCIB joined with the Coalition for Integrity, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the AFL-CIO in a June 13 letter to President Donald Trump urging the administration to push aggressively for other leading global trading nations to match U.S. efforts against international bribery and corruption.  Specifically, the group urged the administration to press all of the 41 signatory countries to the OECD’s Anti-bribery Convention to take concrete steps to strengthen their implementation and enforcement of their foreign bribery laws.

In the context of the G20, USCIB joined in urging the administration to press for all G20 countries to become signatories and full partners in that OECD convention by the end of 2018.  Currently four G20 members (China, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia) have not signed the OECD Anti-bribery Convention.

The G20 Summit meeting will be held July 7-9 in Hamburg, Germany.

 

 

USCIB Hosted Experts Discuss UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights

USCIB hosted a webinar on the UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights on June 13, featuring Robert McCorquodale, director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and Douglass Cassel, professor of law at Notre Dame Law School. The webinar discussed the treaty background, its current status, and possible next steps in advance of the third session of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) in October 2017.

The treaty process began on June 26, 2014, when the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 26/9 by which it decided “to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, whose mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.” The first two sessions of the open-ended IWG were to “be dedicated to conducting constructive deliberations on the content, scope, nature and form of the future international instrument.” The first session of the IWG was held in July 2015, and the second session in October 2016. The summary documents from the second session can be found here.

Prior to October’s third session, the Ecuadorian chair of the IWG has been tasked with drafting proposed elements for a treaty, and these points will be presented to the states in advance of the October meeting.  The webinar discussed three possible outcomes for the treaty: a relatively modest treaty with reporting and due diligence requirements to establish a level playing field, with an international monitoring system for the states’ obligations; a “maximalist treaty” with international courts, international legal requirements for business, due diligence reporting, and other requirements, as argued for by some human rights groups; or no treaty at all resulting from this process.

If USCIB members would like to access a recording of the webinar, please contact Elizabeth Kim (ekim@uscib.org).

SDG Business Forum Will Report on Private Sector Achievements

Following the success of last year’s inaugural forum, the second annual SDG Business Forum will take place at the United Nations on July 18, 2017 during the ministerial segment of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. Co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), and the UN Global Compact, and organized in collaboration with the Global Business Alliance (GBA) for 2030 – including USCIB, the SDG Business Forum will convene leaders from business and government, together with the heads of UN agencies, key international organizations, and civil society groups to delve into the role business will play in delivering the 2030 Agenda.

Featuring a showcase review of business engagement on the 7 goals in focus at this year’s HLPF, as well as individual sessions examining investment, partnerships, and monitoring, this event will foster robust dialogue between governments and the private sector on critical issues and the way forward. The Forum will report on significant achievements and commitments undertaken by business and gauge private sector efforts to catalyze sustainable growth and development during this critical implementation phase. Ranging from SMEs to multinational corporations, the global business community is committed to contribute to the success of the 2030 Agenda and the realization of a long-lasting, prosperous future for all.

For more information and registration please visit: http://www.sdgbusinessforum.com/

USCIB Emphasizes Government Role in Labor Migration Policy at ILC

USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs gives remarks during the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland

USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog was among approximately 6,000 delegates who attended the 106th session of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland (June 5-16). The ILC touched upon pressing global issues such as the application of labor standards, peace and stability, women in the workplace, immigration and climate change. Herzog attended the ILC as a member of the U.S. Employers Delegation, headed by Ed Potter, USCIB senior counsel and U.S. employer spokesperson to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Governing Body.

Herzog gave remarks at the Committee for Labor Migration, emphasizing the important role the ILO has to play in ensuring that labor migration policies are grounded in sound facts in order to assist governments in devising and implementing policies in ways that work for both employers and workers.

“Labor migration is a necessary and important phenomenon,” said Herzog in her remarks. “It can help fulfill personal aspirations, balance labor supply and demand, spark innovation, and develop and transfer skills.  But for workers to be able to move of their own volition, where and when their labor is needed and valued, and with their rights protected, governments must have clear, transparent and efficient migration policies.”

Potter Gives Statement on Climate Change at ILO Conference

USCIB Senior Counsel Ed Potter is currently attending the International Labor Organization (ILO) International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland (June 5-16) as a U.S. employer delegate. The ILC is discussing pressing global issues such as women at work, application of labor standards, peace and stability, migration and climate change.

Potter delivered the following statement on June 12 during the 2017 Plenary Statement on the Director General’s report on behalf of business regarding climate change and the Paris Agreement:

 

2017 Plenary Statement on the Director General’s Report

Adopted in 2015, the Paris Agreement on climate change is now the globally recognized framework for international climate action and represents a reset of the global approach to climate change.  Anything adopted by the ILO on climate change prior to 2015 should be reevaluated in light of the Paris Agreement.   The Paris Agreement is historic because it envisions self-determined actions and pledges by all countries, according to their priorities and resources.  Importantly, it eliminated the binary Kyoto annexes which divided 193 countries into 2 arbitrary categories.

We are concerned by language in the Director General’s Report that seems to over-simplify the challenge ahead, portraying a straightforward “green” vs. “dirty” choice of technologies, industries, products and jobs.  We do not live in a binary “green” job “brown” job world, and similarly we do not have “green” versus “brown” energy or technology.  The reality is more complex, and there are many other stakeholders involved – notably consumers.  The fact is that all industry sectors will need to transition to cleaner and more efficient operations and energy sources.  The scale of transformation required to meet Paris commitments cannot be met without business finding ways to respond to growing populations seeking reliable affordable energy sources to run businesses, schools, hospitals, etc.  Whether the discussion is on ICT and smart grids, or new ways to sequester carbon that could extend the use of fossil fuels while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, or zero emissions transport, a fuller and more multi-dimensional picture of enterprises is needed.  It is not about the coal miner versus the solar panel installer – it is much more complex.

Transitions will be felt in the business community in the form of opportunities for new industries or products across a wider array of sectors than those normally referred to as “green” through supply and value chains and arising from regulations, costs or innovations that result in more disruptive change or harm to competitiveness.  Without growth and productive employment, there is less room for the successful protection of the environment and the promotion of decent work.  As enterprises are the primary source of job creation, a business-friendly environment remains an essential priority.   Sustainable jobs and sustainable businesses go hand in hand.

The Paris Agreement calls not just on governments but other societal partners, including the business community to act.  The business community has shown strong and continuous commitment to support the Paris Agreement and its implementation.  Delivering the Paris commitments depends on the full engagement of business and employers.  In fact, after my country’s recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, nearly 1000 large companies and investors joined a “We Are Still In” movement, representing 120 million Americans and 40 percent of the US economy at the state and municipal level.  Local attitudes are important and matter.

As highlighted in the Director General’s Report, over the past two years. the UNFCCC has launched its work on “Just Transition”.  Yet until last month, the UNFCCC did not adequately or directly involve business and employers on these topics – while the ILO has been consulted throughout, as has the ITUC.  It is only in the last 2 months that business or employer views have been communicated to the UNFCCC via a joint submission by the IOE and ICC, and by IOE and ICC participation in the May 9 Bonn meeting on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.   The Roundtable highlighted the need for enhanced involvement of employers and the need for direct consultation with them in the future on just transition and other employment related matters.  Tripartism is a cornerstone of this Organization and should apply both inside and outside the ILO.

Much of the Director General’s report focuses on the labor market churn that will occur as a result of the transition from “dirty” to “green” jobs.  The strong impression the reader gets from his Report is that climate change requires a dedicated, special program by the ILO.  Our view is that structural change and job impact of climate change is not at all dissimilar from other ongoing structural change resulting from technological change.  Ask any expert about the future of work and you will hear about a world dominated by artificial intelligence, 3D printing, an on-demand economy, and five generations in a virtual workplace where almost any worker can perform almost any work from anywhere they choose. The ILO approach to climate change needs to be knitted together and treated holistically with other ILO structural change initiatives and the future of work.

Thank you, Mr. President.

 

Update NAFTA, but Keep What’s Working, Says USCIB

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents the global interests of American companies, has released its recommendations to the Trump administration on priorities for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The group calls on the administration to update the 20 year-old pact to accommodate new realities in global commerce, including the rise of the digital economy, while keeping what works from the original agreement.

“Our member companies, who collectively encompass America’s most successful enterprises on the global stage, strongly support modernization of NAFTA,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “But they are united in believing that this must take place as part of a broader strategy to open international markets for U.S. companies, and remove barriers and unfair trade practices in support of U.S. jobs.”

USCIB 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 a quarter-century ago, such as the digital provision of goods and services, data localization requirements, 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 century.

The USCIB statement notes that, since NAFTA’s implementation, U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico has more than tripled, with a positive impact on U.S. GDP of 0.5%, or several billion dollars of added growth per year. It cites a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics which found that NAFTA did not foster noticeable growth in the overall U.S. trade deficit, and that increased trade with Mexico did not perceptibly raise U.S. unemployment.

USCIB says that several other areas currently covered by the agreement also require modernization, including rules on intellectual property protection, regulatory cooperation, services market access, and customs and trade facilitation. The group says that language agreed during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations provides a useful foundation on these topics upon which to build for NAFTA modernization, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have remarked. In other areas where NAFTA disciplines have stood the test of time, USCIB is urging the administration to focus on ensuring that those provisions not be weakened.

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 several leading international business organizations, 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
Tel: +1 917 420 0039
jhuneke@uscib.org

ICC and USCIB Host Singapore Minister to Discuss Trade Disputes in Asia

Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah SC gives remarks

The ICC International Court of Arbitration and USCIB’s Arbitration Committee co-hosted Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah SC on May 22 in New York, attracting law professionals including arbitrators, counsel and academics. The keynote address was followed by a roundtable discussion of considerations when resolving disputes in Asia, such as when to litigate or arbitrate, the use of expedited procedure rules, investment treaty developments in the region and enforcement considerations in various jurisdictions.

“As economies in Asia continue to grow, dispute volume and complexity will rise,” said Minister Rajah in her remarks, which focused on Singapore as a place of arbitration.

Other panelists included Grant Hanessian, partner, Baker McKenzie, court member, ICC International Court of Arbitration and chair of the USCIB Arbitration Committee, Mevelyn Ong, associate, Sullivan & Cromwell and former deputy counsel, ICC International Court of Arbitration, Christopher K. Tahbaz, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Dan Tan, principal, Dan Tan Law and Edwin Tong, SC, partner, Allen & Gledhill LLP.