USCIB Urges Trump Administration to Remain Engaged in UN Climate Talks

With senior advisors in the Trump administration set to meet tomorrow to discuss U.S. engagement in the UN and other international climate change discussions, USCIB has urged the administration to keep the U.S. seat at the table.

Earlier this month, in a letter to the White House, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson wrote: “In spite of challenges and shortcomings in the UN climate policy arena, USCIB reaffirms its support for the United States to continue as a Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.”

However, USCIB’s letter, which was sent April 17 to National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, explicitly recommended that the U.S. place a number of conditions on continued engagement, including reassessing existing U.S. emissions reduction and related commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement in the context of broader consultation with the private sector.

The letter further recommended that the U.S. insist on greater access and transparency in the UN climate negotiation process for U.S. economic stakeholders, call on the UN to discourage unilateral trade measures related to climate, and work through the UN and other international forums to foster speedier development and deployment of environmentally sound technologies.

“Addressing climate change and its impacts will require a long-term international cooperative approach with due attention to national circumstances and priorities to assure ongoing economic development,” Robinson wrote. “USCIB members are convinced that U.S. engagement and leadership are required to champion economically sound approaches to energy and climate change risks that advance U.S. economic prosperity and create new job and market opportunities for U.S. businesses at home and abroad.”

USCIB Convenes Multistakeholder Roundtable on Business and Infrastructure for SDGs

L-R: USCIB Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, and Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. State Department

As the UN gears up for its annual high-level political forum (HLPF) to review progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in July, the international community is turning its attention to SDG 9—building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. The extensive role of infrastructure in achieving all 17 SDGs prompted USCIB to organize a ‘Business for SDGs’ roundtable on Infrastructure last Friday, April 21, hosted by Covington LLP in Washington DC.

Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment and the lead for USCIB’s work on the sustainable development goals opened the meeting and served as the event’s master of ceremonies.  “USCIB’s SDG Working Group realized that no SDG can be delivered without the right ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure, such as education, financial inclusion, food systems and healthcare, in place. The pipeline for bankable projects for both has to accelerate to broadly deploy and leverage business resources and know,” said Kennedy.

The event, held on the margins of the UN Financing for Development Infrastructure Forum, drew participants from government and business, including USCIB member companies AT&T, Bechtel, Citi, KPMG, MasterCard, and Monsanto as well as the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, NGO groups such as the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, and U.S. government representatives, notably Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. Department of State who gave closing remarks.

The roundtable discussed obstacles to and best practices in public private partnerships for infrastructure projects, challenges in removing barriers or dealing with corruption, and the importance of scaling U.S. business investment, and the role of business in developing and utilizing SDG-relevant metrics. “There’s a huge financing gap, especially in terms of development and sustainable infrastructure projects around the world,” said Kubiske before citing U.S. government resources and initiatives that to de-risk and support U.S. companies competing for infrastructure projects, such as Power Africa.

“Investment in infrastructure is key to achieving a successful implementation of the SDGs,” emphasized Peter M. Robinson, USCIB’s CEO and president in discussing key takeaways from the roundtable. “We must actively search for ways to discourage governments from crowding out private investment; the implementation imperative requires scaling up business involvement and commercial opportunities. A first priority is to knock down obstacles to infrastructure investment, which can take the form of formal barriers to foreign investment in specific sectors or burdensome regulation affecting both foreign and domestic firms,” he said. Robinson’s remarks can be found here.

USCIB will host another roundtable on Innovation and SDGs in May in conjunction with the Financing for Development Forum.  Please see USCIB’s Businessfor2030 website for more information on the roundtable and other USCIB actions and engagement on the SDGs.

Upcoming ICC Young Arbitrators Events

The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce is organizing two ICC Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF) events in New York and San Francisco. On May 1, ICC YAF is organizing an event on “Summary Adjudication in International Arbitration” in San Francisco which will feature a panel of young practitioners on the West Coast along with a presentation by the Counsel of the ICC’s North America case management team. You may register by contacting Melissa.bibbs@dlapiper.com.

The ICC YAF Global Conference will be held from June 9-10 in New York City at Columbia Law School with a welcome cocktail reception on June 8. The conference will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, debates, and workshops on Third Party Funding and Damages, along with a special networking session called, “Friday Night Live”. This conference is aimed at young arbitration practitioners of approximately 40 years and under: counsel, arbitrators, corporate counsel or academics. This ICC YAF Global Conference is a unique opportunity for YAF members from all over the world to meet peers from all Chapters. Young practitioners from all continents will gather to exchange thoughts on international arbitration and share some fun together. For more information, please visit their website.

ICC YAF has also recently announced new regional representatives for its 2017-2019 mandate. Representing 40 countries and 53 cities, the elected representatives are tasked with promotion and development of the dynamic global network of young arbitration talent. USCIB would like to congratulate the following new representatives for the United States:

Andy Tuck, Alston & Bird, LLP, Atlanta

Seth Meyer, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, Chicago

Silvia Marchili, King & Spalding, Houston

Marike Paulsson, University of Miami School of Law’s International Arbitration Institute, Miami

Floriane Lavaud, Debevoise & Plimpton, New York

Ignacio Zapiola, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP, New York

Amy Endicott, Arnold Porter LLP, San Francisco

Chip Rosenberg, White & Case LLP, Washington DC

Many USCIB Members Ranked “Best Corporate Citizens”

Talk in GreenAs USCIB prepares for its bi-annual Corporate Responsibility and Labor and Employment Committee meetings on May 2-3, USCIB would like to congratulate many of its members who were honored by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in its release of the 18th annual list of Best Corporate Citizens last week. USCIB members that made it into the top 10 rank include Intel, Microsoft, Cisco and Lockheed Martin, with many others ranked in the top 100 as well. CR Magazine is America’s leading voice on corporate responsibility, providing case studies, analyzing best practices and tracking trends in the five primary segments of corporate responsibility: energy and environment, risk management, governance and compliance, employee relations, and human rights.

Next week’s USCIB Committee meetings will touch on all five of these segments. The Committee meetings, which will be hosted by Foley and Lardner LLP in Washington DC, will include a presentation from Melike Yetken, a senior advisor for corporate responsibility with the U.S. Department of State, touching on the U.S. National Action Plan and work of the U.S. national contact point for the OECD. Yetken will also participate on a panel at the meeting with Hanni Rosenbaum of Business at OECD (BIAC) to brief USCIB committee members on the draft OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct.  Additional agenda highlights include an update on the ILO program on decent work in global supply chains, the Customs Tariff Act of 1930, the upcoming UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, and an update on conflict minerals. For more information on this two-day Committee meeting, please contact Gabriella Rigg Herzog.

The unique value of the USCIB Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee is its leadership position advancing the global interests of U.S. business with global policy makers in the area of responsible business conduct, and the broad and diverse nature of its members who represent multiple business functions and industries and who participate actively through the sharing of insights and experiences.

OECD Secretary General Briefs USCIB Members as World Bank/IMF Meetings Get Underway

L-R: USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, BIAC Vice Chair Rick Johnston (Citi), Rob Mulligan (USCIB), Susan Fridy (OECD)
L-R: USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, BIAC Vice Chair Rick Johnston (Citi), Rob Mulligan (USCIB), Susan Fridy (OECD)

With the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund bring finance ministers and other top officials from around the world to Washington, D.C., USCIB members on April 21 met with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria at Citi’s offices in the capital.

The wide-ranging, off-the-record discussion covered priorities for the OECD as well as the G-20, for which the OECD has undertaken a variety of high-level projects since the 2008-2009 financial crisis. In the face of the ongoing populist backlash, Gurria reiterated the OECD’s fundamental support for open markets, as well as for policies to address the downside of global integration and technological change.

Gurria also looked forward to this year’s OECD Ministerial in June. Next week in Copenhagen, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and other members of Business at OECD (BIAC) will present their recommendations to OECD governments in advance of the ministerial.

Key topics at this year’s OECD ministerial are expected to include the digital economy, inclusive growth, migration, aging societies and the general backlash against globalization.

Gurria, who prior to becoming secretary general of the OECD served as foreign affairs and finance minister in the Mexican government, and who helped negotiate several market-opening trade deals with the United States and other nations, was honored earlier in the week by the Economic Club of Minnesota for his longstanding support of open trade. Click here to read his remarks at the event.

BIAC Releases Trade as a Priority for All Paper

BIAC_Trade_Priorities_PaperAs populist discontent with international trade continues to percolate around the world, Business at OECD (BIAC) today unveiled a new paper, “Trade as a Priority for All,” with recommendations for OECD action to help build renewed support for cross-border trade.

Last December, Business at OECD convened a workshop of heads of communications from its member federations around the world, to consider ways to push back against the populist narrative. It consulted with its global membership, a network of over 2,800 business experts, and identified critical trade barriers and opportunities. The paper makes recommendations to the OECD and its member governments on the role they can play in curbing barriers and enabling opportunities.

The paper also provides a better understanding of the way companies do business, shedding light on the hurdles they face at the border and in the global marketplace and provides recommendations on improving policymaking and creating better conditions for private sector-led growth, innovation and job creation.

“This paper is crucial in conveying priorities of the business community for OECD analysis and policy recommendations, especially given the rise in anti-trade rhetoric globally,” said Rob Mulligan, USCIB’s senior vice president for policy and government affairs, who is attending consultations with the OECD Trade Committee as well as an OECD conference on trade communications this week in Paris. “USCIB supports the recommendations in this paper, including those of eliminating localization requirements, ensuring open cross-border data flows and improving international regulatory cooperation.”

Doran Klein Attends UN Tax Committee Meetings

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

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

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

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

USCIB Welcomes New Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Gabriella Rigg Herzog

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

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

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

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

USCIB’s Sustainable Development Event to Focus on Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

International Business Spring 2017 Issue

IB_Spring2017USCIB’s “International Business” Spring 2017 issue is now live! A web version can be accessed here.

The Spring 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “American Competitiveness and Innovation in the 21st Century” as well as articles on developments in the G20, WTO and the UN climate talks, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.

“International Business,” USCIB’s quarterly journal, provides essential insight into major trade and investment topics, a high-level overview of USCIB policy advocacy and services, USCIB member news and updates from our global business network.

Subscribe to USCIB’s International Business Magazine

Subscriptions to “International Business” are available free upon request to representatives of USCIB member organizations. Contact us to subscribe.

Non-members may subscribe to “International Business” and other USCIB print publications at an annual rate of $50 (U.S.) for domestic delivery, or $75 for overseas delivery. Contact us to subscribe. USCIB’s annual report, studies from the United States Council Foundation and related publications are included with your paid subscription.

Our free electronic newsletter, “International Business Weekly,” provides regular updates on USCIB’s major activities and priorities. Click here to view a sample issue. Click here to subscribe.

We welcome outside submissions and inquiries regarding our publications – send them to news@uscib.org.

We welcome advertising in International Business magazine — special discounted rates for USCIB member organizations! Contact Kira Yevtukhova (kyevtukhova@uscib.org) for more information.