Taxation

 

Fountain pen on tax

Chair

Bill Sample
Vice President – Tax
Microsoft Corporation

Vice Chair

Timothy M. McDonald
Vice President, Finance & Accounting, Global Taxes
The Procter & Gamble Company

Vice Chair

Will Morris
Deputy Global Tax Policy Leader
PwC

Staff

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

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

Working Groups / Subcommittees

BIAC/ICC Subcommittee

Inbound Investment Subcommittee

Legislative and Administrative Developments Subcommittee

Tax Treaties Subcommittee

Transfer Pricing Subcommittee

Working Group on Consumption Taxes

Working Group on the Digital Economy

Working Group on Environment and Energy Taxes

Working Group on Financial Services Issues

Working Group on Permanent Establishment Issues

What’s at Stake for Business

  • Multiple sets of inconsistent rules drive up costs and result in double taxation.
  • Double taxation will have a negative impact on global trade and investment.

Current Priorities

  • Provide leadership and business perspective on key OECD projects including BEPS, transfer pricing guidelines for intangibles, permanent establishment rules.  USCIB works closely with BIAC on OECD issues.
  • Urge the OECD to consider the need for a predictable fiscal environment that will protect and encourage cross-border trade and investment in the context of developing and implementing BEPS recommendations.
  • Support enactment of foreign tax simplification provisions in the IRC that would significantly reduce the burden of complexity for U.S. companies and enhance their international competitiveness.
  • Successfully manage the 2018 OECD International Tax Conference in Washington, DC on June 4-5, 2018.

USCIB at Work

USCIB plays a leading role in advocating sound, consistent international taxation policies and opposes any efforts to unfairly increase the tax burden on companies in several forums:

  • At the OECD, leading voice through BIAC informing policymakers on the unintended negative consequences resulting from unilateral actions.
  • At the UN, providing business input at the UN’s Committee of Tax Experts including on changes to the UN Model and UN Transfer Pricing Guidance.
  • In Washington, promoting business interests to U.S. Treasury and House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees on International Tax Reform and U.S, competitiveness.

Recent Advocacy Engagement

The Committee has a deep technical knowledge of the practical applications of tax policy and works to prevent any policies that may have unintended negative consequences.  USCIB is also:

  • Engaging with the OECD by submitting comment letters and participating in Public Consultations and informal consultations on BEPS to advocate for the need of effective dispute resolution and clarity in guidance regarding all BEPS outcomes.
  • Citing business concerns with BEPS and noting the threat of double taxation and its negative impact on global trade and investment in letters sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
  • On the Steering Committee of the BIAC Taxation Committee where we influence both agenda setting and policy development in the OECD.

Who We Are

The USCIB Tax Committee is composed of USCIB member companies representing a range of business and industry sectors. Advocacy priorities are determined that reflect consensus among the members.

Mission

The Committee works to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. business by promoting sound, appropriate and consistent international tax policy and also to prevent and eliminate government policies that result in double taxation in a range of strategic forums:

  • The OECD, particularly on the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)
  • The United Nations
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury

Recent Accomplishments

News Stories

Multilateral Effort Needed to Address Tax in Digital Economy (10/2/2017) - In response to recent European Union proposals concerning taxation of the digital economy, Business at OECD (BIAC) expressed deep concerns that unilateral action for the taxation of the digital economy will lead to serious distortions in markets and global value chains.
OECD Business Communicators to Meet in Ireland (9/18/2017) - Continuing its efforts to re-frame the global narrative on trade and economic openness, on October 12-13, Business at OECD (BIAC) will hold its 2nd Heads of Communications Roundtable in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Read More

Press Releases

USCIB Statement on the U.S. Election Results (11/9/2016) - USCIB congratulated Donald Trump on his election as president, saying a top priority for the new administration should be a strategy for U.S. engagement with the wider world.
USCIB Welcomes Treasury White Paper Criticizing EU State Aid Investigations (8/24/2016) - USCIB welcomed the U.S. Treasury’s statement criticizing the European Commission’s ongoing state aid investigations, aimed at recouping prior-year tax benefits.

Read More

Big Turnout on Capitol Hill Raises Alarm on NAFTA Talks

Last week, as the fourth round of talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement unfolded, USCIB joined many of its members and other associations in flooding Congressional offices on Capitol Hill, raising serious concern over the direction of talks. According to Eva Hampl, USCIB’s director of trade and investment policy, who took part, private-sector representatives spent a full day talking to House Republicans as well as a few Democrats, mainly staff members but also including a few members themselves.

Hampl stated: “The views from House offices varied from understanding the problems presented by statements coming from many U.S. negotiators and administration officials, to having a few specific issues they cared about, to not yet having decided a position on NAFTA modernization. We spent a good amount of time explaining to those who were bogged down in specific issues, or those who did not yet care, that the key elements of the U.S. trading system of the U.S. are at risk.”

Worrisome, and potentially protectionist, proposals coming from the U.S. side in the NAFTA talks address 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.

“At the same time, a lot of progress is being made in the negotiations in chapters such as customs, digital trade, and in the regulatory space,” Hampl noted. “The U.S. could certainly log a win in this modernization effort if NAFTA 2.0 included those provisions.” But she said there is “great concern” in the business community that NAFTA is being set up to fail with some of the proposals that are being tabled.

USCIB 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. “NAFTA has done a lot for the U.S. economy and USCIB member companies over the last 23 years, so while this is a great opportunity to bring this agreement into the 21st century, if the existing benefits are lost, that effort will be significantly undermined,” she said.

Another Capitol Hill business lobbying day is planned for October 24. At the conclusion of the fourth round of NAFTA talks, negotiators agreed to defer the next round by at least a month, and to extend negotiations at least through the first quarter of 2018. The next round is slated to begin November 17 in Mexico.

Mulligan Talks NAFTA at CSI Summit

Rob Mulligan at CSI

USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan spoke at a Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) summit earlier this week on USCIB’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) priorities.

USCIB members have benefited from NAFTA and believe the current negotiations should ensure that the beneficial parts are preserved, that is ‘do no harm,’ while also taking advantage of the opportunity to improve it in areas that were not addressed two decades ago.

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.  Increased transparency in the publication of laws, regulations and procedures would improve customs administration. And bringing de minimis thresholds into relative alignment would facilitate trade, especially for small businesses. All of these steps will help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs.

However, Mulligan raised concerns over several moves by the U.S. during the fourth round of negotiations, “Recent U.S. proposals for a sunset clause, to restrict government procurement, allow an opt out of ISDS, and impose new content requirements for autos will not expand trade and we are concerned that they could force eventual failure of NAFTA that would severely impact the U.S. economy and millions of jobs that are tied to NAFTA.”

Mulligan noted that while USCIB member companies strongly support NAFTA and have greatly benefited from it over the last 23 years, they want the governments to avoid changes to existing parts of NAFTA that would harm trade rather than expand it.

USCIB Huddles with US Mission in Geneva

USCIB’s Shaun Donnelly at meetings in Geneva

On the margins of the UN Conference on Trade and Development  (UNCTAD) meetings in Geneva, USCIB Vice President for Trade Services Shaun Donnelly went to the U.S. Mission (i.e. the multilateral US Embassy) to UN agencies for a morning of meetings on October 12. Donnelly, a retired State Department ambassador, had a wide-ranging, hour-long meeting with the U.S. Mission Chargé D’affaires Ted Allegra in the absence of a new U.S. Ambassador (yet to be nominated.)

Donnelly also had a roundtable with U.S. Mission staff managing U.S. participation on a range of UN agencies including the International Labor Organization, World Health Organization, WIPO, Human Rights Commission and the World Trade Organization. They discussed concerns of USCIB and its members on policies, budgets, and business access in several Geneva agencies.

Donnelly noted afterwards, “I really appreciated the opportunity to sit down with U.S. Chargé in Geneva Ted Allegra, an experienced and respected diplomat, and to highlight priorities and policy concerns of our members.”

Donnelly and other USCIB staff routinely stay in close contact with various staffers in the U.S. mission in Geneva. “But the opportunity to voice our key concerns directly to the acting U.S. Ambassador in Geneva was both timely and useful,” he added.

Communicators Meet in Ireland for 2nd Business at OECD Roundtable

Last week, in Dublin and Cork, Ireland, Business at OECD welcomed more than 20 representatives from member federations and companies to its annual Heads of Communication Roundtable, jointly organized with its Irish member federation IBEC. Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs, represented USCIB alongside several representatives of USCIB member companies.

“This was a valuable series of meetings,” said Huneke. “We discussed the challenges, in the current international environment, of communicating the views and priorities of the globally oriented business community to governments and the public at large. We also explored ways to support our fellow federations’ activities, and to learn from one another, in a communications and policy environment that only seems to get more fast-paced and unpredictable every year.”

High-level speakers at the roundtable included Irish Ambassador to OECD Dermot Nolan, IBEC President Edel Creely and CEO Danny McCoy, and Irish experts who had helped “move the needle” on contentious public debates over economic development and marriage equality.

“The meetings also showcased some of the substantive factors Ireland brings to the table for companies when they make location decisions, Huneke added. “Hence the decision to visit the country’s high-tech hub of Cork.” The communicators held site visits and discussions with Cathy Kearney (CEO, Apple Ireland), Donal O’Sullivan (CEO, Johnson Controls) and Kyran Johnson (General Manager, Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson).

Huneke said he made sure to remind all three companies of their USCIB membership, and offered to support their efforts in whatever way possible.

USCIB Testifies on China WTO Compliance

In response to Federal Register notice 82 FR 36071, USCIB Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl, provided oral testimony on Wednesday, October 4 to the U.S. government interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) regarding China’s compliance with its WTO commitments on behalf of USCIB and its members.

“USCIB and its members understand and appreciate that U.S.-China economic relations are complex and multifaceted, and American business holds a direct and important stake in this relationship and in its success,” noted Hampl in her testomony.

The testimony amplified priority issues for USCIB members, in addition to the written submission made in September. The Q&A session following the oral statement included questions from the various agencies on issues of regularly transparency, technology transfer, trade secrets, discriminatory industrial policies, and agricultural biotech.

On IT security measures, Hampl emphasized, “The Cybersecurity Law, which went into effect in June of this year, establishes a number of burdensome restrictions on the cross-border flow of data and establishes intrusive security reviews of equipment and services used by network operators and operators of critical information infrastructure.” Hampl therefore urged the U.S. government to continue to press for full suspension of all existing and proposed measures involving trade-restrictive requirements in this area.

In addition to discussing these issues with the interagency committee, Hampl emphasized USCIB’s support of continuing negotiations of a US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), expressing USCIB’s hope that efforts to conclude a high-standard BIT will soon resume on the remaining issues.

2018 OECD Tax Conference

SAVE THE DATE!

The 2018 OECD International Tax Conference

 June 4-5, 2018

Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C

This annual conference provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. business community to interact with key representatives from the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, including the new Head of the Transfer Pricing Unit, Tomas Balco, the new Head of theTax Treaty Unit, Sophie Chatel, and senior tax officials from the U.S. and other key countries involved in the OECD’s international tax work. The conference will focus on the latest developments in the taxation of multinational enterprises including tax treaties, transfer pricing, the work of the Task Force on the Digital Economy, dispute resolution and more.

For more information, please contact Erin Breitenbucher (202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org).

2017 Final Agenda

2017 Topics:

  • Tax Reform Trends
  • Improving Tax Certainty
  • Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI)
  • Transfer Pricing
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Inclusive Framework on BEPS & Developing Countries

2017 Featured Speakers:

  • Mark Prater – Chief Tax Counsel and Deputy Staff Director for the Republican staff of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Finance
  • Pascal Saint-Amans – Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration, OECD
  • Martin Kreienbaum – Director General, International Taxation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany
  • Mike Williams – Director, Business and International Tax, HM Treasury
  • Doug O’Donnell – Commissioner, Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, IRS
  • Grace Perez-Navarro – Deputy Director of the CTPA, OECD
  • Achim Pross – Head of International Cooperation and Tax Administration, OECD
  • Jefferson Vanderwolk – Head of the Tax Treaty, Transfer Pricing & Financial Transactions Division, OECD
  • James Karanja – Head of joint OECD/UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Initiative
  • Will Morris – Chairman, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Other Senior Treasury and Foreign Tax Policy Officials

More on USCIB’s Taxation Committee

2017 Conference Sponsored By:

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PWC

 

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exxonmobil

 

 

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Exhibitors:

 

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Corptax_WEB

 

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Presented by:

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OECD

Business at OECD Logo - 2016

In association with:

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ITPF
NFTC logo
Organization for International Investment
TCPI
Tax Executives Institute, Inc.

Shared Interests in the SDGs: Business Makes It Happen at UNGA72 USCIB Side Event

Left to Right: Kyra Kaszynski, Deloitte; Elliott Harris, UNEP New York Office; Chantal Line Carpentier, UNCTAD NY Office; Norine Kennedy, USCIB

USCIB held a side event on September 22 at the end of the UN General Assembly opening week for its members, government and UN representatives on “Shared Interests in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s): Business Makes It Happen,” hosted by USCIB member Pfizer.  The objective of this meeting, chaired by Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen, who also serves as USCIB board member and sustainability “champion,” was to explore the opportunities for improved transparency and cooperation in the United Nations that would scale up cooperation and partnership with U.S. business to deliver the SDG’s.

In his opening comments, Nielsen stated that the United Nations is part of the infrastructure that U.S. business depends on in commercial activity around the world, and looks to the U.S. government to work with U.S. companies for outcomes that reflect good governance and advance economic benefits both overseas and domestically. “Business understands the SDG imperative of ‘No one left behind’ to mean ‘everyone must get involved to make a difference, including business,’” he said.

Side event presenters, Diane McMahon of Bechtel and Kyra Kacszinski of Deloitte reviewed the findings of USCIB Expert Roundtables on Data Analytics for the SDG’s, and on Ingredients for Impact in SDG Public Private Partnerships (see other articles in this special edition newsletter for more information).

Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s work on the SDG’s, discussed the pivotal role that the private sector has played in supporting UN sustainable development work, including the climate agreement and the SDG’s, and the recognized role that business has in the International Labor Organization (ILO) and in the Financing for Development process, among others.  These integrated inter-actions have created ambitious and widely accepted sustainable development initiatives that continue to move ahead with vigorous U.S. business support, as evidenced in the USCIB Businessfor2030 web platform.

These positive examples and UN reform proposals to embed the UN Agenda for 2030 across UN programs and priorities, and make UN discussions more inclusive and transparent to the public, including the private sector, are indications of willingness for transparent and constructive dialogue and action.  Kennedy suggested 3 steps towards enhanced business engagement as part of that reform:

  • Involve recognized business community organizations throughout UN deliberations to identify and assess issues, provide technical expertise, inform deliberations and serve as a resource for implementation
  • Favor multi-sectoral discussions, in combination with sectoral discussions
  • Pursue “shared interest” models that open doors to all business sectors to work transparently and constructively with the UN, based on good governance.

Discussants from UNCTAD, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA) added their views on how to help move ahead to tap business resources.  Elliott Harris of UNEP reminded the meeting about the differences in language, time frame and scale between public and private sector expectations and contributions.  While the United Nations sees a very big picture, the private sector focuses on direct and near term action.  He encouraged USCIB to seek ways to build bridges between those points of view as part of its ongoing work to enhance business involvement and contribution on the SDG’s.  Chantal Line Carpentier  of UNCTAD stated that if UN discussions don’t bring in private sector, it will be extremely difficult to frame the right policies and market actions.  Some fear the perception that UN development work is being “privatized,” and she encouraged USCIB to prioritize clear public-private partnership guidance that reflects the lead role of governments and IGO’s, in which business works to support and leverage resources for common benefit, rather than solely for private profit.

Thomas Gass, assistant secretary general of the DESA concluded the meeting with reflections about the challenges and opportunities ahead.  The SDGs are a declaration of interdependence, he said, that relies on the private sector along with other societal partners.  Gass warned against the SDG’s becoming an empty concept; U.S. business is critical to keep the SDGs moving through innovation and partnership.  He stated that sustainability has to be placed in national contexts, especially those of the least developed countries that cannot cope with negative ecological impacts of larger and wealthier nations, and welcomed USCIB’s focus on analyzing and framing data for analysis and prioritized SDG action as a key contribution in that regard.

USCIB will follow further SDG-related deliberations in this year’s UN General Assembly, working closely with the International Chamber of Commerce and International Organization of Employers, to advocate for transparent and inclusive business involvement.  Although the Business Makes It Happen side event marked the end of the UNGA high level sessions, USCIB regards its interactions and recommendations as a starting point to continue developing member ideas and action by a full range of U.S. business sectors to strengthen international cooperation on the SDGs as a platform to spread prosperity and opportunity around the world and in the U.S.

Please contact Norine Kennedy or Gabriella Herzog to find out more about USCIB’s positions on SDGs and the role of business in UN reform.

 

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!

Global Nutrition Event Aims to Ensure ”No More Missed Opportunities”

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener at the Nutrition Roundtable

Poor diet is the number one risk factor for early death, contributing to 20 percent of global deaths, with the burden falling disproportionately on children under five and women of reproductive age. On October 2-3, the USCIB Foundation, the educational and research arm of USCIB, joined with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Wilton Park USA, to begin tackling this problem – a situation nutrition experts have described as a “missed opportunity” (Lancet, 2013) – through a roundtable dialogue in New York City under the banner of “No More Missed Opportunities.”

Each year, malnutrition is a factor in almost half of the six million deaths of children under five, and 159 million children are stunted, with impacts on their physical and cognitive abilities that last a lifetime. More than 500 million women are anemic, with an increased risk of maternal death and delivering premature and low-birth-weight babies. At the same time, 600 million adults are obese, and 420 million have diabetes, with rates rising steeply. Every country is now struggling with some aspect of malnutrition, and a growing number are experiencing both undernutrition and obesity.

The roundtable sought to support the accelerated achievement of internationally agreed global nutrition goals, and broader commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), by convening a high-level group of leaders from government, business and other key stakeholders. Participants set themselves three objectives:

  • Discuss the draft Principles of Engagement for Government-Business Collaboration to frame and guide progress towards achievement of the food and nutrition SDG’s and the implementation of the UK Government’s commitment to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA)
  • Identify ways to improve business engagement in global nutrition goals and engage multisector platforms to specifically address food and nutrition supply chains, distribution channels, and technical and scientific research to accelerate achievement of the global nutrition goals and directly benefit ODA recipient countries
  • Forge new relationships between government and business food and nutrition leaders to kick-off a new era of constructive partnership.

In his opening remarks, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “The USCIB Foundation is here looking for ways to improve and accelerate business engagement in the implementation of the global nutrition goals, which we believe is absolutely essential if we hope to achieve these goals by 2030.”

Robinson also highlighted the significance of the draft Principles of Engagement for Government-Business Collaboration, noting, “consensus around a set of principles like these would establish a framework that would encourage more joint efforts and public-private partnerships.”

While Robinson said he is “highly optimistic” about the future of nutrition, he remarked on some barriers to private-sector engagement. These include the perceived conflict of interest between business motivation for public-private partnerships and public-sector goals, lack of trust between business, governments and other stakeholders and too much regulatory red-tape, seemingly designed to deter the private sector from engaging in partnerships.

Panels throughout the dialogue focused on the knowledge revolution and data, the pace of innovation, incentives for government-business collaboration, multi-sectoral platforms that can facilitate results, and concluded with a spirited discussion of draft Principles of Engagement to guide further discussion.

It is hoped that these principles will serve as a platform to enable further, more pointed conversations and serve as a model example for other institutions from a good governance perspective. USCIB and the USCIB Foundation will continue conversations and action with our partners in this dialogue to ensure progress towards our shared goals.

The event was hosted by the Harvard Club.

Roundtable participants. USCIB President and CEO Peter M Robinson front row, sixth from left, alongside representatives from GAIN and WiltonPark