USCIB Supports UN Convention on Receivables

Last week, USCIB joined nine other trade associations to sign on to a letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in support for the United Nations Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade, asking the committee to move expeditiously toward its ratification.

Enactment of the convention would make it easier for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses to access additional financing from lenders based on their sales of goods and services to customers located in other countries that ratify the convention.

“The Receivables Convention is self-executing and would not change U.S. law in any material respect, because U.S. law already reflects the modern legal principles embodied in the convention,” said Eva Hampl, USCIB’s director for investment, trade and financial services. “We believe that U.S. ratification would prompt other countries to ratify as well, which will then make it easier for U.S. lenders to accommodate the financing needs of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses, enabling them to compete more vigorously in the international marketplace and foster the growth of American jobs.”

No state or federal legislation is needed for executing the Convention so there is no cost to the U.S. government or taxpayers in ratifying it. Furthermore, experts from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws participated fully in the formulation of the Convention and have determined that there would be no implementation issues in ratifying the Convention.

 

 

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

 

Information, Communications and Technology

Chair

Eric Loeb
Senior Vice President of International External and Regulatory Affairs
AT&T

Staff

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

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

What’s at Stake for Business

  • The digital economy permeates everything and non-traditional ICT companies rely on ICTs to do their business.
  • The digital economy can deliver the solutions and innovations needed to create jobs and spur economic growth but policies must enable private sector opportunities to invest and promote cross-border data flows.
  • A shift away from the multistakeholder model of Internet governance toward a more government-dominated approach will snuff the dynamic growth of the ICT sector and hamper the innovative potential of the Internet.

Current Priorities

  • Advocate a multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance and promote policies and initiatives aimed at promoting private sector investment and competition.
  • Ensure that privacy regulations do not prove overly burdensome to business operations, hamper innovation, or impede legitimate cross-border data flows, while realizing regulatory interoperability.
  • Promote a risk management-based approach to cybersecurity that enables business to flexibly implement appropriate market-driven, voluntary, consensus-based internationally recognized standards.
  • Support continued multistakeholder leadership of the technical management of the Domain Name System.
  • Oppose overly broad local data storage requirements.

USCIB At Work

USCIB is advocating on a number of fronts for policies that do not hamper innovation and that allow ICTs to realize the tremendous potential to create economic opportunity, address social challenges and create a more inclusive digital economy:

  • At the United Nations – underscoring role of business in economic development and realization of Post-2015 SDGs and upholding the multistakeholder model of Internet governance
  • At the OECD – ensuring a risk-based approach to cybersecurity working through BIAC and continued pro-business, “light touch” regulatory approach to the evolving digital transformation of the economy
  • At APEC – pressing for approaches to privacy that enable cross-border data flows and are not overly restrictive
  • In Washington – engaging with the U.S. government to shape further development of NTIA’s multistakeholder examination of cybersecurity challenges

Recent Advocacy Engagement

The Committee has a deep technical knowledge of ICT issues and provides industry expertise in policy deliberations concerning the digital economy.  USCIB is also:

  • Engaging with U.S. government agencies to share information and align messaging about emerging issues in UN Internet governance forums.
  • Working within APEC to elevate the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system as a priority as well as promote U.S. leadership on an APEC digital economy agenda.
  • Actively collaborating with U.S. and foreign business groups on advocacy aimed at highlighting and seeking remedy for China’s protectionist technologies policies.
  • Shaping implementation of the 2016 plan to transition the stewardship of the Domain Name System to a global multi-stakeholder entity through both written comments and interaction with ICANN and U.S. government agencies.

Who We Are

The USCIB Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) 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 advocates for policies characterized by free and fair competition, minimal government intervention and free information flows that ensure the continued growth of ICTs in a range of strategic forums:

  • The UN’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • The OECD
  • The APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group
  • The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

Positions and Statements

USCIB Supports an EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (9/18/2017) - On the occasion of the first joint review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, USCIB reaffirmed support for the Framework and issued a statement underscoring its importance in ensuring continued robust and reliable transatlantic data flows, which have proved vital for healthy U.S.-EU commercial relations.
USCIB Discourages Regulatory Overreach in Comments to ITU (8/16/2017) - USCIB filed comments with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) last week as part of the agency's consultation on public policy considerations for "over the top" services, urging the ITU to avoid expanding its jurisdiction to include Internet-related issues.

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News Stories

Fall/Winter 2017 Issue of International Business Now Live (11/29/2017) - The Fall/Winter 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “The Global Goals: a blueprint for partnership and action” as well as articles on developments in the UN General Assembly, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.
USCIB Presses for Clarity on GDPR Impact at ICANN Meeting (11/14/2017) - ICANN 60, the Annual General Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), wrapped up on November 3 in Abu Dhabi, UAE with no further clarity for the ICANN community about the implications of the May 25, 2018 implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ICANN’s WHOIS database, a system that provides information on entities that register domain names.

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Press Releases

Washington Conference to Explore OECD’s Role in Facilitating the Digital Transformation (1/17/2017) - USCIB is organizing a timely conference, “Facilitating Digital Transformation: The OECD’s Role,” March 8 in Washington, D.C.
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.

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Op-Eds and Speeches

USCIB Op-Ed: Time for Some ‘Tough Love’ at the UN (5/2/2017) - USCIB President Peter Robinson, writing in The Hill, urges U.S. officials to help the United Nations focus its efforts and become more accountable to stakeholders.
USCIB in the News: Op-ed in The Hill on UN Funding (1/11/2017) - USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson published a timely op-ed in The Hill addressing calls in Congress to withhold funding for the United Nations.

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Donnelly Offers Business Views on OECD Anti-bribery Convention

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly represented business on a panel discussion on November 29 marking the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention organized in Washington by the Coalition for Integrity, “C4I”.  Donnelly joined senior anti-corruption officials from the OECD secretariat and the World Bank on a panel assessing the progress twenty years after the OECD’s “Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions” and where the convention and OECD’s anti-bribery work might be headed. 

Donnelly, who also serves as a member of the C4I’s Policy Advisory Board, emphasized three points in his comments.  First, while the OECD convention has delivered greater international attention on corrupt practices, much more effort is still needed from many convention member states on enforcement and prosecutions.

Second, the lack of any focus on the “demand side’ of the bribery dynamic, corrupt government officials extorting bribes from business, remains a very serious problem.  “Companies are not the origin of all, or even, most of the bribery in international business, and OECD anti-briery efforts need to recognize those inconvenient realities,” said Donnelly.

Finally, Donnelly urged the OECD’s Bribery Working Group and the Secretariat to open up their closed door proceedings to the established OECD stakeholders, including the Business and Industry Advisory Committee, where USCIB represents U.S. business.   

The C4I program included another panel, focused on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the landmark U.S. anti-bribery law which really launched government efforts to combat corruption.  That FCPA panel included representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and the securities and Exchange Commission.   The afternoon panel program was organized around C4I’s annual awards dinner that evening where Senator John McCain received the prestigious “Integrity Award” and the OECD was recognized with a special award for its international leadership on anti-bribery and integrity issues. Donnelly represented USCIB at that awards dinner.

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.

Product Policy

product_policy

 

Chair

Sophia Danenberg
Manager, Environmental Health and Safety
Regulatory Program
The Boeing Company

Staff

Michael Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

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

What’s at Stake for Business

  • Chemicals are central to the modern economy and are used in the production of thousands of different products.
  • Inconsistent and unbalanced regulations will undermine market access and related industry initiatives.
  • Any new requirement that is inconsistent with existing guidelines would be unnecessarily burdensome
    to companies.

Current Priorities

  • Balanced approach to chemicals management that recognizes and respects intellectual property rights and protection of confidential business information.
  • Sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycles based on hazard and risk evaluations.
  • Regulatory coherence between differing chemicals management regimes.

USCIB At Work

USCIB represents U.S. business at high-level international conferences to defend and promote our members’ views.  When we succeed, our positions are reflected in the principles put forth in the chemicals management guidelines that are shaped:

  • At APEC, where we are the lead multisectoral U.S. business association at the APEC Chemical Dialogue advocating for the protection of confidential business information and regulatory cooperation with other chemicals management regimes.
  • At the UN, where we are ensuring that confidential business information and other industry interests are adequately protected in the SAICM Chemicals in Products (CiP) program, a voluntary initiative designed to give guidance on how to share relevant information on chemicals in products.
  • In Washington, where we meet regularly with U.S Environment Protection Agency and State Department officials to ensure that the U.S business position is well represented in various international chemicals management deliberations.

Recent Advocacy Engagement

USCIB brings together the upstream and downstream chemicals users from our member companies to provide industry expertise and inform discussions on international chemicals management guidelines. USCIB is also:

  • Providing technical work into the CiP project and is advocating for risk-based assessments of chemicals and the protection of confidential business information.
  • Pushing for regulatory cooperation among APEC regulators.

Who We Are

The USCIB International Product Policy Working Group 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 Working Group works to ensure that U.S. products have timely access to markets around the world by advocating for product and chemical policies that minimize the risk of chemicals while reflecting good science, protecting confidential business information and avoiding technical barriers to trade.  USCIB influences chemicals management and product stewardship developments in a variety of international forums:

  • The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
  • The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
  • The OECD

How to get involved

All USCIB members are eligible to participate in the USCIB International Product Policy Working Group. If you are a member and would like to be added to this working group or if you would like more information on how to become a member of USCIB, please contact:

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

News Stories

USCIB Gears Up for APEC CEO Summit in Vietnam (11/6/2017) - This week, USCIB’s Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Da Nang, Viet Nam, as a business delegate and representative of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.
USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 Issue (8/15/2017) - The Summer 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “Why International Organizations Matter to Your Business” as well as articles on developments in the B20, NAFTA and the UN high level political forum and the sustainable development agenda, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Read More

Press Releases

USCIB Welcomes Michael Michener as Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation (2/21/2017) - The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced that Michael Michener, a former administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service who has also served as a U.S. trade diplomat and association executive, has joined USCIB’s staff as vice president of product policy and innovation.
U.S. Business Urges Revision of European Chemicals Guidelines (9/13/2006) - New York, N.Y., September 13, 2006 – The United States Council for International Business, which represents America’s top global companies, has voiced concern to European Union authorities over proposed implementation guidelines for EU legislation, known as REACH, to regulate over 30,000 chemicals and products made from them. REACH, which stands for “registration, evaluation, and authorization […]

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USCIB Statement on US Withdrawal From Global Compact on Migration

New York, NY, December 4, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, issued the following statement on U.S. withdrawal from negotiations surrounding the UN Global Compact on Migration:

Like many others in the U.S. business community, USCIB is disappointed by the news that the Administration has elected to withdraw from the UN Global Compact on Migration, which aims to enlist international cooperation to ensure the rights of migrants and refugees, including dissemination of best practices surrounding their access to education and jobs. This non-binding instrument is currently under negotiation and due to be adopted next year.

The U.S. business community regards migration as a positive and necessary phenomenon. It is a vehicle for fulfilling personal aspirations, for balancing labor supply and demand, for supporting competitiveness and sparking innovation, and for transferring and spreading skills.

Companies are frequent and important users of national migration systems. To remain successful and competitive in the global economy, they require clear and consistent migration policies, national laws and procedures in both sending and receiving countries.

The U.S. has benefited immeasurably from the contribution of migrants to our economy and our society. As the home to the largest number of migrants in the world, our government has experience with the practical workings of immigration laws, procedures, and policies that can contribute to a positive international dialogue. Without U.S. leadership, we fear an opportunity will be missed to ensure clear, transparent, and efficient national immigration laws and policies in the U.S. and around the world that permit the movement of workers when and where they are needed.

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 service firms from every sector of the economy, with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, including the International Organization of Employers (IOE), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, including through the Business Mechanism to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

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

USCIB 2017 International Leadership Award Dinner Honors Mastercard CEO and Celebrates SDGs

The 2017 USCIB Award dinner at the United Nations. L-R: Terry McGraw (S&P Global), Ajay Banga (Mastercard and 2017 honoree), Amina Mohammed (United Nations), Peter Robinson (USCIB)

At last night’s USCIB 2017 International Leadership Award Dinner, USCIB members and representatives of the international community turned out to honor Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga and celebrate the private sector’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The dinner, which was held at United Nations headquarters in New York, drew over 220 high-level private sector individuals, UN dignitaries as well as press and featured keynote remarks by UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed.

“Business leaders are ever more eager to work with governments on the 2030 Development Agenda,” said Mohammed, praising the involvement and “sustained momentum” that has been achieved by the private sector to date. While urging the private sector to continue working towards the achievement of the goals by 2030, she also noted, “The UN itself needs to change since it has not yet fulfilled its full potential.”

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, who gave welcoming remarks, highlighted 2017 milestones for the business community in aligning actions with the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda. “This has been a watershed year for American business in terms of focusing its attention on the importance of working effectively with international institutions – not just the UN, but also the G20, OECD, ILO and so many others,” said Robinson. “A key milestone came toward the end of last year, when the International Chamber of Commerce, one of three global business organizations for which USCIB serves as the American affiliate, won top-level Observer Status in the United Nations General Assembly.”

Terry McGraw, chairman of USCIB and chairman emeritus of McGraw Hill (now S&P Financial) echoed Robinson’s sentiments stating, “With elections and changing government leaders and priorities in the United States and literally around the world, it is more important than ever for business to stand up and continue to press forward an agenda that will strengthen important institutions and rules by which we work and trade.” McGraw also specifically acknowledged the role of the UN, noting, “To build a better world, we need institutions like the United Nations to function effectively and harmoniously, representing not just all of their member governments, but all interested stakeholders.”

Ajay Banga (Mastercard) and Eric Roston (Bloomberg News) engage in a fireside chat during the dinner

However the award honoree Banga emphasized that more needs to be done. “More than 2 billion adults around the world don’t have access to formal financial services, and the majority of them are women,” he said. “They have no way to do the things we take for granted – pay a bill, save money for a rainy day, borrow on reasonable terms. They are trapped in a cycle of poverty and faced with systemic barriers to the resources that would allow them change their situations and contribute to the growth and resilience of their communities. The private sector has a major responsibility and role to play in driving financial inclusion and, ultimately, inclusive growth, by bringing investment, innovation and scale to the table.”

The leadership award, which was established in 1980, is presented to a leading CEO, international figure or institution, and recognizes outstanding contributions to global trade, finance and investment, and to improving the global competitive framework in which American business operates. In honoring Banga, USCIB also recognized Mastercard’s leading work in global financial inclusion. Upon accepting the award, Banga was joined by Eric Roston, chief sustainability editor with Bloomberg News, for a “fireside chat” exploring Banga’s thoughts on business leadership and sustainability.

The gala event also served to showcase the private sector’s efforts to align its activities with the SDGs, including via a new video, spotlighting a number of USCIB member companies, for the Business for 2030 web platform launched by USCIB two years ago. Please visit www.Businessfor2030.org to learn more about what companies are doing to achieve the SDGs.

Banga’s other achievements include leadership roles as member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations and as a founding trustee of the U.S. – India Strategic Partnership Forum. He also served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Prior to Mastercard, Banga was chief executive of Citigroup’s Asia Pacific. He began his career at Nestle in India, where he also spent two years with PepsiCo.

Fall/Winter 2017 Issue of International Business Now Live

USCIB’s “International Business” Fall/Winter 2017 issue is now live!

The Fall/Winter 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “The Global Goals: a blueprint for partnership and action” as well as articles on developments in the UN General Assembly, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, 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.

Hampl Urges High Standards in Colombia’s OECD Accession

 

USCIB Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl

Through its Business at OECD (BIAC) affiliation, USCIB has been extensively involved in representing member interest in the OECD accession process of Colombia. USCIB’s Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl traveled to Paris last week with member companies and associations, to attend meetings with OECD officials and various OECD delegations. BIAC led the global business delegation in meetings with Ken Ash, OECD director for trade and agriculture, Nicola Bonucci, OECD director for legal affairs and coordinator for accession, Catalina Crane, high-level contact for Colombia’s OECD Accession Process, and delegation representatives from the United States, including Andrew Haviland, chargé d’affaires, as well as representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and Mexico.

Colombia started the accession process in 2013. At present, 20 of the 23 OECD Committees have approved them for accession. The Committee dealing with our outstanding issues on pharmaceuticals, distilled spirits, and trucking is the OECD Trade Committee, which will meet again at the end of November. In terms of Trade Committee procedure, the OECD concluded the Market Openness Review (MOR) a few months ago, and are now a number of drafts into the so-called Formal Opinion. Once this Formal Opinion is approved, that concludes the process in the Trade Committee. OECD accession for Colombia won’t be concluded until all Committees independently approve them.

“Our current advocacy surrounds pre-accession recommendations, which we urged the OECD Trade Committee to include in the Formal Opinion,” said Hampl. “The concept of pre-accession requirements, as opposed to post-accession requirements, is a novelty in an OECD accession, rooted in past experience of the ineffectiveness of post-accession requirements, once the leverage of joining the OECD is gone. Accordingly, we view this ask as central to resolving our various business issues. We understand that several issues are currently covered in the confidential draft Formal Opinion as part of pre-accession recommendations, though it is not yet clear which of our issues are included in those.”

The next meeting of the OECD Trade Committee will be in April 2018. Given that Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos will leave office in May 2018, there is a high likelihood that a meeting will be called by the OECD before April to resolve any final issues, if the Formal Opinion is not finalized this month.

“USCIB acknowledges the importance of the Colombian market to our companies, but we also see the precedent Colombia can set for other countries from the region that have indicated an interest in joining the OECD, such as Argentina and Brazil,” added Hampl. “While no new processes have officially started, it is important to ensure that the high standards of the OECD are met by any country looking to join. We will aggressively continue our advocacy efforts as this accession process moves forward, to ensure that as many of our priority issues are resolved as possible before Colombia joins the OECD. “