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.

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:

EY_Logo

 

TTI_BEPS_Logo_2160x1080

PWC

 

VERTEX Logo

 

exxonmobil

 

 

Black Deloitte Logo

 

KPMG_NoCP_RGB

ktMINE_finalogo_RGB (1)

Print

mayer_brown_c

Miller_Chevalier-logo_300dpi-01

 

Exhibitors:

 

bloomberg bna logo

Corptax_WEB

 

ivins-for IBCN Red

 

Presented by:

USCIB logo

OECD

Business at OECD Logo - 2016

In association with:

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

USCIB Welcomes New General Counsel for Arbitration

Nancy Thevenin

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

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

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

USCIB Experts Roundtable on Enhancing Impact of SDG Public Private Partnership

While partnerships are a widely accepted means to complement government policy and implementation, USCIB’s Business Experts Roundtable on Enhancing Impact of SDG Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s), which was held on the margins of the UN General Assembly, zeroed in on the special attributes and expectations relating to such partnerships for SDG implementation.

The Roundtable, hosted by Deloitte in New York, provided feedback from experts and invited speakers from companies, the U.S. government and UN entities to comment on what they considered to be the essential ingredients for impact when it came to designing and implementing those cooperative approaches.

Kay Thompson, Deloitte, served as a facilitator for the session, and encouraged the speakers to reflect on failures as well as successful experiences in their experience with SDG partnerships.

Justin Perrettson, Novozymes, who also serves as vice chair of USCIB’s Environment Committee, offered opening comments on the misperception by many of partnerships as an “easy option.”  Many of the important elements for success and resilience in partnership appear after the initial memorandum of understanding, in their implementation.  Any discussion of ingredients for impact would have to prioritize PPP execution along with PPP design.

Thomas Debass, who represented the State Department Office of Global Partnerships, highlighted the innovation and new ideas that private sector entities can bring to governments and inter-governmental organizations via partnerships.  Many companies have moved to embed the SDG’s into their business model, and this is a development that will certainly extend the positive impact of PPP’s.

Stefanie Amadeo, of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, added to that observation, reflecting that the UN could learn a great deal from the private sector in SDG PPP design and implementation.

Charles North, U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), reminded the meeting of AID’s long history and experience in partnering for development with business; these experiences lend themselves to data mining to help understand the specific circumstances that enable success and impact.  More recently, he noted that the longest running and most effective PPPs are those in which the private sector partner sees core business opportunities, beyond corporate philanthropy and social responsibility.  He concluded by identifying challenges ahead on SDG PPPs, particularly those relating to differences in language and expectation between public and private sector partners.

Vinicius Pinheiro of the International Labor Organization (ILO) spoke about 3 main elements for impact in SDG partnerships: shared values, clear and concrete commitments and follow-up mechanisms.

Helen Medina of Nestle, and a former USCIB staffer, observed that corporate culture is fundamental in SDG PPPs, and that is a major factor in Nestle’s approach.  For Nestle, almost any business activity involves partnership in some form, hence it is regarded as an integral part of doing business.  The SDGs resonate with Nestle’s strong focus on corporate responsibility, which is expressed in actions at the community level as well as from Nestle’s C-suite.

Sahba Sobhani, UNDP, talked about the ability of the UN system and network to bring multiple business platforms together on a large scale for impact, for example recently on disaster response.  The UN provides an essential ingredient for impact in its capacity building work, including with business groups in country.  He flagged the 3 C’s for SDG PPP impact: Convening, Catalyzing and Mobilizing Capital.

Livio Vanghetti of PMI described the challenges of internal transformation as the company moves to reinvent itself and its products, while still advancing SDG PPPs through their supply chains and local farmers.

Tara Nathan, MasterCard also emphasized the importance of commercial frameworks that can support innovative partnerships, whether through data or supply and value chains links.  For SDG PPP impact, these frameworks should be sought out and aligned with SDG implementation.

Alex Assanvo of Mars shared his experience with SDG PPPs and the need to translate what the SDGs set out into practical changes across diverse and often disconnected business functions, including procurement.  Bringing development agency partners together with business partners can require multiple attempts until the right arrangements and flexibility can be reached.

Throughout the Roundtable, speakers agreed that delivering the SDG’s depends on involvement of the private sector, and a substantial component of that practical contribution will come through partnerships.

USCIB’s SDG Working Group will develop a white paper that will capture and expand on the areas mentioned in this Roundtable, with a focus on U.S. business and the role it can play to scale up the impacts of SDG PPP, working collaboratively through U.S. government and in the context of the United Nations system.

Please contact Norine Kennedy or Gabriella Herzog for more information

USCIB Experts Roundtable on Understanding Big Data for Business Action on SDGs

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, alongside USCIB CEO and President Peter M Robinson

USCIB convened a Business Experts Roundtable on Data Analytics for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and National Reports, on September 19, kindly hosted by KPMG.  This session, held on the margins of UN General Assembly (UNGA) week, was intended to start a conversation about how to organize, analyze and improve on frameworks to present and analyze SDG-related data, with a focus on private sector approaches that are already in use.

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria opened the meeting with a statement of wholehearted commitment by the OECD to advancing SDG action by governments.  He reminded the meeting of extensive data and assessment that the OECD has gathered, but also recognized that the quantity and variety of metrics is overwhelming.  He expressed appreciation for U.S. business involvement on these topics through the Business and industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, and looked forward to further insight that business could offer in organizing what is becoming “too much” of a good thing: data and metrics on SDG action and impact.

USCIB members offered two presentations as examples of business thought-leadership in this area.  Tam Nguyen and Michael Yamoah, Bechtel, described a textual analytics framework to strengthen the business case within the company for SDG action.  The overall objective in the company was to shift from SDG reporting to formulating a strategy that would be integral to the entire business process: new business development, design, building and operation.  Text analytics of national voluntary reviews did provide a structured approach to organize and make sense of voluminous amounts of unstructured data related to business lines, markets and SDG’s.

Gaya Branderhorst, KPMG, provided an overview of dynamic risk analysis (DRA) and its applicability to tracking SDG actions.  In her presentation, DRA is well-suited to sustainability science, reflecting the inherent inter-connections of the SDG’s.  A systems dynamic approach to gauging progress will need to elicit multiple experts, and involve all levels of an organization or company.  This is especially relevant to emerging issues and innovation, which may not be visible to the top levels of a government, inter-governmental and business entity.

Jennifer Park, a representative from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, observed that the U.S. government also tracks dozens of statistics and other metrics, and spoke about the need for a structure that would allow a “full picture” of sustainable development status and progress.  Carolien DeBruin of C-Change underscored the need to bridge between top-down data gathering and interpretation and working and grassroots experiences in practice.  Manu Bhardwaj of Mastercard provided a perspective on data poverty in developing countries, and the barriers that poses for SDG action.  He described recent efforts in the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to work with the OECD on utilizing private sector information from consumer transactions to help inform SDG policy priorities.

National governments and other important societal partners are expected to take action on the 17 goals and 169 targets of the SDGs, but governments and business now face the challenge of how to measure progress on multiple and integrated fronts, and then communicate it to important stakeholders.  In addition, many stakeholders are seeking more disaggregated data, which adds another level of complexity.  For business, that means reaching internal audiences as well as investors to demonstrate value and benefit of a company’s SDG involvement, while national governments seek to demonstrate to their public and the international community – perhaps through Voluntary National Reviews to the UN High Level Political Forum – that they are delivering on their commitments.

Some governments have invited and reflected business information and metrics in their VNRs, but these are still in the minority, so a related question concerns a closer look at good practices in public consultation and gaining a better understanding of what business-generated or held information relating to SDG progress could also be useful to governments.

USCIB’S SDG Working Group will explore these and other dimensions of how to structure and understand data on SDG action and impact, and share further private sector experiences and suggestions in this regard.

Please contact Norine Kennedy (nkennedy@uscib.org) or Gabriella Rigg Herzog (gherzog@uscib.org) for more information about the USCIB SDG Working Group.

USCIB Rolls Out Updates to Businessfor2030.org

Business for 2030 homepage logoOn the occasion of the high-level opening of the UN General Assembly in New York, USCIB announced new additions and improvements to the Businessfor2030 web platform. USCIB built the platform in 2015 to showcase business engagement on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), and provide a public resource for businesses and others on SDG relevance, process, partnerships and implementation. The Business for 2030 website, www.businessfor2030.org, features new content in two areas: a just-launched “explore by company” page and featured blog posts on the importance and opportunity of UNGA for U.S. business.

The scale and ambition of the 2030 Development Agenda creates a tremendous opportunity for the private sector to demonstrate the central role it plays in sustainable development and human prosperity and to serve as an essential partner to bridging the gap in finance and technical capacity necessary to meet the challenge of achieving the SDG’s. The Business for 2030 site showcases business’ past and continuing contributions to sustainable development through the prism of the SDG’s. The goal of the site is to stimulate a more productive partnership between the public and private sectors at the UN and at national levels and to demonstrate the need for a proportionate role for business in the negotiations, implementation and follow-up mechanisms of the 2030 Development Agenda at both the UN and at national levels

The all new “Explore by Company” page on the Business for 2030 website allows users to filter by company for case studies of business contributions to the SDG’s, and complements the “Explore by Goal” page. The new page also simplifies the website’s search functions, aiding users who are looking for company-specific information.

The Businessfor2030 blog also included two new posts relating to UNGA:

  • What to Watch for During UNGA Week” features a DEVEX article that highlighted António Guterres’ UNGA debut as secretary-general, UN reform, President Donald Trump’s speech to the UN and humanitarian crises. It also flags the recognition of the need for private-sector engagement in order to achieve the SDG’s.
  • USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson also contributed a featured post on the blog to reflect on where business fits into the complex multilateral and multi-dimensional challenge of the Agenda for 2030. The blog discusses how good governance and support from the private sector can help to achieve the SDG’s and sets out three broad challenges for SDG implementation by business: inclusiveness, innovation and information. Robinson commends the progress that has already been made, while simultaneously asking more of both the business community and the UN community in the future.

The Business for 2030 Twitter account (@bizfor2030) tweeted out specific case studies throughout the UNGA week linked to specific SDG’s and USCIB events. We invite companies to continue contributing their case studies to the Business for 2030 web platform by contacting Kristen Bauer (kbauer@uscib.org).

USCIB Washington Update August – September 2017

Highlighting Key Activities, August – September 2017

During the months of August and September 2017, USCIB staff arranged a meeting with John Melle, USTR, and Angela Ellard, Ways and Means staff, on NAFTA negotiations; engaged with Alan Wolff, WTO, and Chris Wilson, USTR, in Geneva on deliverables for MC 11; organized a Symposium on Business and Human Rights with over 70 business representatives; submitted comments to USTR on China’s compliance with its WTO commitments; hosted a meeting for members with Ken Ash, OECD, on their trade work and Colombia accession; had a dialogue with Martha Newton, Department of Labor Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs on ILAB; received briefings from USTR’s Jason Bernstein and Christina Kopitopoulos on Customs in NAFTA; shared business views on the OECD Going Digital project with Andrew Wyckoff, OECD; and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

    1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
    2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
    3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
    4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
    5. Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions
    6. Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment
    7. Membership
    8. Upcoming Events
    9. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

John Melle, USTR, and Angela Ellard, Ways and Means, Brief USCIB Trade Committee: On September 12, 2017, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere and Lead Negotiator for NAFTA modernization, John Melle, provided an off-the-record briefing for members on the latest round of NAFTA talks. He engaged with members on questions concerning negotiating timelines and deadlines, text proposals, investment and ISDS, rules of origin, addressing the trade deficit, digital trade, energy, and other topics. Members reinforced with Melle that withdrawing from NAFTA would go against the principal of “do no harm”. 

Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means Committee Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives, discussed NAFTA and other trade and investment topics in Congress, off-the-record. Ellard highlighted how closely Congress was working with USTR and the administration on the NAFTA process, despite the tight timelines. She noted the strong pushback from Congress to withdrawing from the Korea Free Trade Agreement. Ellard also discussed Trade Enforcement issues, implementation of the Customs Bill, the Miscellaneous Tarif Bill (which has 1,800 provisions suggested for inclusion), and GSP renewal. All of which she emphasized take significant time and resources. Members inquired about potential timelines for the 232 case, specific chapters in NAFTA, the U.S.-China trade relationship, and TPA renewal.

 USCIB Calls on Administration to Do No Harm in NAFTA Modernization: On June 12, 2017, USCIB released its recommendations to the Trump Administration on priorities for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The submission calls on the Administration to update the 23-year-old agreement to accommodate new realities in global commerce, including the rise of the digital economy, while keeping what works from the original agreement. Specifically, the document 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, such as the digital provision of goods and services, data localization requirements, and 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 With the third round of negotiations just having concluded in Ottawa, Canada, the negotiations are continuing at a rapid pace.

USCIB Co-chairs Business Meeting with USTR’s NAFTA Investment Negotiators: USCIB co-chaired an August 29, 2017, meeting for a coalition of U.S. companies and trade associations with USTR’s key NAFTA negotiators on investment. In a free-wheeling session with USTR’s Chief of Staff, lead NAFTA negotiator and the key USTR investment policy team, business laid out a strong view on the importance of maintaining, indeed strengthening, key investment provisions in the NAFTA, including strong enforcement mechanisms through a proven Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system. We and other business representatives made very clear to USTR leadership that any reported “opt-in/opt-out” system for ISDS would undercut the proven implementation/enforcement system which is critical to mobilizing the foreign direct investment flows so essential for business in today’s competitive global markets.

Rob Mulligan Meets with WTO Officials on Planning for Ministerial: While participating in the WTO Public Forum and the ICC Trade and Investment Commission meeting in Geneva from September 25-30, 2017, Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, met with the new WTO Deputy Director General, Alan Wolff, the WTO Director for Information and External Relations, Keith Rockwell, and the WTO Director for Services, Hamid Mamdouh. He also met with Chris Wilson, DCM for USTR in Geneva, Didier Chambovey, Swiss Ambassador to the WTO, and Julian Braithwaite, Ambassador to the UK Mission in Geneva. In the discussions with them and others there is still much uncertainty about the potential for significant results coming out of the WTO Ministerial (MC 11) in Argentina being held in December. There is hope that at least work plans can be developed for movement on a range of issues such as e-commerce/digital trade, investment facilitation, fisheries, services facilitation and other areas and this may involve pursuing plurilateral approaches in some cases.

USCIB Hosts Meeting with Ken Ash, OECD, on Trade Work and Colombia Accession: On September 20, 2017, Ken Ash, Director of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate, met with USCIB members and staff to discuss the projects he has planned over the next year. He detailed the work the OECD has done over the past year on both Trade and Agriculture policy, as well as the outlook for his upcoming work with the G20. Members raised issues and offered ideas for the OECD Trade Committee to pursue, and were also able to inquire about the status of Colombia and other countries seeking to join the OECD. Ken provided an open and frank perspective on Colombia, as well as the other countries including Brazil and Argentina.

Donnelly and Hampl Defend ISDS for a NAFTA 2.0: USCIB’s Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnellyalong with its Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl contributed an op-ed in The Hill titled, “NAFTA 2.0 needs to enshrine investor protections” on July 28, 2017. In the leadup to the update of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Hampl and Donnelly noted that, “overall, the administration’s “NAFTA 2.0” wish-list is solid.” However, one of the more crucial objectives, investor protection under the agreement’s Chapter 11, is not included. “These provisions, which allow U.S. investors both small and large to seek compensation for unfair, discriminatory or inequitable treatment at the hands of foreign governments, are based on bedrock principles embedded in our own Constitution prohibiting abusive government treatment and the taking of private property without just compensation. Without this provision, domestic courts become the only legal recourse for a wronged investor. While Mexico has made great strides in many respects, its court system is still far from impartial. Indeed, miscarriages of justice can happen in any country, including advanced democracies like the United States and Canada,” they noted.

USCIB Urges China Compliance with WTO Commitments: On September 20, 2017, USCIB submitted a statement to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on China’s compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, which incorporated a wide array of input from USCIB members across various sectors. In the statement, which is submitted annually, USCIB commended the U.S. and Chinese governments for important work in on-going bilateral dialogues, as well as in support of working relationships between U.S. and Chinese agencies which provide invaluable opportunities for exchanging information and addressing agency-specific issues. The statement addressed important issues to U.S. business including taxation, customs and trade facilitation, information technology and intellectual property rights. Furthermore, it advocated for continuing negotiations of a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the U.S. and China. While USCIB acknowledges the efforts China has made since joining the WTO in 2001 to meet its obligations under the terms of its accession agreement, there still remain significant WTO obligation compliance concerns. These concerns include government procurement, trade restrictions in information technology and continued intellectual property violations in audiovisual, software, agriculture biotechnology and chemicals.

USCIB Pushes Market Access Concerns in BIAC Colombia Paper: USCIB has been working with Business at OECD (BIAC) to advocate on behalf of business in the OECD accession process of Colombia. With the Market Openness Review concluded by the OECD Trade Committee, and the Formal Opinion now in draft form, Business at OECD finalized a document in September with recommendations for pre-accession commitments. These recommendations, which include significant USCIB member input, address market access concerns for industry on issues where Colombia has not yet risen to the standard of OECD countries. The draft formal opinion is set to be reviewed in November at the next meeting of the OECD Trade Committee.

GSP Back on the Agenda: With the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) system facing another of its periodic reauthorization deadlines at the end of the year, USTR is moving to get ducks in a row on pending country and product eligibility petitions, some of very long standing. USCIB has played and will continue to play a lead role on a specific request by Ecuador, with its problematic record toward international investors and respecting international arbitral awards, to add flowers and vegetables to the GSP eligible products list. USTR’s kick-off hearings September 26-27, 2017, focused on country eligibility petitions where, again, Ecuador was a key country of concern. Beyond the policy issues inherent to GSP and the challenge of identifying budget offsets for “foregone revenues”, the yearend legislative calendar looks daunting with urgent competing legislation so GSP risks again lapsing.

USCIB Aggressively Blogging for Strong Investment Protections: USCIB Staff have been actively blogging on major investment policy issues over the summer. Posting on the blog site of Investment Policy Central, Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl jointly penned “NAFTA 2.0 Needs to Enshrine Investor Protections” (an op-ed originally placed in The Hill in early August. Shaun also had an IPC blog post in mid-August “U.S. Business Speaks Up Forcefully for Strong Investment Provisions in NAFTA.” Investment Policy Central is a joint effort of USCIB, the U.S. chamber and other leading U.S. trade associations, committed to strong policies and program to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Donnelly Co-Authors Commercial Diplomacy Volume 2: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly has co-authored Part 2 of “Support for American Jobs”, a major report on “commercial diplomacy” by the American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD), a prestigious organization of former senior U.S. government foreign policy leaders where Shaun is a member. Shaun and co-author Ambassador (ret.) Chuck Ford lay out in their report the progress made and also the challenges remaining for the U.S. Government, including its embassies and Ambassadors abroad, to provide the kind of high-level aggressive support needed to assist U.S. companies to win sales, contracts, investment and joint venture deals in today’s competitive global environment. Thanks to the USCIB member companies and others in the business community who provide valuable input to this important study.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Discourages Regulatory Overreach in Comments to ITU: USCIB filed comments with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on August 14, 2017 as part of the its public consultation on “Public Policy Considerations for OTTs.” USCIB urged the ITU to avoid expanding its jurisdiction and work programs to include Internet-related issues. USCIB acknowledged the ITU’s primarily technical mission to develop international technical standards and enable telecommunications network interconnectivity, noting that these are the ITU’s “core competencies and uncontested remit that should not be compromised.” Expanding the ITU’s work program to included Internet-related issues is well beyond its remit, core competencies, and budgetary resources, USCIB underscored. USCIB further highlighted: (1) the promise of innovative online services and applications for realizing the economic, developmental, and societal benefit goals set forth in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and (2) the related need to ensure an enabling environment for continued innovation and investment in these services.

USCIB Members Promote APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) Work with EU: Members of USCIB’s ICT Policy Committee made important contributions at the August 20-23 meetings of APEC’s Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. USCIB’s Barbara Wanner, Vice President, ICT Policy, joined representatives from Apple, C&M International, Cisco, HP, ITI, and The Walt Disney Company. They shared best practices and highlighted the benefits of participating in APEC’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules System (CBPR) via formal presentations, interventions, and informal discussions with other delegates. Highlights of this meeting included: (1) formal announcement that South Korea was approved to become the fifth APEC member economy to participate in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system and that Singapore had submitted dual applications to be certified under the CBPR system and the complementary Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP) system; (2) a dialogue with the European Commission concerning possible approaches to realize interoperability of the CBPR and EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); and (3) consideration of a U.S. Government proposal to “Modernize the ECSG.” The latter is aimed at broadening the scope of the ECSG work to addressing issues arising from the digital transformation of the economy.

USCIB Members Engage with OECD Secretariat on Going Digital Project: On September 6, 2017 USCIB hosted a special meeting to enable members to engage with Andrew Wyckoff, Director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in informal discussions about the status of various elements of the OECD’s ambitious Going Digital horizontal project. The OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) will lead this effort, working closely with the Trade and Agriculture Committee and some 12 other OECD committees. Wyckoff encouraged USCIB members to comment on papers that will form the substantive foundation of the Going Digital project as well as to actively intervene during November meetings of the CDEP and its Working Parties. Related to the Going Digital Project, on September 7, USCIB convened a video conference with Rachael Bae, OECD Senior Counsellor for Trade and Agriculture, and her colleagues. The video conference enabled USCIB members to provide feedback and engage in discussions with Bae and colleagues about elements of a draft scoping paper aimed at providing a conceptual framework for thinking about market openness in the digital economy.

USCIB Members Help Develop 2017-2018 Strategy for ICC Digital Economy Commission: Microsoft and USCIB co-hosted the fall meeting of the ICC Digital Economy Commission (ICC-DEC) on September 13-14, 2017, in Washington, D.C.. The meeting featured guest remarks by Susan Ritchie, U.S. Department of State, and Christopher Smart, Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. Ritchie discussed the U.S. Government’s digital economy policy priorities and challenges to them in the United Nations, G20/G7, and OECD; Smart explored the difficulties of setting common guidelines for data flows that promote economic and commercial interests while also protecting privacy and security. Joining Barbara Wanner, Vice President, ICT Policy, were USCIB members from Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BT America, CCIA, Facebook, Google, KPMG, Microsoft, Oracle, PayPal, The Walt Disney Company, TMG, and Verizon. They made important contributions to ICC-DEC discussions concerning: (1) prime international forums at which to advocate the ICC policy statement on ICT, Policy and Sustainable Economic Development; (2) application of technology in financial services; (3) real-time business transaction controls; (4) identity management for business; (4) effective engagement on cybersecurity; (5) navigating policy dialogues on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and creating a special ICC-DEC Working Group to take this work forward; (6) preparing for the 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary; (7) and developing a roadmap of activities and targeted forums at which to promote the ICC’s vision of an enabling environment for ICT investment and innovation.

USCIB Supports Continuation of EU-US Privacy Shield Framework: On September 15, 2017 – the eve 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 highlighted three important points for consideration in the Annual Review: (1) the Framework is realizing stronger personal data protections; (2) the Framework is serving as an effective mechanism for certification by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); and (3) the longevity of the Framework remains important.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness 

USCIB Represents Members at OECD VAT/TAG Meeting: Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel, participated in the recent VAT/TAG meeting where the TAG discussed issues relating to collecting VAT on transactions that take place on platforms. As this was an initial discussion of platforms most of the discussion related to the operation of various business models. There is concern that collecting the proper amount of VAT in the context of platforms is difficult as the information on the customer and supply may be separate from the payment. These issues would be similar to the issues that would arise in the context of some of the proposals that have been floated as methods to increase the amount of tax paid on digital transactions.

USCIB Submits Letters to OECD on Profits Splits and Attribution of Profits to Permanent Establishments. USCIB submitted comment letters on the discussion drafts on profit splits and profit attribution. The letters both emphasized the lack of detailed guidance in areas where detailed guidance is needed. The profit split letter also pointed out the guidance might create a de facto preference for profit splits in cases in which other methods would be more appropriate. The letter on the profit attribution guidance pointed out that the discussion draft seemed to move away from the Authorized OECD Approach. The move away from the AOA and lack of detail may lead to increased disputes as countries interpret the guidance in various inconsistent ways.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices


Speakers from USTR, CBP, USAID Meet with USCIB Customs Committee: The September 20, 2017, USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting featured six speakers, including five from the U.S. Government. Jason Bernstein, USTR Director of Customs Affairs, World Trade, and Christina Kopitopoulos, USTR Director for Customs and Trade Affairs, provided an update on the status of the Customs chapters in the ongoing NAFTA modernization process. Jose Raul Perales, Deputy Director of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, and Virginia Brown, USAID Director, Office of Trade and Regulatory Reform, discussed the latest in the work of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, as well as its next projects. Finally, Kristin Isabelli U.S. CBP Congressional Liaison Specialist, and Michael Schreffler, U.S. CBP International Trade Liaison, discussed their team, the WCO E-Commerce Working Group, and the COAC E-Commerce/Section 321 Working Group.

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Hears from Martha Newton, Department of Labor: USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee met on September 11-12, 2017, in Washington D.C., under the direction of Gabriella Rigg Herzog, USCIB Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs. Hosted by Baker McKenzie, the meeting was attended by over 50 representatives from member companies, and speakers included a variety of U.S. government officials, civil society and industry. Martha Newton, the newly appointed Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) spoke about the engagement between DOL’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) and U.S. business, and other DOL officials demonstrated the newly-launched “Comply Chain” app, a toolkit for responsible business. Members also heard from officials from USAID on partnerships with the private sector, and Lewis Karesh of USTR and Steve Moody of the State Department spoke on trade and labor. Several other USCIB members and civil society organizations served as guest speakers, touching on the UN Business & Human Rights Forum, the 2017 International Labour Conference, the future of work, and other topics.

USCIB leads Symposium on Business and Human Rights: In partnership with Article One and Barrick Gold, and hosted by Marriott International, USCIB coordinated a “Symposium on Human Rights and Remedy in Business Relationships with Limited Leverage” on September 13, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Attended by over 70 business representatives, as well as U.S. government officials and civil society, the symposium discussed stakeholder expectations for business, brainstormed on how to increase trust between stakeholders and business on the issue of leverage, the challenge of defining remedy, and moving from theory to action around key issues like performance, timing and achieving scale. Speakers included representatives from Mars, Inc., The Walt Disney Company as well as the Global Business Initiative (GBI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

USCIB Foundation Organizes Roundtable on Apprenticeships: In partnership with the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) and the U.S. Department of Labor, and hosted by the Citi Foundation, USCIB held a Roundtable on Apprenticeships on July 20, 2017 in New York City. Participants discussed apprenticeship models and practice in the U.S. and included representatives of approximately 25 companies who are either actively implementing apprenticeship programs or are interested in getting started. The keynote remarks were given by John Ladd, the Administrator for the Office of Apprenticeship of the US Department of Labor. Apprenticeships were a priority with the previous U.S. Administration, and continue to be so with the new Administration. Underscoring that commitment, President Trump and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta have launched a series of initiatives that call on Congress to pass reforms expanding apprenticeships and raise awareness about the fact that there are important, very viable career paths outside of the traditional four-year college experience. Apprenticeships are also a priority for the B20 and G20 leaders. USCIB has compiled a White Paper from the roundtable, available here

Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

ICC/USCIB Competition Meeting Hosts DOJ Antitrust Expert: USCIB’s Competition Committee held its annual joint meeting on September 11, 2017 in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Competition. Introductory remarks included comments by Paul Lugard, partner, Barker Botts LLP and chair of the ICC Competition Commission, and John Taladay, partner, Baker Botts LLP and chair of the USCIB Competition Committee. The meeting included an off-the-record exchange of views with Bernard A. Nigro, Jr., deputy assistant attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, antitrust division, on issues of relevance to USCIB membership, including international engagement, trade related competition issues and mergers. The remainder of the meeting provided updates on the ongoing projects of the various task forces of the ICC Competition Commission, including on compliance and advocacy, merger control regimes, due process, the International Competition Network (ICN), cartels and leniency, and court proceeding in antitrust damage claims. Finally, the membership received an update on ASEAN competition issues by Hatasakdi Na Pombejra from HN Pro International, who presented on behalf of ICC Thailand.

Membership

  • Membership Meetings: USCIB President and CEO, along with the membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies CenturyLink, 3M, Sidley Austin, Chubb and DIAGEO to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Barrick Gold, Comcast, Cooley LLP, and Gilead Sciences as new members.

Upcoming Events:

    • ICC Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption Meeting, Paris, France – October 3
    • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – October 4
    • UNCTAD 2017 High-Level conference on International Investment Agreements, Geneva, Switzerland – Oct 9-11
    • World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17), Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 9-20
    • USCIB Environment Committee/Product Policy Working Group Joint Meeting, Washington, D.C. – October 12
    • OECD Freedom of Investment Roundtable, Paris, France – October 12
    • BIAC Consultation with OECD Investment Committee, Paris, France – October 17
    • USCIB IP and Innovation Committee Re-Launch Event, Washington, D.C. – October 18
    • BIAC Finance Task Force Meeting, Paris, France – October 20
    • USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meeting, Washington, D.C. – October 23
    • OECD Working Party on State Ownership and Privatization Practices Meeting, Paris – France October, 23-24
    • BIAC Employment, Labor & Social Affairs Committee Meeting, Paris, France – October 24
    • ICANN 60, Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 28-November 3
    • Meeting of the OECD Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE), Paris, France – October 30-31
    • OECD Corporate Governance Committee Meeting, Paris, France – November 2
    • Meeting of the OECD Working Party on Communications Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP), Paris, France – November 2-3
    • Meeting of the OECD Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy (MADE), Paris, France – November 2-3
    • ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation, Paris, France – November 9-10
    • Meeting of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP), Paris, France, November 21-22

  • Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina – December 10 – 13
  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Geneva, Switzerland – December 18-21

 


USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

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

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

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

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

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

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

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

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

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

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

Top