US-Issued ATA Carnets Now Allowed Into Brazil

After months of awareness building on the scope of the ATA Carnet usage with Brazilian Customs, Brazil has officially announced the acceptance of ATA Carnets. This exciting new development will allow all contracting parties to the ATA and/or the Istanbul Convention to enjoy ATA Carnet facilitations in Brazil. This change is also accompanied by an acceptance of hand-carried goods into the country.

Most explicitly, this new development will provide for duty and tax-free temporary admissions, allowing companies to use U.S. issued ATA Carnet to temporarily enter goods.

“Companies generally pay between 35-60 percent in duties exporting to Brazil, which will now be saved,” said Andy Shiles, USCIB’s senior vice president for ATA Carnet and trade services. “This program will be particularly advantageous for U.S. companies bringing in products temporarily for trade shows and exhibits.”  Prior to the amendment, U.S. companies, as per domestic regulation, could not use U.S. issued ATA Carnets as they were not accepted in Brazil.

The ATA Carnet is the global gold standard for temporary admissions under the auspices of the World Customs Organization. ATA Carnets are international tools of trade facilitation, which serve as a temporary export-import documentation. The ATA System is in place in 87 countries and territories, and provides duty-free and tax-free imports on goods that will be re-exported within 12 months.

In calendar year 2017, there were over $6 billion worth of goods that moved under U.S. issued Carnets that helped to stimulate international trade for American businesses.

For more information, please visit our page dedicated to Brazil.

 

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.

USCIB Applauds Progress at Bonn Climate Conference

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at the UN Climate Change Conference

Bonn and New York, November 17, 2017 – As the Bonn Climate Conference wrapped up its work, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomed progress on priority topics for American business in the UN climate discussions. In particular, it noted that, after two weeks of intense negotiations, governments are moving ahead on transparency rules that will provide clarity and credibility across different national pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mobilize resources to address climate change.

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson stated: “We want to express particular appreciation to the U.S. administration and the U.S. delegation attending these meetings for their accessibility and attention to advancing and defending American economic interests and opportunities in these international climate talks.”

Throughout the meeting, USCIB worked closely with the International Chamber of Commerce and the Major Economies Business Forum to call for inclusive business involvement in all areas of the climate deliberations. The Bonn outcomes also further chart the way forward for assessment and dialogue on the progress of all countries to meet Paris Agreement objectives, known as the Talanoa process, throughout 2018.

USCIB and its members have been on hand in Bonn to showcase American companies’ actions and solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mobilize investment and innovation, and inform the inter-governmental discussions going forward. Over 30,000 representatives from governments, the UN, NGOs and the business community attended the complicated technical talks to develop implementation rules for the Paris Agreement, including in the area of market-based approaches and carbon markets.

The next UN climate conference will take place in Katowice, Poland in December 2018.

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 the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, 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, +1 917.420.0039

Business Makes It Happen: Rethinking Collaboration for the SDGs

Gearing up for September’s United Nations General Assembly discussion of progress on the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), USCIB has partnered with Business Fights Poverty on an ambitious program on September 18 in New York, “Rethinking Collaboration for the SDGs.”

The invitation-only event will bring together 100 senior business professionals and development partners for an inspiring and action-focused half-day event on how business, government and civil society are collaborating to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson will be among the speakers. Click here to view the agenda and request an invitation.

The September 18 event is part of a week-long series of events organized by USCIB and key partners around the theme of “Business Makes It Happen,” focusing the attention of global policy makers and other key stakeholders on the importance of effective private-sector engagement and participation in achieving the SDGs.

More information on additional events coming shortly!

Annual OECD Tax Conference Showcases Tax Reform

Mark Prater, chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, spoke at the conference.

Against the backdrop of new global tax rules developed under the BEPS Action Plan and efforts to advance tax reform in the United States, USCIB members and others from the business community gathered in Washington, D.C. on Monday and Tuesday for the 12th annual OECD International Tax Conference.

Organized by USCIB in concert with the 35-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as Business at OECD (BIAC), the conference has grown into an annual must-attend event for tax practitioners, experts and regulators from around the world.

With an eye toward the direction of possible U.S. tax reform, including reduction of the top corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent, Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD’s Center for Tax Policy and Administration, told conference-goers that he expects most OECD economies to adopt corporate tax rates in the 20-30 percent range. Saint-Amans said there may be some exceptions, including in the UK, where top rates may drop below 20 percent.

Other speakers picked up the theme. “The current U.S. system is broken,” said Mark Prater, chief tax counsel and deputy staff director of the Senate Finance Committee, during keynote luncheon remarks. “Tax reform is a difficult political transaction,” he observed, but “the U.S. sits at a crossroads of reform, which is an opportunity that has not been available in a generation.”

Over the course of the two-day conference, which took place at the Four Seasons Hotel, participants discussed tax policy trends, current tax reform, tax uncertainty, digitalization, increases in intangible assets, and dealing with tax-related disputes through arbitration. They also focused on transfer pricing as well as the OECD’s new multilateral instrument, signed today in Paris.

“The conference provides a real opportunity for dialogue between business, governments, and the OECD,” said USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel Carol Doran Klein. “This year, because the focus is now on BEPS implementation, there was good discussion of opportunities to improve tax certainty, including a pilot International Compliance Assurance Program, Advanced Pricing Agreements and an improved Mutual Agreement Procedure.”

On the multilateral instrument, Will Morris, chair of the BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs, told Bloomberg BNA: “Many of us in the business community doubted the OECD would get the consensus necessary for a document of this scope and substance. But they have, and [the multilateral instrument] opens the door to changes in the tax treaty process, and to a number of key international tax rules, that are significant.”

USCIB Delivers Statement on Trade Deficit at Commerce

Eva Hampl delivers testimony on behalf of USCIB at U.S. Department of Commerce

As the Trump administration seeks to reorient U.S. trade policy toward bilateral agreements, bilateral trade deficits have been put forward as a marker of the health — or lack thereof — of U.S. commercial relations with a given country. USCIB has taken up this issue in a recent statement to the Department of Commerce, as well as a public testimony that was delivered by USCIB’s Director for Investment, Trade, and Financial Services Eva Hampl on May 18 at the Department of Commerce.

In her testimony, Hampl emphasized USCIB’s view that trade deficits are a product of broader macroeconomic factors, not trade policy, and that the trade balance should not be viewed as a straightforward indicator of a country’s economic health. “While it is useful to address trade barriers that impede access for U.S. goods and services exporters to specific markets, we should not set up bilateral trade balances as the metric of successful trade policies,” she said.

Hampl concluded with 5 USCIB recommendations for the Administration:

  • Examine the trade deficit within the broader set of macroeconomic factors that determine it and include all elements of trade in the analysis, instead of focusing solely on bilateral manufactured goods trade balances.
  • Work with experts around the U.S. Government, international organizations, and academia to get the best data possible to guide the best policy making. We need much better measurements of real trade flows and value added, including in complex global supply chains and in services. We also need better data on FDI flows, both inward and outward.
  • Move aggressively to open foreign markets, and identify and combat foreign trade barriers to increase U.S. exports and improve our trade balance. We support the use of appropriate enforcement tools including the WTO, bilateral and regional trade agreements, U.S. trade laws, and efforts to open those markets and to combat illegal foreign subsidies and dumping into the United States.
  • Accelerate U.S. Government “commercial diplomacy” efforts to support U.S. companies competing to win deals overseas.
  • Reform the U.S. Government’s economic policies, including tax reform, regulatory reform, and energy development, to bolster the competitiveness of our firms, allowing them to win more and bigger deals overseas.

 

Washington Conference Looks at OECD’s Role in Fostering Digital Transformation

OECD Deputy Secretary General Doug Franz
OECD Deputy Secretary General Doug Franz

Cross-border trade in digital goods and services has grown 45-fold over the past decade. How can policy makers and the business community work together to ensure that new technologies and digital applications can lead to a more prosperous, productive, inclusive and socially beneficial world? And what lessons can be learned from current discussions and related work within the 35-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)?

This was the focus of a conference today in Washington, D.C., “Facilitating Digital Transformation: The OECD’s Role,” organized by the USCIB Foundation, the educational arm of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), in partnership with the OECD and Business at OECD (BIAC).

In opening keynote remarks, David Redl, chief counsel for communications and technology at the Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, compared extending broadband access to the construction of the interstate highway system. “Despite everyone’s best efforts, there are still parts of the United States that lack the infrastructure to meet universal availability and adoption,” he stated. Redl said government spending alone won’t get the job done. “We must also foster investment in U.S. networks, streamline regulation, and improve online trust and security to bring the benefits of the Internet to every American.”

OECD Deputy Secretary General Douglas Frantz identified several factors as key to ongoing digital transformation: improved communications infrastructure and services, new and innovative business models, improved consumer trust and privacy protection, effective policy making, and a robust approach to the challenges and opportunities posed by improvements in artificial intelligence (AI). On the latter point, he proposed that the OECD work toward some sort of policy instrument to address AI.

Andrew Wycoff, director of the OECD’s Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, outlined the OECD’s work to assess the G20 economies’ uneven progress to date toward enabling the digital transformation. He said the OECD’s upcoming policy recommendations would focus on the importance of boosting investment in digital infrastructure, ensuring competition in the ICT sector and the broader economy, and establishing sufficient trust in the digital economy while also making it truly inclusive.

Jacqueline Ruff, Verizon, gives remarks during panel
Jacqueline Ruff, Verizon, gives remarks during panel

During an industry roundtable on emerging technologies, Jacqueline Ruff, vice president for international public policy and regulatory affairs with Verizon, said public policy will be important to remove barriers to the deployment of fifth-generation wireless technology, while creating a pro-investment environment. “They key to 5G will be smart communities,” she stated.

Other conference panels examined questions of equity and potential negative effects of digital technologies, as well as ways to enhance trust in an increasingly connected world. Organizers said the event would help steer discussion toward practical measures to maximize the benefits of new technologies. Panelists also focused on jobs, as well as education and skills-development challenges and opportunities, posed by digital transformation and the efforts by companies, such as IBM, to create “new collar jobs” enabling a segment of workers in more mature industries to become productive participants in the digital economy.

“Getting policy right for digital innovation is a critical factor for economic competitiveness, for trust and confidence in the digital environment, and ultimately for societal well-being”, said Bernhard Welschke, Secretary General of Business at OECD. “We need to communicate the benefits of digital transformation and Business at OECD will continue to work closely with the OECD on this challenge.”

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson stated: “We hope that today’s discussions will enable those who may not participate directly in OECD meetings to learn more about the OECD’s work and its value to the process and substance of crafting sensible, effective policy and regulation. Whether it is in providing frameworks, or in the development of consensus-based guiding principles, the OECD has a lot to offer and think about.”

USCIB Welcomes Entry Into Force of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Harbor_tradeLandmark pact will reduce customs barriers and costs for U.S. exporters

New York, N.Y., February 22, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) applauded the entry into force today of the landmark World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which will reduce the costs of trading across borders and lead to increased U.S. and foreign exports and jobs. The TFA, approved at the WTO’s 2014 ministerial in Bali, Indonesia, provides enforceable government commitments, which will reduce red tape at the borders, speed movement of goods internationally, reduce costs, increase exports and create jobs.

The WTO has 164 member countries, and its rules require two-thirds of its members to ratify and pass laws making necessary changes in their customs procedures in order for the TFA to go into effect. Today, Chad, Jordan, Oman and Rwanda  submitted their ratification notices to the WTO, achieving the two-thirds threshold.

USCIB Chairman Terry McGraw, chairman emeritus of S&P Global, stated: “It is so important to the American and global economy that these 100-plus countries have committed to streamlining their customs procedures to speed the movement of products and reduce their costs.  We commend WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo for his tireless efforts to make his happen.”

McGraw, who also serves as honorary chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the world business organization, and chaired the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations, has been a staunch advocate for the TFA and for multilateral trade liberalization in general.

“The TFA will provide a shot in the arm to U.S. exports and to the multilateral trading system,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “Studies estimate that, when implemented, the TFA will cut the average cost of exporting by some 14 percent, delivering a net gain of $1 trillion in global annual GDP and spurring the creation of more than 20 million new jobs for the global economy. What’s more, the TFA demonstrates the continued importance of the WTO and of multilateral efforts to liberalize cross-border trade and investment.”

In addition to promoting the benefits of the TFA, USCIB has worked to secure overseas ratification of the agreement through bilateral meetings with numerous governments. It has also done so via its role as U.S. affiliate of ICC, which mounted a global campaign to secure ratification of the TFA.

ICC Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: “The entry into force of the TFA is a watershed moment for global trade. The reality today is that many small businesses find themselves unable to trade internationally due to complex customs requirements. By cutting unnecessary red tape at borders, the TFA will have a transformational effect on the ability of entrepreneurs in developing countries to access global markets.”

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. With a unique global network encompassing 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.

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