2017 USCIB International Leadership Award Dinner

USCIB is delighted to honor Ajay Banga, president and chief executive officer of MasterCard. Each year this gala event attracts several hundred industry leaders, government officials and members of the diplomatic community to celebrate open markets and the recipient of USCIB’s highest honor.

Established in 1980, USCIB’s International Leadership Award is presented to a senior business executive who has made significant policy contributions to world trade and investment, and to improving the global competitive framework in which American business operates. Join us for what will be a truly memorable evening!

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

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China Announcement on ATA Carnet May Reduce Trade Deficit

The tenth installment of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) World Chambers Congress (WCC) concluded last week in Sydney, Australia, which brought together over 1,200 delegates from across the globe to discuss challenges impacting the business and chamber communities and to exchange knowledge and expertise while promoting result-oriented innovation. In an ever-changing business climate, the Congress addresses and examines today’s most significant global issues.

USCIB’s Senior Vice President for ATA Carnet and Trade Services Andy Shiles attended the ATA Carnet global management meetings held during the WCC. A major outcome of these meetings was China’s announcement of an expansion of goods under their Carnet to include professional equipment and commercial samples. While China has yet to announce when they will implement this expansion, Shiles believes this will have a positive impact on U.S. trade.

“China’s Carnet expansion is a huge step in the right direction and will certainly minimize the United States’ trade deficit with China,” said Shiles. “We are living in exciting times of ATA Carnet, but we need to continue making progress.”

Shiles also reported that commitment for the development of joint projects to benefit the ATA Carnet have been outstanding, with excellent progress being made with Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Poland.

Additionally, the meetings deliberated on the e-carnet development project, which is on track to begin a pilot in the latter half of 2018.

“I’m expecting great things for U.S. carnet development,” concluded Shiles. “2018 will be a historic year for the Carnet.”

If any U.S. companies have interest in getting exposure to their goods in the Chinese market, kindly contact Andrew Shiles.

Shiles to Promote Trade Services at World Chambers Congress

This year’s World Chamber Congress is taking place in Sydney, Australia

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) kicks off the tenth installment of its biennial World Chambers Congress this week in Sydney, Australia, which will bring over 1,200 delegates from across the globe to discuss challenges impacting the business and chamber communities and to exchange knowledge and expertise while promoting result-oriented innovation. In an ever-changing business climate, the Congress, with its high level speakers, addresses and examines today’s most significant global issues.

Among them will be USCIB’s Senior Vice President for ATA Carnet and Trade Services Andy Shiles who will be attending ATA Carnet global management meetings in Sydney. Stay tuned for next week’s e-newsletter for a report from the field!

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian will officially opened the World Chambers Congress. While the Congress is taking place in Australia during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, ICC First Vice-Chair and Corrs Chambers Westgarth Partner and CEO John W.H. Denton acknowledged the important discussions taking place in New York and called on business and chamber leaders to show support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and help ensure that businesses worldwide are doing all they can —in their daily operations and investments—to drive their implementation.

The #10WCC is jointly organized by the Sydney Business Chamber, a division of NSW Business Chamber and the ICC.

In NAFTA Modernization Talks, Business Looks to Keep What’s Working

Earlier this month in Washington, D.C., the United States, Canada and Mexico kicked off the NAFTA modernization effort with their first round of negotiations. The next round will take place September 1-5 in Mexico. As the three countries noted in their joint statement, the negotiations will continue at a rapid pace, with a third round planned for Canada in late September, and a fourth round back in the U.S. in October.

USCIB has been actively representing member interests in the NAFTA modernization effort, including submitting comments to USTR and testifying at the public hearings. Our written submission focuses on ensuring beneficial provisions stay intact and improving upon the agreement in new areas, such as e-commerce, telecommunications, digital trade, cross border data flows, and state-owned enterprises. And several USCIB-penned op-eds have sought to present the business case for keeping what works in NAFTA while bringing the agreement into the 21st century.

“In light of the ambitious negotiating schedule, we will need to focus on priority issues that require specific attention in our advocacy efforts,” notes Eva Hampl, USCIB’s director of investment, trade and financial services. “We also need to be prepared to provide more detailed input as the governments move quickly to consideration of texts.”

Working with USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan, Hampl is spearheading the development of targeted USCIB comments on potential changes to NAFTA for submission to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. In addition, Hampl and USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly are working with USCIB members to demonstrate the continued importance of strong investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS) provisions in NAFTA. And Megan Giblin, USCIB’s director of customs and trade facilitation, is working closely with members to provide targeted input on NAFTA’s customs-related provisions.

USCIB members should contact Hampl at ehampl@uscib.org to discuss their priority issues in the context of these fast-moving negotiations.

ICC and WTO Launch Small Business Champions Initiative

A joint effort to facilitate participation by smaller companies in international trade has been launched by Roberto Azevedo, the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and John Danilovich, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Those businesses putting forward successful proposals will be recognized as “ICC-WTO Small Business Champions.”

Despite their economic importance in developed, developing and least-developed countries, the share of trade accounted for by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is disproportionately small, often because they are unaware of the potentially wider market and because they traditionally have not had the resources to navigate sometimes complex trading procedures. But new technologies are helping to pare back these obstacles and create a more level playing field for smaller companies in international trade. Helping more MSMEs to trade internationally is an important step in building a more inclusive trading system that benefits a wider array of citizens.

Secretary General Danilovich and Director General Azevedo are therefore calling for businesses and private sector organisations to step forward with proposals which can help MSMEs to participate in international trade. The aim is to raise awareness of the barriers that MSMEs face in doing business across borders, highlight the experiences and success stories of those MSMEs that are already trading, facilitate access to critical information, and raise skills among MSMEs to enable them to diversify export markets.

“I have heard many great ideas from the private sector over recent months about how we might be able to help MSMEs to trade,” said Azevedo. “This initiative is our response – it is about capturing some of those ideas and using the shared platform of the WTO and ICC to help make them a reality. I look forward to seeing innovative proposals aimed at raising awareness among MSMEs of the opportunities that trade can provide, and how they can seize those opportunities.

“The trading system is there for everyone, but MSMEs can often find it harder to reach overseas markets. The smaller the business, the bigger the barriers can seem. Spreading the benefits of trade further and wider means helping these companies to take part, particularly as MSMEs are such important job creators.”

Danilovich added: “Trading internationally can provide a huge boost to MSME growth. We know that small businesses which export tend to grow more quickly, pay better salaries and create more jobs. But MSMEs still face significant barriers when it comes to accessing global markets. Small business owners often tell us that they lack the time and in-house expertise to deal with trade roadblocks – while many others aren’t aware of the potential opportunities that international trade can bring for their companies.

“Policy reforms have an important role to play in driving MSME exports. But we also think its time to take a different approach to these problems by leveraging the power of the private sector. This new initiative will seek to harness the knowledge, creativity and networks of the global business community to inspire and support MSME growth. We call on businesses and private sector organisations across the world to play their part as small business champions.”

What kind of proposals are ICC and WTO looking for under this initiative?

  • Proposals could take the shape of, for example, awareness campaigns, competitions, or capacity building, training and mentoring programs.
  • The ICC and WTO will use their shared platform to support and promote successful proposals. The precise support provided by the ICC and WTO will depend on the nature of the proposals received. The ICC and the WTO could, for example, help to promote initiatives and host events, or provide expertise and institutional support. No financial contribution will be provided by the WTO or ICC to implement proposals.
  • Proposals should be designed to be delivered by the entity making the proposal. Proposals should not focus on WTO negotiations, or proposed changes to WTO rules. Such ideas can be put forward through different fora.

What is the process for submitting proposals – and how will they be selected?

  • Proposals should detail the concept, aims, timelines and other information as appropriate. Proposals should be no longer than 3 pages. Proposals are only open to the private sector and representative bodies. All proposals should be sent in Word or PDF format to MSMEsubmissions@iccwbo.org

The call for proposals is open until the end of 2017. There is no limitation as to the number of proposals that may be selected. The selection of proposals will be carried out by the WTO secretariat and ICC. The successful proposals will be announced by  ICC and WTO on a rolling basis.

Robinson: NAFTA Talks an Opportunity to Modernize Agreement

As negotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement got underway last week in Washington, D.C., USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson was quoted in Chief Executive magazine as saying that the talks provided a valuable opportunity to update an agreement that has been in place for more than two decades.

“Negotiators can do this especially by addressing such issues as digital trade, cross-border data flows, streamlined customs processes, treatment of state-owned enterprises and regulatory coherence,” said Robinson. “But negotiators should preserve those parts of NAFTA that have worked well for U.S. business. These include the investor protection provisions, including a strong investor-state dispute settlement framework. Access to strong ISDS arbitration procedures can be especially important for smaller companies, given their greater vulnerability to costly, protracted legal battles in foreign courts.”

In June, Robinson contributed an op-ed to The Hill outlining USCIB’s goals for NAFTA modernization.

Read the entire article on Chief Executive’s website here.

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 Issue

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 issue is now live!

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.

“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.

USCIB Gears Up for APEC Meetings in Vietnam

USCIB members are continuing to make the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) a priority forum in which to engage, as it is key to accelerating regional economic integration as well as promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth.

To aid private sector engagement, USCIB works with the U.S. APEC business coalition to meet with APEC officials and participate in APEC meetings throughout the year, culminating in the APEC CEO Summit, a meeting of CEOs and leaders from the APEC economies.

To direct and facilitate the work with our members and APEC officials, USCIB has compiled its annual priority issues and recommendations paper, which can be found here. As can be seen in our priorities, USCIB is actively engaged in a number of the APEC issue areas and working groups related to ICT, Chemicals and, Customs and Trade Facilitation.

Two of USCIB’s policy team will be attending the third APEC Senior Officials Meeting and related meetings (SOM 3) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, held August 15-30.

Megan Giblin, USCIB’s director for Customs and Trade Facilitation will be participating in the APEC Business – Customs Dialogue (ABCD), the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) meeting,  moderating the “Streamlining Processes: Addressing Challenges from the Private Sector” panel and speaking on the “Single Window to Facilitate Trade and Economic Competitiveness” panel during the APEC Workshop on Single Windows (e.g., in U.S. ACE), moderating the WTO Trade Facilitation panel “Focus on Transparency: The WTO TFA” during the 2017 APEC Conference on Good Regulatory Practice (GRP), and working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) to present a case study tied to TFA implication during the GRP event. USCIB worked closely with both U.S. CBP and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to secure industry speakers and participation for the GRP and Single Window events.

During the closed meeting of the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, Giblin will provide an update on the Customs – Chemical Dialogue project. The deliverable for this meeting is delivery of an analysis of country survey results, including common practices at the customs border regarding treatment of industrial chemicals.

Giblin will continue to establish and foster relationships with customs officials from APEC economies as well as members of industry, identifying linkages to the work underway within the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee, including, but not limited to, e-commerce, de minimis, and single-window efforts.

The decision was taken earlier this year at SOM 1 to reduce duplication and streamline working groups, to integrate the SCCP Virtual Working Group with the A2C2 given the level of issue overlap. Moving forward the A2C2 will bring together members of the private sector as well as among other departments or agencies, customs officials, from the APEC member economies. Giblin is a member of the A2C2, which is focused on capacity-building efforts and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and its implementation.

“Given the expanded scope of the A2C2 as well as the fact that many of our members are part of the A2C2, I will continue to consider ways to increase industry visibility, engagement and potentially reduce duplicative industry resource or input requests,” noted Giblin.

Giblin will also attend the APEC Chemical Dialogue (CD) meetings on behalf of Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president of Product Policy and Innovation, to support USCIB members attending the CD-related meetings. The CD serves as a forum for regulatory officials and industry representatives to find solutions to challenges facing the chemical industry in the Asia-Pacific region. It reflects APEC members’ recognition of the importance of engaging with the private sector and building public-private sector dialogue and cooperation for mutual benefit. USCIB members have found this Forum a valuable place to promote their regional business priorities.

Barbara Wanner, USCIB vice president for ICT policy, also will attend the SOM 3 meetings. In particular, Wanner will participate in a special “APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Facilitating MSMEs to Adopt Cross Border E-Commerce,” jointly organized by the Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) and the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), August 18-19. In addition, Wanner will represent member interests at meetings of the ECSG and Data Privacy Subgroup (DPS), August 20-23.  Finally, Wanner will serve as a business observer at the APEC Advertising Standards Conference, August 24.

The Public-Private Dialogue is aimed encouraging greater MSME participation in cross-border e-commerce in the APEC region and beyond. The two-day workshop will focus on sharing information with MSMEs about trade promoting elements of the e-commerce chapters of Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It also will educate MSMEs on the trade facilitating benefits of certification under APEC’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. USCIB has been a long-time supporter of the CBPR, viewing it as a foundation to promote high-level privacy standards while ensuring seamless flows of business information through the APEC region. USCIB members Apple, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, HP, IBM, and Merck are CBPR-certified.

The DPS meetings likely will feature discussion about the recent approval of South Korea as a CBPR-certified economy – making it the fifth APEC economy in the CBPR system, joining Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. The DPS also will include a special session with representatives of the European Commission and Article 29 Working Party aimed at pursuing greater interoperability between the APEC CBPR and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) before the latter goes into effect in May 2018. An ECSG draft Strategic Plan, which was tabled by the U.S. Government earlier this year, likely will receive continued focus in the ECSG meetings.

SOM 3 will also include a Workshop on Advertising Self-Regulation. Through participation by USCIB members and ICC representatives at the workshop, USCIB is lending support to the efforts to improve advertising standards throughout the APEC region, and providing input to APEC economies on the use of regulation and self-regulation, including the ICC Marketing Code. The Advertising Standards Conference will devote a session to regulating and monitoring digital advertising, which is expected to include speakers from Google and ICC.

If you would like any further information on the above meetings or issues, please feel free to reach out to our team.

Advertising: Jonathan Huneke, jhuneke@uscib.org

Customs and Trade Facilitation: Megan Giblin, mgiblin@uscib.org

Chemicals: Michael Michener, mmichener@uscib.org

ICT and Data Privacy: Barbara Wanner, bwanner@uscib.org

APEC priorities: Elizabeth Kim, ekim@uscib.org

USCIB Urges Senate to Confirm Trump Administration Nominees

USCIB is among approximately 90 American business and industry associations to have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, urging the Senate to take expeditious steps to ensure the timely confirmation of qualified pending nominees to administration positions.

“The slow pace of confirmations is depriving agencies across the government of critical leadership and in the case of independent agencies, the quorum necessary to conduct critical business,” reads the letter.

Additionally, it notes: “The breakdown of the confirmation process results in a breakdown in the efficient and effective functioning of government and ultimately to a drag on the economy. Workers are sidelined as projects await permits from agencies that lack the quorum necessary to issue the permit. Businesses are left waiting for important administrative decisions that simply cannot be made in the absence of Senate-confirmed officials.”

To date, among President Donald Trump’s 283 executive and judicial nominations, only 67 have been confirmed. Of those 67, only 13 were confirmed by voice vote or unanimous consent, while 37 (55%) were confirmed only after going through the cloture process. By way of comparison, at approximately the same point in President Obama’s first term, the Senate had confirmed 206 nominees, 182 by voice vote or unanimous consent.

The full letter, along with the list of signatories, can be found here.