USCIB Urges Administration to Push Anti-Bribery Agenda in G20

USCIB joined with the Coalition for Integrity, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the AFL-CIO in a June 13 letter to President Donald Trump urging the administration to push aggressively for other leading global trading nations to match U.S. efforts against international bribery and corruption.  Specifically, the group urged the administration to press all of the 41 signatory countries to the OECD’s Anti-bribery Convention to take concrete steps to strengthen their implementation and enforcement of their foreign bribery laws.

In the context of the G20, USCIB joined in urging the administration to press for all G20 countries to become signatories and full partners in that OECD convention by the end of 2018.  Currently four G20 members (China, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia) have not signed the OECD Anti-bribery Convention.

The G20 Summit meeting will be held July 7-9 in Hamburg, Germany.

 

 

Giblin Attends ICC Customs, Trade Meetings in Dubai

USCIB’s Megan Giblin (center, second row) along with business colleagues from ICC-UAE in Dubai

USCIB’s Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan Giblin was in Dubai last week attending ICC-UAE and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-hosted Customs and Trade Facilitation Forum. The Forum discussed a wide range of topics including Trade Digitalization, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the Gulf Cooperation Council value-added Tax Implementation Framework.

The UAE was the first country in the Arab world to ratify the WTO’s TFA, which entered into force earlier this year and promises to boost global trade flows by over $1 trillion this year and generate opportunities for easier, less costly cross-border trade.

According to Giblin, this meeting was a tremendous opportunity for the international business community to discuss the role the private sector can play to ensure effective implementation of the TFA and its potential for investment and regional supply chains.

USCIB’s Customs Chair Writes on Trade, Customs in Adam Smith Project

USCIB’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Chair and Vice President of Government and Trade Relations at Hanesbrands Jerry Cook recently posted commentary on the Adam Smith Project blog (formerly known as the American Shipper column).

The commentary urges all World Trade Organization (WTO) members to take necessary steps to join the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Harmonized System Convention or commit to using it as the basis of the national customs tariff as well as commit to implementing the 2017 Harmonized System in a timely manner, seeking technical assistance from the WCO when applicable.

“The business world likes certainty,” Cook writes. “Understanding the factors that go into such landed costs as customs duties are key to assessing production and distribution costs. If there is any uncertainty over the common language of international trade, it can mean headaches, delay and extra cost.”

Read his commentary on the Adam Smith Project.

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.

 

USCIB Meets With Secretary of Labor Acosta and Other U.S. Officials at CBP and State

L-R: Chair of USCIB Customs Committee, Jerry Cook (Hanesbrands), Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) and Peter Robinson (USCIB)

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson  was in Washington earlier this month for several high-level meetings with key U.S. government officials, including one with the new Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. Robinson was joined by USCIB’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan and USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg. The meeting focused on preparations for the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers meeting in Bad Neuenahr, Germany, as well as the Global Employers Summit and “B20/L20” dinner meeting the day before. Robinson raised the recent recommendations of the B20 Labor and Employment taskforce on which he serves as a Co-Chair.

Acosta and USCIB’s representatives discussed ways to highlight U.S. government and business leadership in Business at OECD’s work on women’s participation in the workforce, as well as the ILO’s work on apprenticeships. “We look forward to working with Secretary Acosta on these and other important issues for our members and invited him to speak to our Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee in the fall,” said Robinson. USCIB also teamed up with the Department of Labor to support a social media campaign around the G20 labor ministerial on how governments can do a better job of matching training and skills development with the needs of employers.

Robinson also met with Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan, who has been nominated by President Trump to serve as commissioner. Robinson was joined by USCIB staff and several member company representatives including the chair of the USCIB Customs Committee, Jerry Cook, who is vice president for government and trade relations at Hanesbrands. “USCIB expressed strong support for the work of CBP and its team, noting USCIB’s longstanding engagement with CBP on customs policy issues as well as the ATA Carnet program—a unique relationship as a business partner covering policy and operations,” said Megan Giblin USCIB’s director for customs and trade facilitation. During the meeting, USCIB member representatives identified various issue areas of concern related to customs valuation, implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, engagement with the work of the World Customs Organization, and continued progress and eventually closure on ACE, forced labor, e-commerce, and more. Acting Commissioner McAleenan said he is committed to working closely with USCIB in pursuing his goals for CBP as well as working with us to address our objectives.

Finally, Robinson also met with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Patricia Haslach. A number of member companies again joined the USCIB team for this meeting to discuss a range of concerns with the attitudes of many international organizations towards business engagement and the need for the U.S. government to counter some of the negative trends. USCIB Vice President Norine Kennedy, calling in from the UN climate change meetings in Bonn, noted the mounting effort by NGOs and some governments to exclude business from the climate change talks. Others noted that these efforts are following on from policies adopted at the World Health Organization last year to limit business participation in health-related policy discussions. The discussion also covered recent UN work on access to medicine and World Bank efforts to foster national networks instead of working with the private sector on payment systems. Ambassador Haslach promised to work with USCIB in tackling these issues. “To be effective, it will be critical that the U.S. government is part of the discussions at these international organizations,” noted Robinson.

USCIB Weighs in With Administration on Trade Deficits

With the Trump administration seeking 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.

In its statement, USCIB said: “On the specific issue of trade deficits, particularly bilateral deficits (or surpluses) with individual countries, USCIB supports the view of most mainstream economists, who are convinced 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.”

Furthermore, the USCIB statement argued for greater attention to trade in services, not just goods, in any analysis of trade balances. “In the United States, services account for almost 80% of GDP, and services jobs account for more than 80% of private sector employment,” USCIB said. “Accordingly, a trade policy focused solely on trade deficits in manufacturing is misleading.”

The Commerce Department is expected to hold hearings on trade deficits later this week.

Shiles Joins USCIB as Head of ATA Carnet and Trade Services

Andrew Shiles

New York, N.Y., May 16, 2017 – Former FedEx executive and cargo industry veteran Andrew Shiles has joined the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) to lead the association’s dynamic portfolio of trade services, including the “merchandise passports” used by thousands of exporters around the world to get goods through customs quickly and easily.

As senior vice president of ATA Carnet and trade services, Shiles will work to expand U.S. trade interests through promotion of the ATA Carnet program. ATA Carnets are internationally recognized customs documents that permit temporary duty-free, tax-free entry of qualified goods for up to one year. They are used widely to facilitate entry of goods for trade shows, product samples and professional equipment.

“Andy Shiles brings extensive experience to this position,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “He has in-depth knowledge of trade and customs affairs, including ATA Carnet, and relationships with clients ranging from multinational corporations to SMEs to freight forwarders. In addition, Andy has strong connections with U.S. Customs, and has engaged in a number of important industry trade associations.”

USCIB manages and guarantees the ATA Carnet system in the United States, with responsibility for issuing ATA Carnets falling to two outside service providers, Roanoke Trade and the Corporation for International Business. ATA Carnets are accepted in 84 countries and territories, while the global ATA systems is overseen by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). USCIB serves as ICC’s American national committee.

Shiles comes to USCIB following more than 30 years at FedEx Express, the world’s largest air express cargo company, most recently as global regulatory compliance manager, where he served on USCIB’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee. His leadership experience in global supply-chain management includes participation in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Simplified Entry Working Group, which redesigned and implemented the current entry-clearance process into the United States.

Shiles also has extensive experience working with multiple government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Product Safety Commission. A self-professed “Yankee with a Southern accent,” Shiles was born in Manhattan and raised in the Southwest and in Tennessee, where he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis. He is a member of the International Compliance Professionals Association and the American Association of Exporters and Importers.

Find out more about the services offered by USCIB to facilitate cross-border trade and investment at www.uscib.org.

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

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.

Giblin Speaks on American Bar Association Panel on Customs

USCIB’s Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan M. Giblin spoke at the spring meeting of the American Bar Association Section of International Law event last Friday, April 28. The event featured more than 60 panels highlighting different aspects of the theme of the conference – “New Leaders, New Laws: 2017 and Beyond.” Giblin spoke on a panel titled “U.S. Measures to Combat Human Trafficking; Responses in the Corporate World,” along with Alice Kipel of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Ken Kennedy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Eric Gottwald of the International Human Rights Forum.  The panel was tied to the topic of forced labor and the provisions of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTFA) of 2016, which repealed the “consumptive demand” clause in 19 U.S.C. §1307.  The focus was on what happens at the ICE and CBP levels on the issue of forced labor, the work industry is carrying out as members are getting caught up in the import prohibition tied to the issuance of Withhold Release Orders (WROs) by the CBP Commissioner, as well as the matter of submissions made by, for example, Civil Society Organizations seeking action under 19 U.S.C. §1307.

Since 15 days after the passage of TFTEA, CBP has not been enforcing the “consumptive demand clause” there have been a series of WROs issued by the CBP Commissioner. All WROs now relate to specific companies in China. The product scope is stevia and its derivatives, peeled garlic as well as a series of chemicals some that can be mined and later manufactured into viscose rayon, for example. No new WROs have been issued since late 2016.

CBP is focused on stopping a specific shipment at time of import, ICE is focused on criminal actions tied to forced labor. What is clear is that the discretions are not the same.

As communicated by then CBP Commissioner Kerlikowski in Congressional testimony in September 2016, we know that there have been shipments stopped by CBP at time of import, which have resulted in either U.S. importers having to re-export the shipments and/or the importers having to provide significant amounts of information to CBP to prove that the specific shipment is clear and free from forced labor. Further, we understand that not only have some shipments been released by CBP for re-export, some shipments have been released for entry into the commerce of the U.S.

The main issue from the customs side is that once a WRO is issued and a there is a submission that links a specific importer, to a specific shipment, to a specific entity listed in a WRO, then U.S. import shipments can and are being detained at the customs border. The shipments are stopped under suspicion that the goods may have had forced labor in their supply chain. “From an industry perspective, there is concern over a shipment being held, transparency over why a shipment has been stopped, timeliness of communications with the importer, brand impact because of a a shipment being detained, not to mention that if information is shared about an importer who’s shipment is stopped there is not always clear communication to parties once an importer has proved  its supply chain is clean and the shipment has been released into the commerce of the U.S.,” said Giblin during her panel. “The regulations are from the 1960’s. Today’s supply chains, global value chains are extremely complex and lots of information must be provided to prove they have a clear supply chain.”

International Business Spring 2017 Issue

IB_Spring2017USCIB’s “International Business” Spring 2017 issue is now live! A web version can be accessed here.

The Spring 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “American Competitiveness and Innovation in the 21st Century” as well as articles on developments in the G20, WTO and the UN climate talks, 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.

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