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 in the News

ICC United Kingdom, which serves as the British national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, was featured in the Financial Times on January 18 in response to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on the UK’s position on Brexit. The article, reprinted below, is also available on the FT’s website.

We encourage you to share this with others as well as follow ICC UK on Twitter: @iccwboUK


UK BUSINESS MUST MAKE THE CASE FOR TRADE DURING EXIT TALKS

Sir, Signs that the British government will sacrifice access to the single market during Brexit negotiations are indeed worrying. I find the assertion that “many are now becoming increasingly relaxed about a hard Brexit” (January 17) genuinely concerning. The Brexit negotiations will dictate the future of UK-EU trade relationships, jobs and livelihoods for generations to come.

The UK is one of the largest trading economies in the world, so the impacts will be felt far beyond its and the EU’s borders. Whatever happens, we must all come away with a deal that works for all parties. For business, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, retaining access to the single market is the best option — keeping red tape, costs and disruption to a minimum. Don’t be conned into thinking the numbers are irrelevant: a 2-3 per cent tariff increase can mean the difference between an SME being successful or going bust. For foreign investors, 2-3 per cent can totally change the business case for investing in the UK. More paperwork means someone has to be paid to fill it in — someone has to pay for that. International businesses do not operate in silos.

UK, EU and non-EU businesses are often intertwined through integrated supply chains that move goods, services and finance across borders. Now is not the time to put up barriers or add costs if we want more trade, jobs and investment. We must all work hard to keep borders open — this is not just a UK priority, but also a G20 priority. Negotiations haven’t even started yet. We need to remain cool headed and must not get comfortable with the idea that the UK will leave the single market. Small businesses need the next best alternative with maximum freedom and minimal red tape. UK business isn’t powerless. We must communicate with the government and electorate, we must loudly make the case for trade, and we must not give up.

Chris Southworth Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce, London WC1, UK

USCIB Welcomes Treasury White Paper Criticizing EU State Aid Investigations

Fountain pen on taxNew York, N.Y., August 24, 2016 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which champions the global interests of American companies, welcomed the U.S. Treasury’s white paper criticizing the European Commission’s ongoing state aid investigations. The investigations are aimed at recouping prior-year tax benefits freely granted by European Union member state tax authorities on companies’ global operations.

“We wholeheartedly agree with the Treasury’s conclusion that these tax investigations challenge EU member state tax sovereignty, go far beyond accepted practice and threaten to undermine ongoing efforts to strengthen international tax cooperation,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “USCIB is concerned that these moves by the EU could dramatically undercut the OECD’s efforts to build a new and stable international consensus.”

After three years of negotiations, the OECD/G20 project on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) designed to address corporate tax avoidance concluded last year with governments developing a framework for modernizing international tax rules.

In a blog post accompanying the release of the white paper, Robert Stack, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for international tax affairs, wrote: “These investigations have major implications for the United States. In particular, recoveries imposed by the Commission would have an outsized impact on U.S. companies. … The investigations have global implications as well for the international tax system and the G20’s agenda to combat BEPS while improving tax certainty to fuel growth and investment.

Implementation of the BEPS project was a major focus of USCIB’s most recent OECD International Tax Conference, held last June in Washington, D.C. USCIB provides American business input to the OECD’s work on global tax policy through its role as the U.S. member of BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD.

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 BIAC, 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, VP Communications, USCIB
+1 212.7035043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

USCIB Cites Concerns Over End of “Safe Harbor”

Digital GlobeUSCIB joined 22 other associations in signing a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker explaining how the wholesale invalidation of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program will negatively impact the business operations of thousands of companies that rely on transatlantic commercial data transfers.

Established in 2000, the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework makes it easier for American companies to certify that they meet an “adequacy” standard for digital privacy protection, which under EU law is necessary to allow businesses to transfer data from EU countries. On October 6, the EU Court of Justice ruled that the 2000 U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Decision is invalid.

“This invalidation constitutes a serious disruption for the thousands of companies that have relied on the framework for commercial data transfers between the EU and the United States,” wrote USCIB and 22 other U.S. and EU tech-based associations in a joint letter to the European Commission. “These commercial data flows are central to facilitating transatlantic trade and the continued development of Europe’s data driven economy.”

The letter explained that “companies take their legal commitments very seriously when transferring data to the United States in compliance with European law,” and that the EU court’s judgement has created legal uncertainty. The letter urged the European Commission to come up with a harmonized implementation of the court’s judgement, so as to avoid “fragmenting the EU’s common approach to international data transfers.”

The joint letter also called on the European Commission to provide guidance for companies operating under the safe harbor framework, and for both the U.S. government and the Commission to urgently conclude their negotiations aimed at strengthening the Safe Harbor framework.

Read the full letter here.

IOE European Social Charter Must Support Job Creation

Europe from spaceAdopted in 1961, the European Social Charter is an EU treaty that guarantees social and economic human rights, such as the rights to fair remuneration and safe working conditions.

Speaking at the High-Level Conference on the European Social Charter in Turin, Italy on October 17, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) Vice President for Europe, Renate Hornung-Draus said that the European Social Charter will only gain relevance if it supports reforms for job creation and sustainable social security systems. She warned that the way in which the supervisory bodies of the Council of Europe interpreted the principles of the European Social Charter was undermining its relevance for Member States.

Since 1990 many new member States have joined the Council of Europe. They have different economic and social challenges than the founding members. The interpretation of the European Social Charter by its Supervisory bodies has to be more responsive to their specific situation.

Hornung-Draus said: “The Social Charter will achieve its goal of promoting economic and social development only if its principles are implemented in a way that respect the variety of situations of Member States, and if they are conducive to the structural reforms and fiscal consolidation required by the changing economic and social context.”

Globalization, technological changes require open, dynamic and flexible labor markets and a commitment to life-long learning. In some European countries, where labor market regulation has not adapted to this changing context, very high unemployment, and especially youth unemployment, can only be properly addressed with profound structural labor market reforms.

In addition, social spending in some countries European countries has reached levels that overwhelm economic resources, leading to high public debt. Public debt crowds out investment, because social security systems in those countries become unsustainable in light of changing demographics. Fiscal consolidation in these countries is urgently required, not only to restore the credibility of financial markets and attract investment, but also as an act of social justice towards the young generation.

Staff contact: Ariel Meyerstein

More on USCIB’s Labor and Employment Committee

Making Formal Work More Attractive in Europe

Two machinists working on machineWith increasing levels of undeclared work being recorded in Europe since the recent economic and social crisis, its reduction has been prioritized by the European Union as a major policy objective for increasing job creation, job quality and fiscal consolidation. Moreover, the Europe 2020 strategy highlights measures to promote the transition from informal or undeclared work to regular employment as critical in achieving inclusive growth, with more and better jobs.

In this context, the International Organization of Employers was invited to a two-day conference hosted by the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labor from September 17 to 18.

Participants were drawn from EU member states, the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), International Labor Organization, European Commission, the OECD, and from European and international social partners.  Among other issues, the conference discussed informal work and the transition to formality; how to facilitate the sharing of information and exchange of best practice; and other policy measures national authorities have implemented to address the problem.

Speaking in a roundtable discussion chaired by ILO Director General Guy Ryder, IOE Senior Adviser Frederick Muia called on EU governments to “use a two-pronged approach in addressing informality and undeclared work.” While recognizing that many EU governments preferred to bring about compliance through detection and punishment for non-compliance with the law, he said it was important for governments “to address the barriers to formalization, including assessing the rigidity of legislation and regulation to ascertain whether it lacked the necessary flexibility for employers, particularly SMEs.” Such an approach would enable the right ecosystem for businesses and promote compliance through incentives, which would encourage the transformation of undeclared work to formal employment.

Muia reiterated the importance of providing an enabling environment for new formal jobs to be created, particularly by SMEs. Recognizing the key role of entrepreneurship, start-ups and micro-enterprises, he further called for the promotion of the approach proposed by the Employers’ group during the 2014 International Labor Conference on transitioning from the informal to the formal economy. Access to education, work-readiness programs for young people, lifelong learning and skills development would all enable workers to be well equipped for formal employment. Equally important, he added, was the need to promote access by SMEs to finance and credit, business development services, markets, infrastructure and technology.

Staff contact: Ariel Meyerstein

More on USCIB’s Labor and Employment Committee

More on USCIB’s European Union Committee

European Union

USCIB’s European Union Committee promotes the interests of U.S. businesses in Europe and works to ensure the benefits of unobstructed transatlantic trade and investment.

The U.S. and EU share the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. While their approaches to common economic issues often diverge, their longstanding and integrated commercial ties help foster a harmonized and mutually beneficial partnership. U.S. companies hold an important stake in trade issues that arise on both sides of the Atlantic that affect jobs, standards and the regulatory environment.

USCIB and the EU Committee monitor European political developments that have an impact on U.S. business interests. The committee also fosters multilateral work on the transatlantic dialogue.

The EU committee strongly supports both the elimination of trade barriers between the U.S. and EU and the decision to launch negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

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Chair

Vacant

Staff Contacts

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

Rachel L. Spence
Policy and Program Assistant
212-703-5095 or rspence@uscib.org

USCIB facilitates the engagement of U.S. business in bilateral dialogues, including the Transatlantic Economic Council, and actively contributes to industry coalitions that follow EU affairs. The EU committee holds meetings with officials of the European Commission and the U.S. government on issues vetted with members in multilateral forums, including investment, environment and trade liberalization.

The EU committee serves as the focal point for coordinating EU-related activity in other USCIB policy committees, especially the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee.

Please use the links below to explore recent statements and reports, news stories on USCIB’s website, and media coverage related to our work.

News Stories

USCIB in the News (1/23/2017) - ICC United Kingdom, which serves as the British national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, was featured in the Financial Times on January 18 in response to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on the UK’s position on Brexit.
USCIB Cites Concerns Over End of “Safe Harbor” (10/13/2015) - USCIB signed a joint letter to the European Commission, citing business concerns about the invalidation of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework.

Read More

Press Releases

USCIB Welcomes Treasury White Paper Criticizing EU State Aid Investigations (8/24/2016) - USCIB welcomed the U.S. Treasury’s statement criticizing the European Commission’s ongoing state aid investigations, aimed at recouping prior-year tax benefits.
USCIB Hails Launch of U.S.-EU Trade and Investment Talks (6/17/2013) - New York, N.Y., June 17, 2013 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) applauded today’s announcement at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland that the United States and the European Union have launched negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). “The European Union is our biggest export market, while […]

Read More

USCIB Weighs in on the Effect of TTIP on the Global Fashion Industry

L-R: Arthur Bodek (Grunfeld, Desiderio), Justine Badimon (USCIB), Maristella Iacobello (PVH Corp.), Steve Lamar (American Apparel & Footwear Association)
L-R: Arthur Bodek (Grunfeld, Desiderio), Justine Badimon (USCIB), Maristella Iacobello (PVH Corp.), Steve Lamar (American Apparel & Footwear Association)

Justine Badimon, USCIB’s director of regional initiatives, spoke to students, faculty and stakeholders at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) on March 13 regarding the current status and backdrop of the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP).

A TTIP agreement is anticipated to be a comprehensive high-standard trade and investment agreement between the U.S. and the EU that will support U.S. jobs and international competitiveness.

“Regulatory differences will be a major stumbling block for the negotiations, but USCIB anticipates seeing improved regulatory cooperation in a successful outcome,” Badimon said. She discussed the negotiators’ uncertain timeline for a conclusion of the agreement, indicating that European parliamentary elections in May and a new European Commission taking office in November will likely draw out the talks.

Badimon sat on a panel of industry experts, discussing the effects of TTIP on the global fashion industry through the scope of international business. The panel was co-sponsored by the European American Chamber of Commerce and FIT’s Department of International Trade and Marketing. Other speakers included experts from the American Apparel & Footwear Association, PVH Corp. and Grunfeld, Desiderio Lebowitz Silverman & Klestadt LLP.

The timely event coincided with the fourth round of U.S.-EU trade talks in Brussels from March 10-14, where TTIP negotiators continued deliberations on market access, regulation and rules, with a focus on benefits for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). During the presentations, panelists gave an overview of the challenges facing negotiations, especially those affecting the fashion industry such as convergence on regulation of labeling, rules of origin, chemical management and product safety standards.

 

Staff contact: Justine Badimon

More on USCIB’s European Union Committee

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

Taking Our TTIP Agenda to Europe

USCIB’s Shaun Donnelly met with the media at the U.S. embassy in Paris…

Earlier this month, Shaun Donnelly, USCIB’s vice president for investment and financial services, visited France and the Netherlands on a U.S. government speaking tour, explaining the views and priorities of the American business community on the ongoing U.S.-EU negotiations of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

A former U.S. ambassador and USTR trade negotiator, Donnelly has a long and deep background in transatlantic trade matters. “On this trip, I was able to convey USCIB and BCTT positions on the importance of achieving a TTIP agreement that is ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard,” he said. “We oppose sectoral or chapter carve-outs.”

Donnelly delivered several speeches, and took part in various seminars and interviews with local business groups, American chambers of commerce, media representatives, universities and think tanks. As the co-chair of two working groups (Investment and Competition Policy) in the broad Washington-based Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade (BCTT), he is one of several USCIB staff members playing leadership roles in the BCTT effort. USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan represents USCIB on the BCTT Steering Committee.

…and spoke with students at France’s Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales.

Donnelly particularly emphasized the importance of strong investment provisions (including investor-state dispute settlement) as well as protecting intellectual property rights, ensuring cross-border data flows, and reducing regulatory and product-standard barriers in both directions.

As he did during a similar TTIP-focused visit to Denmark last October,  Donnelly sought to strengthen coordination on TTIP with key European business groups. And lucky for him, he avoided all the terrible weather afflicting so much of the United States!

Staff contact: Shaun Donnelly

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

More on USCIB’s European Union Committee

USCIB Hails Launch of U.S.-EU Trade and Investment Talks

L-R: European Council President Van Rompuy, President Obama, European Commission President Barroso, UK Prime Minister Cameron.
L-R: European Council President Van Rompuy, President Obama, European Commission President Barroso, UK Prime Minister Cameron.

New York, N.Y., June 17, 2013 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) applauded today’s announcement at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland that the United States and the European Union have launched negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“The European Union is our biggest export market, while the transatlantic investment relationship is the largest in the world, but there are plenty of additional opportunities if we play our cards right,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson.

“TTIP has the capacity to provide a big boost to our competitiveness, economic growth, and jobs here at home, and can jump-start other trade liberalization efforts at the regional and multilateral levels.”

According to the White House, the initial round of U.S.-EU talks is set to begin in Washington on July 8. It said TTIP will aim to further open EU markets, strengthening rules-based investment to grow the world’s largest investment relationship, while eliminating all tariffs on trade, improving market access for trade in services and tackling costly “behind the border” non-tariff barriers that impede the flow of goods, including regulatory impediments.

Last month USCIB submitted a report on TTIP to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office detailing recommended negotiating objectives in a variety of areas. Earlier this month, USCIB organized a roundtable in New York on the stakes for business in the TTIP negotiations.

Robinson said USCIB would work with fellow industry groups and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to ensure that American industry views are front and center in the negotiations. USCIB is on the steering committee of the recently launched Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade.

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, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

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

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

More on USCIB’s European Union Committee