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 Meets with OECD Director to Discuss Health Work

USCIB’s Food and Agriculture and Healthcare Working Groups met last week with Stefano Scarpetta, director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The meeting reinforced longstanding USCIB and Business at OECD cooperation in other issue areas and the need to improve the engagement between business and the OECD Health Committee.

USCIB outlined four areas of recommendations to Scarpetta in the hopes of improving future interactions with member states and the health division secretariat, including helping member states understand the role of Business at OECD and its national affiliates, tracking input from Business at OECD and national affiliates, increasing diversity in perspectives among OECD health division staff and better use of OECD expert groups.

“The OECD benefits from broad input from the private sector on its work on health policy.  We believe that increasing the number and diversity of business representatives allowed to attend OECD Health Committee and related expert group meetings can only improve OECD’s work in the health sector,” said Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president for Product Policy and Innovation who leads USCIB’s work on health, food and agriculture.

Michener noted that while concerns remain, good progress was made in initiating an improved dialogue with the OECD Health Committee going forward.

Business at OECD Calls for Integrated Health Policies to Stimulate Growth and Productivity

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria (left) makes remarks at the Health Forum

Well-designed health policies that are put into practice are essential for the growth and productivity of our economies and the well-being of our societies. This was the main message from private sector, government representatives, and the OECD gathered for the 2nd Business at OECD (BIAC) Annual Forum on Health.

The Forum saw the work undertaken by the private sector to develop truly integrated healthcare, foster innovation, and promote balanced choices for improving well-being. “The digital transformation of healthcare systems will provide fresh opportunities for better care, newer treatments and greater focus on the needs of patients,” said Nicole Denjoy, chair of the BIAC Health Committee. “To achieve this, we need policies that create the right incentives and collaborative environments to drive investment in innovation and technology” she added.

Experts also addressed efforts to encourage balanced nutrition and active lifestyles as an important part of the fight against non-communicable diseases. Speakers stressed the critical role that policy coherence in the fields of health, trade, finance, industry, and education sectors plays in supporting growth and productivity. Commenting on the role of international collaboration, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría stated, “Poor health harms people, lowers productivity, and ultimately undermines growth. The OECD is supporting the business community’s efforts to help shape the future of health policy and promote good employee and customer health”.

Also addressing Forum participants, World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry said “Innovation is vital for addressing the health challenges of today and tomorrow. But the innovation we need is more complex than ever before and requires greater collaboration, benefiting from a wide range of knowledge and expertise. We must provide a framework for bringing new medicines and technologies from concept and creation to production and patients. Intellectual property, in particular patents, are a necessary encouragement to this innovation.”

The Forum was moderated by Riz Khan, international journalist and TV host.

Global Nutrition Event Aims to Ensure ”No More Missed Opportunities”

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener at the Nutrition Roundtable

Poor diet is the number one risk factor for early death, contributing to 20 percent of global deaths, with the burden falling disproportionately on children under five and women of reproductive age. On October 2-3, the USCIB Foundation, the educational and research arm of USCIB, joined with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Wilton Park USA, to begin tackling this problem – a situation nutrition experts have described as a “missed opportunity” (Lancet, 2013) – through a roundtable dialogue in New York City under the banner of “No More Missed Opportunities.”

Each year, malnutrition is a factor in almost half of the six million deaths of children under five, and 159 million children are stunted, with impacts on their physical and cognitive abilities that last a lifetime. More than 500 million women are anemic, with an increased risk of maternal death and delivering premature and low-birth-weight babies. At the same time, 600 million adults are obese, and 420 million have diabetes, with rates rising steeply. Every country is now struggling with some aspect of malnutrition, and a growing number are experiencing both undernutrition and obesity.

The roundtable sought to support the accelerated achievement of internationally agreed global nutrition goals, and broader commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), by convening a high-level group of leaders from government, business and other key stakeholders. Participants set themselves three objectives:

  • Discuss the draft Principles of Engagement for Government-Business Collaboration to frame and guide progress towards achievement of the food and nutrition SDG’s and the implementation of the UK Government’s commitment to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA)
  • Identify ways to improve business engagement in global nutrition goals and engage multisector platforms to specifically address food and nutrition supply chains, distribution channels, and technical and scientific research to accelerate achievement of the global nutrition goals and directly benefit ODA recipient countries
  • Forge new relationships between government and business food and nutrition leaders to kick-off a new era of constructive partnership.

In his opening remarks, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “The USCIB Foundation is here looking for ways to improve and accelerate business engagement in the implementation of the global nutrition goals, which we believe is absolutely essential if we hope to achieve these goals by 2030.”

Robinson also highlighted the significance of the draft Principles of Engagement for Government-Business Collaboration, noting, “consensus around a set of principles like these would establish a framework that would encourage more joint efforts and public-private partnerships.”

While Robinson said he is “highly optimistic” about the future of nutrition, he remarked on some barriers to private-sector engagement. These include the perceived conflict of interest between business motivation for public-private partnerships and public-sector goals, lack of trust between business, governments and other stakeholders and too much regulatory red-tape, seemingly designed to deter the private sector from engaging in partnerships.

Panels throughout the dialogue focused on the knowledge revolution and data, the pace of innovation, incentives for government-business collaboration, multi-sectoral platforms that can facilitate results, and concluded with a spirited discussion of draft Principles of Engagement to guide further discussion.

It is hoped that these principles will serve as a platform to enable further, more pointed conversations and serve as a model example for other institutions from a good governance perspective. USCIB and the USCIB Foundation will continue conversations and action with our partners in this dialogue to ensure progress towards our shared goals.

The event was hosted by the Harvard Club.

Roundtable participants. USCIB President and CEO Peter M Robinson front row, sixth from left, alongside representatives from GAIN and WiltonPark

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 Highlights Business Role at UN Sustainable Development Meetings

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich opens the UN SDG Business Forum

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) were created to measure progress and achievements towards a sustainable future through a series of 17 goals adopted by the UN General Assembly under the moniker Agenda 2030.  During this year’s annual UN High-Level Political Forum, held from July 10 – 19 at UN headquarters in New York, the UN Secretariat worked with member states to discuss paths to implementation and to track progress on the SDGs. USCIB and its members were on the ground during the HLPF highlighting the role of engaging all business sectors to advancing environmental, economic and social cooperation for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener supported USCIB’s longtime partner, the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN), on their event focusing on SDG2, Ending Hunger, during their side-event, Agriculture and Food Day on July 13. IAFN partnered with leading organizations to host this event to celebrate, discuss, negotiate, analyze, and brainstorm around the role of the agricultural and food sector in relation to the implementation of the SDGs. Agriculture and Food Day summarized the importance of targeting the agricultural sector and food issues to reach the SDGs by 2030. IAFN has been a consistent champion for a stand-alone goal on sustainable agriculture and food security.

However, “solutions cannot address just one goal, but must look to make a difference to several at once,” noted Michener.  “The purpose of Agriculture and Food Day was to examine how focusing on agricultural and food policy could achieve not only Goal 2 but make substantive contributions to the achievement of the other 16 goals.  Investments made in agriculture — the dominant occupation for the world’s poorest people — can accomplish much beyond Goal 2, including improvements in health, incomes, trade, infrastructure, and the environment,” he said.

USCIB policy experts and members also joined the SDG Business Forum on July 18, the first business-organized meeting held in the UN’s General Assembly Hall. Speakers from the UN, governments, NGOs and business discussed private sector investment, information sharing and public-private partnership to take forward the 17 SDGs.  The Forum was organized by the Global Business Coalition for 2030, a coalition of major business organizations and the UN Global Compact, facilitated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Speaking to the HLPF, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy stated, “Innovation, infrastructure, economic growth and empowerment and good governance are the four inter-linked cornerstones for all 17 SDGs for business. Therefore it is crucial to consult with private sector groups at the national and regional level to develop enabling frameworks for business actions to advance the SDGs,” she said. Over 40 countries submitted national reports this year on their progress towards the SDGs.

Many of the speakers echoed the sentiment that neither the SDG’s nor the wider 2030 Agenda can be achieved without active participants of non-state actors, including business and industry, to drive  inclusive economic growth and prosperity.

In his remarks to the HLPF, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich noted, “There can be no doubt that the private sector means business when it comes to the SDG’s. Since their inception, I’ve said the SDG’s should be known as the BDG’s, the Business Development Goals, and that’s because their achievement represents a clear economic imperative. Business engagement on the UN SDG’s is not only a powerful way to enhance society’s trust but also a great business opportunity. Achieving the SDG’s opens up $12 trillion in market opportunity in sectors such as food, energy, health and cities.”

USCIB member KPMG’s Nick Chism, deputy head of Global Sales and Markets and global chair of Infrastructure, Government & Healthcare, discussed the importance of creating business-friendly environment and opportunities, indicating that enabling environments will lead to more private sector investment.

For this year’s HLPF, USCIB members, including Bechtel, Cargill, Citi, Hilton, Monsanto, Novozymes and Pirelli, added new examples of actions to advance the SDGs to USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform.

USCIB’s Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner also attended an event, Accelerating Women’s Economic Empowerment to Achieve the 2030 Agenda, which was organized by ICC and UN Women – the global champion for gender equality. For many women around the world, ICT’s can be leveraged for personal security, better access to education and jobs, financial inclusion and access to basic healthcare information. But benefits such as these rely on women having meaningful access to ICT which can be facilitated or prevented by several factors, including affordability, relevant content, skills and security. The event showcased the global efforts stakeholders have embarked on to bring women’s economic empowerment to the forefront of all the SDG targets.

“Through innovation, investment and development of products and services, the private sector plays an important role in advancing gender equality and improving the lives of women,” said Wanner.

ICC highlighted several private sector initiatives during the side-event that are catalyzing women’s economic empowerment in developed and developing countries and presented the role of ICT’s in advancing the SDG’s. For additional information on this event, please visit ICC’s website.

USCIB Supports HLPF Side-Event on Agriculture and Food

With the UN High-Level Political Forum taking place in New York from July 10-19, USCIB has been on the ground, starting with Agriculture and Food Day, an event hosted by the International Agri-food Network (IAFN) on July 13, which summarized the importance of targeting the agricultural sector and food issues in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The SDGs help to guide people and the planet towards a sustainable future, and they were created to measure progress and achievements towards this series of 17 goals adopted by the UN General Assembly under the moniker Agenda 2030.  During the High-Level Political Forum, the UN Secretariat works with its member states to discuss paths to implementation and to track progress on the SDGs.  IAFN has advocated for several years during the SDG development process on the need for a stand-alone goal on sustainable agriculture and food security; this goal is SDG2, Ending Hunger.

However, “solutions cannot address just one goal, but must look to make a difference to several at once,” noted Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation who also covers USCIB’s work on health and food and agriculture. “The purpose of Agriculture and Food Day was to examine how focusing on agricultural and food policy could achieve not only Goal 2 but also make substantive contributions to the achievement of the other 16 goals.  Investments made in agriculture — the dominant occupation for the world’s poorest people — can accomplish much beyond Goal 2, including improvements in health, incomes, trade, infrastructure, and the environment,” he said.

IAFN partnered with a number of leading organizations to host “Agriculture and Food Day” to celebrate, discuss, negotiate, analyze, and brainstorm around the role of the agricultural and food sector in relation to the implementation of the SDGs. The day included a thematically-focused plenary session with high-level speakers including high-ranking UN diplomats, a series of roundtable discussions on inter-linkages in SDGs, and a dynamic luncheon featuring of youth in agriculture with the goal to raise awareness of the critical need for investment in Goal 2, Zero Hunger. IAFN hosted the event with the Farming First coalition, a group that advocates for agriculture programs to be farmer-centered and knowledge-based.

USCIB is also participating in the SDG Business Forum on July 18.

Food and Agriculture

Background

Significant shifts in trade, technological advances and changing consumer preferences have placed new demands on the agro-food chain.  Intergovernmental bodies will be challenged to uphold the values of free trade through the application of sound science, while ensuring consumer confidence in the global food supply.

Objective

Promote an open and efficient global food system by providing industry expertise to government officials working to eliminate existing barriers to agricultural trade and investment; foster coordination among organizations working to ensure a safe food supply, meaningful food security and enhanced environmental sustainability.

Current Priorities

  • Through the BIAC Committee on Food and Agriculture, provide industry input into the work of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate.
  • Ensure the OECD’s project on the economics of the prevention of lifestyle related chronic diseases to reflect input from the US food and beverage companies.
  • Advocate for APEC to improve and implement the APEC Food System.
  • Provide business industry input for the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development meetings.
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Chair

Vacant

Staff

Michael Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

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

Recent Accomplishments

  • Secured speaking roles for US business representatives at the OECD Symposium entitled “What Future for the Agriculture and Food Sector.”
  • Organized meetings with OECD Health Secretariat to provide input for the OECD’s project on the economics of the prevention of lifestyle related chronic diseases which resulted in having US food and beverage industries comments reflected in the most recent OECD report on “Summary of findings and policy implications concerning the prevention of chronic diseases linked to unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles.”
  • Met with US government officials to discuss US engagement in OECD and provided US food and agriculture industry perspective to various OECD projects.

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 Meets with OECD Director to Discuss Health Work (10/30/2017) - USCIB’s Food and Agriculture and Healthcare Working Groups met last week with Stefano Scarpetta, director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Business at OECD Calls for Integrated Health Policies to Stimulate Growth and Productivity (10/27/2017) - Business at OECD Calls for Integrated Health Policies to Stimulate Growth and Productivity

Read More

USCIB Welcomes Michael Michener as Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation

New York, N.Y., February 21, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced that Michael Michener, a former administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service who has also served as a U.S. trade diplomat and association executive, has joined USCIB’s staff as vice president of product policy and innovation.

Working out of USCIB’s Washington, D.C. office, Michener will lead the organization’s policy work on chemicals, health, food, agriculture and intellectual property. He will also coordinate USCIB’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

“Mike brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to USCIB, especially his background in working with international organizations, that will contribute greatly to our efforts on behalf of members,” said Rob Mulligan, USCIB’s senior vice president for policy and government relations. “We are excited to have him join our team at a time when the policy and regulatory challenges facing American companies are complex and growing.”

Michener most recently served in Brussels as director of multilateral relations for CropLife International, representing the association before a range of international organizations – including the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the UN Environment Program and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – on issues related to crop protection products and agriculture biotechnology.

Previously Michener served with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in two different roles. First, as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, he managed 1,100 employees and an annual operating budget of $300 million.  Then, as minister counselor at the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, he served as the special representative of the U.S. secretary of agriculture to UN bodies dealing with food and agricultural issues.

Michener has also worked with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Agency for International Development, and he served with the United States Army for seven years in Europe. Michener earned a master’s degree in public administration from Bowie State University and a bachelor’s degree East European studies from the University of Maryland.

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 the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB in the News: Op-ed in The Hill on UN Funding

un_headquarters_lo-resUSCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson published a timely op-ed in The Hill addressing recent calls in Congress to withhold or withdraw U.S. funding for the United Nations. The op-ed, reprinted below, is also available on The Hill’s website.

This op-ed comes as President-elect Trump’s top appointees, including his proposed foreign policy team, are on Capitol Hill for Senate confirmation hearings. We encourage you to share the op-ed with your colleagues and others who may be interested.


The Hill

January 11, 2017

Walking away from the UN would harm US economic interests

By Peter M. Robinson, opinion contributor

With President-elect Trump’s key foreign policy nominees facing Senate confirmation hearings this week and next, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are threatening to withhold or slash U.S. funding for the United Nations.

This would be a bad idea, both for American power and influence, and for our economic interests. It would be especially risky for U.S. companies and workers.

My organization — The United States Council for International Business — has represented American business views to the U.N. and other international organizations for decades.

We know the U.N. sometimes fails to measure up to our expectations, particularly when it and its specialized agencies have provided a platform for anti-business views. Why do we put up with this? Why shouldn’t we just take our chips and go home?

Quite simply, because we know that no country, including the United States, can go it alone. A strong U.S. presence in the U.N. enhances our influence and our overall security.

More than ever, at a time when terrorism, cybersecurity threats, disease pandemics and refugee crises can disrupt our lives, we need the kind of platform for close international cooperation and collective action that the U.N. can provide.

This is especially true for American companies with customers, employees and operations around the world. While we may not agree with everything the U.N. does, it is simply not in our interest to withdraw support.

We in the private sector see an urgent need for the United States to stick up for its economic interests in the U.N.

For instance, in the negotiations that culminated in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the U.S. had to push back hard against proposals to undermine protection for innovation and intellectual property rights, to assign historical liability for loss and damage from natural disasters, and to ban certain technologies or energy options important to U.S. energy security and climate risk reduction.

Without strong U.S. leadership, these initiatives would have carried the day, hampering American jobs and competitiveness.

At their best, the U.N. and similar bodies set global standards and develop rules that allow U.S. businesses to plan and invest.

Recent U.N. initiatives that have helped American business and our economy include agreements that support a fundamentally “hands-off” approach to the global Internet and guidelines laying out the roles and responsibilities of the private sector and governments in upholding human rights.

Moreover, the U.N. has recently developed the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), addressing an array of challenges, from ending global poverty and hunger to ensuring access to energy, for the next decade and beyond.

The SDGs were developed in close partnership with the private sector, which will be responsible for “delivering the goods” in many, if not most, measures of success.

So, is the U.N. perfect? Far from it, but withholding funding or walking away from the U.N. won’t change that.

Like it or not, it is part of the fundamental infrastructure for global economic activity. Like other infrastructure, the U.N. is desperately in need of repair to meet the needs of the 21st century.

If we play our cards right, this can be a century of American-led innovation and entrepreneurship. President-elect Trump’s administration should insist that the U.N. live up to its potential, defending and advancing U.S. interests in the influential world body.

Business will be there to help. Just last month, the U.N. afforded highly-selective Observer Status in the U.N. General Assembly to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the business organization that represents enterprises across the globe in numerous U.N. deliberations.

This is an important sign of progress, indicating that the U.N. recognizes the need to work more effectively with business.

(Full disclosure: My organization serves as ICC’s American chapter and we pushed hard in support of ICC’s application.)

Congress should meet U.S. funding obligations and work with the Trump administration to hold the U.N. accountable to the U.S. and other member governments, as well as to economic stakeholders in the business community.

Strong engagement and leadership in the global body by the United States is an opportunity too important to lose. American security, jobs and economic opportunities are at stake if the U.S. were to indeed walk away.

Peter M. Robinson is president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business. He is an appointee to the President’s Committee on the International Labor Organization and the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Public-Private Partnerships. Robinson holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.