USCIB Washington Update October – November 2017

Highlighting Key Activities, October-November 2017

During the months of October and November 2017, USCIB Staff met with Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat on U.S. trade policy, discussed OECD policy work with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Brian McFeeters, engaged on CFIUS with Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS Aimen Mir, spoke on a NAFTA panel at the Services Summit conference, submitted a comment letter to OECD on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy, raised concerns regarding the work of the OECD Health Committee with the Director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the OECD Stefano Scarpetta, reviewed questions on customs treatment of international postal shipments with Deputy Post Master General Ronald A. Stroman, provided the business view at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements 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. Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    6. Innovation and Intellectual Property – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    7. APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region
    8. Membership
    9. Upcoming Events
    10. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

Mulligan Talks NAFTA at CSI Summit: USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Rob Mulligan spoke at a Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) summit on October 17, where he outlined USCIB’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) priorities. Mulligan noted that NAFTA can be brought into the 21st century by including provisions that ensure cross-border data flows, include strong e-commerce rules, protect against data localization requirements, and level the playing field for firms competing against state-owned enterprises. More can also be done to improve the customs processes with Canada and Mexico. These steps will help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs. Mulligan noted that USCIB member companies strongly support NAFTA and have greatly benefited from it over the last 23 years, so they want the governments to avoid changes to existing parts of NAFTA that would harm trade rather than expand it. He especially highlighted concerns with U.S. government proposals on rules of origin, government procurement, ISDS and a sunset clause.

USCIB Lobbies Senate and House on NAFTA and Co-sponsors Reception: As part of a wider Coalition effort related to NAFTA, Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, and Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, lobbied the Senate and the House, respectively, in October as the fourth round of talks unfolded. Private-sector representatives spent two full days talking to House and Senate Republicans and Democrats. Issues addressed included proposals coming from the U.S. side in the NAFTA talks addressing rules of origin, government procurement, investor-state dispute settlement, and a proposed sunset provision that would essentially force NAFTA to be renewed at regular intervals. There continues to be great concern in the business community that NAFTA is being set up to fail with some of the proposals that are being tabled. USCIB also co-sponsored a reception on the sidelines of the NAFTA talks, where Hampl amplified USCIB’s central message of urgency, noting that USCIB members rely on the agreement and its benefits for their operations, which provide jobs for U.S. workers.

USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meets with USTR on NAFTA Digital Trade Negotiations:  Jonathan McHale, Deputy Assistant USTR for Telecommunications Policy briefed the USCIB Digital Trade Working Group on the NAFTA negotiations at its meeting on November 7, 2017.  He provided an update on the digital trade elements of the NAFTA negotiations as well as an outlook for e-commerce at the WTO Ministerial.  Jonathan highlighted several positive developments with regard to the digital trade issues and noted areas where the U.S. has proposed additional provisions for negotiation.  Members also heard from Nick Ashton-Hart, calling in from Geneva, who has been assisting the Friends of E-Commerce for Development group of countries seeking to have the WTO move forward with work on e-commerce issues.  He noted that there is a group of African countries opposing these efforts to address e-commerce more actively in the WTO and urged USCIB and ICC to work with affiliate business groups in those countries.  The DTWG also discussed planning for 2018 and will look to prioritize advocacy and engagement that capitalizes on USCIB’s access to global organizations.

USCIB Joins BIAC Board for Meetings in Washington, D.C. with Key U.S Officials:  The Business at OECD (BIAC) Board of Directors held its most recent meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2017.  Rick Johnston, Citi, who is the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Chair, also serves as a Vice-Chair of the BIAC Board and hosted their meeting at his office.  In addition to a day-long strategy meeting which included a presentation from Rob Mulligan as the representative of the U.S. affiliate to BIAC, the Board Members had the chance to exchange views with a number of key U.S. officials and thought leaders including Everett Eissenstat (Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs), Andy Taylor and Matthew Zweig (Staff for House Committee on Foreign Affairs), and Brian McFeeters (Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs).  They also had a lunch discussion with Greg Ip (Wall Street Journal) and Shawn Donnan (Financial Times).  Peter Robinson, CEO and President of USCIB, and Rob Mulligan joined the Board for these meetings.

Hampl Advocates for Strong Investment Policies in Paris: In October, Eva Hampl, Director, Investment Trade and Financial Services, participated in the meetings of the OECD Investment Committee. In addition to a formal stakeholder consultation, and a dinner with leadership from the Investment Committee as well as the OECD Secretariat, Hampl had bilateral meetings with various OECD investment staff, as well as with officials from the U.S. Mission to the OECD. During the stakeholder consultation, BIAC made strong statements focused primarily on international investment agreements, specifically ISDS and related issues. BIAC maintained the position that investment agreements are very important to business, and are necessary for a robust international investment environment. Unfortunately, the OECD has not yet been able to produce reliable data definitively proving the benefits of IIAs. Hampl also made an intervention on behalf of U.S. industry, underlining the importance of empirical research in this area, and raising concerns about leaving a vacuum of information in the space related to IIAs.

Donnelly Speaks Up for Business at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements (IIAs): USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly was the lead business speaker at the October 9-11 annual High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements in Geneva. Shaun kept reminding the government, NGO and academic “experts” that strong IIAs, including effective Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) disciplines, help drive investment flows and all the benefits (economic growth, trade and good jobs) we are all seeking. Donnelly authored a blog post on the UNCTAD IIA Conference, including key talking points from his several interventions.

Donnelly Touches Base on Geneva Issues, Tees up Peter Robinson’s Meetings with U.S. Mission: While in Geneva in early October, USCIB’s Shaun Donnelly met with the Charge d’Affaires (the Acting U.S. Ambassador) to the Geneva UN agencies, Ted Allegra. They reviewed USCIB priorities and concerns across a range of UN agencies (World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, and Human Rights Commission, in addition to UNCTAD. Donnelly also had a detailed roundtable with key U.S. Mission staff from multiple U.S. agencies (State, HHS, USTR). Donnelly met formally or informally with other Geneva-based foreign Ambassadors and staff in other UN agencies. About a month later, USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was back at the U.S. Mission for a more detailed follow-up session with the Charge, focused especially on serious challenges for USCIB members at the WHO, HRC, and ILO. Peter also was able to have a busy round of high-level meetings at UN agencies and beyond.

USCIB Discusses Transparency at OECD SOE Integrity Roundtable: On October 23, 2017, represented USCIB at a special roundtable at the OECD on Integrity, the “Fight Against Corruption and Responsible Business Conduct in the SOE Sector”. As a discussant on the issue of transparency, Hampl made comments addressing the importance of transparency regarding state-owned enterprises (SOEs). SOEs are increasing in global commerce, disadvantaging companies operating without state support or control. SOEs are particularly vulnerable to corruption due to factors such as a close relationship between government, politicians and the SOE senior management, and in some cases lack of transparency and reporting. To truly level the playing field between SOEs and companies competing in the global market, SOEs must be held to the same standards. Following the roundtable, Hampl also participated in the consultation with the OECD Working Party on State Ownership and Privatization Practices, where she reiterated many of the points made at the roundtable, as well as emphasized the importance of the OECD to focus on the demand side of bribery.

Discussing the Cost of Corruption on OECD Anti-bribery Convention and FCPA Anniversary: On November 8, 2017 Eva Hampl, took part in a panel at the event “Celebrating the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention at 20, the FCPA at 40 & Addressing the Challenges Ahead”. She addressed the cost that corruption and bribery present to business, and the important role the OECD plays to level the playing field in that regard. The OECD Anti-bribery Convention is a landmark instrument addressing the bribery of foreign officials. With its multi-disciplinary nature, the OECD has the capacity to take a coordinated approach to the fight against corruption, including addressing such issues as increased adherence to the Convention, increased efforts to address the demand side of bribery, more measures to facilitate voluntary self-disclosure, and addressing the growing complexity and costs of complying with multiple anti-bribery regimes by promoting clarity and greater international consistency.

USCIB Urges High Standards in Colombia’s OECD Accession: Through its Business at OECD (BIAC) affiliation, USCIB has been extensively involved in representing member interests in the OECD accession process of Colombia. Eva Hampl traveled to Paris in November with member companies and associations, to attend meetings with OECD officials and various OECD delegations. BIAC led the global business delegation in meetings with Ken Ash, OECD director for trade and agriculture, Nicola Bonucci, OECD director for legal affairs and coordinator for accession, Catalina Crane, high-level contact for Colombia’s OECD Accession Process, and delegation representatives from the United States, including Andrew Haviland, chargé d’affaires, as well as representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and Mexico. Colombia started the accession process in 2013, and currently 20 of the 23 OECD Committees have approved them for accession. One of the outstanding committees is the Trade Committee, which is currently drafting its Formal Opinion, which is the final stage in the process. USCIB’s current advocacy surrounds pre-accession recommendations, which we urged the OECD Trade Committee to include in the Formal Opinion. This ask is central to resolving our various business issues. Following the November 2017 meeting, the next meeting of the OECD Trade Committee will be in April 2018. USCIB will aggressively continue our advocacy efforts as this accession process moves forward, to ensure that as many of our priority issues are resolved as possible before Colombia joins the OECD.

Checking in with New Economic Leadership at State: On October 26, Shaun Donnelly had a wide-ranging introductory session on USCIB and our key priorities with the then new Acing Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs (the “EB Bureau”) Brian McFeeters plus other senior EB staff. Brian, just back from a tour as Deputy Chief of Mission in Indonesia, is the new Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (“P/DAS”) in EB but was holding the fort until his new boss was confirmed and sworn in. As a former EB PDAS in his own 36-year Foreign Service career, Shaun had a lot of common experiences to draw on with Brian as he laid out USCIB’s unique role representing U.S. business around the world and our current policy priorities. Former Senate staffer Manisha Singh was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate on November 2 to be the next EB Assistant Secretary. Ms. Singh, who served as EB’s Trade DAS in the George W. Bush Administration, should be formally sworn in very soon. Here’s a link to McFeeters’ official State bio.

Helping Mark 20 Years of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention: The Coalition for Integrity (“C4I”) organized an afternoon long seminar on the afternoon of their annual dinner in Washington marking the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention and the 40th Anniversary of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, two key tools in the fight against international bribery. USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly spoke on the panel focused on the panel focused on the OECD’s Anti-Bribery convention (officially the “Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions”) which was signed in December 1997. Shaun and fellow panelists evaluated process and highlighted priorities for future work. Shaun emphasized two key areas for concerned USCIB member companies – balancing the now well-established work on the “supply” side of corruption from the business side to bring equal focus on the “demand” side, unmasking and punishing corrupt senior government officials attempting to extorting payments from businesses. Shaun also urged the participating governments to open more of the committee meetings and activities to business and other stakeholders.

Talking CFIUS with Treasury: With the long-awaited Cornyn Bill to reform and strengthen the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (“CFIUS”) finally now getting more attention, USCIB staffers Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl ventured over to Treasury (the lead agency on CFIUS) to meet with Aimen Mir, Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS. We had an excellent, wide-ranging discussion on key CFIUS issues with the result that DAS Mir and his boss new Treasury Assistant Secretary Heath Tarbert will be speaking with USCIB member companies at our upcoming USCIB Trade and Investment Committee meeting on December 12.

Talking Trade Hither and Yon: Beyond his part-time USCIB work, our VP for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly remains a sought-after after-hours speaker on broad trade topics both in Washington and on the road. Recently Shaun spoke on Trump Administration trade policies and related trade issues at the Louisville (Kentucky) Committee on Foreign Relations and at his long-ago high school in Indiana. Here in Washington, Shaun was a dinner speaker for the prestigious Foreign Policy Discussion Group and to a “Road Scholar” group as part of a week-long program on “Sovereignty Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy.” Helps keep the old Ambassador off the street and, hopefully, helps in a small way to improve public understanding on important trade issues for our country.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Members Engage with the Internet Society on Internet Governance Issues, Commerce Debriefs on Privacy Shield Annual Review: The ICT Policy Committee Meeting on October 4 featured a dialogue with senior executives of the Internet Society (ISOC) to explore potential collaboration in developing new approaches to increasing challenges in the Internet governance space. It was noted that Internet governance issues have become more complex and the multistakeholder model has come under fire in multilateral organizations due to geopolitical pressures often couched in security terms. Members agreed that USCIB and ISOC should leverage our organizations’ positive multistakeholder experiences to showcase a new alternative. ISOC’s Chief Technology Officer Olaf Kolkman also gave a presentation on ISOC’s Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) Initiative, which is aimed at bringing companies and other stakeholders together to develop a set of norms focused on routing security. In addition, Nasreen Djouini, International Trade Specialist at International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, debriefed members on the generally successful first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. USCIB issued a statement just before the September 18-19 review reaffirming its support for the Framework, underscoring that it is accomplishing its intended goal of creating stronger, more effective means for transferring and safeguarding personal data from the EU to the United States.

USCIB Members Shape Discussions on EU Privacy Regulation Impact, Amazon Application, and Board Accountability at ICANN 60: The 60th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 28-November 3 was dominated by discussions about the implications of the May 25, 2018 implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ICANN’s WHOIS database policies and the contractual obligations of Registries and Registrars. USCIB member representatives from Amazon, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, VeriSign and Verizon actively contributed to their expertise. In addition, the long-running dispute concerning Amazon’s application for the Amazon generic top-level domain (gTLD) was the focus of a standing-room only session of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The ICANN Board’s abrupt suspension of a review to ensure the security, stability and resilience of the domain name system (DNS) came under tough scrutiny. Barbara Wanner, ICT Vice President, participated in her capacity as the BC’s representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG), a position that facilitated important meetings with senior ICANN officials and other key constituencies.

Key Inputs to OECD Horizontal Project on the Digital Economy are Influenced by USCIB Members: On October 25, USCIB member representatives from Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Facebook, and Microsoft, made key contributions to a joint BIAC/OECD workshop, “OECD Going Digital Scenarios,” which considered four different potential scenarios for how the digital economy may evolve over the next several decades. They provided feedback about the likelihood of these scenarios occurring and the impacts on business, consumers, and other participants in the economy and society. Selected members followed this up October 26-27, providing industry insights to a joint OECD/Government Japan conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Their substantive contributions continued through the week of October 30 at meetings of the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP), the Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy (MADE), and the Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE) as well as at the November 21-22 meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP). Working through BIAC, USCIB member input will feed into the OECD’s Going Digital project on the digital transformation of the economy. This is the most ambitious horizontal project that has ever been undertaken by the OECD, the goal of which is to help governments approach the digital transformation of the economy in a coherent, proactive, and whole-of-government manner.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Participates in OECD Conversation on the Tax Challenges of the Digitalized Economy: In response to a request for input by the OECD, USCIB submitted a comment letter on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy. The letter emphasized the need to consider the impact of changes on global growth and the need to ensure that new rules are based on sound principles. The letter analyzed the proposals under the Ottawa principles that have been used to evaluate tax proposals in the past and that the OECD has supported in the Action 1 Final Report. The written comments were followed by a public consultation held in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley meeting was well-attended by USCIB members, including Bill Sample, Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee, Will Morris, Vice Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee (and Chair of the BIAC Tax Committee), and Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel. In addition to global growth and sound principles, business emphasized the need for income taxation to follow value creation; the difficulty of valuing data, that raw data does not create value, rather value is created by what businesses do with data; that the digital economy cannot be ring-fenced (although many of the proposals seem to try to do precisely that); that gross basis taxes are especially flawed given that most businesses fail and that even successful businesses may incur start-up losses for extended periods; and that any short-term solution must be genuinely short-term and comply with both tax treaty and trade obligations.

USCIB members also met separately with officials from the German Finance Ministry to discuss their views on these issues. We will also be having a meeting in Washington, D.C., on November 30th, with the French Finance Ministry to these topics.
It is clear that there is tremendous political pressure to shift taxation rights. The EU wants new “source” rules that put more profit in market jurisdictions. It seems that the OECD may have a short window to produce results that the EU and other jurisdictions that are seeking more “source” taxation rights consider appropriate. Beyond that time-frame, which may coincide with the April 2018 report to the G20, unilateral measures become increasingly likely.

USCIB Submits Comments on Platform for Collaboration on Tax’s Draft Toolkit on the Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers: USCIB submitted a comment letter on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers. The comment letter strongly made the point that, if adopted as drafted, the toolkit would reverse fundamental policies on the taxation of capital gains and therefore should be considered (and adopted or rejected) by country delegates, not recommended by staff of international organizations.

USCIB Attends and Presents Comments at the OECD’s Public Consultations on Profit Splits and Profit Attribution: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein represented USCIB at two days of public consultations at the OECD in Paris on profit splits and profit attribution. Business emphasized that the use of the transactional profit split method should be rare. There was a great deal of discussion concerning risk and the accurate delineation of the transaction. Many of the business commentators argued that applying the TPSM to companies that do not assume the risk under Chapter 1 is inappropriate. Another frequent comment of business on the profit split method was that more clarity is needed particularly on the definition of unique and valuable intangibles. On profit attribution, business criticized the high-level nature of the current discussion draft, making the point that more detail is needed to achieve certainty.

USCIB Participates in BIAC Tax Committee Meeting: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein participated in a BIAC Tax Committee meeting in Paris that was held at the offices of Baker & McKenzie. There were presentations by a number of OECD staff summarizing the status of a number of important work streams. On the digital economy work, the OECD indicated that there is no consensus on any of the options, but external developments are sharing the conversation and the report. The OECD wants to ensure that the interim report provides a pathway to long-term solutions. With respect to profit attribution, the OECD expected that the WP6 would reach agreement on a final version by November 17. A draft should go to the CFA/Inclusive Framework for approval in January 2018. The timing is similar for finalizing the profit split discussion draft.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

Giblin Represents USCIB and ICC at WCO 60th HSC Meetings: From September 27 – October 6, 2017, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director of Customs and Trade Facilitation, participated in the World Customs Organization 60th Harmonized System Committee (HSC) Meetings in Paris, France. At the 60th HSC, there were 53 individual product classification decisions taken, and a number of issues important to USCIB membership were discussed, including 3D Printers, certain Tobacco Products, Toys, Footwear, and more.

Engaging with ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission on E-Commerce: Megan Giblin participated in the ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission Meeting in Paris, France, November 9-10, 2017. ICC provided an update on its engagement in the WCO working group on e-commerce as a co-lead of the sub-working group on Revenue Collection. Other topics covered at the meeting included a discussion on the European Union Customs Code (UCC), implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and an update on the WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (TCCV) developments.

Customs Committee Members Meet with Key Players on International Postal Shipments: In efforts to address member questions related to customs treatment of international postal shipments, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee had meetings with Manuel (Manny) Garza of CBP, Mr. Joseph Murphy of the Department of State, and Deputy Post Master General, Mr. Ronald A. Stroman, to continue our discussions and information gathering on current and pending regulations.

Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise

Stefano Scarpetta, OECD, Has Candid Conversation with USCIB Food and Agriculture and Health Care Working Groups: USCIB’s Food and Agriculture and Healthcare Working Groups met with Stefano Scarpetta, director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on October 25, 2017. 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. Members also raised several concerns with a draft paper on sustainable access to innovative therapies.  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.

Innovation and Intellectual Property – Strengthening International Protections for U.S. IP

USCIB Intellectual Property Committee is Re-Launched with Focus on Innovation: USCIB has redoubled its efforts to promote American competitiveness with the launch of its Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee. The new committee, chaired by Sharon Reiche, corporate counsel for global patents and policy at Pfizer Inc., builds upon USCIB’s longstanding commitment to improved protection of intellectual property – and the innovation and creativity it underpins – via robust U.S. trade policy and expanded international diplomatic commitments.

The inaugural meeting of the new USCIB committee took place on October 18 in Washington, D.C. Special guests at the meeting included John Sandage, Deputy Director General for Patents and Technology at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Paul Salmon, Senior Counsel for International Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Daphne Yong-d’Hervé, Chief IP Officer for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), also addressed the committee via conference call, and highlighted the ICC’s new status as Observer to the UN General Assembly.

APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region

USCIB Attends 2017 APEC CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam: Mike Michener, USCIB Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation, attended the 2017 APEC CEO Summit on November 7-10 in Da Nang, Vietnam. Under the leadership of NCAPEC, USCIB and other business groups joined a diverse array of American CEOs and other executives (including numerous USCIB members) in both the official CEO Summit programming and other meetings with governments. Meetings were scheduled with the President of Vietnam, Tran Dai Quang, Ambassador Matt Matthews, U.S. Ambassador for APEC, the Trade Minister of Australia, Steven Ciobo, and Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Michener also participated in a meeting with the Philippine’s Secretary of Trade Roman Lopez.  

Throughout 2017, USCIB has addressed a number of key priorities through APEC, including chemicals policy, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, digital trade, and women in the economy. Our members and staff have engaged in several APEC working groups, including the Chemical Dialogue, APEC Business-Customs Dialogue, Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group, Alliance for Supply Chain name=”MEM”> Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup. Currently, USCIB has just finalized the 2018 APEC Priorities and Recommendations paper. Papua New Guinea will serve as the host economy for APEC 2018.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Gilead Sciences and DowDuPont 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 Reed Smith LLP and Uber as new members.

Upcoming Events

  • WCO 53rd RSC, Paris, France – December 4-12
  • ICC Marketing Commission Meeting, San Francisco – December 4-5
  • Third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3), Nairobi, Kenya – December 4-6
  • Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina – December 10-13
  • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 12
  • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 13
  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Geneva, Switzerland – December 18-21
  • USCIB Arbitration Committee Luncheon, New York – January 23
  • BIAC/OECD Meeting of Chemicals Committee, Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotech, Paris, France – February 5-7
  • ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida – April 3-6

Staff

 


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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Fall/Winter 2017 Issue of International Business Now Live

USCIB’s “International Business” Fall/Winter 2017 issue is now live!

The Fall/Winter 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “The Global Goals: a blueprint for partnership and action” as well as articles on developments in the UN General Assembly, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, 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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We welcome advertising in International Business magazine — special discounted rates for USCIB member organizations! Contact Kira Yevtukhova (kyevtukhova@uscib.org) for more information.

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 Urges Withdrawal of Global Tax “Toolkit”

USCIB recently submitted comments to the Platform for Collaboration on Tax concerning a proposed draft “toolkit” on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers of assets. The Platform for Collaboration on Tax is a joint effort launched in April 2016 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group (WBG). USCIB urged The Platform that the taxation of offshore indirect transfers should not be considered in the context of a “toolkit.”

The discussion draft proposes potentially significant shifts in taxing rights for “source” and “residence” countries.

“Decisions on significant shifts in taxing rights ought to be debated among countries at the appropriate multilateral fora and not resolved by guidance provided by the staff of international organizations without debate among the countries,” said Carol Doran Klein, USCIB’s vice president for tax policy.  “As such, the letter recommends withdrawal of the toolkit.”

Doran Klein added: “USCIB is concerned that tax authorities may treat the toolkits as authoritative guidance. Each toolkit should make clear that they are not authoritative and cannot override contrary guidance that is authoritative.”

Taxation

 

Fountain pen on tax

Chair

Bill Sample
Vice President – Tax
Microsoft Corporation

Vice Chair

Timothy M. McDonald
Vice President, Finance & Accounting, Global Taxes
The Procter & Gamble Company

Vice Chair

Will Morris
Deputy Global Tax Policy Leader
PwC

Staff

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy & Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Working Groups / Subcommittees

BIAC/ICC Subcommittee

Inbound Investment Subcommittee

Legislative and Administrative Developments Subcommittee

Tax Treaties Subcommittee

Transfer Pricing Subcommittee

Working Group on Consumption Taxes

Working Group on the Digital Economy

Working Group on Environment and Energy Taxes

Working Group on Financial Services Issues

Working Group on Permanent Establishment Issues

What’s at Stake for Business

  • Multiple sets of inconsistent rules drive up costs and result in double taxation.
  • Double taxation will have a negative impact on global trade and investment.

Current Priorities

  • Provide leadership and business perspective on key OECD projects including BEPS, transfer pricing guidelines for intangibles, permanent establishment rules.  USCIB works closely with BIAC on OECD issues.
  • Urge the OECD to consider the need for a predictable fiscal environment that will protect and encourage cross-border trade and investment in the context of developing and implementing BEPS recommendations.
  • Support enactment of foreign tax simplification provisions in the IRC that would significantly reduce the burden of complexity for U.S. companies and enhance their international competitiveness.
  • Successfully manage the 2018 OECD International Tax Conference in Washington, DC on June 4-5, 2018.

USCIB at Work

USCIB plays a leading role in advocating sound, consistent international taxation policies and opposes any efforts to unfairly increase the tax burden on companies in several forums:

  • At the OECD, leading voice through BIAC informing policymakers on the unintended negative consequences resulting from unilateral actions.
  • At the UN, providing business input at the UN’s Committee of Tax Experts including on changes to the UN Model and UN Transfer Pricing Guidance.
  • In Washington, promoting business interests to U.S. Treasury and House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees on International Tax Reform and U.S, competitiveness.

Recent Advocacy Engagement

The Committee has a deep technical knowledge of the practical applications of tax policy and works to prevent any policies that may have unintended negative consequences.  USCIB is also:

  • Engaging with the OECD by submitting comment letters and participating in Public Consultations and informal consultations on BEPS to advocate for the need of effective dispute resolution and clarity in guidance regarding all BEPS outcomes.
  • Citing business concerns with BEPS and noting the threat of double taxation and its negative impact on global trade and investment in letters sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
  • On the Steering Committee of the BIAC Taxation Committee where we influence both agenda setting and policy development in the OECD.

Who We Are

The USCIB Tax Committee is composed of USCIB member companies representing a range of business and industry sectors. Advocacy priorities are determined that reflect consensus among the members.

Mission

The Committee works to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. business by promoting sound, appropriate and consistent international tax policy and also to prevent and eliminate government policies that result in double taxation in a range of strategic forums:

  • The OECD, particularly on the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)
  • The United Nations
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury

Recent Accomplishments

News Stories

Fall/Winter 2017 Issue of International Business Now Live (11/29/2017) - The Fall/Winter 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “The Global Goals: a blueprint for partnership and action” as well as articles on developments in the UN General Assembly, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.
USCIB Urges Withdrawal of Global Tax “Toolkit” (10/20/2017) - USCIB recently submitted comments to the Platform for Collaboration on Tax concerning a proposed draft “toolkit” on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers of assets. The Platform for Collaboration on Tax is a joint effort launched in April 2016 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group (WBG).

Read More

Press Releases

USCIB Statement on the U.S. Election Results (11/9/2016) - USCIB congratulated Donald Trump on his election as president, saying a top priority for the new administration should be a strategy for U.S. engagement with the wider world.
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.

Read More

2018 OECD Tax Conference

SAVE THE DATE!

The 2018 OECD International Tax Conference

 June 4-5, 2018

Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C

This annual conference provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. business community to interact with key representatives from the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, including the new Head of the Transfer Pricing Unit, Tomas Balco, the new Head of theTax Treaty Unit, Sophie Chatel, and senior tax officials from the U.S. and other key countries involved in the OECD’s international tax work. The conference will focus on the latest developments in the taxation of multinational enterprises including tax treaties, transfer pricing, the work of the Task Force on the Digital Economy, dispute resolution and more.

For more information, please contact Erin Breitenbucher (202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org).

2017 Final Agenda

2017 Topics:

  • Tax Reform Trends
  • Improving Tax Certainty
  • Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI)
  • Transfer Pricing
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Inclusive Framework on BEPS & Developing Countries

2017 Featured Speakers:

  • Mark Prater – Chief Tax Counsel and Deputy Staff Director for the Republican staff of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Finance
  • Pascal Saint-Amans – Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration, OECD
  • Martin Kreienbaum – Director General, International Taxation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany
  • Mike Williams – Director, Business and International Tax, HM Treasury
  • Doug O’Donnell – Commissioner, Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, IRS
  • Grace Perez-Navarro – Deputy Director of the CTPA, OECD
  • Achim Pross – Head of International Cooperation and Tax Administration, OECD
  • Jefferson Vanderwolk – Head of the Tax Treaty, Transfer Pricing & Financial Transactions Division, OECD
  • James Karanja – Head of joint OECD/UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Initiative
  • Will Morris – Chairman, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Other Senior Treasury and Foreign Tax Policy Officials

More on USCIB’s Taxation Committee

2017 Conference Sponsored By:

EY_Logo

 

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PWC

 

VERTEX Logo

 

exxonmobil

 

 

Black Deloitte Logo

 

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Print

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Miller_Chevalier-logo_300dpi-01

 

Exhibitors:

 

bloomberg bna logo

Corptax_WEB

 

ivins-for IBCN Red

 

Presented by:

USCIB logo

OECD

Business at OECD Logo - 2016

In association with:

IFA Logo
ITPF
NFTC logo
Organization for International Investment
TCPI
Tax Executives Institute, Inc.

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

    1. Membership
    2. Upcoming Events
    3. 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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Multilateral Effort Needed to Address Tax in Digital Economy

In response to recent European Union proposals concerning taxation of the digital economy, Business at OECD (BIAC) expressed deep concerns that unilateral action for the taxation of the digital economy will lead to serious distortions in markets and global value chains.

“Business at OECD representing corporate communities across the globe is fully and constructively engaged in the OECD/G20 process to address Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), including Action 1 on the digital economy”, confirmed Business at OECD Secretary General Bernhard Welschke. “We recognize there are important and complex issues concerning the digitalization of our economies. However, unilateral action in this field will lead to costly fragmentation and threatens to diminish the considerable potential for growth and innovation,” he added.

Welschke noted that only a comprehensive multilateral engagement between tax authorities, taxpayers and other stakeholders will lead to outcomes that support a successful digital transformation. “Therefore, the OECD is the most appropriate forum in which to pursue this engagement, and we encourage all countries to participate in this multilateral effort,” explained Welschke.

USCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein also noted: “For business to flourish in the digital economy, tax rules must be implemented in a coherent and coordinated manner. USCIB worked actively through BIAC to shape the BEPS work toward this end. Fragmented rules are likely to result in double taxation and a negative impact on global trade and Investment.”

Finance Disrupted Economist Event

Initially seen as a threat, banking incumbents have acknowledged the profitability behind collaborating with fintech insurgents and the opportunity to create win-win partnerships.

On September 28th at Finance Disrupted top venture capitalists and established banks will bring a hollistic perspective to find out: who is succeeding, who is failing, and where is the new seed and growth capital going?

Registration is now open! For a limited time, take advantage of the Early Bird Rate and save $400.

Download the program for full event details.

OECD Business Communicators to Meet in Ireland

Dublin’s Samuel Beckett Bridge: The Irish capital will welcome business communicators from across the OECD.

Continuing its efforts to re-frame the global narrative on trade and economic openness, on October 12-13, Business at OECD (BIAC) will hold its 2nd Heads of Communications Roundtable in Dublin and Cork, Ireland, in cooperation with its Irish member Ibec . This is a two-day program for heads of communications from BIAC’s global membership, and USCIB company representatives are encouraged to attend.

“The roundtable will include a series of meetings, company visits, and guest speakers on themes relevant to communications professionals within business federations and individual companies, and will facilitate a solution-based discussion on the challenges we face in the current international socio-political environment,” according to Ali Karami-Ruiz, BIAC’s director of policy and communications. “Through the event, we will showcase the success and substance globalization has brought to Ireland’s economy.”

In the context of a growing populist narrative in some economies, Irish business leaders will address participants on the challenges and opportunities we face in communicating business and open markets. The program will include a number of company visits and inputs from the communications team behind the “Yes Equality” campaign for marriage equality in Ireland, and from the Irish government’s director of strategic communications.

Communications professionals from USCIB member organizations who are interested in participating in the roundtable should contact Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs.