ICC Commercial Law & Practice Commission Meeting in China.
The World Chambers Congress is the premier event of its kind bringing together chamber, business and government figures alike. Now in its 10th edition, this flagship event is much more than just a chamber’s gathering. In convening the globe’s most prominent leaders and brightest minds, we aim to transform the future of business.
The #10WCC is jointly organised by the Sydney Business Chamber, a division of NSW Business Chamber. It will be held in Sydney, Australia from 19-21 September 2017 and take place in the harbour city’s newest convention centre, the International Convention Centre Sydney.
President Donald Trump‘s administration has adopted and expanded upon the Obama Administration’s “SelectUSA” annual conference to promote foreign direct investment (FDI) into the U.S. The 2017 “SelectUSA” conference was held June 18-20 at National Harbor in suburban Maryland, outside Washington. Senior Executives from USCIB member companies including General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and UPS President of Global Public Affairs Laura Lane, as well as representatives from Deloitte, Lockheed Martin, AT&T and JPMorgan Chase shared the podium as speakers in plenary, panels and breakout sessions with U.S. cabinet members, state development officials, and foreign business leaders.
USCIB congratulates the Administration for the successful conference and commends them for recognizing the importance of FDI for U.S. economic growth, global competitiveness and job creation. Details on the SelectUSA’17 conference are available here. Questions about SelectUSA or U.S. government support for foreign investment into the United States should be addressed to SelectUSA office at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson wrote an Op-ed in The Hill, “How to Modernize NAFTA: First, do no Harm.”
Robinson cites a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, since the agreement’s implementation, U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico has more than tripled, with a positive impact on U.S. GDP of 0.5 percent, or several billion dollars of added growth per year.
However, he also writes that NAFTA needs to be updated in a way that solidifies the gains Americans have reaped from these transformations, while further enhancing our competitiveness.
The Op-ed is available here.
USCIB joined with the Coalition for Integrity, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the AFL-CIO in a June 13 letter to President Donald Trump urging the administration to push aggressively for other leading global trading nations to match U.S. efforts against international bribery and corruption. Specifically, the group urged the administration to press all of the 41 signatory countries to the OECD’s Anti-bribery Convention to take concrete steps to strengthen their implementation and enforcement of their foreign bribery laws.
In the context of the G20, USCIB joined in urging the administration to press for all G20 countries to become signatories and full partners in that OECD convention by the end of 2018. Currently four G20 members (China, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia) have not signed the OECD Anti-bribery Convention.
The G20 Summit meeting will be held July 7-9 in Hamburg, Germany.
USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog was among approximately 6,000 delegates who attended the 106th session of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland (June 5-16). The ILC touched upon pressing global issues such as the application of labor standards, peace and stability, women in the workplace, immigration and climate change. Herzog attended the ILC as a member of the U.S. Employers Delegation, headed by Ed Potter, USCIB senior counsel and U.S. employer spokesperson to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Governing Body.
Herzog gave remarks at the Committee for Labor Migration, emphasizing the important role the ILO has to play in ensuring that labor migration policies are grounded in sound facts in order to assist governments in devising and implementing policies in ways that work for both employers and workers.
“Labor migration is a necessary and important phenomenon,” said Herzog in her remarks. “It can help fulfill personal aspirations, balance labor supply and demand, spark innovation, and develop and transfer skills. But for workers to be able to move of their own volition, where and when their labor is needed and valued, and with their rights protected, governments must have clear, transparent and efficient migration policies.”
Washington, D.C., June 13, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents the global interests of American companies, has released its recommendations to the Trump administration on priorities for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The group calls on the administration to update the 20 year-old pact to accommodate new realities in global commerce, including the rise of the digital economy, while keeping what works from the original agreement.
“Our member companies, who collectively encompass America’s most successful enterprises on the global stage, strongly support modernization of NAFTA,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “But they are united in believing that this must take place as part of a broader strategy to open international markets for U.S. companies, and remove barriers and unfair trade practices in support of U.S. jobs.”
USCIB 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 a quarter-century ago, such as the digital provision of goods and services, data localization requirements, 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 century.
The USCIB statement notes that, since NAFTA’s implementation, U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico has more than tripled, with a positive impact on U.S. GDP of 0.5%, or several billion dollars of added growth per year. It cites a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics which found that NAFTA did not foster noticeable growth in the overall U.S. trade deficit, and that increased trade with Mexico did not perceptibly raise U.S. unemployment.
USCIB says that several other areas currently covered by the agreement also require modernization, including rules on intellectual property protection, regulatory cooperation, services market access, and customs and trade facilitation. The group says that language agreed during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations provides a useful foundation on these topics upon which to build for NAFTA modernization, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have remarked. In other areas where NAFTA disciplines have stood the test of time, USCIB is urging the administration to focus on ensuring that those provisions not be weakened.
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. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
Tel: +1 917 420 0039
USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was in Paris last week for OECD Week, which tackled issues such as international tax rules, globalization challenges and anti-trade rhetoric. Addressing Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on June 7, Business at OECD (BIAC) Chair Phil O’Reilly called on governments to address the challenges of strengthening growth and boosting economic participation, emphasizing that “ultimately societies can only support economic openness, when it is accompanied by appropriate domestic policies to prepare people for change, with better skills and more opportunities for economic participation.” O’Reilly drew upon principles highlighted in the recently released Business at OECD 2017 Statement to Ministers, which contains the core business recommendations to strengthen open economies and inclusive societies. This paper is a call to action for OECD governments to implement a comprehensive competitiveness agenda, and also better engage with the public, especially regarding the opportunities that come with trade and investment.
In a similar statement, Business at OECD Secretary General Bernhard Welschke encouraged governments to better address an increasing anti-trade rhetoric in OECD countries, highlighting that “both business and trade unions have a responsibility to communicate in a fair, balanced, and responsible manner.” Also speaking at the session on International Trade and Investment for the Benefit for All, Business at OECD (BIAC) Vice Chair and USCIB Board member Charles R. Johnston (Citi) encouraged governments to counteract on protectionist action in the form of growing non-tariff barriers, and pointed to areas where new OECD work would help better inform this debate. Business also emphasized that governments should fully use the OECD Investment Restrictiveness Index and implement the Policy Framework for Investment.
On international tax policy, Business at OECD (BIAC) was present at the official signing ceremony for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures (MLI) to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which took place at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. The MLI opens the door to changes in the tax treaty process, and to a number of key international tax rules, that are significant. Concurrently, USCIB and the OECD were holding their 12th annual international tax conference in Washington DC, which brought together over 300 tax policy experts.
The B20 recommendations Boosting Investment in Africa- Towards Inclusive Compacts in Africa have been signed in Berlin by the majority of the B20 taskforce and cross-thematic group Chairs and Co-Chairs, including USCIB President and CEO Peter M Robinson, who serves as Co-Chair of the B20 Employment and Education Taskforce. Robinson also recently attended the B20 Summit in Berlin in May. The Partnership with Africa is one of the key priorities in the German G20 presidency, as well as in the B20.
The B20 Secretariat offered these recommendations to the press and B20 Chairman Jürgen Heraeus introduced the recommendations at the G20 Africa Partnership – Investing in a Common Future Conference. BDI, the pre-eminent German business group, hosted the event as a partner within the framework of the Sub- Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) on June 12 in Berlin.
The “African Economic Outlook” is an annual report produced by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Speakers at the African Economic Outlook will include President of the Republic of Rwanda S. E. Paul Kagame, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Thomas Silberhorn and Secretary-General of the OECD Ángel Gurría.
Business at OECD (BIAC) will be hosting executive leadership, including USCIB’s President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, and Citi’s Rick Johnston, USCIB board member and BIAC vice chair at their General Assembly in Paris this week. Business at OECD will also participate in the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, which will bring together economy, finance and trade ministers from OECD countries to discuss strategic orientations for the coming years under the theme “Making Globalization Work.”
Business at OECD will provide guidance to OECD and governments on addressing the challenges of strengthening growth and boosting economic participation, drawing upon its 2017 statement to Ministers, which includes recommendations on:
- Support a better business environment and map competitiveness
- Create the conditions to benefit from trade and investment on a level playing field
- For growth and investment, ensure good governance and predictable tax policies
- Increase participation by promoting the skills and competencies to thrive in the digital era
- Focus on entrepreneurship
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