New York, N.Y., November 29, 2012 – The business community celebrated five decades of a strong business voice at the OECD last night, as the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) held its annual award gala at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
Breaking somewhat with tradition, the pro-trade group presented its 2012 International Leadership Award, which recognizes extraordinary efforts to expand global commerce and is normally presented to a top corporate leader, to BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, on the occasion of BIAC’s 50th anniversary.
“BIAC has represented the interests of business and industry to promote open and competitive markets, level playing fields and sound regulation and governance,” stated USCIB Chairman Terry McGraw, CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies. “Its work in fighting against protectionism, and enabling businesses to compete and succeed, is of critical importance to our enterprises as we continue to expand in a complex global marketplace.”
Accepting the award on behalf of BIAC’s worldwide membership were BIAC Chairman Charles Heeter (principal, Deloitte LLP) and BIAC Secretary General Tadahiro Asami. “This award is not only an honor, but it is an encouragement,” said Heeter, “an encouragement to continue, even redouble, our efforts to provide high-quality business advice to the OECD and its member governments, based on expertise and experience across a wide range of industries and geographies.”
Asami noted the close relationship between American business and BIAC. “USCIB is very much liked and respected by BIAC members and committee leaders,” he said. “USCIB, together with its member companies, contribute to BIAC policy groups with new ideas, initiatives and innovative policy thinking – this is the strength of U.S. business in BIAC.”
In a video message for the event, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria stated: “BIAC is our main connection to the business community. Its advice helps to ground the OECD’s analysis and policy recommendations in a more realistic perspective. This support is even more important today. We need to design new policies to build stronger, cleaner and fairer economies and we will succeed only to the extent that we do this in close coordination with the private sector.”
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CEO Barry Salzberg also provided testimonial remarks. He called BIAC “one of our most valuable policy platforms,” and said both it and the OECD played an instrumental role in shaping government decision-making.
Noting the two organizations’ long affiliation and close working relationship, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson stated: “BIAC’s ability to influence the OECD’s work, and thereby help shape government policy in the 35 OECD nations and beyond, is just one part – but it is a big part – of what makes USCIB special.”
Katty Kay, the lead anchor at BBC World News America, delivered keynote remarks, addressing the results of the recent U.S. election and the prospects for resolution of the looming fiscal cliff. “The question is whether we can make America governable again,” she said. “Can people put partisanship aside and behave responsibly? If they [Congress] keep acting like spoiled children, nothing’s going to happen.” But Kay also said she has faith in the ability of America’s businesses to muddle through. “There’s nowhere where it’s more entrepreneurial or energetic.”
The USCIB award gala drew hundreds of business leaders as well as dignitaries from government and diplomatic circles. The International Leadership Award, first presented to a corporate leader in 1980, has most recently honored Andrew Liveris of The Dow Chemical Company, George Buckley of 3M Company and Muhtar Kent of The Coca-Cola Company. It has been bestowed on an institution only once before, in 2009, when USCIB presented the award to the International Chamber of Commerce.
More information on the dinner and the International Leadership Award is available at www.uscibgala.com.
Founded in 1945, USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, including BIAC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.