USCIB Members Play Active Role on OECD’s Illicit Trade During COVID Panel

The OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade hosted a webinar on April 23—”Illicit Trade at the Time of Crisis.” In advance of the webinar, USCIB worked closely with Business at OECD (known as BIAC) and the OECD Secretariat on developing a robust panel dedicated to the BIAC Anti-Illicit Trade Expert Group (AITEG) and the good work of the AITEG and USCIB on illicit trade in the COVID-19 crisis environment.

“As the U.S. affiliate for Business at OECD, USCIB has been working closely with BIAC on anti-illicit trade matters since the establishment of our Anti-Illicit Trade Committee (AITC) in 2018,” said Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan Giblin.

In addition to statements by BIAC’s Anti-Illicit Trade Expert Group chair and vice chair, the panel was rounded out by USCIB member representatives; Pfizer’s Senior Director David Shore, who leads the Europe, Middle East and Africa regional Global Security Team, as well as Amazon’s Senior Public Policy Manager Chris Oldknow, who discussed counterfeiting and intellectual property in Europe and gave poignant remarks on Pfizer and Amazon’s, respective, efforts on illicit trade in the COVID environment.

Prior to the webinar, BIAC published a statement, “Illicit Trade in Context of COVID-19 and Future Pandemics,” which was widely shared with webinar participants and built off earlier contributions of the work of the OECD Task Force.

USCIB’s AITC is chaired by David Luna of Luna Global Networks and vice-chaired by Fernando Pena of DHL. Luna also chairs the recently elevated BIAC AITEG, which is vice-chaired by Alvise Giustiniani of PMI.

USCIB Comments on Negotiating Objectives for a US-Kenya Trade Agreement

Following the Administration’s recent notice to Congress that it is going to enter into negotiations with the Republic of Kenya for a U.S.-Kenya trade agreement, USCIB submitted comments on April 28 to offer its input on negotiating objectives.

USCIB’s comments offered support for a negotiation of a comprehensive trade agreement with Kenya as part of a broader strategy to open international markets for U.S. companies and remove barriers and unfair trade practices in support of economic growth and job creation.

“We strongly believe that free trade with Kenya is overwhelmingly in the interests of both countries and their global trading partners, provided that the agreement is a high standard and comprehensive bilateral trade and investment agreement,” said USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl.

According to USCIB, reaching an agreement with Kenya is important for the United States because this would be the first trade agreement with a Sub-Saharan African country.

“Beyond Kenya, the Administration should continue ambitions to initiate trade negotiations with other African partners,” added Hampl.

USCIB stressed that a successful trade agreement with Kenya should be negotiated as a single, comprehensive agreement which covers comprehensive market access and national treatment for goods, services, investment and government procurement, and also addresses key rules issues as well.

Beyond Kenya, a high standard U.S.-Kenya FTA could serve as a benchmark for the further negotiation and implementation of the broader African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), parts of which entered into force in May 2019, and is viewed as a great step forward for African trade modernization.

USCIB Welcomes New Vice-Chair of Anti-Illicit Trade Committee

Fernando Peña

Director of Customs and Regulatory Affairs for DHL in the Americas Region Fernando Peña has been appointed vice-chair of USCIB’s Anti-Illicit Trade Committee (AITC).  Illicit trade is a major threat to the U.S. economy and profoundly harms American businesses and citizens.Today’s global illicit markets generate trillions of U.S. dollars every year for organized crime, corrupt facilitators and other bad actors.  Counterfeits, illegal goods and other contraband are sold on our main streets, social media, online marketplaces and the dark web. USCIB Is committed to fight illicit trade globally.

According to Megan Giblin, who leads USCIB’s work on customs, the AITC takes a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to elevating the fight against illicit trade, particularly as it relates to the work of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, the Asia Pacific and Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Customs Organization (WCO) and other international organizations.

Peña joins AITC chair, David M. Luna, president and CEO of Luna Global Networks & Convergence Strategies LLC, in providing leadership of the Committee and its critical work such as engagement of China and other Source Markets of Fakes, targeted Action on Illicit Trade including Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, AIT Enforcement at Free Trade Zones (FTZs), strengthening Information sharing across sectors and markets as well as addressing “small parcels” trade in contraband and illicit commodities.

“We are very excited that Fernando has accepted a role in leading USCIB’s efforts to elevate the fight against illicit trade” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan. “Fernando will be a valuable asset to the AITC objectives and strategic planning.  His wealth of private and public sector experience, including working for U.S. Customs & Border Protection, knowledge of international organizations, focus on Americas region for DHL and his overall understanding of the small parcels environment will be an asset to the work of the Committee.”

“Business has a critical role in mobilizing collective action to counter illicit trade” said Luna. “DHL and other USCIB AITC members can partner with governments to effectively disrupt illicit economies and criminals’ exploitation of global supply chains and FTZs.”