USCIB to Present Proposal at APEC on Fighting IP Crime, Illicit Trade

During this week’s virtual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting of the Intellectual Property Rights Expert Group (IPEG) as part of the third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) this year, USCIB will be presenting a proposal on October 7 on fighting intellectual property crime and illicit trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. This presentation will be given by USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee (AITC) Chair David Luna of Luna Global Networks and Vice Chair Fernando Peña of DHL.

The proposal presented by Luna and Peña builds on previous groundwork in APEC on fighting illicit trade in various working groups, such as IPEG, the APEC Business Advisory Council, the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, and others, as well as scaling current efforts to strengthen international cooperation across economies, sectors and communities to fight illicit trade, including in established Free Trade Zones in the APEC region.

Luna and Pena will also discuss how COVID-19 further mutated criminality and IP infringement across online and e-commerce marketplaces, including through illicit trade, that is putting the health and safety of APEC citizens and communities at risk. Examples of products affected include medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies and fast-moving consumer goods such as food, hand-sanitizers and disinfectants.

“This has resulted in increased trade in illicit goods throughout APEC economies, which has sapped governments of vital tax revenues, inhibiting funding for pandemic response and economic recovery,” added USCIB Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan Giblin. “We must continue to promote APEC’s leadership through public-private partnerships in APEC and across the Asia Pacific region and globally fight illicit trade.”

USCIB Submits Comments to USTR on China’s Compliance With WTO

USCIB submitted comments on China’s compliance with WTO commitments on September 17. The comments were in response to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) request for input. In its comments, USCIB welcomed the “Phase One” trade agreement between the United States and China, as well as China’s actions to date to implement its commitments under that agreement. According to USCIB, if fully implemented, the agreement will help address a host of policies and practices maintained by China that undermine the ability of U.S. businesses to operate, including unfair and discriminatory governmental practices.

USCIB also noted that U.S. tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs imposed as a result of the U.S. Section 301 investigation into China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation policies have been disruptive to U.S. business.

“While the Phase One deal partially addresses some of these tariffs, more must be done to restore the ability of U.S. business to compete effectively in the global marketplace,” said Eva Hampl, who leads USCIB’s policy work on China. “As described in this submission, many issues affecting business remain a concern in China. Accordingly, high-level bilateral dialogue between the United States and China continues to be of the utmost importance.”

USCIB urges both countries to utilize, in addition to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the full range of formal multilateral fora, including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to work toward improved commercial relations. Plurilateral dialogues that include U.S.-friendly jurisdictions such as the European Union, Canada or Australia should also be considered.

“USCIB and its members understand and appreciate that U.S.-China economic relations are complex and multifaceted, and that American business holds a direct and important stake in this relationship and in its success,” added Hampl. “As the world’s largest economy, China’s practices and policies have a significant impact on its trading partners, and engagement with China can be challenging.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be a public hearing this year. USCIB’s submission is public and can also be found on www.regulations.gov under Docket Number USTR-2020-0033.

 

USCIB Congratulates Colombia on Formally Becoming OECD Member

Pictured from left: Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia and Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD (Photo: OECD/Victor Tonelli)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced that Colombia has formally become an OECD Member as of April 28, 2020. Colombia is the 37th country to do so in the Organization’s near 60-year history.

According to the OECD, Colombia has now completed its domestic procedures for ratification of the OECD Convention and deposited its instrument of accession. This brings to a successful conclusion an accession process that began in 2013.

“Colombia is an important market for many companies, and we commend Colombia on successfully concluding this lengthy process and committing to the high standards of the OECD,” said USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl. As the official voice representing U.S. business in this process, USCIB was actively involved in providing input into Colombia’s accession process via Business at OECD (BIAC), the official business voice at the OECD.

OECD Member countries formally invited Colombia to join the Organization in May 2018, following a five-year accession process during which it underwent in-depth reviews by twenty-three OECD Committees and introduced major reforms to align its legislation, policies and practices to OECD standards. These spanned the breadth of policy fields including labor issues, reform of the justice system, corporate governance of state-owned enterprises, anti-bribery, trade, and the establishment of a national policy on industrial chemicals and waste management.

Michener Shares USCIB’s COVID-19 Response with ICC Americas Group

At a recent virtual meeting of the ICC Americas group, USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener discussed USCIB’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, which first and foremost, is to continue important functions as the entire USCIB team works from home in the New York and Washington metro areas.

“We are still representing member interests in multilateral institutions while highlighting individual company responses in tandem with international organizations, and featuring the important work of global affiliates such as International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), as well as the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (known as BIAC),” said Michener.

According to Michener, USCIB is also flexing its institutional muscle as a thought leader in the nexus between business and the multilateral system, publishing op-eds and press releases, and promoting partnerships with international organizations through its new venture Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD).

Michener outlined how USCIB is fulfilling its function in representing member interests through virtual events; all committee meetings have been converted into a virtual format and USCIB continues to engage with global partners on events, such as the one held on April 29 with the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs on SDG 17 & Public-Private Partnerships: COVID-19 Response & Recovery in the Framework of the 2030 Agenda.

“We are proud to share the work being done related to COVID-19 across the world by our global network of affiliates on our web page, in particular focusing on ICC’s partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the ICC campaign to Save our MSMEs and ICC actions via the G20,” added Michener.

USCIB continues to spotlight what member companies are doing to address the COVID-19 crisis; featured companies include ExxonMobil, Qualcomm, Procter & Gamble, Nike, SAP, Google, Amazon, Apple, CenturyLink, IBM, AT&T, Pfizer, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Mastercard, Salesforce, Microsoft and HanesBrand, with additional spotlights in the pipeline.

More information can be found on this web page: Ensuring Business Continuity During COVID-19

USCIB Releases 2020 Trade and Investment Policy Priorities

Each year the Trade and Investment Committee of the U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) conducts an extensive consultation process among members in identifying priorities for the coming year. The 2020 USCIB Trade and Investment Agenda includes a list of key principles our members support for open trade and investment and an action plan for addressing our trade and investment policy priorities.

The action plan anticipates another busy year on trade and investment including:

  • pressing for final approval and implementation of USMCA,
  • seeking Administration action on phase 2 agreements with China and Japan,
  • supporting movement on trade negotiations with the EU and UK,
  • seeking continued progress on negotiations in the WTO on a digital trade agreement and
  • modernizing the WTO.

“The Agenda provides the framework for USCIB work to advance policies and negotiations that will open international markets for our member companies and strengthen the global rules-based trade and investment framework,” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan. 

APEC Issues Next Steps for Improved Chemicals Cooperation

APEC CD Steering Group with USCIB’s Mike Michener in second row, fifth from right

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) wrapped up its 23rd Chemicals Dialogue (CD23 or CD) on August 25 in Puerto Varas, Chile as part of the third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3). USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener attended the meetings, which spanned over three days, as representative of downstream users of chemicals and metals.

According to Michener, the meetings concluded with some concrete action items, including recommendations for economies to consider specific projects the CD could undertake to further contribute to the priorities of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment, and for delegates to identify concrete proposals for potential CD projects and submit them to the CD for comment prior to CD24 in Malaysia’s host year. Additionally, APEC economies agreed to carry forward the recommendations generated by the risk assessment tabletop exercise, including work towards a commitment of mutual recognition of chemical risk assessments by competent authorities in other economies and APEC best practices and capacity-building to help economies apply those best practices. Finally, delegates were encouraged to provide additional case studies of approaches to overcoming challenges to the implementation of a risk-based approach to chemical management.

“Some key takeaways from a U.S. industry-organized workshop on August 23 to improve regulatory cooperation within Latin America focused on finding a regional industry counterpart, organizing a similar event for CD24 in Malaysia, and develop a CD-endorsed template for free trade agreements,” noted Michener.

Another important action item was a request that called for APEC economies to identify contributions that the CD has made toward implementation of the Boracay Action Agenda prior to its final evaluation in 2020, which will decide the future of the APEC Chemicals Dialogue.

APEC Advances Cross-Border Privacy, Welcomes Philippines 

APEC’s Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) wrapped up four days of meetings on August 21 in Puerto Varas, Chile as part of the third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3). USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner attended the meetings and reported from the field.

According to Wanner, highlights of this meeting included an announcement by the Philippines of its intent to participate in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System, which, upon approval, would make it the 9th APEC member economy to participate in the regional privacy system. An important priority for USCIB, the CBPR is a high-standard and enforceable privacy code of conduct that facilitates cross-border trade and ensures strong privacy protection of personal information. Philippines joins Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Singapore and the United States in participating in the system.

Providing a boost to U.S. company participation in the CBPR, the United States secured the approval of Schellman & Co, LLC as its second Accountability Agent (AA). Schellman will join TrustArc, which heretofore has served as the only agent to independently assess and certify the compliance of U.S. companies under the CBPR and related APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP).

Singapore also was pleased to announced the appointment Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) as its Accountability Agent, joining the United States and Japan, whose JIPDEC serves as its AA.

“A key takeaway from a U.S. government-organized workshop on August 18 focused on fostering AA participation was that the dearth of national AAs has hampered broader company participation in the CBPR,” noted Wanner.

Another important action item was that the some of the CBPR’s 50 program requirements, approved in 2011, need to be revised to better align with global privacy regimes.

APEC Workshop Emphasizes Crucial Role of Business

L-R: Matías Pinto Pimente (Embassy of Chile), Monica Hardy Whaley (NCAPEC) at APEC Essentials Workshop

USCIB partnered with the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) and C&M International to host an APEC Essentials workshop on March 27 to help participants understand the fundamentals of APEC including its history, objectives and opportunities. The event, which attracted approximately 80 attendees, featured practical case studies led by industry discussants on how several sectors approach priority issues and leverage the APEC platform.

Private sector participation in APEC is organized under the leadership of the NCAPEC, which serves as the designated 2019 U.S. Strategic Partner for the CEO Summit, Secretariat to the U.S. members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and as Chair and Secretariat of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson makes remarks at the APEC Essentials Workshop

“APEC is an incubator where economies and business can come together in a non-competitive, mutually supportive way,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, who gave welcoming remarks and moderated one of the panels. “APEC member economies do not need to worry about binding treaties but indirectly they can influence what’s going on in the world, such as in customs and trade and environmental goods. APEC sets an example. Too many international organizations are shutting out the private sector. APEC welcomes the private sector and other stakeholders and that’s one of the reasons it gets things done.”

USCIB addressed a number of issues through APEC to advance discussions across a range of issues including chemicals regulation, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs and digital trade. USCIB 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 Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup.

USCIB’s Customs and Trade Facilitation lead Megan Giblin, alongside Customs colleagues

The program featured Matías Pinto Pimente, head of the economic department and trade commissioner at the Embassy of Chile in Washington DC; Emily Fischer, principal APEC coordinator, economic policy advisor, U.S. Department of State; Jillian DeLuna, director for APEC affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Monica Hardy Whaley, president, National Center for APEC; and Ambassador Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive, Crowell & Moring International; Partner, Crowell & Moring; former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative.

Chile will host this year’s APEC meetings.

USCIB to Hold Meeting on APEC Essentials

You have heard about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation regional forum, also known as APEC, but you are not entirely sure of the format, or how your company or business association would benefit from participation.  Here is a rare opportunity to have all of your APEC questions answered, and to bring you up to speed on recent developments at the most recent Senior Officials’ Meeting under this year’s leadership of Chile.

On March 27, USCIB will join with the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) and C&M International to host APEC Essentials, a workshop to help participants understand the fundamentals of APEC including its history, objectives and opportunities. Learn from practical case studies led by industry discussants on how several sectors approach priority issues and leverage the APEC platform.

Besides USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, the program will also feature His Excellency Alfonso Silva Navarro, ambassador of Chile to the United States; Emily Fischer, principal APEC coordinator, economic policy advisor, U.S. Department of State; Jillian DeLuna, director for APEC affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Monica Hardy Whaley, president, National Center for APEC; and Ambassador Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive, Crowell & Moring International; Partner, Crowell & Moring; former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative.

Private sector participation in APEC is organized under the leadership of the NCAPEC, which serves as the designated 2019 U.S. Strategic Partner for the CEO Summit, Secretariat to the U.S. members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and as Chair and Secretariat of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.

USCIB joined with ABAC and APEC Business Coalition partners to advance common objectives during last year’s APEC leadership by Papua New Guinea. Throughout 2018, USCIB addressed a number of issues through APEC to advance discussions across a range of issue. These include chemicals regulation, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, and digital trade. USCIB 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 Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup.

“USCIB looks forward to the APEC Essentials workshop and we thank Crowell & Moring for hosting this event,” said Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on APEC.  “USCIB appreciates the numerous committed partnerships that APEC has established with the private sector.  These partnerships are addressing many economic opportunities, particularly on trade and regulatory issues, that will help foster greater economic integration among APEC’s twenty-one member economies.”

Annual APEC Summit Fails to Reach Consensus

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leadership Summit held its annual summit this year in Papua New Guinea (PNG) November 12-18, but for the first time in the Forum’s history, economies attending failed to reach consensus. The area of contention was around the Multilateral Trade System (MTS) section. This was also the first year that USCIB did not send a delegation to the APEC Summit, however USCIB contributed to earlier meetings this year, including the APEC meetings in Chile held September 11-12, which produced new principles in transit.

“This is clearly a disappointing outcome,” said USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, who coordinates USCIB’s work on APEC. “APEC’s strength is the ability of member economies to find consensus on topics of mutual benefit, like trade. It is apparent that differing visions of trade policy blocked agreement for the first time in nearly 30 years.”

Following the summit, PNG released Statements to highlight what has been accomplished this year, including a reaffirmation of APEC’s commitment to achieve balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth and prosperity in the APEC region, while pledging to combat protectionism and unfair trade practices. The Statements also emphasized the need to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to improve and strengthen the body to better address existing and emerging global trade challenges.

Furthermore, the Statement noted continuing support for the Work Program on E-commerce to advance initiatives on e-commerce, investment, small and medium enterprises, and trade and women’s economic empowerment.

For the 2018 APEC year, PNG chose the theme of “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future.” APEC will be led by Chile in 2019 and will focus on the digital economy, regional connectivity, and women’s role in economic growth. Chile previously hosted APEC in 2004.