USCIB Joins Pledge to Enhance Cyber Resiliency and Counter Evolving Global Threats

In partnership with the Coalition to Reduce Cyber Risk (CR2), USCIB was among thirty-seven companies and organizations that pledged on June 8 to enhance cyber resiliency and counter evolving cross-border cyber threats, such as the growth of ransomware.

Signers to this groundbreaking pledge from eight countries have promised to encourage the development, evolution and implementation of risk-based approaches that rely on consensus-based standards and risk management best practices, support efforts of vendors and supply chain contributors to adopt risk-based cybersecurity approaches in order to help small businesses flourish while improving the resiliency of the cyber ecosystem, incorporate widely accepted international cybersecurity standards as a foundation of cybersecurity policies and controls wherever applicable and feasible, and periodically reassess cybersecurity policies and controls against revisions to cybersecurity standards and actively participate in industry-driven initiatives to improve those standards.

“CR2 is committed to driving a globally-aligned approach for managing cyber risk. Thirty-Seven organizations from eight countries have signed the Cyber Risk Management Pledge, demonstrating the breadth of usage of international standards such as ISO/IEC 27110 and 27103, as well as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and associated sector profiles.” said
Benjamin Flatgard, President of CR2 and Executive Director of Technology and Cybersecurity Policy and Partnerships at J.P. Morgan Chase.

He added: “Governments should embed widely used international standards at the core of their national cyber policies to facilitate a seamless approach to shared cyber risk.”

For more information on the CR2 and the pledge, or if your company or organization is interested in joining the pledge, please visit https://www.crx2.org/

USCIB Joins Global Trade and Industry in Statement to Urge WTO to Renew Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions

May 17, 2022, New York, NY — The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) joined today nearly 100 other global trade and industry associations to urge WTO members to renew the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in June.

According to the statement, allowing the Moratorium to expire would be a historic setback for the WTO, representing an unprecedented termination of a multilateral agreement in place nearly since the WTO’s inception – an agreement that has allowed the digital economy to take root and grow. All WTO members have a stake in the organization’s continued institutional credibility and resilience, as well as its relevance at a time of unprecedented digital transformation.

Continuation of the Moratorium is critical to the COVID-19 recovery. As detailed by the United Nations, the World Bank, the OECD, and many other organizations, the cross-border exchange of knowledge, technical know-how, and scientific and commercial information across transnational IT networks, as well as access to digital tools and global market opportunities have helped sustain economies, expand education, and raise global living standards.

Continuation of the Moratorium is also important to supply chain resilience for manufacturing and services industries in the COVID-19 era. Manufacturers – both large and small, and across a range of industrial sectors – rely on the constant flow of research, design, and process data and software to enable their production flows and supply chains for critical products.

The Moratorium is particularly beneficial to Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), whose ability to access and leverage digital tools has allowed them to stay in business amidst physical restrictions and lockdowns.

Failure to renew the Moratorium will jeopardize these benefits, as customs restrictions that interrupt cross-border access to knowledge and digital tools will harm MSMEs, the global supply chain, and COVID-19 recovery – increasing digital fragmentation. As UNCTAD has explained, such fragmentation “reduces market opportunities for domestic MSMEs to reach worldwide markets, [and] … reduces opportunities for digital innovation, including various missed opportunities for inclusive development that can be facilitated by engaging in data-sharing through strong international cooperation…. [M]ost small, developing economies will lose opportunities for raising their digital competitiveness.”

The rest of the statement can be found here.

About USCIB: 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 the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (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.

USCIB’s Statement of Priorities for the Proposed Global Digital Compact

On occasion of the United Nations Secretary General’s inclusion of the proposed Global Digital Compact (GDC) as part of Our Common Agenda, USCIB released a statement of priorities, which highlights how digital technologies and the online environment act as drivers that help grow the global economy, bridge inequalities, foster creativity and innovation, build trust, and expand societal engagement and exchange.

USCIB’s statement outlines several specific issues as key to realizing improved digital cooperation, such as infrastruture, connectivity and spectrum; multistakeholder governance approaches; free flow of data; the avoidance of internet fragmentation; the importance of trust; open markets and predictable regulatory environments; protection of freedom of expression online; importance of Artifical Intelligence (AI); and finally accountability criteria for discriminatory and misleading content.

“Key to realizing the developmental benefits of digital transformation are policies that support an enabling environment for technology innovation,” said USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner. According to USCIB, such policies may address economic, social/cultural, technical, and governance issues, all of which are interlinked and cross-cutting. This holistic approach best ensures the development of an open, safe, highly secure, stable, interoperable, seamless and sustainable digital ecosystem with the potential to close development gaps and address other inequities.

 

USCIB Supports “ITU International Girls in ICT Day” and Candidacy of Doreen Bogdan-Martin

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has developed an initiative aimed at realizing greater inclusion in the digital economy, bridging the gender digital divide and encouraging young women throughout the world to study and pursue careers based on STEM skills.

This year, the ITU’s International Girls in ICT Day will be celebrated on April 28.

According to Barbara Wanner, USCIB vice president for ICT Policy, this year’s theme will be “Access and Safety,” a selection based on consultations with girls and young women, who indicated that they need safe and reliable access to the Internet and digital tools to pursue their STEM career ambitions.

“It is USCIB’s hope that events such as this will help to broaden global support for the candidacy of Doreen Bogdan-Martin, currently Director of the ITU Development Bureau, for ITU Secretary General when elections are held at the ITU Plenipotentiary, September 26-October 14, 2022, in Bucharest, Romania,” said Wanner.

USCIB featured a discussion about the ITU’s efforts to bridge the gender digital divide and encourage more young women to pursue STEM careers as part of our workshop at the 2016 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) – “An Internet of Women by 2020: From WSIS Vision to Reality.  “Our expert speaker, in fact, was Ms. Bogdan-Martin,” added Wanner.

 

USCIB Policy Experts Participate in B20 Indonesia

Several USCIB policy experts are actively participating in B20 2022, the official global business dialogue with G20 nations.

Led by Indonesia this year, the B20 is comprised of seven task forces that develop consensus-based policy proposals outlining business priorities on key issue confronting the G20 nations in the year ahead. Senior Vice President for Innovation, Regulation, and Trade Brian Lowry and Policy and Program Associate for Sustainability Agnes Vinblad are on the Task Force for Integrity and Compliance, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy is on the Task Force on Energy, Sustainability and Climate, USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog is on the Future of work and Education Task Force, USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner is on the Task Force on Digitalization, and Director for Investment, Trade and China Alice Slayton Clark is on the Trade and Investment Task Force.

“USCIB helps shape actionable policy recommendations provided through these task forces that will be shared with the G20 leaders when they meet in Indonesia in November,” said Lowry. “We at USCIB look forward to the advancement of business’ priorities to the G20 policymakers to help inform policies to advance a stable and inclusive post-pandemic economic recovery and supply chain resiliency, while grappling with the difficult national security issues confronting the world today.”

Business Explores Approach to DNS Abuse Mitigation, Ukraine Crisis Hangs over ICANN

For more than two years, members of the Domain Name System (DNS) user community have highlighted the need for more effective Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) policies and contractual tools to crack down on abuse in the DNS, which spiked during the COVID-19 crisis. ICANN 73, held virtually on March 7-10, featured a plenary that sought to grapple with DNS abuse mitigation in a more focused and actionable manner. Using as reference an academic study commissioned by the European Commission, plenary speakers explored the distinction between maliciously registered domain names versus compromised domain names and discussed why this differentiation is important for timely mitigation.

According to USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner, who participated as an industry representative, panelists underscored the need for the ICANN community to work together to address this challenge, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate, that DNS users and providers will have to work both inside the ICANN community as well as reach out to “adjacent organizations” like hosting services to develop effective redress, and that “proportionality of harm” must be considered.

Not surprisingly, according to Wanner, the crisis in Ukraine was top-of-mind for all participants, who offered various views about an appropriate response by ICANN and its constituents. On February 28, the Government of Ukraine asked ICANN to revoke permanently or temporarily the domain name certificates for “.ru,” “.su” among others as sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “… a clear act of aggression and a manifest violation of Article 2.4 of the UN Charter.”

Ukraine’s letter to ICANN CEO Goran Marby further justified such sanctions on grounds that “… atrocious crimes have been made possible mainly due to the Russian propaganda machinery using websites continuously spreading disinformation, hate speech, promoting violence and hiding the truth regarding the war in Ukraine.”

Marby responded that ICANN would not intervene in this conflict. While expressing personal concern about Ukrainians’ well-being as well as the “terrible toll being exacted on your country,” he wrote to Ukrainian authorities that ICANN’s mission “does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the Internet — regardless of the provocations.”

“On March 6, however, the ICANN Board decided to allocate an initial sum of $1 million to be used to provide financial assistance to support access to Internet infrastructure in emergency situations, noting that the distribution ‘will focus on maintaining Internet access for users within Ukraine,’” said Wanner.

On March 7, ICANN further clarified that events in Ukraine would formally be considered an “extenuating circumstance under Section 3.7.5.1 of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). This means that registrars now have the flexibility to extend the domain name registration renewal period for domain name holders in affected areas.

ICANN Board Chair Maarten Botterman further clarified on March 10 that the Board will shortly consider policy advice from the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) aimed at retiring the “.su” domain name.

ICC Releases Recent Trends in Trade and Trade Finance Report, Includes Impact of Ukraine Crisis on Global Recovery, Inflation

The International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Global Policy department has recently released the report, Recent Trends in Trade and Trade Finance. This report delves into the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications on global trade and finance, as well as the major challenges that can hamper a successful economic recovery.

While focused on trade, banking and finance issues, the report is also relevant to other policy areas, such as ICT, workers and the environment.

To complement this analysis, ICC also released a related presentation, looking at the global impact of the crisis in Ukraine on recovery and further inflation through, for example, supply-chain disruptions, lower consumer and business confidence, inflation in agriculture, manufacturing and energy, as well as liquidity and fiscal risks resulting from currency depreciations and increasing financing costs.

According to ICC, the “Recent Trends in Trade and Trade Finance” report will be used for advocacy geared toward increasing resilience to trade disruptions by enhancing trade digitalization.

 

 

Robinson Offers Ideas for WTO Reform at IOE-BIAC Meeting on Postponed WTO Ministerial

The International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC) co-hosted an event on March 2 to follow up on the postponed World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial. The event, titled “Trade policy to recover and to achieve employment goals and greater resilience: How can an open trading system adapt to the new sustainability expectations?” included representatives of IOE and BIAC member organizations, such as USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, who gave remarks on the topic: “What is needed for WTO reform?”

In his remarks, Robinson pointed out that all three of WTO’s core functions are in crises—negotiation among WTO’s 164 members whose interests greatly diverge, monitoring trade rules and transparency among members, and dispute settlement—the WTO’s Appellate Body, paralyzed since the end of 2019 thus making WTO trading rights virtually unenforceable.

“These three fundamental functions must be redesigned, reconfigured, or reimagined to be fit for purpose,” said Robinson. He then cited a proposed bill, introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), the “Trading Systems Preservation Act,” which could help reinvigorate the WTO by pushing for agreements that aren’t required to be observed on a most-favored nation basis. “On the issue of negotiation, we also support advancing a comprehensive WTO reform agenda that tackles special and differential treatment, distortive non-market industrial subsidies and state-owned enterprises.”

“USCIB would like to lend its voice in emphasizing the importance of the voice of business, among other legitimate stakeholders, at the WTO,” added Robinson. “While initiatives, such as the WTO Public Forum, are welcome opportunities to engage, all stakeholders in the multilateral, rules-based trading system would benefit from greater ongoing opportunities for dialogue – governments, civil society and the private sector alike.”

Other speakers joining Robinson during the meeting included WTO Deputy Director General Angela Ellard, who spoke about updates on the WTO agenda, Business at OECD Trade Committee Chair Pat Ivory, who discussed business priorities for WTO’s response to the pandemic, and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Permanent Observer before the UN in Geneva Crispin Conroy, who shared perspectives on trade and environmental sustainability. Speakers from Keidanren, BusinessEurope and BEF discussed the importance of multilateral collaboration, digitization and strengthening inclusivity and sustainability in global trade.

This dialogue was a follow-up to last year’s launch of the “Business Coalition for Trade, Employment and Sustainable Enterprise,” led by IOE and including business organizations that share the belief that the multilateral, rules-based trading system has been a crucial driver not just for economic growth, but also for employment creation and sustainable development, which have played a key role in reducing poverty and raising living standard in many economies.

USCIB Meets With Australian Consul General to Discuss Mutual Interests, Future Collaboration

Left to right: Nick Greiner, Peter Robinson

USCIB had the honor of hosting Australian Consul General Nick Greiner and his colleague Mike Ryan on February 16 in the USCIB New York office.

The meeting between the Australian delegation and USCIB, which included USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and Senior Vice President for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy, allowed for a candid discussion of mutual interests and potential future collaboration—namely in trade and investment, climate change and digital economy, among others.

It was acknowledged that USCIB and its Australian counterpart, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), are both privileged to serve as the respective national affiliates of the three main global business organizations: International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Organization of Employers (IOE), and Business at OECD (BIAC).

ACCI also serves as a Steering Team Partner on The USCIB Foundation’s Business Partners to CONVINCE initiative, which is a global network of employers of all sizes that seeks to build vaccine confidence and support uptake among employees.

The Australian Consulate is located in the same building as the Australian Mission to the United Nations, and Consul General Greiner generously offered to introduce USCIB to the latter.

Business at OECD (BIAC) Holds Annual Consultation With OECD Ambassadors and Leadership

2022 Annual Consultation with OECD Ambassadors and Leadership

Business at OECD (BIAC) held its annual consultation with OECD Ambassadors and Leadership on February 22 with the theme, “Exiting Crisis Mode: Addressing Business Recovery, Risks and Realities.” USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson participated as a BIAC spokesperson with an intervention focusing on “Digital,” in which he emphasized several points that honed in on ensuring inclusive and sustainable outcomes.

Robinson noted that the business community looks to the OECD to lead in the development of consistent, coherent and cross-cutting policy frameworks for emerging digital technologies. “We point to the OECD AI principles as an excellent example of how multi-stakeholder processes can develop cutting edge principles for the digital economy,” stated Robinson.

He also stressed the need for globally interoperable data policy frameworks that facilitate more responsible data-sharing and collaboration, as well as enforceable cross-border and cross-sector data flows—adding that the upcoming OECD Digital Ministerial will be an important opportunity for the OECD to deliver cross-cutting data governance policy guidance that works for business, governments and individuals alike.

Finally, Robinson emphasized support for OECD efforts to produce high-level principles addressing the critical issue of trusted government access to personal data held by the private sector. “OECD is best placed to address this important issue, which underpins economic growth and societal well-being,” stressed Robinson.

BIAC provided other interventions on various policy priorities such as trade and investment, climate change, energy, taxation, employment and health, with BIAC representatives including several BIAC Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs. The BIAC input was responded to by OECD Ambassadors, including U.S. Ambassador Jack Markell, as well as representatives of the OECD Secretariat.

The Annual Consultation was opened by OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, BIAC Chair Rick Johnston (Citi and USCIB board member), and Italian BIAC Board member Emma Marcegaglia, who served as chair of Italy B20.

A summary of the meeting by BIAC is available here, which includes a link to BIAC’s Recommendations from the private sector affirming the role of the market economy.