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.

USCIB Represents Members at UN Chemicals Conference

The Third Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG3) of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) convened in Montevideo, Uruguay, April 2-4. Approximately 350 representatives of governments, industry, non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations attended the proceedings. USCIB was a member of the private sector delegation representing the views of downstream users of chemicals, and included Sophia Danenberg of Boeing, who also serves as chair of USCIB’s International Product Policy Working Group, and Mike Michener, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation.

During the meeting, participants assessed progress by the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) toward the global goal of achieving by 2020 the use and production of chemicals in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. Delegates discussed the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020, when the current mandate of the Strategic Approach is due to expire, and prepared for ICCM5, scheduled for  October 5-9, 2020 in Bonn, Germany. The OEWG also considered the planned activities and draft budget of the SAICM Secretariat for the period 2019-2020.

The assessment of progress included updates on activities regarding “emerging policy issues” and other issues of concern, including chemicals in products, lead in paint, nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials, hazardous substances within the lifecycle of electrical and electronic products, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants, highly hazardous pesticides, and perfluorinated chemicals. The progress assessment also looked at the implementation of the SAICM health sector strategy.

The OEWG3 discussions of a possible post-2020 framework was based on a discussion paper produced by the Co-Chairs of the intersessional process since ICCM4, in addition to discussion papers submitted during the session, one by the European Union and the other by the Latin American and Caribbean Group, African Group and several individual Asia-Pacific countries, regarding financial considerations in a post-2020 framework. OEWG3 produced a composite text that will be the subject of negotiations at the third meeting of the intersessional process, slated for September 30-October 3 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Unfortunately, little progress was made on some of the unresolved issues, primarily the question of whether the post-2020 framework would include legally-binding elements or remain a voluntary capacity-building platform,” noted Michener. “There were also inconclusive discussions regarding competing ideas on financing the sound management of chemicals and waste, including mainstreaming the issue in national budgets and development plans, possible cost recovery options involving the private sector, and a possible new international fund on chemicals and waste. As such, it was decided that a fourth intersessional process (IP) meeting would be required to continue the negotiations, which Romania offered to host in early 2020.”

The UK also announced that it will host an expert meeting in August or September 2019 to prepare indicators on the sound management of chemicals and waste for consideration at ICCM5.

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 Event Concludes With Action Plan to Promote Food Security and Nutrition Partnerships

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) speaks at the Rome event. USCIB food and agriculture lead Mike Michener (left)

With the future of food continuing to be a pressing global challenge and malnutrition profoundly affecting every country, The USCIB Foundation once again teamed up with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to organize a public-private partnerships dialogue to tackle malnutrition. The November 8-9 dialogue in Rome, Italy was a second in a series and was built on last year’s event in New York. USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson participated in the event alongside Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener. Robinson spoke at the opening session and took part in a fireside chat conversation with GAIN Executive Director Lawrence Haddad, who is the winner of the 2018 World Food Prize.

This year’s event featured the theme of “Together for Nutrition: applying principles for public-private engagement.” The high-level dialogue explored practical and tangible ways to implement and scale coordinated initiatives to put the draft Principles, that were agreed upon last year, into practice. The program focused on both under-nutrition and the rise of overweight and obesity, as well as the associated diet related non-communicable diseases. Leaders of governments, development agencies, and the private sector from a wide range of countries, with a particular focus on developing countries with high burdens of malnutrition, participated in the dialogue.

This year’s event concluded with some important outcomes to help deliver results. GAIN and The USCIB Foundation are planning to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations, and companies interested in public-private partnerships. USCIB will also ask its member companies, with existing public-private partnerships to pilot the Principles of Engagement by applying them retroactively to the ongoing PPP. Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on food and healthcare, also emphasized the importance of engaging the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“We [GAIN and USCIB] will take the Principles to the Rome-based agencies, starting with a briefing for Permanent Representatives early in 2019, followed by the FAO Program Committee and the Executive Boards of WFP and IFAD,” he said. “We also plan to take the Principles to regional meetings, with the first meeting tentatively set for Africa in late 2019.”

Global food and agriculture constitute a US$7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40 percent of the working population in many countries yet progress towards the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is too slow and the scale and complexity of the problem underscores the need for deepened collaboration and renewed commitment to improving nutrition outcomes for all, especially the most vulnerable,” according to Michener.

“Countries cannot achieve their SDG goals without an aligned, motivated and incentivized private sector as a key partner,” said Michener. “In this context, improved dialogue and collaboration between government, business, civil society and international organizations is crucial for guiding engagement and focusing efforts where they can have the most sustainable impact and long-term success.”

USCIB SDG Series: Countdown to UN’s High-Level Political Forum

This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development will be held from July 9-18 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” focusing on the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development (included every year)

USCIB is deeply engaged in all aspects of the 2030 Development Agenda, advocating for good governance and the rule of law, economic growth, investment in infrastructure, enabling environments to foster innovation, strong public-private partnerships and above all, an open channel for business input into policy negotiations and implementation.

USCIB believes that good governance and rule of law, infrastructure, enabling environments and private-public partnerships are the building blocks of success in achieving prosperity and eradicating poverty. While much work remains, USCIB members are already doing their part to ensure the realization of these goals. Leading up to the HLPF, we will feature these goals in this publication. Additionally, we refer you to USCIB’s Business for 2030 website which showcases the private sector’s contributions to the SDG’s. Stay tuned!

USCIB Mission to Geneva Targets UN Agencies

In an effort to ensure inclusivity and transparency of international policy deliberations for business at the United Nations, USCIB organized a Geneva “door knock” meeting to UN and multilateral institutions last week, bringing together a USCIB delegation of members and staff to meet with UN agencies, officials in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and other important government representatives in order to highlight American policy priorities and concerns. The topical areas and issues of concern included food and agriculture, healthcare, intellectual property and innovation, sustainability, environment and chemicals, and trade.

USCIB presented itself as a unique business organization, affiliated with ICC, IOE and Business at OECD (BIAC), and constructively involved in an array of UN institutions, with positive examples of the benefits of such engagement. USCIB members spoke to how U.S. business innovation, investment, and partnership deliver global progress advancing economic benefits in the U.S. and globally, with examples found on USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform, and argued for enabling frameworks of policy, markets and governance.

The USCIB member delegation met with the World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the World Trade Organization, and UN Environment, as well as country missions, including the U.S., UK, Japan and Brazil.

The delegation was led by USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Environment and Energy Norine Kennedy, Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, Senior Director for Membership Alison Hoiem, and Policy Assistant Mia Lauter. USCIB members include representatives from Cargill, AbINBev, CropLife, Ferrero, Sidley and GMA.

Watch Michener’s report from the field below!

USCIB Delegation Contributes to Extending a Global Pact on Chemicals

Mike Michener (USCIB) and Sophia Danenberg (Boeing)

A global framework for chemicals that was to end in 2020 will be extended and include the sound management of associated industrial waste, government officials from around the world agreed at a summit in Stockholm which ended Thursday, March 15. The meeting, hosted by the Swedish government and attended by representatives of UN member states, NGOs and business and industry, aimed to draw up a global strategy for managing waste and chemicals based on agreed international standards.  Mike Michener, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation, Sophia Danenberg of Boeing, chair of the USCIB International Product Policy Working Group, and Frank Mastrocco of Pfizer represented U.S. downstream users of chemicals as part of the private sector delegation.

Global cooperation in chemicals is currently governed by the UN-backed global initiative, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), but this only extends to 2020.  Sweden wants SAICM to be replaced with a global deal, similar to the Paris Agreement for climate.  The meeting decided that existing principles of SAICM should be retained beyond 2020, including risk reduction and illegal international traffic.

“This was the first meeting, so nothing is decided,” stated Michener. “The countries that participated all agreed they want to work jointly on extending an international agreement on the management of chemicals and waste, and that a global deal approved at the highest levels is necessary. Now the SAICM co-chairs will begin work on a zero draft of a new agreement, to be approved by member states sometime before 2020.”

 

USCIB Joins Coalition to Advocate for Transparency in Public Health Research

USCIB has joined diverse group of industry and business interests this week, announcing the launch of a new coalition to advocate for reform of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) Monographs Program. The Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research (CAPHR) Coalition will advocate to modernize the Monographs Program through greater transparency and balanced assessments that produce credible conclusions.

“Modernizing IARC’s Monographs Program process will help to strengthen the integrity of its conclusions and is especially urgent following several recent revelations of data suppression and manipulated outcomes in its cancer hazard evaluations,” said Mike Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on health policy.

In addition to USCIB, the Coalition includes the American Chemistry Council (ACC), American Petroleum Institute, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, CropLife, National Association of Manufacturers, National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association and the Society of Chemical Manufactures and Affiliates.

USCIB member the American Chemistry Council has published a press release on this issue.

 

USCIB Gears Up for APEC CEO Summit in Vietnam

This week, USCIB’s Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Da Nang, Viet Nam, as a business delegate and representative of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.

Organized under the leadership of the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC), USCIB will be joining other Coalition and NCAPEC members on the ground, including CEOs and executives from USCIB member companies. NCAPEC serves as the designated 2017 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.

Throughout 2017, USCIB has 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.

In Da Nang, Michener will meet with USCIB members, leaders from APEC economies and representatives of intergovernmental organizations to discuss member companies’ APEC priorities and USCIB’s work. They look forward to hearing from USCIB members in Da Nang, in addition to joining with Coalition partners, to advance common objectives.

“USCIB appreciates the numerous committed partnerships that APEC has established with the private sector,” said Michener. “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.”

The upcoming APEC meetings in Da Nang include, in addition to the CEO Summit, the Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting, Fourth APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Meeting, APEC Ministerial Meeting and APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. USCIB has collected priority issues from its membership for 2018, and will have the USCIB 2018 APEC Priorities and Recommendations Paper available in Da Nang.

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 Issue

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 issue is now live!

The Summer 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “Why International Organizations Matter to Your Business” as well as articles on developments in the B20, NAFTA and the UN high level political forum and the sustainable development agenda, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.

“International Business,” USCIB’s quarterly journal, provides essential insight into major trade and investment topics, a high-level overview of USCIB policy advocacy and services, USCIB member news and updates from our global business network.

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