USCIB Washington Update: May – June, 2019

During the months of May and June 2019, USCIB Staff met with Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means Minority Chief Trade Counsel, Christa Brzozwski, DHS, Nick Gardner, US Dairy Export Council, and Martin Kreienbaum, German Federal Ministry of Finance, issued recommendations on the WTO e-Commerce negotiations, hosted the 14th Annual OECD International Tax Conference, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last three months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

  1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
  1. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
  1. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
  1. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
  1. Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT
  1. Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
  1. China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

  1. Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment
  1. Membership
  2. Upcoming Events
  3. Staff List

 Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment 

Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means, Briefs USCIB Trade Committee: At the June 20 meeting of the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee members received a briefing from Angela Ellard, Minority Chief Trade Counsel, House Ways & Means Committee. She shared her immediate impressions of Ambassador Lighthizer’s hearing the day prior, indicated that USMCA is a top priority and responded to questions on a range of other trade issues. This was followed by a briefing from Nick Ashton Hart of the Digital Trade Network, who called into the meeting directly after the conclusion of the WTO E-Commerce negotiations in Geneva. The most recent round of negotiations took place from June 18-20. Nick was able to provide an in depth, off-the-record briefing on the negotiations as the only business representative present in the room for the negotiations.

USCIB Statement on WTO e-Commerce Negotiations: In early June, USCIB issued Recommendations on the WTO e-Commerce negotiations, reflecting member priorities and goals for the negotiations, which had their first round in May. At the December 2017 WTO ministerial in Buenos Aires, 71 countries agreed to begin discussing new global rules to facilitate the expansion of the digital economy. The negotiations were formally launched in January with a joint statement by 76 countries, including the United States, in Davos at the World Economic Forum. As of the most recent round, the joint statement initiative now includes 78 WTO members, representing 90% of global trade. USCIB encouraged negotiators to focus on trade facilitation, services, digital trade, and transparency and trust. In addition to this paper, USCIB is actively engaging in the negotiations in Geneva via various efforts, including the Digital Trade Network and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Robinson on the Road (1): OECD and “Business at OECD” Annual High-Level Sessions: USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was one of the leaders of the Business at OECD (BIAC) delegation participating in the OECD’s annual Ministerial session in Paris May 22-23. Peter also attended the OECD’s pre-Ministerial Forum and was able to have a series of bilateral meetings with senior government representatives from the U.S. and other OECD countries, senior OECD officials including Secretary General Gurria and the newly-appointed Deputy Secretary General from the U.S., Jeffrey Schlagenhauf. Peter also attended, along with Business at OECD Vice Chair Rick Johnston (Citi), the annual BIAC General Assembly of its 30 national committees members and the 5th annual B20/G20/BIAC/OECD dialogue session ahead of the June G20 Osaka Summit, an opportunity for business to share recommendations to the G20 leaders and Sherpas.

Robinson on the Road (2): ICC High-Level Meetings: The following week, May 28-29, in Paris Peter Robinson shifted into International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) mode, representing USCIB at the ICC’s “Permanent Heads” meeting (i.e. Peter’s National Committee head counterparts from around ICC’s broad global network) and the ICC “World Council”. A special “Knowledge Solutions” session was held, at which ICC Secretary General John Denton and his leadership team laid out their vision, priorities, and structure for the organization, and which also included leadership representatives from some of ICC’s policy Commissions. A special ICC Centenary Summit was held to mark ICC’s 100th year, which was addressed by senior governmental and intergovernmental officials and at which previous ICC Chairmen and Secretaries-General were present.

Robinson on the Road (3): Geneva and London – ILO Leadership and Partnership with ICC-UK: after a short break at home, Peter was off to Geneva to participate, June 17-18, along with USCIB Vice President Gabriella Rigg Herzog, Senior Counsels Ronnie Goldberg and Tom Mackall, and several USCIB member company representatives in events at and around the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) ten-day centennial International Labor Conference. While in Geneva, Peter attended the Presidents Forum of the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and was a featured panelist, along with ILO DG Guy Ryder, WTO DG Roberto Azevedo, World Bank SVP Mahmoud Mohieldin, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos, ITUC DG Sharan Burrow and others at an ILO event on “Multilateralism for an Equitable Future of Work.” Peter was also able to have a series of very useful informal bi-laterals with key government and international organization leaders. Peter then stopped in London on his way home, joining a panel at ICC-UK’s annual general meeting, presenting USCIB views on the future of the WTO, the multilateral trading system, and the just-launched WTO e-commerce negotiations. Peter also was invited to join and speak to ICC-UK’s Board meeting about current USCIB/ICC-USA priorities.

Hampl Discusses China and USMCA at Investor Conference: USCIB Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, Eva Hampl, spoke on a panel entitled Trade & Tariffs – Today & Tomorrow at the annual MLP & Energy Infrastructure Conference (MEIC 2019) in Las Vegas, May 14-16. The panel, which also included Colin Bird from the Embassy of Canada and Karen Antebi from the Embassy of Mexico, provided a macro perspective on current trade issues. The discussion focused on various issues surrounding China, the importance of the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico and Canada, including the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), and other trade issues.

Donnelly Meets with Swiss Government Official: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly met May 14 with visiting senior Swiss Government official, Phillippe Nell, Director for the Americas in the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (“SECO”), to exchange views on a range of bilateral and global trade and economic issues, including WTO reform, China, new U.S. national security review procedures for incoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and possibilities for a U.S. – Switzerland trade agreement.

USCIB Board of Directors Focuses on Trade Policy Developments: USCIB’s Board of Directors at its Spring meeting in New York City on May 15, had a wide-ranging discussion of key trade issues. The Board focused on issues including “section 232” national security reviews of imported steel, aluminum, and automobiles; prospects for congressional approval of the U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA); U.S.-China trade tensions; as well as WTO priorities, negotiation of an e-commerce agreement and institutional reform of the WTO. The Board endorsed the leadership role and the strong policy positions USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee have been articulating.

USCIB Leading Business Voice on UNCITRAL Negotiations on Investment Agreement “Reform”: USCIB staff members have been meeting regularly with U.S. government investment negotiators and lawyers participating in the negotiations under the auspices of the UN’s Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group 3. Those discussions of possible revisions to the vast network of 3000+ Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) as well as investment chapters in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) around the world are zeroing in on key enforcement details, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement “ISDS” provisions. On April 29, USCIB staff met with the key US negotiators from the State Department and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to review developments. On May 23, USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly was a rare business participant amidst a sea of lawyers in the discussion of the UNCITRAL negotiations at the open public meeting of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law. USCIB is continuing to urge the U.S. Government and other participants to maintain strong substantive investment protections as well as enforcement provisions.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

 USCIB Members Shape Launch of OECD Review of 2013 Privacy Guidelines, Advance Work on Security, Data Governance, & Communications Issues: Business should assume responsibility for the privacy of data through its life cycle by conducting rigorous and documented risk assessments and mitigation, ensuring transparency through both internal and external audits, continually monitoring and testing to prevent gaps, and generally going above and beyond what is required by law. This was an important message delivered USCIB members who participated in a special OECD workshop on May 6 aimed at a advancing the mandated five-year review of the 2013 OECD Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (the “Privacy Guidelines”). The May 6-7 meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) Working Party Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE), also moved forward work focused on revising an OECD Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online, developing principles for access to and sharing of data, advancing the Global Forum for Digital Security for Prosperity, and adopting the draft Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence. AT&T provided a critical review of the OECD’s work on bundled communication price baskets, which was considered at the May 7 meeting of the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP).

USCIB Convenes Meeting with Co-Director of the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation Secretariat: USCIB convened a private, luncheon discussion on June 13 with Ambassador Amandeep Gill, Co-Director of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) Secretariat. The meeting was especially timely since the HLPDC report, The Age of Digital Interdependence, was hot off the press having been issued on June 10. USCIB members reiterated key points in our November 2018 and January 2019 submissions, urging a “holistic approach” to digital policy that went beyond use of digital technologies by the information, communications, and technology (ICT) sector, and considered how ICTs can serve as enablers for innovations across all sectors, such as in healthcare, education, finance, and energy, to name a few. Members cautioned against creating duplicative Internet governance mechanisms, urged increased resources to support the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and encouraged the HLPDC to integrate the OECD’s work on Artificial Intelligence and digital transformation as well as draw upon initiatives of standards organizations, such as the IEEE.

USCIB Engages with U.S. Department of Justice and State about International Initiatives Focused on Cybercrime and Cybersecurity: The June 13 meeting of the ICT Policy Committee featured discussions with Department of Justice officials about efforts currently underway to negotiate an additional protocol to the so-called Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. The changes are aimed at bringing the Convention up to date with developments in the digital economy, improve on the current Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) approach, and generally expand international cooperation to pursue various computer crimes. An important over-arching theme was that cybercrime (e.g. fraud and other crimes involving computers) should not be conflated with cybersecurity, the latter of which centers on the protection of networks. Complementing the cybercrime discussion, USCIB members explored with key State Department officials the latest developments in the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications (GGE), which enjoys U.S. support. The GGE is structured to convene regular institutional dialogue on cybersecurity issues as well as bilateral and regional discussions that feed into the UN General Assembly. In the run-up to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, however, the Russian Government put forward a competing proposal for a cybersecurity-focused Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG). The U.S. Government abstained on grounds that the OEWG’s work likely will be strongly influenced by Russia’s support for mechanisms to censor online content. Nevertheless, the OEWG kicked off an organization meeting on June 3 and likely will proceed ahead of the GGE process. The State Department speaker informed USCIB members that stakeholders accredited by ECOSOC may participate in the OEWG as observers; the GGE is a multilateral process involving governments only.

USCIB Members Advocate for Timely Development of a GDPR-Compliant Uniform Access Model (UAM) for Nonpublic Registration Data at ICANN 65: ICANN 65’s policy-focused meeting wrapped up on June 27 in Marrakech, Morocco. Barbara Wanner, USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy, and members from AT&T, Amazon, BT, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, and VeriSign, joined participants from the multi-stakeholder community to address key policy issues in management of the domain name system. For the past year, USCIB members have been contributing actively to an Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) to develop a formal policy to ensure that ICANN and the industry of more than 1,000 generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries and registrars meet existing ICANN contractual requirements concerning the collection of and access to registration data as well as comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The EPDP’s Phase 1 Final Report was issued earlier this year, which contained 29 policy recommendations. USCIB members who participate in the ICANN’s Business and Intellectual Property Constituencies used the Marrakech meeting to underscore the importance of moving expeditiously in “Phase 2.” This phase will focus on designing a Uniform Access Model (UAM) to enable third-party access to non-public WHOIS data for legitimate law enforcement, consumer protection, brand management, and intellectual property (IP) protection purposes. Wanner serves on the Business Constituency’s Executive Committee.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Holds Successful Tax Conference with the OECD and Business at OECD: The fourteenth annual OECD/USCIB Tax Conference took place on June 3rd and 4th at the Four Seasons in Washington, DC. The conference focused on the taxation of the digitalizing economy and provided the first opportunity for business and governments to discuss the OECD’s work program. The conference also considered treaty issues and the tax implications of Brexit. Tax Committee Chair, Bill Sample, and Vice Chairs, Tim McDonald, Louise Weingrod, and Will Morris represented business views at the conference. Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s keynote remarks focused on ways to improve the tax capacity of emerging markets, which are expected to receive a growing share of global private-sector investment in the years ahead

Other panelists and speakers at this year’s conference included:

  • Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy & Administration
  • Martin Kreienbaum, director general for international taxation, German Ministry of Finance
  • Chip Harter, deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs, U.S. Treasury
  • Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and former finance minister of Nigeria
  • Doug O’Donnell, commissioner of the Large Business and International Division, IRS
  • Mike Williams, director of business and international tax, HM Treasury (UK).

USCIB Tax Committee Meets in Conjunction with OECD/USCIB Tax Conference: The USCIB Tax Committee met with Martin Kreienbaum, which afforded committee members a deep dive on some of the issues discussed at the Tax Conference. The committee also considered ways to provide input into the OECD work program and recent guidance on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Carol Doran Klein Represents Business Views at the Pacific Rim Tax Conference in Palo Alto: USCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein presented at the ninth annual Pacific Rim Tax Conference on Digital Economy Tax Issues, held May 9-10 in California. Doran Klein’s panel covered the ongoing work on taxation of the digitalizing economy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and the United Nations. The panel provided an overview of the background including Action 1 of the OECD’s Base-Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, digital services taxes and other unilateral interim measures, and the different options under consideration at the OECD.

USCIB Submits Comments to Regulators: USCIB submitted comments on proposed regulations on Foreign Derived Intangible Income and on draft UN transfer pricing guidance. The comments can be found under the recent accomplishments section of our web page.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

USCIB and U.S. Chamber Hold WCO E-Commerce Industry Day Meeting: On May 21, 2019, USCIB members along with many U.S. government agency partners (CBP, DHS, USTR, State, Treasury), and non-member associations working on customs issues (IRU, US Fashion Industry Association, American Association of Importers and Exporters), came together to discuss the WCO E-Commerce Framework of Standards. The meeting was led by Christa Brzozwski of DHS, and Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Chair, Jerry Cook of Hanes brand. The goal of the meeting was to ensure that the USG have enough “industry” support for their positions going into the June Policy Commission Meeting and it was felt that this goal was achieved.

Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT

USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee Talks FTZ Legislation: On June 10, 2019, USCIB hosted Paul Massaro, Policy Advisor for the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Gary Kalman, Executive Director for the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition to discuss future FTZ legislation and the Corporate Transparency Act. Massaro explained how the Helsinki Commission has engaged and become a part of the US task force on illicit trade while Kalman elaborated on the international development of the FACT coalition within the illicit finance background. At the meeting, Megan Giblin and David Luna, Committee Chair, provided updates on AITC partnerships including possible FTZ workshop, meetings with State and APEC, as well as beginning discussions with ICC BASCAP.

Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise

USCIB Holds Joint Food and Agriculture and Health Care Committee Meeting: On June 5, 2019, Nick Gardner, Director, Codex and International Regulatory Affairs at the US Dairy Export Council, met with USCIB members to provide a detailed overview and insight into Codex Alimentarius and its involvement with food safety. Gardner emphasized the overarching issue with WHO and FAO jointly administering Codex, which poses several challenges, such as major trade implications and access to new markets/trade to existing markets. Additionally, at the meeting, Mike Michener discussed important upcoming events, including the ECOSOC High Level Political Forum (July 9-18) and the UN General Assembly (September, 17-30).

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

 USCIB Submits Comments on China Tariffs and Hampl Testifies: USCIB submitted comments on June 17 to the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the proposed modification to Section 301 regarding China’s policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. The submission expressed concern that proposed tariffs on essentially all Chinese imports will stifle the U.S. economy and will not achieve the Administration’s goal of changing China’s behavior. Eva Hampl, Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services testified on these issues before the Section 301 Committee on June 21 as part of a hearing spanning 7 days and with over 300 witnesses. USCIB also joined with the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Coalition, alongside 661 other companies and association, to send a letter to President Trump on June 13 urging the administration to negotiate a strong deal with China that addresses longstanding structural issues, improves U.S. global competitiveness and eliminates tariffs.

Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

USCIB Urges Reversal of 1-800 Contacts FTC Ruling: USCIB filed an amicus brief with regards to 1-800 Contacts, Inc. case to highlight the challenges American businesses would face under the recent Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decision’s approach to antitrust liability for trademark settlements, and explain the potential negative impacts the decision would have on businesses, consumers and competition if left to stand. Earlier this year, the FTC decided to impose antitrust liability against 1-800 Contacts, the largest online retailer of contact lenses in the U.S., on the basis that 1-800 Contacts’ settlements of trademark infringing lawsuits against at least fourteen competing online contact lens retailers restricted trade. Among other things, USCIB’s amicus argues that the Commission’s decision ignores the critical importance to business of intellectual property rights and its enforcement and would unfairly require the lawful exercise of such rights to a higher pro-competition standard.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Nissan North America, Expedia, Astellas, and American Express to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs. In addition, the USCIB membership department and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson met with representatives from member companies AT&T and Intel Corporation.

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Palo Alto Networks as a new member.

Upcoming Events:

  • OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy, Paris, France – July 1-2
  • UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), New York, NY – July 9-18
  • USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting, Washington, DC – July 10
  • USCIB Foundation-IOE-Deloitte SDG Summit, New York, NY – July 17
  • US Customs & Border Protection 2019 Trade Symposium, Chicago, Illinois – July 23-24
  • Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA), Washington, DC – July 25
  • Meeting of APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup, Puerto Varas, Chile – August 18-21
  • Preparing for the Future of Work: A USCIB Foundation Dialogue, Washington, DC – September 5
  • 11th Annual Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia – September 12-13
  • World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – October 28-November 22
  • ICANN 66, Montreal, Canada – November 2-7
  • Meetings of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties, Paris France – November 18022
  • 14th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Berlin, Germany – November 25-29

 

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Daniella Goncalves
Assistant Policy and Program Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5083 or dgoncalves@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Kendall Thibeadeau
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5095 or kthibeadeau@uscib.org

Ashley Harrington
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-682-5861 or aharrington@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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Modest Progress at G20 Osaka Summit Welcomed

USCIB responded with cautious optimism to the modest progress made at this year’s Group of 20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, and at the meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the two leaders agreed to continue working toward a resolution of their bilateral trade disputes.

“We are relieved that the U.S. and China have stepped back from a broader escalation of their tit-for-tat tariffs,” said USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan. “We encourage both parties to move swiftly toward resolution of their disputes. The existing tariffs have already had a negative impact on American exports, and could threaten U.S. jobs as well as our broader competitiveness.”

Mulligan also welcomed the G20 leaders’ endorsement of recent OECD blueprints for cooperation on global tax measures as well as on a “human-centric” approach to the deployment of artificial intelligence – both areas where USCIB members have provided active input to international policy deliberations.

In their communiqué, the G20 leaders warned of growing risks to the global economy but stopped short of denouncing protectionism, mainly due to push-back from the United States. “We strive to realize a free, fair, nondiscriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open,” they stated.

While leaders made only passing mention of efforts to modernize the World Trade Organization, several voiced renewed support for the recently launched plurilateral negotiations on e-commerce taking place under the WTO’s aegis.

President Trump and leaders from China, Japan and the European Union joined the WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo in welcoming the Osaka Declaration on the Digital Economy, which commits the signatories to promote efforts on international rule-making in this area and urges further progress on e-commerce at the WTO.

“A fragmentation of the digital economy would hurt us all,” said Azevêdo. “It would mean higher costs and higher barriers to entry, affecting developing countries and smaller businesses the most. The 20th century showed that a fractured global trade order was not sustainable – that’s why we created the WTO. The same is true today. You may well be working on a constitution for the economy of the 21st century.

At OECD Ministerial, Business Engages on Digital Transformation

L-R: Peter Robinson (USCIB), OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, Andrew Wyckoff (OECD), Charles Johnston (Citi)

On May 22-23, a strong delegation of global business leaders participated in the 2019 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, stressing the need for integrated policies that will enable business to fully deliver on the potential from the digital transformation for economies and societies.

This pivotal exchange platform allowed global members and corporate leaders affiliated with Business at OECD (known by the acronym BIAC), part of USCIB’s global network, to convey what business needs from international collaboration to promote both economic growth and inclusion. The high-level dialogue featured multiple interactions with ministers of economy, trade, foreign affairs, and finance from 36 OECD countries and key non-member economies. Senior business leaders – including Peter Robinson, USCIB’s president and CEO, Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, BIAC Vice Chair Charles Johnston, managing director of global government affairs with Citi and a USCIB board member, and Saori Dubourg, board member from BASF – formally addressed ministers during the program.

The OECD Ministerial outcomes and adopted instruments reflected critical policy recommendations from the 2019 Business at OECD Statement to Ministers, notably the need to appropriately involve stakeholders as future policy recommendations are developed, guidance that will enable data governance based on trust, and continued support for OECD evidence and facts on tax, competition and trade, including on tracking market distorting support measures and barriers. BIAC commended the adoption of the OECD Artificial Intelligence principles and the creation of an OECD Observatory on AI – business involvement in this area will be critical to achieve innovation in a number of fields including health, environment, and anti-corruption.

While in Paris, USCIB’s Robinson BIAC Secretary General Russel Mills and Senior Director Nicole Primmer attended a reception for ministers at the U.S. Mission to the OECD hosted by U.S. Charge d’Affaires Andrew Havilland. Robinson added that the week’s activities “gave me an opportunity to connect with the OECD leadership, including Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, the newly appointed OECD deputy secretary general from the United States.”

BIAC members also convened for the 5th occasion the current G20 and B20 (Business 20) presidencies to share business recommendations to G20 leaders ahead of the Osaka Summit. The event featured the participation of the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Shinya Katanozaka, president and CEO of ANA Holdings, and the OECD’s leadership. Business speakers from BIAC’s French and German national members MEDEF and BDI, its Argentinian observer UIA, and from Accenture also debated views with five G20 sherpas and senior government officials. In this meeting, Business at OECD Chair Phil O’Reilly affirmed the importance of ensuring continuity and frank exchanges across presidencies to achieve tangible outcomes in G20 declarations and implementation actions.

Earlier, the Business at OECD Annual General Assembly brought together BIAC’s executive board, leadership from national organizations from 30 OECD and non-OECD countries, and associate expert groups to discuss our strategic priorities for global governance and national challenges. The meeting also benefited from a conversation with leadership from 12 major BIAC policy groups to present the OECD agenda across critical issues, our business perspectives, and the role the OECD can play in these fields.

Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, deputy secretary general of the OECD, gave a keynote address to participants on major OECD initiatives affecting businesses, and Alvaro Pereira, director of the Country Studies Branch of the OECD Economics Department, responded to insights from BIAC’s 2019 Economic Survey, and also shared main themes from the 2019 OECD Economic Outlook.

Governments Actively Engaged at WTO E-Commerce Negotiations

In an effort to support e-commerce negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), USCIB has been contributing to the Digital Trade Network, led by Nick Ashton-Hart.

Ashton-Hart participated in the Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce’s (JSI) first substantive negotiating round in Geneva May 13-15, which was based upon a subset of the subjects in the 14 contributions of WTO Members. Topics covered included online consumer protection, electronic authentication and electronic signatures, Electronic transactions framework, domestic regulation, transparency, non-discriminatory treatment of digital products, and many others.

According to Ashton-Hart, the level of engagement was quite high, the tone very constructive and collaborative, and quite a few countries that have not yet tabled proposals said they expect to do so. There was a general view that the services-related elements of the outcome agreement are intended to build upon GATS though it remains an open question what form the agreement will take – not surprising or seen as controversial at the present.

The next session will take place June 18-20, in Geneva, with proposals to be considered due June 6. The session will cover, among other subjects, privacy and data protection, cybersecurity and telecommunications. There will be at least two seminars from industry groups on logistics and the flow of data respectively.

Earlier this year, Ashton-Hart contributed a column in USCIB’s quarterly magazine, International Business, regarding the importance and impact of these global talks on online trade. Click here to view.

USCIB Meets With WTO Deputy Secretary General Alan Wolff

Right: Alan Wolff (WTO) speaks to USCIB members alongside Rob Mulligan (USCIB)

USCIB hosted the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Deputy Secretary General Alan Wolff on April 29 at its Washington office.

The meeting, which was attended by many USCIB members, including Chubb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Visa and Verizon, provided an opportunity for USCIB staff and members to get Wolff’s insights into the current working of the WTO, raise questions about key initiatives such as e-commerce, discuss emerging proposals for reform of the WTO and identify key concerns for U.S. companies on global trade. Wolff began his four-year term as deputy director general in 2017.

“Alan is a leading voice on trade policy in Washington, DC who often participated in the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee meetings and has a long history of working in key trade roles in the government and the private sector,” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan. “We look forward to continuing our engagement with him as the WTO reform process gets underway.”

USCIB has been active on WTO reform, voicing concerns many U.S. companies share. Earlier this month, USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil for a day-long seminar organized by CNI, the Brazilian industry confederation. Donnelly was joined by private-sector groups from Argentina, Brazil, the European Union, and Mexico in a joint statement of the critical importance the WTO is to business.

USCIB Washington Update: December, January, February 2018-2019

Highlighting Key Activities, December, January, and February 2018-2019

During the months of December, January, and February 2018-2019, USCIB Staff submitted comments on potential trade agreements with Japan, the EU, and the UK, testified on a potential trade agreement with the UK, issued recommendations in on how business can support WTO reform, met with Nan Fife at the State Department on OECD issues, provided two sets of comments on drafts of the B20 Tokyo Summit Joint Recommendations, met with State department officials following the ITU Plenipotentiary Meeting and IGF, provided input on the development of a 21st Century Customs Framework, commented on proposals concerning determining the foreign tax credit and the Base Erosion Anti-abuse Tax, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last three months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

Membership

Upcoming Events

Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

Business Pushes for Comprehensive Trade Deal with Japan: USCIB submitted comments in late 2018 to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) outlining negotiating objectives for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. USCIB supports negotiation of a comprehensive trade agreement with Japan as part of a broader strategy to open international markets for U.S. companies and remove barriers and unfair trade practices in support of U.S. jobs. USCIB outlined its priority issues, which include digital trade, intellectual property, media and entertainment services, investment, customs and trade facilitation, express delivery services, electronic payment services, regulatory coherence, government procurement and financial services. The Administration has released negotiating objectives for a U.S.-Japan FTA, negotiations for which are due to begin soon.

USCIB Submits Negotiation Objectives for U.S.-EU Trade Deal: USCIB submitted negotiation objectives for a U.S.-EU Trade Agreement to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on December 11, 2018. The submission was filed in response to USTR’s request for comments and emphasized the importance of a comprehensive negotiation, covering not only market access for goods, but also critical services issues. The USTR request for comments follows the administration’s announcement to Congress on October 16, 2018 of its intention to initiate negotiations on a U.S.-EU Trade Agreement. USCIB supports negotiation of a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU as part of a broader strategy to open international markets for U.S. companies and remove barriers and unfair trade practices in support of U.S. jobs. USCIB priority issues for negotiation of a U.S.-EU agreement include investment, customs and trade facilitation, express delivery services, improved regulatory cohesion, digital trade, intellectual property, government procurement and SOEs, and financial services.

U.S.-UK Trade Agreement: USCIB Submits Negotiating Objectives and Hampl Testifies: USCIB submitted negotiating objectives for a high standard and comprehensive U.S.-UK Trade Agreement on January 16, 2019. USCIB’s submission was based on the assumption that the UK will be successful in exiting the EU, allowing for the ability to negotiate trade agreements with trade partners outside of the EU. Priority issues for negotiations of a U.S-UK Trade Agreement include digital trade (including cross border data flows, forced localization, cybersecurity and digital taxation), intellectual property, media and entertainment services, financial services, electronic payment services, customs and trade facilitation, express delivery services, regulatory cohesion, investment, government procurement, and chemicals. Eva Hampl, Senior Director, Investment Trade and Financial Services, provided testimony before the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) at the public hearing on January 29, 2019.

USCIB Urges Removal of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs in USMCA: USCIB joined a coalition of other trade and industry organizations to send a letter to Secretary Wilbur Ross and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer on January 23, 2019, regarding the 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. The coalition, recognizing the importance of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement ratification to the economic interests of all three countries, underscored the importance of lifting these tariffs, as well as the removal of all retaliatory tariffs on trade among the three countries.

WTO Modernization: USCIB Recommendations and Robinson Op-Ed: As World Trade Organization (WTO) member governments move forward this year with efforts to reform the WTO, USCIB issued recommendations in January 2019 on how business can support the WTO and its efforts to improve the organization. USCIB’s recommendations also noted the importance of the WTO as a cornerstone of the global rules-based trading system that has helped spread growth and development for decades. They focused on addressing subsidies and other market-distorting support provided to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the establishment of new rules for current issues such as digital trade and customs processes on electronic transmissions, and ensuring a properly functioning appellate body, among others. USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson appealed for a strong business role in efforts to modernize the global trade body in an Op-Ed published in The Hill. Robinson wrote that he views of the private sector, which has a direct stake in the rules that result from such government-to-government discussions, should be actively solicited and given careful consideration by WTO member states.

Broad-Based Business Coalition to Press for USMCA Adoption: The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, has joined with an array of U.S. companies and industry associations to urge swift approval by Congress of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an updated and modernized framework for expanded trade, investment and market integration in North America. The USMCA Coalition, encompassing more than 200 leading companies and major associations representing farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, service providers and technology companies, was formally launched on February 26, 2019.

BIAC Chair O’Reilly Talks/Listens to USCIB: The Chair of “Business at OECD” or Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), Phil O’Reilly met in person in New York, and by video link to Washington, on January 11, 2019, with USCIB Board members, committee chairs and staff. Phil reported on BIAC’s annual meeting with the OECD senior leadership (Secretary General Gurria, Deputy Sec Gens, and key ambassadors) and laid out BIAC’s agenda and priorities for 2019. Rick Johnston of Citi and a Vice-Chair of the BIAC Board, also offered his perspectives on BIAC priorities and challenges and on where the OECD is heading. Russel Mills, the new BIAC Secretary General, also called in for the session. Russel has long experience in the U.S. chemical industry (Dow and Dupont) and was long-time Chair of BIAC’s Environment committee. We had an excellent, candid discussion with Phil O’Reilly. BIAC is in good hands.

USCIB Team and Members Discuss with Senior State Department Leaders Business Access/Treatment at UN Agencies: USCIB and some key member companies have become increasingly worried about discrimination against business in several U.N agencies, including but not limited to the World Health Organization. We have been active in raising these concerns with the U.S. Missions to the UN in New York City, Geneva, and Rome as well as to the International Organizations (“IO”) Bureau at the Department of State. On January 24, 2019, despite the challenges of the government shutdown, key leaders from the IO Bureau came to USCIB’s Washington office e for a very candid discussion with key member companies and staff about business treatment access in the parts of the UN system. We followed that up with a more detailed meeting with State IO experts at the Department on February 15. USCIB VPs Norine Kennedy, Mike Michener and Shaun Donnelly are taking the lead on this important work. The State Department and our U.S. Mission have been great partners, as have some international counterparts in our global network, but this will be a long-term issue with parts of the UN system and a top priority for USCIB.

USCIB Talks OECD with State Department: On February 12, 2019, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Rob Mulligan, led a USCIB staff team in a detailed meeting with the OECD “desk” team at the Department of State which coordinates overall U.S. dealings with the OECD and backstops the U.S. Mission to the OECD in Paris. Nan Fife, Director of the Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy office in state’s Economic and Business (“EB”) Bureau led the State team. We had an excellent, frank exchange on a range of issues related to the OECD and ended up in agreement on assessments and priorities, and concerns. One important development we will be actively monitoring is progress in getting a new U.S. Ambassador confirmed and out to Paris on the ground. Pamela Bates, an experienced former State Department economist, has been quickly renominated after her earlier nomination (and many others) expired at the of the previous Congressional session. Getting Ms. Bates confirmed and on-the-job in advance of the OECD’s annual May Ministerial is an important priority for USCIB and for State.

Donnelly Talks Business and BIAC Issues at Training Session for USG Delegates to OECD: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly was a panelist again this year at the third annual “Delegates Training Session” organized and hosted by our State Department partners who coordinate all OECD work. State annually invites all U.S. Government employees (senior or junior) from all USG agencies who represent the USG at any OECD Committee, Working Group, or other meeting to this all-day training session on “how to be an effective delegate/advocate” and broad USG policies and priorities regarding the OECD. Again this year, our State colleagues devoted a lengthy session to the importance of coordinating with the U.S. private sector, featuring the USCIB and BIAC network. Shaun, the only business panelist, explained BIAC and USCIB, our unique roles, and how we operate. He was joined on the panel by three USG experts active in their respective OECD committees and with USCIB. We appreciate State organizing the session, for the focus on working with the private sector, and especially for including USCIB.

USCIB Discusses Digital Trade with Nick Ashton-Hart: On January 16, 2019, USCIB staff met with Nick Ashton-Hart, the Geneva Representative of the Digital Trade Network (DTN), as well as representative of ICC United Kingdom on the UK delegation to the meetings of the International Telecommunications Union. USCIB is part of the DTN along with a few other ICC national committees and several companies. The DTN is focused on supporting the effort in the WTO to move forward on the E-Commerce initiative, which is a priority issue for USCIB.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

State Department Officials Explore Challenges in Internet Governance with USCIB Members Following 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary Meeting and 2018 Internet Governance Forum: The ICT Policy Committee Meeting on December 13, 2018, featured discussions with State Department officials about the implications of year-end initiatives that potentially could affect governance of the Internet stemming from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary, October 29-November 16, 2018 in Dubai, UAE, the 2018 Internet Governance Forum (IGF), November 12-14, 2018, in Paris, France, and French President Emmanuel Macron’s Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. The ITU Plenipotentiary meeting included positive, precedent-setting developments – namely, the election of U.S. candidate Doreen Bogdan-Martin to Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. In addition, through thoughtful pre-meeting diplomacy, the U.S. Government was able to derail problematic resolutions that would have brought Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity under the ITU’s purview. Nevertheless, State Department officials urged USCIB members remain vigilant in 2019 to prevent ITU “mission creep.” Concerning the 2019 IGF, State Department officials and USCIB members both concurred that President Macron’s opening speech – in which he called for greater regulation of the Internet, among other issues – was concerning and raises questions about whether the IGF will remain a forum for discussion or face growing pressure to produce policy outputs. Similarly, the group agreed that if President Macron’s “Paris Call,” which was a non-binding statement of support for cybersecurity principles, was brought into the UN process, the transition from a single-nation to a multilateral initiative could pose problems for the United States and U.S. business.

USCIB Members Provide Inputs Aimed at Shaping Japan’s B20 Report: Working under exceedingly tight deadlines, USCIB members from the ICT Policy Committee, the Trade and Investment Committee, the Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee, and the Tax Committee provided two sets of comments during the month of January 2019 concerning the first and second drafts of the B20 Tokyo Summit Joint Recommendations. Under the theme, “Society 5.0 for SDGs,” USCIB members emphasized the following: (1) promote interoperability of risk-based security and privacy protection standards across jurisdictions so as to ensure free flow of data, information, ideas and knowledge across borders; (2) foster e-commerce by ensuring free business decision regarding the location of computing facilitates and confidentiality of corporate information; (3) firmly commit to not imposing customs duties and processes on electronic transmissions, permanently; (4) prevent the weakening of intellectual property protections and enforcement mechanisms that underpin trade in digital content and products; and (5) support the OECD Inclusive Framework process to develop a consensus, income-tax based solution that can be applied to the broader digitalized economy. USCIB members further urged G20 governments to resist the temptation to regulate emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, recognizing that such efforts cannot keep pace with rapid technological innovation.

USCIB Members Follow Up Comments to UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation by Urging a Holistic Approach to Digital Policy-Making: On January 17, the ICT Policy Committee followed up its November 30, 2018 submission to the U.N. High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) by addressing specific questions posed by the panel secretariat. By urging a “holistic approach” to digital policy, USCIB clarified that the approach envisioned would go beyond use of digital technologies by the information, communications, and technology (ICT) sector, and consider how ICTs can serve as enablers for innovations across all sectors, such as in healthcare, education, finance, and energy, to name a few. “This requires cutting across policy silos and different departments and agencies within governments and intergovernmental bodies, which we refer to as “whole-of-government,” USCIB stated. Members further urged that governments should strengthen their collaboration with internal and external stakeholders to create flexible, forward-looking and integrated policy frameworks. The HLPDC was established by the UN Secretary-General in July 2018 to advance proposals to strengthen cooperation in the digital realm and contribute to the broader global dialogue on how interdisciplinary and cooperative approaches can help ensure a safe and inclusive digital future.

OECD Kicks Off Review of 2013 Privacy Framework with Advice and Inputs from USCIB Members: On February 4, 2019, the OECD Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE) began a review of the 2013 Recommendation of the Council concerning Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (i.e., “Privacy Guidelines”). The review will be undertaken by a special group of 40 privacy experts, which includes Barbara Wanner, USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy, and representatives from AT&T, Google, Oracle, Mastercard, and The Walt Disney Company. The group will consider how technological progress, changes in data-sharing practices by organizations and individuals, and the increasingly patchwork nature of global privacy frameworks may be addressed by revising and updating the OECD’s six-year-old Privacy Guidelines.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness/strong>

USCIB Submits Comment Letters to Regulators: The Tax Committee dedicated significant resources to providing comments on a variety of topics over the months of December, January, and February. These comments can be found on the recent accomplishments section of the USCIB Tax Committee page. Comments included letters on: proposals concerning: determining the foreign tax credit; the Base Erosion Anti-abuse Tax; interest allocation under 163(j); the taxation of hybrid entities and transactions; and the UK digital services tax.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Responds to 21st Century Customs Framework: On February 4, 2019, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee submitted comments in response to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Federal Register Notice request for public comments on the “21st Century Customs Framework”, a CBP initiative to better position CBP to operate in the 21st century trade environment. USCIB Comments included Recommendations, Concerns, Points for Consideration, Responses to specific CBP requests for comment on the topics of Emerging Roles in the Global Supply Chain; Intelligent Enforcement; Cutting-Edge Technology; Data Access and Sharing; 21st Century Customs Procedures; and Infrastructure.

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

USCIB Participates in Business Coalition Fly-in on China Tariffs: USCIB Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, Eva Hampl participated in the Fly-In organized by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland the nationwide campaign against tariffs, combining the efforts of Farmers for Free Trade and Americans for Free Trade, of which USCIB is a member. Groups of representatives from associations and companies covered over 150 meetings with Senate and House offices from both sides of the aisle over February 6-7, 2019, in anticipation of an increase of tariffs on the $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. The group emphasized the concern about the tariff actions, noting that the various tariffs currently in place are causing significant damage to U.S. companies and jobs, with prospects even more dire were thee tariffs to continue or increase in the future. At this time, the intended increase has been formally delayed until further notice.

Membership

  • Membership Meetings The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Qualcomm, Ferrero and Cargill to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Business Software Alliance, DLA Piper, Netflix, R.J. Reynolds, The Tax Foundation, and Westinghouse Electric Company as new members.

Upcoming Events:

    • UNCTAD E-Commerce Week, Geneva, Switzerland – April 1-5
    • UN Conference on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), New York City – April 1-5
    • CNI/ICC Event Reforming the WTO: proposals for improving the governance of the multilateral trading system, Sao Paulo, Brazil – April 2
    • Business & Society – Creating Shared Values: USCIB Responds, Washington, D.C. – April 8
    • Workshop on the New Center for Sports & Human Rights, Washington, D.C. – April 9
    • Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Spring Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – April 10-11
    • WSIS Forum, Geneva, Switzerland – April 8-12
    • Business at OECD and OECD Trade Committee Meetings, Paris, France – April 24-26
    • Meetings of the OECD Working Parties of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy, Paris, France – May 6-7
    • USCIB Geneva Week-Business in Society: Shared Values, Geneva, Switzerland – May 6-10
    • APEC SOM 2, Valparaiso, Chile – May 6-18
    • ECOSOC 2019 Session, Geneva, Switzerland – May 29-31
    • OECD/BIAC/USCIB Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 3-4

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

 

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Daniella Goncalves
Assistant Policy and Program Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5083 or dgoncalves@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Kendall Thibeadeau
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5095 or kthibeadeau@uscib.org

Ashley Harrington
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-682-5861 or aharrington@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

Top

In Op-ed, Robinson Stresses Business’s Critical Role in WTO Modernization

With members of the World Trade Organization set to launch new talks on digital trade amid calls for the organization to be reformed, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson has appealed for a strong business role in efforts to modernize the global trade body.

In an op-ed published in The Hill, USCIB’s president wrote: “The views of the private sector, which has a direct stake in the rules that result from such government-to-government discussions, should be actively solicited and given careful consideration by WTO member states.”

Robinson called on governments to strengthen the WTO in four key areas:

  • tackle subsidies and the role of state-owned enterprises
  • develop new rules for cutting-edge trade issues
  • modernize the WTO’s rules and procedures, and
  • improve the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanisms

“If governments work with business, we are confident that the WTO can be reformed and modernized to continue effectively advancing a rules-based global trading system,” Robinson wrote. Read the full op-ed on The Hill’s website.

USCIB Releases 2019 Trade and Investment Priorities

USCIB has published its 2019 Trade and Investment Agenda. The Agenda is a result of an intensive consultation process with USCIB members to identify key member priorities for 2019. Per member input, many key principles developed for 2018 remain relevant for this year, though the changing trade and investment landscape has also raised new priorities for 2019.

The annual action plan anticipates a potentially busy year on trade and investment including: pressing for congressional approval of USMCA in 2019, seeking Administration action to resolve differences with China, movement on trade negotiations with Japan, EU and the UK, supporting negotiations in the WTO on a digital trade agreement, and modernizing the WTO,” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan. “We look forward to a busy and productive year opening international markets and strengthening the global rules-based trade and investment framework.”

The 2019 Agenda will be shared with key U.S. government policymakers.

USCIB Issues Recommendations for WTO Modernization

As World Trade Organization (WTO) member governments move forward this year with efforts to reform the WTO, USCIB issued recommendations on how business can support the WTO and its efforts to improve the organization.  USCIB’s recommendations also noted the importance of the WTO as a cornerstone of the global rules-based trading system that has helped spread growth and development for decades.

USCIB recommendations focused on addressing subsidies and other market-distorting support provided to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the establishment of new rules for current issues such as digital trade and customs processes on electronic transmissions, and ensuring a properly functioning appellate body, among others.

“Our recommendations for modernizing the WTO should not in any way be read as questioning the business support for WTO,” said USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan. “Instead, they are intended to highlight areas for action that would strengthen the ability of the organization to more effectively meet the demands of a changing world as it deals with the rapid evolution of technology that can quickly reshape the way companies do business and operate globally. USCIB believes that effective WTO dispute settlement is a critical part of the global rules-based trading system.”

USCIB’s recommendations also urged Member States, as they continue to discuss modernization and improvements of the WTO and its underlying agreements, to be mindful that among the WTO Member States, private entities conduct the transactions that constitute trade and investment.

“The private sector has a direct stake in the rules that will be the outcome of the government-to-government discussions and, accordingly, private sector comments and recommendations should be actively solicited and given careful consideration by the Member States,” added Mulligan.

USCIB Washington Update: September, October, November 2018

Highlighting Key Activities, September, October, November 2018

During the months of September, October, and November 2018, USCIB Staff met with Alan Wolff, WTO Deputy Director General, Andrew Haviland, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to the OECD Katherine Tai, House Ways and Means, Nasim Fussell, Senate Finance, Christina Kopitopolous, USTR, submitted significant comments for the National Trade Estimate/1377 Report and on China’s WTO Compliance, launched a new Anti-Illicit Trade Committee, weighed in on the proposed European Digital Services Tax across Europe, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last three months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

Membership

Upcoming Events

Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meets with Katherine Tai, Ways & Means: At the September 13 meeting of the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Katherine Tai, Chief Trade Counsel, Democratic Staff, House Committee on Ways and Means, provided an off-the-record overview of where things stand in the House on NAFTA, 232 tariffs, 301 tariffs and China trade issues more broadly, the WTO, and other potential trade agreements. The Committee was also joined by Nasim Fussell, Deputy Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. Nasim provided the Senate’s perspective on NAFTA negotiations timing, 232 and 301 tariff issues, the second phase of the MTB process, and the WTO. At the meeting, Rob Mulligan also began a discussion on the development of a USCIB Trade and Investment Agenda for 2019, as well as a draft paper on WTO reform.

WTO Deputy DG Alan Wolff Meets with USCIB Members: On October 19, 2018, Ambassador Alan Wolff, Deputy Director General of the WTO, met informally with USCIB member companies to review the full range of issues, developments and challenges around the World Trade Organization. Amb. Wolff, an active member of USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee in his days as a leading Washington trade lawyer, was, as always insightful, relevant, and candid in his remarks. Issues discussed included WTO reform, China’s role in the WTO, the impact of US Government approaches to the WTO, and possibilities for negotiation breakthroughs.

USCIB Submits Comments on China 301 Tariffs and Testifies: On September 6, 2018, USCIB submitted extensive comments on the Trump administration’s proposed $200 billion list of tariffs on imports from China, following up on earlier submissions in response to the quickly escalating trade conflict between the United States and China. USCIB and its members continue to be very concerned about the potential unintended consequences these proposed tariffs of 10 or 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are likely to have, affecting many sectors vital to the U.S. economy and jobs. While China’s forced technology transfer requirements and other abusive practices harm U.S. competitiveness, the administration’s sweeping tariffs endanger the U.S. economy in similar ways. USCIB also signed on to a broader industry statement appealing to the Trump administration not to proceed with the proposed tariffs, saying the effort would likely backfire against U.S. businesses and workers. At the end of August, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony to the 301 Committee chaired by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, expressing member concerns.

Members Meet with Andrew Haviland, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to the OECD: On October 11, 2018, Andrew Haviland, Charge d’Affaire, U.S. Mission to the OECD, met with a large group of USCIB member representatives from various committees. Following an update on the OECD’s ongoing work and U.S. priorities from Mr. Haviland, members were able to ask questions regarding the positions and work of the U.S. Mission, as well as the role of Business at OECD when engaging with the OECD and other OECD members on business priorities.

USCIB Advocates for Digital Trade and Foreign Investment at OECD: USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl was in Paris the week of October 22, 2018, participating in investment and trade related meetings at the OECD. On October 22, the OECD hosted its annual Global Forum on Trade, which focused on Trade in the Digital EraThe agenda included sessions on digital transformation and what it means for trade, measuring digital trade, digital trade and market openness, data flows, and discussing priorities for trade policy makers. Hampl participated in the event as a panelist in the session on data flows, which also included Deputy Assistant USTR for Telecommunications Policy Jonathan McHale. The following day Hampl has several speaking roles starting with the Business at OECD consultation with the OECD Investment Committee. Business at OECD had submitted three short papers covering issues such as investment policies related to national security, the importance of a well-designed investment protection mechanism and foreign direct investment qualities. Hampl also attended a joint meeting of the OECD Trade and Investment Committees, which included a presentation on the OECD Digital Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) by the OECD. At the consultation, Hampl made an official intervention on behalf of Business at OECD, expressing USCIB’s support of the joint meeting, and raising some of USCIB’s priority issues, including the multilateral trading system (WTO reform), state-owned enterprises, and digital trade. Additionally, Hampl served as a discussant on behalf of Business at OECD at a Policy Network Meeting on the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Qualities, during which she expressed general support for the project and underlined the importance of investment. Hampl also had the opportunity to underline the importance of an open investment environment and concern that recent trends of protectionist policies are harmful to business during her role as discussant in the First Roundtable on Investment and Sustainable Development.

Donnelly on Front Lines at UNCTAD Defending Pro-Investment Policies and ISDS: Shaun Donnelly was one of only three hearty business reps to spend part or all of the week of October 22-26, 2018, in Geneva at the World Investment Forum (WIF), hosted by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD. Shaun was the keynote speaker for business in the important High-Level Experts group meeting on International Investment Agreements (IIAs) where he forcefully defended strong investment agreements and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions. His remarks can be read here. He also was the single business panelist on a side event organized by the World Bank affiliate International center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on proposed reforms of ICSID’s rules and procedures. Shaun was also able to offer sharp question and criticisms of the EU’s much-ballyhooed Multilateral Investment Court proposal as a proposed but deeply flawed alternative to ISDS. Not clear how may converts Shaun might have made among developing country officials but he was able to give them some alternative perspectives on important and challenging investment policy issues. The UNCTAD Secretariat expressed great appreciation for USCIB attending and offering clear, candid business perspectives.

USCIB Consults with U.S. Investment Policy Leaders: Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl have stayed in close contact with key investment policy officials at State and USTR over the fall season. They met September 20 with Deputy Assistant USTR for Investment policy Lauren Mandell to NAFTA and Korea KORUS investment negotiations. Shaun and Eva met twice this fall with State department Office of Investment Affairs (“OIA” in State’s Economic and Business Bureau) leading up to and then following up afterwards on the mid October OECD investment Committee meetings as well as other international investment policy issues including the review of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions underway in the UN Commission on International Trae Law (UNCITRAL). Those senior investment policy officials have been consistently open to our views and questions.

USCIB Discusses Anti-Corruption Issues with State Department: On October 2, 2018, USCIB joined a group of business associations as well as the AFL-CIO and Coalition for Integrity in a meeting with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Brian McFeeters to discuss our efforts in expanding the signatories to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to all G20 countries. The meeting was a follow up to a joint letter sent to president Trump in August, requesting that the Administration take major steps this year to combat international bribery and corruption. The message of the group was to underline the importance of the Convention, noting that it needed to be strengthened in two ways. First, though enforcement of the Convention in some countries has been gradually increasing, the overall level of enforcement is not uniform and is weaker than by the United States. Second, countries that have become major players in the international economy, notably China and India, are not signatories.

Hampl Discusses OECD Accession at PhRMA Meeting: On November 1, 2018, Eva Hampl, Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, presented on OECD accession issues to a group of pharmaceutical companies and associations. Hampl highlighted USCIB’s advocacy role at the OECD as a member of Business at OECD, provided an update on the recently concluded accession process of Colombia, as well as on upcoming countries, which include Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia. At this time, none of the six countries have officially been invited to begin the accession process, which will require the approval of 25 OECD Committees. USCIB has been actively involved in providing input into Colombia’s accession process via Business at OECD (BIAC), the official business voice at the OECD. Moving forward, USCIB will play an active role in providing U.S. business input to the OECD on any upcoming accession processes.

Donnelly Keynotes AmCham Annual Dinner in Vancouver: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly was the keynote speaker at AmCham Canada /Pacific’s first-ever annual dinner in Vancouver October 16. Donnelly offered an inside-the-beltway business perspective on the long-running NAFTA modernization negotiations and the resultant new “U.S. /Mexico /Canada” agreement or USMCA. Canadian business leaders in the vibrant new Vancouver AmCham are generally supportive of NAFTA and hopeful about the new USMCA, though clearly worried about the “section 232” U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. Former Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day, now a leading Vancouver-based trade lawyer joined Shaun in a post dinner Q and A session to round out the evening. While in Vancouver, Shaun was also guest of honor at a reception hosted by the U.S. Consul General where he delivered an abbreviated, informal version of his NAFTA/USMCA comments.

USMCA Investment Provisions Under the Microscope at Sidley: Shaun Donnelly was the business speaker, joining senior Canadian and Mexican Government investment negotiators on an off-the-record panel co-hosted by USCIB member law firm Sidley Austin and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) on October 18. The panel “USMCA – What Does NAFTA 2.0 Mean for Investor Protection in North America and Beyond?” drew a full house of trade people, diplomats, and lawyers. Sidley Partner Marinn Carlson moderated the session and kept it moving with some very challenging questions. Shaun was candid in pointing out USCIB and more general business concerns with some of the changes in investment provisions from NAFTA to USMCA. The U.S. government declined invitations to participate.

 USCIB Talks Trade and Essential Security at Hudson Roundtable: Shaun Donnelly was an active participant in a very interesting Hudson Institute roundtable discussion November 28, focused on trade and national security, more specifically on the U.S. Government’s use of “Section 232” trade sanctions (thus far imposed on imported steel and aluminum but threats on imported autos are intensifying) based on threats to U.S. “essential security.” Senator (and former USTR where Shaun was a key Assistant) Rob Portman and EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan offered great keynote remarks. Shaun reflected USCIB’s strong positions on opposing any abuse (by the U.S. government or others) of these essential security provisions in the WTO, other agreements or in U.S. trade law. The group also discussed prospects for U.S.-EU trade agreement, perhaps limited to industrial good or perhaps much broader. Views on prospects for such agreements ranged widely around the table. Drawing on his experience as Assistant USTR for Europe under USTRs Portman and Schwab, Shaun was among the more cautious commentators on prospects for quick, easy U.S.-EU deals.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Members Engage U.S. Government Officials in Discussions about Policies Related to Artificial Intelligence, Privacy, Cybersecurity at the OECD, G20/B20, and ITU Plenipotentiary Meeting: The ICT Policy Committee Meeting on September 27 featured discussions with U.S. Government officials from the Departments of State, Commerce, and the White House Office of Science and Technology. The wide-ranging dialogue focused on policy priorities with respect to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in work underway at the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy as well as the horizontal OECD Going Digital Project. Members also discussed their inputs to the B20 Digital Economy and Industry 4.0 Task Force Report and how those would be reflected in the October 4-5 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Concerning the request for comments on Consumer Privacy Protections by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), members emphasized the importance of realizing greater interoperability in global privacy regulations. Finally, members discussed the importance of coordinating with Inter-American countries at the ITU Plenipotentiary, October 29-November 16 in Dubai, UAE on issues pertaining to governance of the ITU, Internet-related issues, and cybersecurity.

USCIB Catalogs 90 Pages of Foreign Trade Barriers for Annual National Trade Estimate/Section 1377 Report to USTR: On October 17, USCIB submitted comments concerning significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for inclusion in the annual National Trade Estimate (NTE) report. Pursuant to Section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1998 (19 U.S. C. Section 3106) and as requested by USTR’s Federal Register notice, we also included comments concerning the operation and effectiveness of U.S. telecommunications trade agreements. This 90-page catalog details foreign trade barriers to U.S. exports to the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, European Union, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Gulf Cooperation Council, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Latin America Malaysia, Mexico, Middle East and North Africa, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

USCIB Members Continue to Advocate for GDPR-Compliant Policy Framework and Data Access at ICANN 63: ICANN 63’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) wrapped up on October 25 in Barcelona, Spain. Barbara Wanner, USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy, and members from AT&T, Amazon, BT, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, Verisign, and Verizon joined some 3,000 stakeholders to address key issues in management of the domain name system. In particular, USCIB members actively contributed to work underway to develop a formal policy to ensure that ICANN and the industry of more than 1,000 generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries and registrars meet existing ICANN contractual requirements concerning the collection of registration data as well as comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). ICANN’s proposed Draft Framework for a Possible Unified Access Model for Continued Access to Full WHOIS Data (UAM) also was in the spotlight. Under pressure from ICANN’s Business Constituency and Intellectual Property Constituency – both of which include USCIB members — governments, and other stakeholders, ICANN developed the UAM as a possible approach to enable third-party access to non-public WHOIS data for legitimate law enforcement, consumer protection, brand management, and intellectual property (IP) protection purposes. Wanner serves on the Business Constituency’s Executive Committee.

USCIB Urges the Administration to Pursue Greater Interoperability Among Global Privacy Regimes: On November 8, USCIB responded to a request for comments on Approaches to Consumer Privacy from the Commerce Departments National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA). USCIB members supported the administration’s high-level goal to develop mechanisms that realize greater interoperability among international privacy regimes. Specifically, members applauded NTIA for recognizing the need to bridge regulatory differences so there is less fragmentation, data flows seamlessly, and the digital economy continues to evolve. In pursuing development of an interoperable approach, however, it is imperative that we realize an appropriate balance so that privacy frameworks promote consumer/user trust in data-driven technologies while at the same time enabling companies and organizations to use and transfer data in innovative ways that benefit society, USCIB members urged.

USCIB Members Push Back on Top-Down Cybersecurity-Related Regulation, Advocate a Risk-Based Approach in IGF Workshop: French President Emmanuel Macron opened the three-day IGF on November 12 at UNESCO, depicting a digital economy fraught with danger from cyber-attacks, the proliferation of hate speech, and anti-democratic forces. He urged development of a “better model” featuring regulation of the Internet and its actors. USCIB members pushed back on this top-down approach in a special security-focused workshop on November 14, “Approaches to a Wicked Problem: Stakeholders Promote Enhanced Cooperation and Collaborative, Risk-Based Frameworks of Regional and National Cybersecurity Initiatives,” co-organized by USCIB and Oxford Martin School. The overall aim of the workshop was to provide insights into how to build national and regional cybersecurity capacity that is risk-based to enable nimble responses to security challenges. USCIB members Claudia Selli (AT&T) served as moderator and Amanda Craig (Microsoft) contributed expert commentary, emphasizing that a risk-based, whole of government approach is most effective and necessary for development of a national cybersecurity strategy.

OECD’s CDEP Moves Going Digital Project Toward Completion, Advances AI Work: The November 14-16 meetings of the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) focused on advancing the OECD’s Going Digital project, showcasing the OECD’s analytical report on Artificial Intelligence as well as the work of a special AI Experts Group (AIGO), and featuring an intense and animated review of the Online Platforms Report and a Roundtable discussion on online platforms. Working under the aegis of Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB members have been shaping development of the Going Digital Project for the past two years, offering insightful guidance on the project’s all-important Integrated Policy Framework. USCIB members from Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft also are playing influential roles in the AI Experts Group to ensure that the group’s eventual policy recommendations align with USCIB members’ interests. The final outcomes of the Going Digital Project will be unveiled at a high-level summit on March 11-12, 2019 in Paris.

USCIB Members Uphold Multistakeholder Model for Internet Governance in Comments to UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation: At a time when the multistakeholder approach to Internet governance increasingly is under fire in some multilateral organizations, USCIB members underscored that the multistakeholder model continues to be the best method to enable whole-of-society/whole-of-government consideration of digital economy issues. This will continue to ensure that discussions are grounded in values of free speech and respect for human rights and the principles of transparency, accountability, and consensus will guide stakeholders, according to USCIB. On November 30, USCIB included these comments in its submission to the U.N. High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) aimed at informing the HLPDC’s deliberations. The HLPDC was established by the UN Secretary-General in July 2018 to advance proposals to strengthen cooperation in the digital realm and contribute to the broader global dialogue on how interdisciplinary and cooperative approaches can help ensure a safe and inclusive digital future.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Continues Efforts to Oppose the Adoption of the Draft Directive on Digital Services Tax:  USCIB further engaged with the OECD and various European countries on the tax challenges of the digitalizing economy and the European Digital Services Tax. The OECD organized a “digital day” in Paris to further discuss business models and the direction of the OECD’s work on a long-term solution. Many USCIB members participated in this discussion. USCIB members have also met with this fall with a number of high-level European government officials to discuss the EU digital directives. These included meetings with Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. We have also engaged with business representatives at our peer organizations in other countries. We are encouraging those organizations to continue to work with their governments to ensure continuing opposition to the DST. We have also had ongoing discussions with the U.S. Treasury and the Senate Joint Economic Committee, including participating in a panel organized by the JEC to brief Hill staff on the issues and concerns of U.S. business.

USCIB will be continuing to pursue opportunities to express our concerns and ensure that any changes to the standards applicable to taxation of the digitalized economy reflect the concerns of U.S. business. While many countries have objected to the draft directives and the EU requires unanimity to proceed, it is important that USCIB continue to make its case about the potential damage from these directives. The OECD is working on a long-term solution. Many countries expressed a willingness to work within the OECD to achieve a long-term solution. USCIB also supports a consensus approach and believes that the OECD is the best place for working on such a consensus. The EU will be holding an Ecofin meeting on December 4th to consider this issue again (agreement was not reached at the Ecofin meeting held on November 6th). If agreement is not reached on December 4th, that will likely give the OECD some space to work on a long-term solution, since agreement on the EU directive is less likely in 2019 for a variety of political reasons.

USCIB Submits Comment Letters to Regulators: The Tax Committee dedicated significant resources to providing comments on a variety of topics. (See the recent accomplishments section of the USCIB Tax Committee page.) These comments included letters on: proposed regulations concerning the repatriation tax under section 965; proposed regulations concerning Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income under section 951A; the Platform for Collaboration on Tax’s toolkit on Offshore Indirect Transfers; and the OECD’s consultation on Financial Transactions.

USCIB Participates as an Observer in the UN’s Committee of Tax Experts: The UN Committee of Tax Experts held its seventeenth session in Geneva from October 16th through the 19th. The agenda covered updates to the UN Manual on Transfer Pricing; updates to the UN Model Income Tax Treaty (including, the taxation of software royalties, and the taxation of CIVs); development of a handbook on dispute avoidance and resolution; environmental tax issues; updates to the Extractives Handbook; the tax consequences of the digitalizing economy; updates to the manual on treaty negotiation; capacity building; and the taxation of development projects. The background papers presented and discussed at the meeting are here. USCIB is providing input on areas of interest to the USCIB Tax Committee including: the taxation of the digitalizing economy, the taxation of software royalties and taxation of carbon.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

USCIB Customs E-Commerce Sub-Committee Meets for First Time: On Thursday, October 18, 2018, members of the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee met under the auspices of a new, USCIB Customs E-Commerce Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee will focus on customs related e-commerce issues and serve as a way to screen and discuss e-commerce issues informally before bringing problems and recommendations to the broader Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee. If you are interested in participating in this group, please let Megan Giblin know at mgiblin@uscib.org.

Customs Committee Meets with Christina Kopitopolous, USTR, Ken Kennedy, DHS ICE: On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee received an update on Forced Labor issues from Ken Kennedy, Senior Policy Advisor for Forced Labor Programs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration & Customs Enforcement. Following this discussion, the Committee heard from Christina Kopitoplolous, USTR Director for Customs and Trade Affairs. Christina provided her assessment of customs issues at the WCO, WTO, and domestically.

Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT


USCIB Launches Anti-Illicit Trade Committee, David Luna as Chair: On Tuesday, September 11, USCIB held the inaugural meeting of its new Anti-Illicit Trade Committee, chaired by David Luna of Luna Global Networks & Convergence Strategies, LLC. In addition to laying out the committee’s goals and the beginnings of a Plan of Action, the committee heard the latest on Anti-Illicit Trade work at the OECD from the OECD’s Stephanie Jacobzone, Jack Radisch, and Piotr Stryszowski. The Committee met again on Thursday, November 29. At the November meeting, members heard from Christa Brzozowski, DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary, Trade and Transport, for an update on Anti-Illicit Trade work at the OECD. Following this briefing, members heard from Steven Shapiro, FBI Unit Chief, Criminal Investigative Division, Intellectual Property Rights Unit, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. Steven provided an overview of his team’s work at the IPR Center and expressed his interest in additional engagement with the USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee.

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

USCIB Submits Comments on China’s WTO Commitments and Testifies: As part of the annual request by the U.S. Trade Representative for comments on China’s compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments and notice of public hearing, USCIB submitted commentson September 21 reflecting USCIB members’ feedback and concerns. USCIB’s submission highlights concerns that arise in selected horizontal areas that transcend industry sectors, including IT security measures, China’s antimonopoly law, intellectual property rights, market access, national treatment and non-discrimination, the regulatory environment, standards, state-owned enterprises, customs and trade facilitation, taxation, labor laws, certification, licensing, and testing barriers. USCIB’s submission also addresses issues related to specific industry sectors that face problems in China, including agricultural biotechnology, audiovisual, chemicals, electronic payment access, express delivery services, recoverable materials, software, and telecommunications. Following USCIB’s submission, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony on October 3 to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC).

USCIB Meets with DOJ and FTC to Discuss China AML Issues: In a follow up to USCIB’s submission on China’s compliance with WTO Commitments, USCIB on November 19 met with officials from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as well as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to discuss current issues business faces in China in relation to the application of China’s anti-monopoly law (AML). As noted in USCIB’s public comments, Chinese antitrust enforcement authorities continue to use of the AML as a tool to advance industrial policy goals rather than to protect competition. U.S. companies have repeatedly experienced Chinese regulators using AML enforcement absent sufficient economic proof of market power or anti-competitive harm or any transparency regarding analyses that may have been conducted. In addition, anecdotal evidence indicates that the AML enforcement agencies often disregard basic norms of fairness, due process, and transparency.

Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

 USCIB Holds Joint ICC/USCIB Meeting on Global Competition Policy in NY: On September 5, against the backdrop of fast-changing business and policy practices with respect to antitrust and consumer protection, the USCIB Competition Committee held a joint meeting with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Competition Commission in New York. Participants in the joint ICC/USCIB meeting represented many jurisdictions, including Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The keynote speaker was Bruce Hoffman, director of the Bureau of Competition at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Hoffman discussed the latest developments of antitrust policy with USCIB members, including for competition policy litigation and enforcement in the U.S., as well as FTC hearings on the state of competition law and policy that began in Washington, D.C. in September. USCIB Competition Committee Chair Dina Kallay (Ericsson) and USCIB Competition Committee Vice Chair Jennifer Patterson(Arnold & Porter) led participants through an agenda that included updates on issues including mergers, due process, cartels, the International Competition Network (ICN), and the Multilateral Framework on Procedures, on which USCIB and ICC recently submitted a joint statement.

Membership

  • Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff traveled to the Bay Area to meet with representatives from member companies Visa, Uber, Salesforce, Oracle, Intel and Ripple Labs to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs. In addition, the USCIB membership department and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson met with representatives from member companies Citigroup, Hanesbrands, General Mills, Koch Industries, AT&T and DIAGEO.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Astellas, Cruise Automation and Steptoe & Johnson LLP as new members.

Upcoming Events:

    • UNFCCC COP24, Katowice, Poland – December 3-14
    • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 4
    • 2018 USCIB International Leadership Award Dinner, New York – December 11
    • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 13
    • USCIB Environment Committee and International Product Policy (IPP) Working Group Joint Meeting, New York – December 19
    • ACEP Som-1, Santiago, Chile – February 23 – March 8
    • 4th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4), Nairobi, Kenya – March 11-15
    • Going Digital: OECD Insights for a Changing World, Washington, D.C. – March 29
    • APEC SOM 2, Vaplaraiso, Chile – May 6-18
    • ECOSOC 2019 Session, Geneva, Switzerland – May 29 – 31
    • OECD/BIAC/USCIB Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 3-4

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

 

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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