Briefing: Are Countries Living Up to Their Open-Market Promises?

BIAC Chairman Charles Heeter of Deloitte (right) introduces OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría.
BIAC Chairman Charles Heeter of Deloitte (right) introduces OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría.

On June 2, coincident with USCIB’s latest OECD tax conference, we had the pleasure of hosting a timely and well attended luncheon in Washington, D.C., examining the OECD’s role in helping keep markets open to cross-border investment.

Taking place against the backdrop of ongoing economic turmoil, growing protectionist sentiment and ambitious proposals for regulatory reform, these two events provided important opportunities for USCIB members to interact directly with senior government and international officials making the decisions that will shape the future of the global economy.  They also underlined the importance of USCIB’s affiliation with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD in providing access to the work of the OECD.

The open markets lunch, organized with support from the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue, BIAC, Deloitte and several other leading business organizations, was titled “The Global Investment Agenda: Challenges to Global Capital Flows and Foreign Investment.”  The impetus for the session was growing concern that cross-border capital flows have contracted sharply and that governments, while cognizant of the benefits of open investment regimes, are apt to yield to domestic economic and  political pressures and impede cross-border investment.

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría set the tone in his opening address, declaring: “It is crucial for the investment policy community to counter such pressures, now and firmly.”  He noted that the OECD is ideally placed to work on investment openness, and that along with the IMF, WTO and UNCTAD, it is monitoring investment activity to ensure that governments refrain from raising new investment barriers.  A report by this group will be sent to the G20.

A panel chaired by Dan Price (Sidley Austin), a top White House aide in the previous administration and including Jeff Shafer (Citigroup), Jose Vinals (International Monetary Fund) and Matthias Sonn (German Embassy), picked up the general theme struck by Mr. Gurría.  They urged business to raise its voice to the Obama Administration on the need for strong leadership to resist investment protectionism and to keep markets open for cross-border investment.

Staff contact: Rob Mulligan

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

Staff Contact:   Alice Slayton Clark

Director, Investment, Trade and China
Tel: 202.682.0051

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