Mulligan Reports From Paris on Trade Talks at B20, BIAC, ICC

USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan was in Paris at the end of May participating in various Business at OECD (BIAC), B20, ICC and OECD meetings related to trade and investment. The meetings provided important policy-related updates for USCIB members and U.S. business, as well as recent developments and staff changes in USCIB’s global network.

At BIAC’s General Assembly on May 28, USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Chair Rick Johnston (Citi) was approved for a new term on the BIAC Board. The Assembly also approved the appointment of a new Secretary General, Russell Mills, who will take office on September 1.  The current and outgoing Secretary General, Bernhard Welschke, was recognized for his service with BIAC and will retire as of July 31.  Finally, BIAC had several representatives participating at the OECD Ministerial meeting and delivered a statement that noted the benefits of multilateralism in terms of economic growth and offered recommendations for improving and making multilateralism more effective.

Mulligan also met with Ken Ash, director of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate.  Ash noted that the OECD will be working on a series of analysis over the coming months on tariffs, market opening, trade facilitation, non-tariff barriers, and services reform and will be looking to get input from USCIB and BIAC as the OECD moves forward on this work. On May 30 the G20-OECD-WTO hosted an event on “Trade Facilitation and Future Trade Cooperation” which highlighted the gains from the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and discussed the TFA as a model for other types of trade agreements that are flexible and accommodate country capacity restraints.

At the conclusion of the OECD Ministerial that week, the United States refused to join a consensus statement with other OECD countries due to differences related to including language supportive of globalization and the multilateral trading system.  Mulligan commented on concerns with the U.S. government’s most recent trade actions.  “Governments at the OECD were very concerned with the U.S. decision to impose tariffs under the steel and aluminum 232 action,” said Mulligan.  “In a misguided effort to re-balance perceived inequities, often based solely on the metric bilateral trade deficits without a view to the larger picture, the administration is effectively alienating the United States from the global order that it once championed and led.”

At the B20 Trade and Investment taskforce meeting, Mulligan raised several issues, including a request for consistency in the taskforce’s policy paper, noting that the trade paper language related to digital trade, especially on IP, be consistent with language developed by the Digital taskforce.  Mulligan also sought clarification on some of the language that implied that cybersecurity laws are a barrier to trade which the secretariat agreed to address.

Finally, the ICC Trade and Investment Commission received an update on developments at the WTO.  It was noted that there have been several meetings on the e-commerce initiative and 11 papers have been submitted by various countries.  In early June, the WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo held a meeting with private sector representatives, including from ICC, in Geneva to get input on the WTO agenda.  The commission members had a robust discussion on ICC developing an issue a statement opposing unilateral protectionist measures and how to make it most impactful.  Members supported moving forward and ICC staff will draft a statement for review by members and possibly approval by the ICC Board in late June.

2018 OECD Tax Conference

Save the Date!

The 2019 OECD International Tax Conference, June 3-4

Location – TBC

This annual conference provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. business community to interact with key representatives from the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration to discuss the latest developments in international taxation.  At this year’s conference, Kevin Hassett, Chairman of The Council of Economic Advisors, delivered keynote remarks. Other senior tax officials from the U.S. and other key countries involved in the OECD’s international tax work participated on panels covering the latest developments in the taxation of multinational enterprises including tax treaties, transfer pricing, the work of the Task Force on the Digital Economy, dispute resolution and more.

For more information, or to be placed on the wait list, please contact Erin Breitenbucher (202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org).

2018 Final Agenda

2018 Speaker Biographies

2018 Photos

2018 Featured Speakers:

  • Kevin Hassett – Chairman, Council of Economic Advisors, Executive Office of the President
  • Pascal Saint-Amans – Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration, OECD
  • Grace Perez-Navarro – Deputy Director, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration
  • Martin Kreienbaum – Director General, International Taxation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany
  • Brian Ernewein – General Director (Legislation), Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance, Canada
  • Mike Williams – Director, Business and International Tax, HM Treasury
  • Lafayette (Chip) G. Harter – Deputy Assistant Secretary (International Tax Affairs), U.S. Treasury
  • Doug O’Donnell – Commissioner, Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, IRS
  • Achim Pross – Head of International Cooperation and Tax Administration, OECD
  • Tomas Balco – Head of the Transfer Pricing Unit, CTPA, OECD
  • Sophie Chatel – Head of the Tax Treaty Unit, CTPA, OECD
  • Michael Graetz – Professor of Tax Law, Columbia Law School
  • Will Morris – Chairman, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Bill Sample – Chairman, USCIB Tax Committee; Vice Chair, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Other Senior Treasury and Foreign Tax Policy Officials

More on USCIB’s Taxation Committee

2018 Sponsors:

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PWC

 

 

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exxonmobil

 

 

For information on how to become a sponsor, please contact Abby Shapiro (617-515-8492 or ashapiro@uscib.org). 

 

Presented by:

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OECD

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In association with:

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Organization for International Investment

Tax Executives Institute, Inc.

OECD Tax Conference Assesses Tax Reform Impacts

Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett interviewed by Cathy Koch, Americas Tax Policy Leader, EY

Months after the signing into law of the most fundamental tax reform in the U.S. in over 30 years, the annual OECD International Tax Conference, organized by USCIB in cooperation with the OECD and Business at OECD, convened earlier this week in Washington, D.C. to assess the impact of the new law on U.S. multinational companies, reforms in other countries, as well as on cross-border trade and investment.

Some speakers, such as Louise Weingrod (Johnson & Johnson) spoke of the generally positive environment that has resulted from the new tax law, such as a more level-playing field for MNCs and increases in capital investment by U.S. companies. Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett, who gave keynote remarks during the conference, stated that tax reform has been spurring growth and that U.S. reform will spur additional reform in other countries. He also said that reducing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent would have been enough but that the Trump administration tackled some of the other issues too, which has had the desired effect on margins.

“U.S. tax reform is but one piece of an increasingly complex puzzle of changing global tax rules that companies must navigate,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “As technology, business models and supply chains have evolved, it is more critical than ever to bring certainty to international tax rules, in order to promote global growth and avoid double taxation. The conference provided an unparalleled opportunity to learn about, and influence, the latest developments in the global taxation system.”

While U.S. tax reform was a contentious issue at the conference, other policy matters were also raised, specifically those related to transfer pricing, dealing with tax-related disputes through arbitration, implementation of the OECD’s multilateral instrument, development with regards to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as tax challenges arising from digitalization.

Bill Sample (Microsoft), who is the vice chair of the Business at OECD Taxation and Fiscal Policy Committee and chairs the USCIB Tax Committee, reflected on the key issues for the business community that need to be addressed to get to a G20-mandated, consensus-based solution by 2020 with regards to digitalization. “Business recognizes the political pressure to reach consensus. But for business to be fully engaged, whatever the consensus is, it will need to bear a rational relationship to value creation,” he emphasized.

The sold-out conference, which was held June 4-5 gathered over 300 tax experts, academics and business representatives to interact directly with key leadership from the OECD, its Center for Tax Policy and Administration (CTFA), and senior tax officials from the U.S. and other OECD countries, including Canada, France and Germany. The conference has grown into an annual must-attend event for tax practitioners, experts and regulators from around the world.

US Scuttles Trade Language at OECD Ministerial, Imposes Steel Tariffs

Participants at the OECD ministerial in Paris

Last week, ministers gathered in Paris for the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. For the second year in a row, the United States refused to join a consensus statement with the other OECD countries.

As happened last year, the U.S. objected to language supportive of globalization and the multilateral trading system. The action came as the Trump administration announced that it would end temporary exemptions from Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum granted to Mexico, Canada, and the European Union. The duties went into effect on June 1.

According to USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan, who attended the OECD ministerial as part of a delegation from Business at OECD, the administration has made clear that it attributes little significance to U.S. leadership in the global trade environment.

“In a misguided effort to re-balance perceived inequities, often based solely on the metric bilateral trade deficits without a view to the larger picture, the administration is effectively alienating the United States from the global order that it once championed and led,” he said following the meetings in Paris.

At the OECD ministerial, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defended the U.S. action, saying problems arise “when people don’t follow the rules, when the enforcement mechanisms are inadequate and even more so when the rules become obsolete.”

Mulligan elaborated: “Protectionism, while tempting in the short term, has consistently proven to be damaging for the larger economy in the long term. Unilateral, protectionist actions such as these tariffs, enacted under the guise of national security, do not constitute an effective long-term strategy for economic growth. They will also erode the value of the national security exception. For the United States to continue its leadership in innovation, the trade and investment environment must remain open. These recent actions unfortunately do not reflect such a view.”

The business community remains very concerned about the trajectory of the administration’s policies on trade and investment, said Mulligan. While many U.S. actions appear targeted at China and its commercial practices, he said, “it is not clear how stepping away from the global table and alienating our allies is an effective strategy to address the many problems U.S. business encounters in China.”

Colombia Officially Joins OECD, Becomes 37th Member

OECD countries have officially agreed, on May 25, to invite Colombia to become a member of the organization. An Accession Agreement was signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria on May 30 during the OECD Ministerial meetings in Paris. Colombia is the 37th country and the third member country from the LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) region to join the OECD.

“Through the OECD accession process Colombia has made impressive strides in, for example, reforming its justice system and reducing informality in the labor market,” said Gurria. “The accession process has been instrumental in the design and implementation of new national policies, such as on water and chemicals management. Colombia took important steps to improve its governance of state-owned enterprises, including removal of ministers from the boards. To comply with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention Colombia significantly modified its corporate liability regime. The list of reforms goes on.” Gurria’s full remarks at the signing ceremony can be found here.

Colombia was invited to begin the accession process in 2013. Over the past five years, 23 OECD Committees conducted an in-depth review of Colombia’s legislation, politics and practices, to align them with OECD standards. The final two Committees where reforms were required were the Labor Committee and the Trade Committee. The Labor Committee concluded their process during their recent meeting in March. The Trade Committee concluded their April meeting with a draft formal opinion, which was finalized several weeks later, just ahead of the Ministerial. Rob Mulligan, USCIB senior vice President for policy and government affairs, was in Paris last week for the Ministerial.

“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,” said Mulligan. “The main affected sectors throughout that process were pharmaceuticals, distilled spirits, and trucking. Many issues were resolved before accession, and we look forward to continued progress and concrete actions being taken on outstanding issues.” View USCIB’s official statement here.

“Moving forward, USCIB will play an active role in providing U.S. business input to the OECD on any upcoming accession processes,” added Mulligan. The countries that have expressed interest are Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Romania, Croatia, and Bulgaria. At this time, no new process has commenced.

2018 OECD Tax Conference: Information for Participants

Conference Materials:

  • USB Flash Drives with Background Documents will be included in materials handed out to attendees. Electronic copies are currently available to registered participants upon request.

PowerPoint Presentations

  • Hard Copies of PowerPoint Presentations will not be distributed. Electronic copies will be sent via email to participants when they are finalized.

Conference Logistics:

Location Details: The conference will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel located at 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The meeting portion of the conference will take place in the Corcoran Ballroom located on the Banquet level. The Reception on Monday, June 4th will take place in the Seasons Restaurant on the Lower Lobby Level.  The Luncheon on Tuesday, June 5th will take place in the Dumbarton Conservatory next door to the Corcoran Ballroom.

Wireless Internet:  Wireless internet is available for conference attendees in the meeting room.  Please ask a member of the conference staff for the wireless password. Complimentary internet is also available to conference participants in your hotel room.

Parking:  Discounted Valet Parking is available at the conference venue, The Four Seasons Hotel, for conference attendees. The discounted rate is $29 per day.  Please pick up a parking validation sticker at the registration table for each day of the conference.

Metro: The nearest metro station is the Foggy Bottom-GWU station.  Both Blue and Orange lines stop at the Foggy Bottom Metro.  The Hotel is approximately a four block walk from the metro. (Map below)

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Conference Website

Education and Re-skilling in the Age of AI

By Andreas Schleicher, Shea Gopaul and Peter Robinson

Faced with major economic and social disruption, business and policy leaders are joining together to devise strategies and models to adapt the skills of the existing and future workforce to the opportunities offered by AI, automation, robotics and digitalization. McKinsey reports that 42% in the United States, 24% in Europe, and 31% in the rest of the world admit they currently lack a “good understanding of how automation and/or digitization will affect […] future skill needs.”

To prepare for looming technological upheavals, we need to understand the current educational and training landscape, its limitations, examine the latest research on the future skills needed and highlight some of the most effective employment and human resources strategies and educational models that can better position all stakeholders for the imminent change. We argue that by working together, especially through public-private partnerships, business and policy leaders can develop effective work-readiness and skill matching solutions, lifelong learning and re-skilling approaches to prepare both employers and employees for the changing world of work.

Teaching People to Learn

For some, AI and globalization can be liberating and exciting; but for those who are insufficiently prepared, they can mean uncertainty in employment, and a life without prospects. Our economies are shifting towards regional hubs of production, linked together by global chains of information and goods, but concentrated where comparative advantage can be built and renewed. This makes the distribution of knowledge and wealth crucial, and that is intimately tied to the distribution of educational opportunities.

The dilemma for education is that the kinds of things that are easy to teach have now become easy to digitize and automate (e.g. memorization vs. critical thinking). The modern world does not reward us just for what we know – Google knows everything – but for what we can do with what we know. So, the focus must shift to enabling people to become lifelong learners, which encourages constant learning, unlearning and relearning when the contexts change, and integrates both the practical world of work, with the theoretical world of learning. The future is about pairing computers with the cognitive, social and emotional skills of human beings.

These days, AI algorithms sort us into groups of like-minded individuals. They create virtual bubbles that amplify our views and leave us insulated from divergent perspectives. Tomorrow’s educational institutions will need to help students to think for themselves and join others, with empathy, in work and citizenship, and build character qualities such as perseverance, empathy or perspective taking, mindfulness, ethics, courage and leadership.

But to transform schooling at scale, we need not just a radical, alternative vision of what’s possible, but also smart strategies and effective institutions. Our current educational institutions were invented in the industrial age, when the prevailing norms were standardization and compliance, and when it was both effective and efficient to educate students in batches and to train teachers once for their entire working lives. The curricula that spelled out what students should learn were designed at the top of the pyramid, then translated into instructional material, teacher education and learning environments, often through multiple layers of government, until they reached, and were implemented by, individual teachers in the classroom.

This structure, in a fast-moving world, reacts to current needs, far too slowly. Today, we need to embrace AI also in ways that elevate the role of educators from imparting received knowledge towards working as co-creators of knowledge, as coaches, as mentors and as evaluators. AI can support new ways of teaching that focus on learners as active participants (e.g. chat bot, gaming applications).

Public/Private Coming-Together Around Skills

With 40% of employers reporting that they lack the talent required, it is surprising that at the same time global youth unemployment as stated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) is at 66 million. There is clearly a mismatch and the private sector has a critical role to play in resolving this skills-education deficit. Employer-driven education (i.e. apprenticeships, traineeships, internships, learnerships) are key in equipping the workforce with the soft and technical skills that employers require.

In countries such as Switzerland and Germany with robust apprenticeship programs and strong employer engagement, the rate of youth unemployment is very low. So, why aren’t there more apprenticeships and employer driven education? In many countries, the policies, regulations, registration process for setting up work-based learning programs are cumbersome and time-consuming for employers. The return on investment (ROI) is often unknown, e.g. in the U.S. for every $1 spent there is a return of $1.47. Lastly, educational institutions are not always linking to employers on curriculum design to reflect the world of work’s latest needs.

We have learnt at the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), a public-private partnership (PPP), that the convening of key stakeholders at the local city and country level ensures that education and legislation is better attuned to the world of work. Although private and public stakeholders do not always speak the same language, bringing them together increases their mutual understanding of the needs and changes that will assist in getting skills for business and jobs for youth.

Employers are uniquely positioned to define the skills required in the world of AI, robotics and automation as they are developing these technologies. Sadly, their importance as not only job creators, but also curricula designers, are often overlooked and they are often left out of the conversation and decision-making process. Work-based learning and notably apprenticeships connect education to work and we are seeing more and more employers creating innovative apprenticeships – part-time apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and a vast range of online tools. e.g. e-apprenticeships. In the last five years since GAN’s inception, it has become increasingly apparent that these models must be leveraged to ensure that not only youth, but also middle-aged and senior population groups adapt their skills and competencies to the fast evolving economic and technological context. In short, with the need for re-skilling and lifelong learning on an unprecedented scale, innovative apprenticeships can help get skills for business and jobs for all.

Below are two business-led initiatives that further illustrate the power of public-private partnership in skilling and reskilling. With the uncertainties linked to fast-paced technological change, these models show us how all actors – public and private- can join forces to ensure that skill development is continuously connected to present and future socioeconomic needs.

The first is IBM’s P-TECH school, a public-private partnership educational model that addresses postsecondary degree completion and career readiness by smoothing the transitions between high-school, college, and the professional world in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It recognizes that students need early and engaging experiences with the world of work, to make the academic work in high school and college meaningful and to fully prepare them with the workplace skills required by employers. The model pairs educational institutions with “employer partners” to act as mentors, develop curriculum, organize site visits, internships and other workplace learning opportunities.

The sustainability of the model depends on public authorities’ active involvement to develop appropriate frameworks, regulations, licensing, etc. Starting with one school in 2011 and engaging over 400 business partners, P-TECH expects to have 100 schools in 2018. IBM also ensures that its own workforce has continuous access to lifelong learning. Through the Think40 program IBM staff is asked to pursue at least 40 hours of personal and technical skills development through formal classes, self-paced learning, and online resources. The Think Academy platform allows IBM staff to access customized training which is constantly updated to IBM’s clients’ most current and pressing needs.

The second example is based on Randstad’s approach to “put humans first” in the age of digital transformation. Randstad supports clients to integrate versatility in their organizational culture, through a wide variety of re-skilling mechanisms, ranging from external & internal training, mentorship to job rotations and adult apprenticeships. Moreover, Randstad operating companies facilitate the integration and reintegration of vulnerable segments of society (e.g. youth, women, senior staff) with more than 100 social innovation programs mostly through public-private partnerships across the world. For example, in Spain, the Randstad Foundation works with more than 600 companies to ensure the reintegration of those at risk of exclusion from the labor market. In Italy and in the Netherlands, Randstad focuses on employees over 50 years of age, by organizing training in the latest technologies, advocacy, and networking opportunities (12 events to date) with employers.

This overview of initiatives, models and partnerships demonstrates that, through collaboration involving public and private entities, excellent strategies can be developed, not only to adapt to the upcoming technological change, but also to capitalize on the opportunities technology has to offer for the creation of better jobs and better lives.

Employers Are Optimistic in the Age of AI

We’re all being told that our jobs are doomed by robots and automation. But the OECD estimates that only nine percent of jobs across the 35 OECD nations are at high risk of being automated, although of course even nine percent can generate plenty of social difficulties. But there is an established track record throughout history of new technologies creating at least as many new jobs as they displace. Usually these new jobs demand higher skills and provide higher pay. The biggest threat is that our educational institutions won’t be able to keep pace with the new skills demands including the important skills that AI will not be able to replace.

For global employers, there is a steadily growing mismatch between what companies need in terms of skills and what the workforce is coming equipped to do. In an economy with a significant on-demand labor force, two main types of competencies will be needed: “technical” – or in other words, related to deep knowledge of a specific domain, whether welding or engineering, and “transversal,” which applies to all occupations. Those are described by the Center for Curriculum Redesign as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

The Skills Employers Will Seek

So what skills will managers need as a result of likely structural changes, driven by AI and growth of the on-demand economy? A recent survey by Business at OECD (BIAC) surveyed 50 employers’ organizations worldwide. It showed that employers value not just the skills and character traits described above, but also character qualities as well, such as mindfulness, curiosity, courage, resilience, ethics, leadership and meta-learning (e.g. growth mindset and metacognition).

Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that, in a constantly changing world, an individual’s versatility matters; so, the model developed by Jim Spohrer of IBM, of a “T-shaped” person, holds true: broad and deep individuals capable of adapting and going where the demand lies.

Employers’ organizations at the national and global levels are already developing innovative programs to help governments and educators anticipate the needs of the future workforce. Through robust action at the global level, including through the G-20 and the OECD, policy makers can also make sure that they are helping their populations succeed and thrive in a world of AI and other technological advances.

This overview highlights the strength of partnerships between the public and the private sector in preparing for the unpredictable. For such alliances to reach their full potential, on the one hand governments and policy makers must be open to the private sector’s input and on the other hand employers need to take a long term view of the ROI and accordingly commit resources in skilling and educating their current and future staff, notably through apprenticeship and work-readiness programs.

Andreas Schleicher heads the Directorate of Education and Skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Shea Gopaul is executive director and founder of the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN). Peter Robinson is president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB).

For more information, please contact:

OECD: news.contact@oecd.org
GAN: gueco@gan-global.org
USCIB: jhuneke@uscib.org

Colombia Gets Approval to Join the OECD

Colombia will join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development following an agreement among the 35-nation forum’s member states ahead of this week’s OECD ministerial.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría are expected to sign an accession agreement at the annual ministerial-level council meeting, which is scheduled for May 30, according to the OECD.

USCIB – which serves as the U.S. affiliate of Business at OECD, the representative private-sector voice in the OECD – issued the following statement:

“USCIB welcomes the progress Colombia has made over the past several years in the context of the accession process to the OECD. As the official voice representing U.S. business in this process, we acknowledge the steps taken by Colombia to meet the high standards of the OECD in various sectors. We look forward to continued progress and concrete actions being taken on outstanding issues, including on pharmaceuticals and trucking, where the current status does not yet rise to the level of like-mindedness with other OECD countries on open trade and investment. As the OECD considers inviting additional countries to join, USCIB will continue to advocate on behalf of U.S. business to ensure that all OECD countries continue to meet high standards.”

Colombia Statements Picked Up by Inside US Trade and Politico

USCIB has been actively involved in providing input into Colombia’s accession process to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Most recently, USCIB’s views on Colombia’s progress to meet certain standards have been published in Politico and Inside U.S. Trade.

In Politico, USCIB stated that it welcomed the progress Colombia has made over the past several years in the context of the accession process to the OECD. “As the official voice representing US business in this process, we acknowledge the steps taken by Colombia to meet the high standards of the OECD in various sectors,” the statement reads. “We look forward to continued progress and concrete actions being taken on outstanding issues, including on pharmaceuticals and trucking, where the current status does not yet rise to the level of like-mindedness with other OECD countries on open trade and investment. As the OECD considers inviting additional countries to join, USCIB will continue to advocate on behalf of US business to ensure that all OECD countries continue to meet high standards.”

Read the full news story in Politico here.

Additionally, Inside U.S. Trade also highlighted this statement, along with those of NAM and PhRMA.

USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl, who coordinates U.S. business input on OECD accession issues, noted, “USCIB has worked over the past several years to represent and address any issues U.S. industry faces in Colombia in the context of the OECD accession process. Colombia is an important market for U.S. business, and it is important to ensure that the high standards of the OECD are met. We look forward to continued progress, as Colombia officially joins the OECD this week.”

USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan is currently in Paris attending the annual OECD Forum, where the Colombia accession process will be finalized. Colombia is expected to sign an Accession Agreement on May 30 during the upcoming meeting of the OECD Council at the ministerial level. Colombia will become the 37th member of the OECD upon signing.

USCIB Provides Input to OECD’s Work on Digital Economy

USCIB’s Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner, along with several USCIB members, participated in the May 14-18 meetings of the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties, which focused on advancing the OECD’s Going Digital project on the digital transformation of the economy, rolling out plans for a Global Forum on Digital Security for Prosperity, and featuring a special Roundtable discussion on privacy interoperability. The Going Digital Project was officially launched in Berlin in 2017 and aims to examine how the digital transformation affects policy-making across a large spectrum of policy areas, including competition, consumer policy, digital economy policy (privacy, security, infrastructure, economic impact), science, technology and innovation, industry and entrepreneurship, insurance and private pensions, financial markets, fiscal affairs and taxation and much more. The project will draw on national experiences and policy experimentation occurring across the OECD’s 35 member countries, its accession countries, key partners and many other economies involved in the OECD’s work.

At the meetings earlier this month in Paris, USCIB members, participating under the auspices of Business at OECD (BIAC), made numerous interventions throughout the five days of meetings, focused on elements of the Going Digital Project, such as projects on Artificial Intelligence, Online Platforms, and E-Commerce. In particular, BIAC Vice Chair Rich Clarke (AT&T) played an important behind-the-scenes role building consensus on two important telecommunications initiatives, and Carolyn Nguyen (Microsoft) offered her company’s perspective in the privacy interoperability roundtable.

Wanner was on the microphone for BIAC expressing business interest and support for the Global Forum on Digital Security for Prosperity. “As the OECD’s Going Digital Project advances, the business community greatly appreciates the opportunities to provide input,” said Wanner. “We look forward to continuing to work with the OECD, through BIAC, to provide value and ensure the success of the project as well as the upcoming Global Forum on Digital Security for Prosperity.”