2020 OECD Tax Conference

POSTPONED

Four Seasons Hotel, Washington

June 1: 8:30am – 7:30pm
June 2: 8:00am – 1:00pm

2019 Agenda with Confirmed Speakers

Now in its 15th year, 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 (“CTPA”) as well as key members of the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs: including Pascal Saint-Amans, Director, CTPA, and Grace Perez-Navarro, Deputy Director, CTPA. 2019 speakers included Martin Kreienbaum, Chair of the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs and Director General for International Taxation at the German Federal Ministry of Finance, and Lafayette “Chip” Harter, Deputy Assistant Secretary – International Tax Affairs. Last year’s conference focused mainly on the OECD’s work on a global solution to the tax challenges posed by the digitalization of the economy. This work is on a fast track, with the G20 having asked OECD to deliver a global solution in 2020, with an update given in June 2019. With G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Japan a few days after the conference, this event provided participants a unique opportunity to hear and discuss the latest developments on this important issue.

2019 Agenda with Confirmed Speakers

Speaker Biographies

Information for Participants

Hotel Room Block

2019 Key Topics:

  • Four sessions on the Tax Challenges of Digitalization covering Pillar 1 – Profit Allocation and Nexus, Pillar 2 – Minimum Taxes and Taxes on Base Eroding Payments and next steps
  • Tax Treaties and the Multilateral Instrument
  • Improving Tax Certainty – ICAP and MAP
  • Transfer Pricing
  • The International Tax Implications of Brexit

2019 Featured Speakers:

  • Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Economist and International Development Expert with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Central Europe and Latin America (Keynote Speaker)
  • Pascal Saint-Amans – Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD
  • Grace Perez-Navarro – Deputy Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD
  • Peter Robinson – President and CEO, USCIB
  • Russel Mills – Secretary General, Business at OECD
  • Martin Kreienbaum – Director General, International Taxation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany
  • Mike Williams – Director, Business and International Tax, HM Treasury, United Kingdom
  • Alexandra MacLean – Director General, International and Large Business Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency
  • Harry Roodbeen – Director, International Tax and Consumer Tax, Ministry of Finance, The Netherlands
  • Gael Perraud – Co-Chair, OECD Task Force on the Digital Economy; Director of International Taxation and European Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Finance, France
  • 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
  • John C. C. Hughes, Director, APMA, Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, IRS
  • Achim Pross – Head of International Cooperation and Tax Administration, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD
  • Tomas Balco – Head of the Transfer Pricing Unit, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD
  • Sophie Chatel – Head of the Tax Treaty Unit, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD
  • Richard Collier – Senior Advisor, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD
  • Michael Graetz – Professor of Tax Law, Columbia Law School
  • Will Morris – Chairman, Business at OECD Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs; Vice Chair, USCIB Tax Committee
  • Bill Sample – Chairman, USCIB Tax Committee; Vice Chair, Business at OECD Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Tim McDonald – Vice Chair, USCIB Tax Committee
  • Louise Weingrod – Vice Chair, USCIB Tax Committee
  • Other Senior Treasury and Foreign Tax Policy Officials

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

More on USCIB’s Taxation Committee

2020 Sponsors:

PWC

 

Black Deloitte Logo

 

 

exxonmobil

 

 

 

 

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

 

Presented by:

USCIB logo

OECD

In association with:

IFA Logo
ITPF
NFTC logo

Tax Executives Institute, Inc.

COVID-19 Responses: Our Global Network

USCIB is pleased to share the work being done related to COVID-19 across the world by our global network. For information on what USCIB member companies are doing to curb the impacts of COVID-19, visit our dedicated Member Responses page.

Table of Contents:

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
International Organization of Employers (IOE)
Business at OECD (BIAC)
Intergovernmental Forums

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

Latest ICC News and Statements on COVID-19:

  • ICC publishes a COVID-19 Business Continuity Guide
  • ICC launched a new global campaign, #SaveOurSMEs, to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) survive the COVID-19 pandemic. In a co-signed message to the ICC network, ICC Secretary General John Denton and ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF) Chair Hamad Buamim called on the ICC network to widely share the  ‘SOS’ Call to Action and engage with media using these campaign key messages.
  • While recognizing the essential role the private sector can play in minimizing the likelihood of transmission, a joint ICC-WHO statement calls on national governments to adopt a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and underscores the urgency for Heads of State and Government to make preventing the spread of the virus a top priority.

Recordings and presentations of recent virtual sessions:

  • ICC’s educational arm, the ICC Academy, will be hosting a series of livecasts and webinars on COVID-19 in the coming weeks, free of charge. As part of the COVID-19 response, the series will focus on three core areas: healtheconomy, and at a later stage: recovery.

International Organization of Employers (IOE)

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant disruption, threatening millions of lives and livelihoods.

IOE is mobilizing its network to provide information on business and employer organizations’ efforts to support members with safety and health measures,  preventive actions to minimize disruption to productivity, strategies for mitigation of financial losses, and overview of government initiatives to reduce economic stress on business.

IOE is providing information based on regions (Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Central Asia), virtual conferences, and key documents from its global network. For more general information visit IOE’s dedicated page on COVID-19.


Latest IOE News and Statements on COVID-19:

  • The IOE and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and their constituents stand in solidarity with governments and underline the critical need for social dialogue at national and multilateral levels to design measures to overcome the impact of COVID-19. The two organizations have released a joint statementwhich contains several call of action points on business continuity, income security, social dialogue, policy coordination and coherence. The statement also notes that the 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work contains critical elements.

Recordings and presentations of recent virtual sessions:

Business at OECD (BIAC)

Business at OECD (BIAC) believes it is now more important than ever that the OECD delivers the best policy advice both on short-term collective response measures, as well as the longer-term recovery plans that will soon need to be implemented. The extensive experience of the OECD, from its origins emerging from the Marshall Plan implementation to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, makes the organization a unique forum to help governments achieve an effective balance between the health and economic needs of society. Evidence-based analysis, enhanced best practice sharing and improved coordinated collective actions will prove decisive.

Initial OECD analysis on COVID-19:

For more information on what the OECD and Business at OECD (BIAC) are doing related to COVID-19, please visit their website: http://biac.org/coronavirus/.

 

Intergovernmental Forums (IGOs)

United Nations

  • The United Nations published a report titled “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19“. The report is a call to action, for the immediate health response required to suppress transmission of the virus to end the pandemic and to tackle the many social and economic dimensions of this crisis. It is a call to focus on people – women, youth, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises, the informal sector and on vulnerable groups who are already at risk. Pages 6-7 of the report features a section on “Businesses and Corporations: Step Up to the Challenge
  • USCIB’s biweekly memo on “Business at the UN” flags events and decision points relevant to members, passes on intelligence and indicates next steps for business-relevant UN workstreams. If you would like to receive the memo, please contact: Claudia Herbert Colfer (ccolfer@uscib.org).

USCIB and Business Fights Poverty Host Virtual Session on COVID-19 Business Impact

How can business best deal with the COVID-19 challenge? In an effort to answer this critical question, USCIB partnered with Business Fights Poverty (BFP) to host an online “challenge” discussion on March 19. USCIB Vice President for Innovation and Product Policy Mike Michener was on the panel, joined by USCIB policy staff and representatives of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD.

The USCIB Foundation’s Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD) initiative Executive Director Dr. Scott Ratzan joined BFP’s Co-founder and CEO Zahid Torres-Rahman and Harvard Kennedy School’s Myriam Sidibe for the online discussion, supported by a panel of leading executives from business, civil society, the United Nations and the UK government. The discussion began with an evaluation of the current situation, and the impact on business and others. This was followed by dialogue on the immediate priorities for business, including best practices.  The panel ended by weighing how business can partner with others to support immediate action, and well as longer-term resilience.

Michener said, “We are all in this together, and partnerships are key to solving all of the problems posed by this crisis – health, economic, and protecting the most vulnerable. I appreciated the opportunity to engage in the valuable BFP discussion, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.”

The USCIB Foundation’s program, Business Partnership for Sustainable Development, with Business Fights Poverty.

USCIB Talks OECD Accession With New US Ambassador to Brazil   

Todd C. Chapman

USCIB trade and investment policy staffers Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl had an introductory conference call on March 19 with the recently-confirmed new U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman and State Department Brazil Desk Economist Ben Kalt.  Ambassador Chapman, with whom USCIB worked in the past during Chapman’s earlier appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador, had hoped to meet in person with USCIB staff and member companies but settled for an introductory call in light of COVID-19 precautions.

According to Donnelly, the Ambassador assured USCIB that the Brazil’s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) accession process will be at the top of his policy agenda throughout his assignment in Brazil.

Donnelly and Hampl outlined USCIB’s role in the OECD accession process, serving as the official voice of U.S. business in all OECD matters, directly and as the U.S. affiliate of the Business at OECD (known as BIAC) business coalition on the ground at the OECD.

“We shared our experiences with the OECD, BIAC, the U.S. Government, the government of Colombia and business leaders on Colombia’s recent OECD accession,” said Donnelly. “We discussed possible modalities for embassy-USCIB cooperation throughout the OECD accession process as well as ways both USCIB and the embassy might work most effectively with CNI, which is Brazil’s largest and most influential business organization.”

USCIB has also worked extensively with CNI–as national committee partners in Business at OECD, as well as in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) for climate change.

Ambassador Chapman enthusiastically signed up for a meeting with USCIB member companies on one of his early return visits to Washington after he gets settled in Brasilia.

The OECD accession process is a comprehensive, rigorous, and lengthy process, often running three to five years or more, with more than a dozen OECD committees and other bodies each carefully reviewing the candidate country’s laws, regulations, and practices to confirm they are in line with OECD standards.  When all relevant OECD committees and subsidiary bodies are satisfied by the applicant’s “like-mindedness” and commitment to OECD standards, the OECD “Council” of thirty-six ambassadors can formally approve the accession and invite the candidate country to file its binding acceptance of membership.

According to Donnelly, given Brazil’s prominent role in the global economy and, frankly, its history of barriers to foreign goods, services and investments, Brazil’s candidacy will likely attract great interest from OECD member governments and the Business at OECD coalition.  USCIB will be at the head of the line in that business effort.  The Brazil accession case has some important unique aspects, probably most important the strong early endorsement from President Trump personally.

If you have questions, concerns, or recommendations concerning Brazil OECD accession process, please contact Eva Hampl (ehampl@uscib.org) or Shaun Donnelly (sdonnelly@uscib.org).

COVID-19 Responses: USCIB Members

USCIB is pleased to share initiatives that member companies are doing to address the COVID-19 crisis. We’ll be updating this page daily, so check back often for more spotlights.

Featured Companies:

HP
Intel
Mastercard
Apple
Salesforce
Microsoft
HanesBrand


Member Spotlight: HP Mobilizes 3D Printing to Battle COVID-19

Quick Summary:
HP Inc. and its global digital manufacturing community are mobilizing their 3D printing teams, technology, experience, and production capacity to help deliver critical parts in the effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the first applications being validated and produced include: hands-free door opener, mask adjuster, face shields. 

HP Inc. and its global digital manufacturing community announced in a press release on March 24 that they are mobilizing their 3D printing teams, technology, experience, and production capacity to help deliver critical parts in the effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

HP has produced more than 35,000 parts to date and growing, with partners and customers producing tens of thousands more.  HP’s 3D R&D centers in Barcelona, Spain; Corvallis, Oregon; San Diego, California and Vancouver, Washington are collaborating with partners around the world in a coordinated effort to increase production to meet the most urgent needs. Initial applications being validated and finalized for industrial production include face masks, face shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers, and respirator parts. HP is also coordinating with government, health, and industry agencies in numerous countries to ensure a synchronized and effective approach.

Some of the first applications being validated and produced include:

  • Hands-Free Door Opener:  Door handles are among the most germ-infested objects in houses, hospitals, factories, and elderly homes.  This adapter allows for easy and more sanitary opening with an elbow. This hands-free door opener has been designed by HP’s Digital Manufacturing Network partner Materialise.
  • Mask Adjuster:  Many hospital staff are required to wear masks for long periods of time.  This clasp is designed to improve comfort and alleviate associated ear pain.
  • Face Shields:  Face shields are one of the highest-need personal protection items.  Brackets to hold the shield and comfortably fit the wearer are a critical component.
  • FFP3 Face Masks:  Effective protective gear is needed for medical providers to treat the volume of expected COVID-19 patients.  HP is validating several hospital-grade face masks and expects them to be available shortly. One example of face mask has been developed by the Research Institute CIIRC CVUT and is being produced using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology and distributed by Škoda Auto in the Czech Republic.

Many more applications are in the testing and validation phase and are expected to begin production soon, including:

    • Field Ventilator: 3D printed parts for a mechanical bag valve mask (BVM) that is designed for use as a short-term emergency ventilation of COVID-19 patients. This simplified design enables a robust and less-complex device, facilitating its rapid production and assembly.
    • Nasopharyngeal swabs: HP has developed an investigational 3D printed nasopharyngeal test swab, designed for use in COVID-19 testing. HP has shared the swab designs with several premiere research partners for clinical evaluation. We are working closely with leading researchers at Harvard University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to assist with gathering test data and to further refine the 3D printed swab designs, materials, and printing capacity. We are advancing fast with the goal of mass producing the swabs with HP’s industrial-grade Jet Fusion 3D printers.

To read the full press release, please click here.


USCIB Member Intel Commits $50 Million with Pandemic Response Technology Initiative to Combat Coronavirus

Photo source: Intel
Quick Summary:
Intel is pledging an additional $50 million in a pandemic response technology initiative to combat the coronavirus through accelerating access to technology at the point of patient care, speeding scientific research and ensuring access to online learning for students.
This technology response initiative builds on Intel’s prior announcements of $10 million in donations that are supporting local communities during this critical time. Those donations include 1 million gloves, masks and other equipment for healthcare workers, $6 million from the Intel Foundation toward relief efforts in local communities and $4 million from Intel and its subsidiaries around the globe.

Today, April 7, Intel is pledging an additional $50 million in a pandemic response technology initiative to combat the coronavirus through accelerating access to technology at the point of patient care, speeding scientific research and ensuring access to online learning for students. Included in Intel’s effort is an additional innovation fund for requests where access to Intel expertise and resources can have immediate impact. This is in addition to prior announcements of $10 million in donations that are supporting local communities during this critical time.

What It Funds: Approximately $40 million will fund the Intel COVID-19 Response and Readiness and Online Learning initiatives. The Intel COVID-19 Response and Readiness Initiative will provide funding to accelerate customer and partner advances in diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development, leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing and edge-to-cloud service delivery. Through the initiative, Intel will help healthcare and life sciences manufacturers increase the availability of technology and solutions used by hospitals to diagnose and treat COVID-19. It will also support the creation of industry alliances that accelerate worldwide capacity, capability and policy to respond to this and future pandemics, building on Intel’s own experience in driving technology innovation in the health and life sciences arena.

The Intel Online Learning Initiative will support education-focused nonprofit organizations and business partners to provide students without access to technology with devices and online learning resources. In close partnership with public school districts, the initiative will enable PC donations, online virtual resources, study-at-home guides and device connectivity assistance. The Intel Online Learning Initiative builds on Intel’s long-standing commitment to technology that improves learning. It will begin immediately in regions with the greatest needs across the United States and expand globally.

The company has also allocated up to $10 million for an innovation fund that supports requests from external partners and employee-led relief projects, addressing critical needs in their communities.

Why It Matters: Intel technology underpins critical products and services that global communities, governments and healthcare organizations depend on every day. We hope that by harnessing our expertise, resources, technology and talents, we can help save and enrich lives by solving the world’s greatest challenges through the creation and development of new technology-based innovations and approaches.

Coronavirus Relief to Date: This technology response initiative builds on Intel’s prior announcements of $10 million in donations that are supporting local communities during this critical time. Those donations include 1 million gloves, masks and other equipment for healthcare workers, $6 million from the Intel Foundation toward relief efforts in local communities and $4 million from Intel and its subsidiaries around the globe.

Additional Technology Efforts: As previously announced, Intel and Lenovo have teamed up with Beijing-based BGI Genomics to accelerate the analysis of genomic characteristics of COVID-19. Intel has also joined the global XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance along with other companies to fuel collaboration on solutions through shared innovation to effectively address the immediate needs of the crisis.


USCIB Member Mastercard Partners With Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome to Speed Development and Access to Therapies for COVID-19

Quick Summary:
COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will coordinate R&D efforts and remove barriers to drug development and scale-up to address the epidemic.
Mastercard partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome. Together the partners committed up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to COVID-19 by identifying, assessing, developing and scaling-up treatments.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard announced on March 10 a commitment of up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments. The partners are committed to equitable access, including making products available and affordable in low-resource settings. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with COVID-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term. Currently there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available for the fight against emerging pathogens, and none approved for use on COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will work with the World Health Organization, government and private sector funders and organizations, as well as the global regulatory and policy-setting institutions. The Accelerator will have an end-to-end focus, from drug pipeline development through manufacturing and scale-up. By sharing research, coordinating investments, and pooling resources, these efforts can help to accelerate research. This kind of collaboration was a key lesson from the 2014 Ebola outbreak. By providing fast and flexible funding at key stages of the development process, the Accelerator will de-risk the pathway for new drugs and biologics for COVID-19 and future epidemic threats, ensuring access in lower-resource countries.

While antiviral drugs are approved to lessen the severity of seasonal flu and treat HIV, among other viral diseases, none have demonstrated efficacy against the current epidemic. One reason for the lack of effective treatments is that products may not have an immediate market, which can slow or prevent their research and commercial development. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is designed to help by bringing together resources and expertise to lower the financial and technical risk for academia, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies, while ensuring that these products are accessible and affordable to people in low-resource settings. The expertise of pharmaceutical companies will be critical in identifying, researching, and commercializing successful drugs.

“We’re proud to join this crucial effort to combat COVID-19 in furtherance of our commitment to inclusive growth,” said Mike Froman, vice chairman of Mastercard. “This global challenge not only represents a risk to the health and safety of populations all over the world, but also poses a potential disruption to the economic vitality of millions of people, businesses, and organizations worldwide. Our experience with financial inclusion shows us the importance of building a network of parties who bring not only their capital, but complementary assets and skill sets to the table, and we welcome other partners concerned about inclusive growth to join this effort.”

For the full story, please visit Mastercard’s press page.


Member Spotlight: Apple Develops COVID-19 Screening App

Quick Summary:
Apple’s new COVID-19 website, and COVID-19 app available on the App Store, were created in partnership with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and FEMA to make it easy for people across the country to get trusted information and guidance at a time when the US is feeling the heavy burden of COVID-19.
Consistent with Apple’s strong dedication to user privacy, the COVID-19 app and website were built to keep all user data private and secure.

Apple released a new screening tool and set of resources on March 27 to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of COVID-19, based on the latest CDC guidance. The new COVID-19 website, and COVID-19 app available on the App Store, were created in partnership with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and FEMA to make it easy for people across the country to get trusted information and guidance at a time when the US is feeling the heavy burden of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 app and website allow users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one. In turn, they will receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider. This new screening tool is designed to be a resource for individuals and does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.

Along with the new COVID-19 app and website, customers across the US may also ask Siri, “How do I know if I have coronavirus?” to access guidance and resources from the CDC and a curated collection of telehealth apps available on the App Store. This week, travelers landing at select international airports throughout the US started receiving notifications on their iPhone to remind them of current CDC guidance to stay home and monitor their health.

Consistent with Apple’s strong dedication to user privacy, the COVID-19 app and website were built to keep all user data private and secure. The tools do not require a sign-in or association with a user’s Apple ID, and users’ individual responses will not be sent to Apple or any government organization.

Although the screen tool is a resource to evaluate level of risk and recognizing when symptoms are severe, it is not meant to replace any guidelines or instructions from health officials. To learn more about Apple’s new app release, please see here.


Member Spotlight: Salesforce Efforts to Help Those Affected by COVID-19

Quick Summary:
Salesforce donated $3 million to several organizations.
Salesforce is making some of its technology available for free to help customers and partners navigate through the crisis while also launching rapid response solutions to help companies and employees, customers and communities, as well as providing access to Health Cloud for healthcare systems experiencing an influx of COVID-19 requests.

To support the global response to COVID-19, Salesforce has donated $3 million to UCSF’s COVID-19 Response Fund, the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund and San Francisco’s Give2SF Fund. As always, the company is also matching employee donations to eligible organizations.


Salesforce is also making some of its technology available for free for a period of time to help its customers and partners navigate through the crisis. The company launched Salesforce Care rapid response solutions to help companies stay connected to their employees, customers and communities. This is in addition to making Quip Starter available to any business and providing access to Health Cloud for healthcare systems experiencing an influx of COVID-19 requests. And organizations around the world are using Tableau’s COVID-19 data hub to see and understand data about the pandemic.

More updates on the initiatives Salesforce is taking during the COVID-19 crisis, please click here.


Member Spotlight: Microsoft’s COVID-19 Assessment Bot Eliminates Bottlenecks

Quick Summary:

Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot uses AI to help CDC and other organizations respond to inquiries, freeing up doctors, nurses, administrators to provide critical care to those who need it.
The need to screen patients with any number of symptoms — to determine who has high enough risk factors to need access to limited medical resources and which people may more safely care for themselves at home — is a bottleneck that threatens to overwhelm health systems coping with the crisis.

Microsoft is offering its Healthcare Bot service, powered by Microsoft Azure, to organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response to help screen patients for potential infection and care. One such organization is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recently released a COVID-19 assessment bot that can quickly assess the symptoms and risk factors for people worried about infection, provide information and suggest a next course of action, such as contacting a medical provider or, for those who do not need in-person medical care, managing the illness safely at home.

The bot, which utilizes Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service, is available on the CDC website.

Public health organizations, hospitals and others on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response need to be able to respond to inquiries, provide the public with up-to-date outbreak information, track exposure, quickly triage new cases and guide next steps.  Many have expressed great concern about the overwhelming demand COVID-19 is creating on resources such as urgent, emergency and nursing care.

In particular, the need to screen patients with any number of cold or flu-like symptoms — to determine who has high enough risk factors to need access to limited medical resources and which people may more safely care for themselves at home — is a bottleneck that threatens to overwhelm health systems coping with the crisis.

Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service is one solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help the CDC and other frontline organizations respond to these inquiries, freeing up doctors, nurses, administrators and other healthcare professionals to provide critical care to those who need it.

The Healthcare Bot service is a scalable Azure-based public cloud service that allows organizations to quickly build and deploy an AI-powered bot for websites or applications that can offer patients or the general public personalized access to health-related information through a natural conversation experience. It can be easily customized to suit an organization’s own scenarios and protocols.

To read more about Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service visit Microsoft’s Official Blog


Member Spotlight: HanesBrands to Manufacture Cotton Masks

Quick Summary:
HanesBrands expects to produce about 1.5 million FDA-approved masks weekly, while the consortium of other apparel manufacturers that HanesBrands joined is expected to, as a whole, ramp up production of 5-6 million masks weekly.
Using U.S.-grown cotton, the masks are being produced in Hanesbrands’ sewing factories in El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

USCIB member HanesBrands Inc. announced that it will begin producing FDA-approved cotton masks at some of its factories in Latin America as part of a federal contract to combat a national shortage of face masks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company joined a cooperative consortium of other apparel manufacturers, led by Parkdale Mills America, that are dedicating manufacturing capacity to meet U.S. demand for masks. HanesBrands expects to produce about 1.5 million masks weekly, and the consortium as a whole is expected to ramp up production of five to six million masks weekly using HanesBrands’ design and patterns.

The announcement came Saturday, March 21, during President Donald Trump’s media briefing about the federal government’s response. The company went from negotiating a contract with the federal government to beginning production in less than a week, according to a company spokesman.

Using U.S.-grown cotton, the masks are being produced in Hanesbrands’ sewing factories in El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

These factories would normally be producing T-shirts, underwear, socks, sweatpants and sweatshirts.

More information can be found here: https://hanesforgood.com/inthistogether/

Business at OECD Head Shares 2020 Policy Priorities With USCIB

Business at OECD’s Russel Mills (left, center) with IOE’s Shea GoPaul and USCIB policy staff

Secretary General of Business at OECD (BIAC) Russel Mills visited USCIB’s Washington DC and New York offices the week of February 3 to update staff on Business at OECD and OECD priorities for the year.

Mills shared that environment, biodiversity, plastics and climate change issues are moving to the top of the agenda, however there will also be a mushrooming of digitization plans and digital economy work related to changing business models and digitally enabled companies. Mills also noted that policies around digital taxation and re-skilling will be on top of the agenda for both organizations.

“We really valued our time with Russel, which gave us an opportunity to touch base on our respective organizations’ policy priorities,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “USCIB looks forward to a productive year working with BIAC to help drive the work of the OECD.”

Robinson Kicks Off 2020 With OECD, ICC France, ICC Germany 

ICC-Germany staff (Secretary-General Oliver Wieck, center) with USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (right) in Berlin

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held its annual consultation with Business at OECD on January 13 in Paris under the theme, Role of Business in Lifelong Opportunities: People First Policies to Bridge Divides. USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and AT&T Senior Vice President Karim Lesina provided a kick-off presentation on behalf of industry, followed by remarks by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria and Business at OECD’s Chairman Phil O’Reilly and Secretary-General Russell Mills.

Recommendations by Business at OECD focused on the value of relying on open markets on trade, investment, taxation and development initiatives; ensuring a people-first approach to developing new approaches to the Future of Work; and incentivizing and driving innovation in the health and environment areas in the 5G generation.

According to Robinson, it was the best-attended consultation to date, with a strong business delegation, senior OECD staff including all four Deputy Secretaries-General and OECD Ambassadors from nearly all OECD member countries. In helping to set the stage, Robinson emphasized the continued commitment of the American business community to open markets and multilateral approaches and institutions. “The necessity for inclusive multilateralism, whereby all stakeholders—including business—have a seat at the table to pursue societal challenges together is crucial,” said Robinson, who also praised the OECD in setting an appropriate example in this regard.

Lesina provided the perspective of a leading modern media company that is investing globally while driving innovation in life-long learning opportunities for its employees.  He highlighted that increased convergence and digitalization have helped create a truly global economy, providing consumers today with a unique opportunity to benefit from cross-border activity best cultivated by open market policies. Lesina emphasized the need for flexible policy and regulatory frameworks that foster innovation and drive creativity and underscored the vital role of the OECD in delivering the benefits of the digital economy to consumers everywhere through forward-looking and evidence-based policymaking.

“The Consultation provides an excellent opportunity for business to interact with OECD staff and country Ambassadors,” said Robinson. Robinson had several meetings with OECD management staff to discuss Business at OECD and USCIB priorities.

While in Paris, Robinson also visited USCIB’s International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) National Committee counterpart, ICC-France, and met with the new Secretary-General of ICC-France, Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs, to discuss mutual interests and priorities and cooperation in policy areas including trade and environment.

Robinson then traveled to Berlin to meet with several of USCIB’s global affiliate counterparts in Germany: ICC-Germany, the German Employers Federation (BDA) and the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). Secretary-General of ICC-Germany Oliver Wieck, Director of Communications Katrin Rupprecht and staff organized a discussion forum at which Robinson addressed U.S. Trade Policy in 2020. ICC-Germany members including Siemens, Thyssenkrupp and BDI attended as did Dr. Berend Diekmann, head of division for USA/Canada/Mexico from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Finally, Robinson met with BDA CEO Steffen Kampeter and DIHK Director of ATA Carnet Dr. Kornelia Ferati.

New OECD Deputy Secretary General Meets With USCIB

L-R: OECD Deputy Secretary General Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen; Head of the OECD’s Washington office Will Davis

USCIB members and staff had the opportunity to meet with the new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Deputy Secretary-General Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen on November 5 at the USCIB Washington DC office. Knudsen’s diverse policy portfolio at the OECD includes science, technology and innovation, trade and agriculture, the OECD Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, as well as regions and cities.

The dialogue between Knudsen and USCIB members focused on areas of mutual interest such as taxation policy, including the pressing issue of digital taxation, as well as cross-border data flows, healthcare, trade and investment, digital trade, and the Going Digital Project. Knudsen also mentioned Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an increasingly important issue for the OECD and the establishment of the OECD AI Policy Observatory, which will help countries nurture and monitor the responsible development of trustworthy AI systems for the benefit of society.

L-R: Norine Kennedy (USCIB), Will Davis (OECD Washington), Ambassador Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen (OECD), Peter Robinson (USCIB), Eva Hampl (USCIB), Rob Mulligan (USCIB)

USCIB members from Microsoft, IBM, General Electric, CropLife America, Walmart and others, benefited from the opportunity to hear directly from OECD leadership regarding the OECD’s priorities as well as an update on the OECD accession process. USCIB participants underlined the importance of maximizing access for business and other responsible stakeholders in all OECD committee meetings.

“We are grateful that DSG Knudsen took the time to meet with U.S. business,” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Relations Rob Mulligan. “USCIB staff and members always appreciate an opportunity to provide perspectives to the OECD staff and secretariat to help inform the OECD’s science-based policy recommendations.”

USCIB is the U.S. national committee of Business at OECD (BIAC).

Future of Work Event to Educate Business on Major Trends

In light of an increasing number of international policy discussions around the ‘future of work’ at fora such as the G20 and the United Nations, The USCIB Foundation, which is USCIB’s academic and research arm, teamed up with the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), Wilton Park USA and the S&R Foundation to convene a hands-on, action oriented workshop. This important event, to be held September 5 at the historic Evermay Estate in Washington, DC, will bring together members of the global business community for a peer-to-peer exchange of best practices.

“The ‘future of work’ (FoW) is now and the IOE has found that five major trends are affecting business and the workplace – technological innovation, demographic changes, climate change, globalization and the skills gap,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog. “Each of these trends bring with them a variety of disruptions and opportunities for redefinition of how, when and where we work, as well as the creation of new jobs,” she added.

The subject of frequent discussion among all stakeholders at the OECD, UN, the International Labor Organization, G7 and G20, this high-profile policy area requires meaningful engagement. With better understanding of the concept and collaboration among peers and stakeholders, business will be better placed to proactively participate on ‘future of work’ policy and practice matters with positive outcomes that benefit business, economies and society.

“Company led future of work initiatives will take center stage at this event,” emphasized Herzog. “Business leaders will learn from one another as they speak candidly about the challenges and opportunities related to initiating an internal future of work program.”

Topics that will be discussed include getting internal buy-in, alignment and planning FoW programs, scaling FoW programs across different national contexts, and measuring and communicating impacts to diverse internal and external audiences. The combination of frank, engaging and informative discussions, together with the outcome report of best practices that will be developed for participants, promises to inspire meaningful action.

USCIB Reports on Public Hearing on Digital Services Tax

USCIB submitted comments on August 19 to the Section 301 Committee on the Investigation of France’s Digital Services Tax (DST).  According to USCIB’s taxation and trade policy experts Carol Doran Klein and Eva Hampl, USCIB believes that France’s DST is actionable under Section 301 because it is unreasonable and discriminates against U.S. companies.

USCIB’s comments note that the DST is also inconsistent with France’s obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S.-France Income Tax Treaty, and the Convention of Establishment between the United States and France. USCIB urges USTR to engage toward a negotiated outcome, including through multilateral channels, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the WTO.

The Section 301 Committee, chaired by USTR, held a public hearing on Monday. According to Klein and Hampl who attended the hearing, all of the witnesses expressed great support for the work being done at the OECD and the Inclusive Framework process, noting that unilateral measures will undermine the OECD process and make it more difficult to reach agreement. USCIB has been actively engaged at the OECD on this issue, providing business input to governments, to help guide them to a workable multilateral solution.