OECD Emphasizes Adverse Impact of US-China Trade Tensions on Economy

The OECD’s semi-annual Economic Outlook, issued on November 21, warns that U.S.-China trade tensions are adversely affecting the global economic outlook and that the majority of the burden will be felt by U.S. consumers.  And if the U.S.-China trade disputes continue to escalate, world trade could reduce significantly by 2021.  In his remarks presenting the latest Economic Outlook, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria highlighted downward adjustments in OECD’s forecasts for GDP growth rates from their May Outlook: dropping from 3.7% to 3.5% growth globally for 2019, with an additional 3.5% drop in 2020.

For the U.S. specifically, the OECD forecast for 2019 growth drops from 2.9% in May to 2.7% in this report and a further drop to 2.1% in 2020. For Europe’s “Euro Area”, the OECD now estimates 1.6% (down from 1.8% in the May Outlook) and 1.6% growth again in 2020. For China, the OECD is now forecasting 6.32% annual growth in 2019 (down from 6.6% in the May forecast) and 6.3% growth again in 2020.  The slides from the OECD presentation demonstrate in more detail key trends the OECD identifies over the coming years.

Gurria highlighted one major reason for this decline in global growth prospects is a breakdown in international cooperation. The imposition of new tariffs and uncertainty about further restrictive trade actions are contributing to a marked slowdown in trade growth, dampening global investment and threatening jobs and living standards. The international rules-based system that has governed trade since the end of the Second World War has been undermined. Gurria’s perspective is blunt – “Protectionism is not the answer.” While Gurria does not explicitly call out U.S. trade policies, it seems clear that the U.S.-China trades disputes and U.S. more aggressive unilateral trade policy are significant factors helping drive down global economic forecasts.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson took note of the OECD’s semi-annual Economic Outlook. “The OECD has earned international respect for its detailed and apolitical economic outlooks,” said Robinson.  “All of us – governments, businesses and citizens – need to take heed to this OECD alarm bell.  Economic growth is the force that drives investment, trade, jobs and better lives for citizens around the world.  It seems clear that one key concerns causing the OECD and other experts to adjust their economic forecasts downward is increased protectionism.  I agree with Secretary General Gurria that protectionism is not a solution; protectionism begets protectionism and downward pressures.  We call upon the U.S. government, as well as other leading trade powers, to reject protectionism and provide global leadership to open trade and investment opportunities around the world.”

The OECD’s press release provides an excellent summary of their key analysis, findings and recommendations.

Joint Conference Addresses Digital Taxation

The German business association BDI hosted the OECD, Business at OECD, USCIB and other business representatives at a joint conference in Berlin, Germany on November 6 to contribute to the current debate on digital taxation. The OECD is the leading organization in developing a consensus approach to this debate.

Leading global tax experts discussed current business models and value creation, profit allocation and nexus rules, and future challenges of profit taxation. Among them was USCIB Taxation Committee Chair Bill Sample (Microsoft Corporation) who gave a keynote on a panel, “Future Challenges of Profit Taxation.”

Sample spoke about a “borderless world,” with borderless businesses and borderless consumers, which increases the need for governments to work together to reduce the negative impact of hard borders on the digitalized economy.

The event, titled International Taxation in Light of Digitalization, also featured participation by OECD Deputy Secretary General Ludger Shucknecht and Director for the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration Pascal Saint-Amans, as well as Head of the International Tax Unit at the German Federal Ministry of Finance Christian Schleithoff.

Going Digital: OECD Insights for a Changing World

REGISTRATION OPENING SOON! 

2017 Agenda

Going Digital: OECD Insights for a Changing World

March 25, 2019

Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center

901 K Street, NW, 11th Floor
Washington, DC 20001

Program: 8:30am – 5:30pm

Cocktail Reception: 5:30pm – 7:00pm

The USCIB Foundation, USCIB’s educational arm, is teaming up once again with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, to host our fourth conference on March 25, 2019 at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

The digital transformation of the global economy has revealed exciting potential for a more prosperous, productive, inclusive, and socially beneficial world. We need an enabling policy environment for investment and innovation, however, in order to make the most of the potential for digital transformation to improve people’s lives and generate prosperity. At the same time, we must be prepared to address how the fruits of digital innovation can create challenges to privacy, security, and the future of work.

This conference – the fourth such collaboration between USCIB, BIAC, and the OECD – will explore the findings of the OECD’s Going Digital Project, an ambitious two-year examination of how digital transformation affects policymaking across a large spectrum of policy areas. We will draw upon the expertise of the OECD Secretariat on Science, Technology, and Innovation, senior U.S. government officials, and business experts from USCIB and BIAC member companies. In particular, speakers will consider how best to secure the digital economy from ever-more sophisticated cybersecurity threats. In addition, experts will delve into both the promise and challenges of tapping the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies.

2017 TOPICS INCLUDED:

  • The Digital Economy and Information Society of the Future
  • Realizing the Global Commercial Benefits and Corporate Societal Responsibilities of Digitalization
  • Enhancing Trust in the Digitally Connected Ecosystem

2017 FEATURED SPEAKERS:

David Redl (Keynote)

Chief Counsel for Communications and Technology, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives

Douglas Frantz

Deputy Secretary General of the OECD

Andrew Wyckoff

Director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry (STI)

Anne Carblanc

Head of the OECD Digital Economy Policy Division (CDEP)

Eric Loeb

Senior Vice President of International External and Regulatory Affairs, AT&T, and Chair, USCIB ICT Policy Committee

Joseph Alhadeff

Vice President Global Public Policy, Chief Privacy Strategist, Oracle Corporation, and Chair, BIAC CDEP Committee and Chair, Digital Economic Commission, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

 

For more information, including how you can become a sponsor, please contact Erin Breitenbucher (202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org).

Registration Information

2017 Agenda

2018 Conference Sponsored by:

Gold Level:

Silver Level:

 

Microsoft

 

 

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Supporting Organizations:

 

 

Presented by:

 

The USCIB Foundation

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Climate Workshop Emphasizes Business Engagement

The workshop presented a draft USCIB report on Business Engagement in Implementation of National Pledges under the Paris Agreement.
Participants discussed what will be necessary to mobilize business action, investment and innovation to advance national and global actions toward the Paris Agreement.

The Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF), of which USCIB is a leading member, joined forces with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (Business at OECD) to convene a day long workshop at the OECD Conference Center on October 10 in Paris. The objective of the meeting was to present a draft USCIB report on Business Engagement in Implementation of National Pledges under the Paris Agreement, and to discuss what will be necessary to mobilize business action, investment and innovation to advance national and global actions toward the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement.

This event was organized on the margins of the OECD Climate Change Experts Group meetings on October 8-9 and included key players from the OECD and the UN Climate Change Negotiations:

  • Director of the OECD Environment Directorate Rodolfo Lacy
  • OECD Climate Change Experts Group Chair Helen Plume (New Zealand)
  • Fiji Ambassador Deo Saran
  • Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body on Science and Technology Advice, Paul Watkinson (France)

Opening the meeting, Secretary General of Business at OECD Russel Mills stated that as key implementation details of the Paris Agreement are completed, business is looking for “smart rules that would animate business expertise and enthusiasm.”  Business representatives from Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Sweden, and others provided examples of public-private partnerships to advance, assess and improve national pledges under the Paris Agreement.

Professor Henry D. Jacoby, of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, Sloan School of Management, reflected on the unique ability of business to connect near-term pragmatic action to long term objectives and planning inherent in the multi-decadal efforts needed to address climate change.  “Doing otherwise,” he said, “risks not only stranded assets, but stranded communities and economies.”

At the end of the session, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy presented a BizMEF proposal for an inclusive and recognized platform for business to be introduced in the UN climate change agreement.  This platform could be similar to the Global Business Platform in the Convention on Biological Diversity, organized on national and regional focal points to involve companies of all sectors, sizes and nationalities, with the mandate to respond to government requests for information or input, and to offer both implementation and policy advice to the UNFCCC process.

“We need an all hands on deck approach to climate policy design, innovation deployment, infrastructure investment and action to deliver current national pledges,” emphasized Kennedy.  “Bringing business to the table in an ongoing and mutually beneficial working relationship, linked between national and global levels, will be indispensable to growing prosperity, energy access and security and resilient solutions to climate change.”

Over 50 participants from governments, academia, the UN and business joined the discussion, which also considered the recently announced IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees C.  This landmark report found that limiting an increase in global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels was possible, but would require unprecedented actions.  Parties to the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement have pledged to keep global temperature change to no more than 2 degrees C, yet there is growing political pressure in the UN climate negotiations to agree a more stringent target of 1.5 degrees.

The USCIB Report will be finalized to reflect the October 10 workshop discussions, and presented at the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties, from December 2 – 14 in Poland.

USCIB Hosts U.S. Chargé to OECD Andrew Havilland

Acting Head (“Chargé d’Affaires”) of the U.S. Mission to the OECD Andrew Havilland speaks with USCIB members
Havilland reviewed OECD activities and upcoming challenges, cooperation of both the U.S. Mission and the sprawling OECD structures with Business at OECD and ways to strengthen those government/business links.
USCIB will be organizing a parallel session for Nan Fife and her “OECD desk” team from state to meet with member companies.

Two dozen USCIB member companies met with Andrew Havilland, acting head (“chargé d’affaires”) of the U.S. Mission to the OECD on October 11 at USCIB’s Washington office. In a wide-ranging hour-long give and take, Havilland reviewed OECD activities and upcoming challenges, cooperation of both the U.S. Mission and the sprawling OECD structures with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (Business at OECD) group and ways to strengthen those government/business links.

Access for Business at OECD members to some important OECD committees was highlighted as an important ongoing problem.  Digital trade, tax, health, and competition policy remain important priority areas for USCIB member companies.  OECD work on “Illicit trade” is also an area of growing interest for member companies.  And accession of new member countries to the OECD, both the process and potential individual candidate countries remain very important issues for many member companies.  Member companies were appreciative of the support they are getting from Havilland’s U.S. Mission team in Paris.

Nan Fife, the newly-arrived office director of the Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy (EPPD) Office in the State Department’s Economic and Business Bureau (EB), the “desk” coordinating U.S. Government policy toward the OECD, accompanied Havilland to the session and chimed in, encouraging USCIB and member companies with interests or concerns on OECD issues to work with her and her team as well as relevant Washington agencies.  USCIB will be organizing another parallel session for Fife and her “OECD desk” team from state to meet with member companies.

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly, who moderated the session, praised Havilland for making time to meet with business and for his “expertise, candor, and open door for business. “USCIB really appreciates Andrew Havilland and the entire team at the U.S. Mission to the OECD,” said Donnelly. “They have been great partners on a range of important issues around the OECD for USCIB and for BIAC.”        

 

Pamela Bates Nominated as US Ambassador to OECD

Pamela Bates
Photo source: Securitas Global Risk Solutions

On September 24, President Donald Trump officially nominated Pamela Bates to be next U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Bates would replace Ambassador Daniel Yohannes, who departed the post in January 2017.  In the interim the U.S. Mission to the OECD had been capably led, first, by Peter Haas, and currently by Andrew Havilland as Chargé d’Affaires.

Bates is awaiting a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Bates has considerable experience as a State Department Foreign Service Officer (FSO) specializing in economic policy work and including a tour of duty on the staff of the U.S. Mission to the OECD which she is now being nominated to head.  USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson welcomed her nomination.  “We at USCIB are delighted to see the nomination of an experienced economic policy maker to be the next U.S. Ambassador at the OECD,” said Robinson. “USCIB works closely with the OECD as the sole U.S. business affiliate of the OECD’s Business and Industry Advisory Committee (Business at OECD).  We and our member companies have worked closely with previous U.S. ambassadors and their staffs and look forward to continuing that close cooperation with Pamela Bates once she is confirmed and on the job in Paris.”

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly, himself a retired State Department economic officer and former Ambassador, added, “I’ve known Pam Bates from our time together at the State Department and am confident she’ll do an excellent job representing our Government at the OECD and leading the U.S. Mission.  She comes to this important post well prepared.”

Bates served for 24 years as a career member of the United States Foreign Service before assuming her current role as a partner at Securitas Global Risk Solutions in Wayne, Pennsylvania, in 2017.  While with the State Department, Bates’ assignments included service as deputy director of the Economic and Commercial Studies Division for the National Foreign Affairs Training Institute in Arlington, Virginia, and as the senior energy advisor at the United States Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France.  She also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  Ms. Bates earned her AB degree from Bowdoin College, her MA from John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  She speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German.

International Business Magazine: Fall/Summer 2018

The Summer/Fall 2018 issue of USCIB’s quarterly International Business magazine is available here. The issue features a timely column by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson titled, “The Myth of Private-Sector ‘Conflict of Interest’ at the UN. The issue also features news stories on how tariffs harm companies and consumers, tax reform impacts, and reinforcing US-China tie, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.

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

Subscribe to USCIB’s International Business Magazine

Subscriptions to “International Business” are available free upon request to representatives of USCIB member organizations. Contact us to subscribe.

Non-members may subscribe to “International Business” and other USCIB print publications at an annual rate of $50 (U.S.) for domestic delivery, or $75 for overseas delivery. Contact us to subscribe. USCIB’s annual report, studies from the United States Council Foundation and related publications are included with your paid subscription.

Our free electronic newsletter, “International Business Weekly,” provides regular updates on USCIB’s major activities and priorities. Click here to view a sample issue. Click here to subscribe.

We welcome outside submissions and inquiries regarding our publications – send them to news@uscib.org.

We welcome advertising in International Business magazine — special discounted rates for USCIB member organizations! Contact Kira Yevtukhova (kyevtukhova@uscib.org) for more information.

 

2019 OECD Tax Conference

Save the Date!

The 2019 OECD International Tax Conference, June 3-4

Four Seasons Hotel, Washington

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, 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

 

 

Print

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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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ITPF
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Organization for International Investment

Tax Executives Institute, Inc.

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.

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.