Donnelly and US Government Talk Investment With African Union Group

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly was one of two private sector investment policy experts invited to join a September 10 U.S. government interagency team meeting with a delegation of economic policy experts form the African Union (AU) Commission staff.

According to Donnelly, the investment policy meeting, one of several meetings that day at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), focused on African-wide investment reforms and ongoing international investment negotiations, including in the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Donnelly offered a U.S. private sector perspective on the importance of comprehensive, high-standard international investment agreements and especially of strong Investor-State Dispute Settlement (”ISDS”) enforcement provisions.

“We had an excellent, candid exchange on a range of important international and African investment issues with the team of AU Commission experts,” said Donnelly.  “I think we all benefited from the discussions. I certainly learned of some interesting AU-led investment initiatives across Africa and I appreciated the opportunity to explain why U.S. business strongly supports investment agreements and ISDS protections.”

USCIB Furthers Ties With Costa Rican Employer Group

L-R: Gabriella Rigg Herzog, Gonzalo Delgado, Peter Robinson, Tom Mackall  

USCIB’s President and CEO Peter Robinson and Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog met with the President of the employer association of Costa Rica Gonzalo Delgado on September 4 in Washington to discuss shared priorities. USCIB Senior Counsel and ILO Governing Body Member Tom Mackall also joined the meeting.

The association—Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones de la Empresa Privada (UCCAEP)— is, like USCIB, an active member of the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and works to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Costa Rica through the support of a productive private sector. UCCAEP also promotes responsible entrepreneurship and enhancing the competitiveness of Costa Rica.

“As the U.S. employer representative to the ILO, USCIB is committed to effective engagement on matters of international labor concerns,” said Robinson, who also serves as IOE’s Vice President for North America. “Our meeting with Mr. Delgado centered on a productive discussion about areas of shared priorities and will serve to deepen employer engagement at the ILO and within the IOE.”

Future of Work Event Explores Opportunities for Business

USCIB’s Peter Robinson makes opening remarks at the Future of Work workshop on September 5

As megatrends, such as technology, changing demographics and climate change, continue to disrupt the world of work at an accelerating pace, policy makers, business and international agencies have begun to explore opportunities for reskilling and retraining workers. This served as the framework for a joint, interactive workshop on the Future of Work on September 5 at the historic Evermay Estate in Washington DC.

Organized by The USCIB Foundation, the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Wilton Park USA and the S&R Foundation, the workshop brought together business leaders for a candid discussion on challenges and opportunities. Throughout the discussions, USCIB members, including AT&T, Chevron, McDonalds, Nestle and PMI, shared insights on launching company-wide initiatives.

Welcoming the group, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “Today’s convening is at the intersection of policy and practice. Our goal is for everyone today to become informed about Future of Work policy, but more importantly, our goal is for you to come away inspired by the practical examples shared in the room by companies wrestling with these issues and converting them into positive opportunities for business, workers and society overall.”

IOE Adviser Akustina Morni

IOE Adviser Akustina Morni kicked off the discussions, providing a comprehensive overview of the regulatory landscape, future of work megatrends and recommendations, all of which are presented in a report created by IOE and The USCIB Foundation to inform the event.  Participants then moved through a series of topics on initiating, scaling, measuring and communicating about future of work programs.

“Apprenticeships were widely highlighted and cited as a potential way to skill, reskill and upskill a workforce, especially for mid-career professionals,” noted USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog. “What is most important is the opportunity to receive certification through an apprenticeship that will serve as recognized credential among employers.  While many different definitions of apprenticeships exist worldwide, their success, particularly in EU Member States, has provided a model to build from in the U.S. As the US government begins to examine establishing a more robust apprenticeship and credentialing program, business leaders will continue to work with stakeholders to meet the demands of the future of work.”

The organizers plan to hold follow-up discussions and will also produce an outcome report.

 

Pledge to America’s Workers: Spotlight on Salesforce

Marc Benioff, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce

For the next twelve weeks, USCIB will spotlight case studies of USCIB members making an impact in the re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers. This week, USCIB is celebrating Salesforce, the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) focused on bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age.

As part of its ongoing commitment to workforce development, Salesforce pledged earlier this year to train 1 million Americans for the workforce of the future. The company also announced two unique workforce development programs powered by Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform: the expansion of the Salesforce Pathfinder program and a new Vetforce Alliance to accelerate the hiring of the military community across the country.

Since launching in 2014, Trailhead has been a game changer for more than 1.5 million people looking to learn in-demand skills and jumpstart a career in the digital economy. Through guided, hands-on learning, Trailhead provides reskilling opportunities in artificial intelligence, mobile app development and further skills that empower anyone to earn globally-recognized credentials and fill top roles in an ecosystem set to generate 3.3 million new jobs by 2022.

According to Salesforce, integral to that ecosystem is the vibrant Trailblazer Community. Every day, more than 1.5 million Trailhead learners support and empower each other on the path to new careers. Using Trailblazer Connect, anyone can get started by finding a career fair or online bootcamp, identifying mentors for their career path and sharing resumes with local recruiters.

“A true pioneer, Salesforce is setting an example and showcasing the enormous impact American companies have in building an economy of the future, enabling inclusive growth, and removing barriers to learning,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog.

With a mission to “properly respond to the changing needs in the world of work,” the National Council for the American Worker created a Pledge to America’s Workers, which, in just over a year, has been signed by over 300 companies and organizations and has generated more than 13 million training and education opportunities.

A White House Executive Order established the National Council for the American Worker in July 2018 with a mission to “properly respond to the changing needs in the world of work.” USCIB will be doing a weekly spotlight in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week this fall.

APEC Issues Next Steps for Improved Chemicals Cooperation

APEC CD Steering Group with USCIB’s Mike Michener in second row, fifth from right

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) wrapped up its 23rd Chemicals Dialogue (CD23 or CD) on August 25 in Puerto Varas, Chile as part of the third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3). USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener attended the meetings, which spanned over three days, as representative of downstream users of chemicals and metals.

According to Michener, the meetings concluded with some concrete action items, including recommendations for economies to consider specific projects the CD could undertake to further contribute to the priorities of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment, and for delegates to identify concrete proposals for potential CD projects and submit them to the CD for comment prior to CD24 in Malaysia’s host year. Additionally, APEC economies agreed to carry forward the recommendations generated by the risk assessment tabletop exercise, including work towards a commitment of mutual recognition of chemical risk assessments by competent authorities in other economies and APEC best practices and capacity-building to help economies apply those best practices. Finally, delegates were encouraged to provide additional case studies of approaches to overcoming challenges to the implementation of a risk-based approach to chemical management.

“Some key takeaways from a U.S. industry-organized workshop on August 23 to improve regulatory cooperation within Latin America focused on finding a regional industry counterpart, organizing a similar event for CD24 in Malaysia, and develop a CD-endorsed template for free trade agreements,” noted Michener.

Another important action item was a request that called for APEC economies to identify contributions that the CD has made toward implementation of the Boracay Action Agenda prior to its final evaluation in 2020, which will decide the future of the APEC Chemicals Dialogue.

Spotlight on USCIB Members: Pledge to America’s Workers

In response to a rapidly changing economy that necessitates re-skilling and re-training of workers, USCIB welcomed a White House Executive Order establishing the National Council for the American Worker in July 2018. With a mission to “properly respond to the changing needs in the world of work,” the council created a Pledge to America’s Workers, which, in just over a year, has been signed by over 300 companies and organizations and has generated more than 13 million training and education opportunities.

Now as the U.S. Department of Labor gears up to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week in the fall, USCIB will be spotlighting USCIB members that have signed the Pledge to America’s Workers.

“USCIB members recognize the importance of investing in employees to ensure retention and to attract future talent for evolving 21st century job needs,” noted USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog. “In light of DOL’s Apprenticeship Week, we want to celebrate our members’ commitment and measurable impact thus far.”

The National Council for the American Worker—which is comprised of members from the executive branch, private employers, educational institutions, labor unions, non-profits and local governments—is responsible for developing a national strategy for training and retraining students and workers to fill current vacancies, with recent estimates indicating 7 million potential jobs.

Watch this space as we share weekly case studies of USCIB members that are making an impact.

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.

APEC Advances Cross-Border Privacy, Welcomes Philippines 

APEC’s Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) wrapped up four days of meetings on August 21 in Puerto Varas, Chile as part of the third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3). USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner attended the meetings and reported from the field.

According to Wanner, highlights of this meeting included an announcement by the Philippines of its intent to participate in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System, which, upon approval, would make it the 9th APEC member economy to participate in the regional privacy system. An important priority for USCIB, the CBPR is a high-standard and enforceable privacy code of conduct that facilitates cross-border trade and ensures strong privacy protection of personal information. Philippines joins Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Singapore and the United States in participating in the system.

Providing a boost to U.S. company participation in the CBPR, the United States secured the approval of Schellman & Co, LLC as its second Accountability Agent (AA). Schellman will join TrustArc, which heretofore has served as the only agent to independently assess and certify the compliance of U.S. companies under the CBPR and related APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP).

Singapore also was pleased to announced the appointment Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) as its Accountability Agent, joining the United States and Japan, whose JIPDEC serves as its AA.

“A key takeaway from a U.S. government-organized workshop on August 18 focused on fostering AA participation was that the dearth of national AAs has hampered broader company participation in the CBPR,” noted Wanner.

Another important action item was that the some of the CBPR’s 50 program requirements, approved in 2011, need to be revised to better align with global privacy regimes.

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.

USCIB Urges Ongoing US-China Negotiations

Washington, D.C., August 13, 2019 – In response to President Trump’s announcement earlier today to delay implementation of a ten percent tariff on imports from China, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, urged the U.S. and China to continue negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement.

“Simply delaying harmful tariffs on a select number of particularly impacted products from September 1 to December 15 is not a solution,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “It is crucial for the United States and China to engage in continuous discussions in order to reach a negotiated outcome with the goal of removing these tariffs and eliminating market barriers and discrimination.”

Robinson noted that American business continues to have major problems with China’s commercial policies and urged the Trump administration to work more closely with key U.S. trading partners and with the business community to address serious Chinese trade abuses, including referring U.S. complaints to the World Trade Organization.

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org