USCIB Helps Mark World Trade Week NYC

L-R: Chuck Ludmer (CohnReznick), Jonathan Huneke (USCIB)

Each May, in cities across the United States, supporters of international trade gather to mark World Trade Week, which was first proclaimed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. USCIB has long championed World Trade Week NYC, and this year was no different.

At a World Trade Week NYC 2019 kickoff breakfast on May 13 at Baruch College’s Weissman Center for International Business, several leading exporters and companies who have achieved success on the global stage were celebrated. Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs, presented WTW NYC’s Global Achievement Award to the accounting firm CohnReznick, which has served as a World Trade Week co-sponsor each year for the past decade. The award was accepted by Charles G. Ludmer, CohnReznick’s chief practice development officer and the private-sector co-chair of World Trade Week NYC 2019.

“Celebrating its centennial this year, CohnReznick has established itself as a cornerstone of international trade in the region and around the world,” Huneke said. “There’s no better ambassador for New York than CohnReznick. And there’s no better ambassador for the firm, and for World Trade Week, than Chuck Ludmer.”

Key speakers at the awards breakfast included Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gilbert B. Kaplan and Al Mangels, president of Lee Spring Co.

Frankie Raddish, senior trade advisor in USCIB’s Trade Service and ATA Carnet Department, also took part in the awards breakfast and a neighboring exhibition by World Trade Week partner organizations. Numerous partners are holding trade-themed events around the New York metropolitan area during the month of May.

Doran Klein Contributes Expertise on Taxation of Digitalizing Economy at Pacific Rim Conference

USCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein presented at the ninth annual Pacific Rim Tax Conference on Digital Economy Tax Issues, held May 9-10 in California. Doran Klein’s panel covered the ongoing work on taxation of the digitalizing economy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and the United Nations. The panel provided an overview of the background including Action 1 of the OECD’s Base-Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, digital services taxes and other unilateral interim measures, and the different options under consideration at the OECD.

Other topics covered at the conference included: International Aspects of Tax Policy and Enacted Legislation: Did it Work?; Corporate Restructuring in Light of Tax Legislation and BEPS; and Transfer Pricing, Documentation and International Tax. High-level government tax officials from Australia, Canada, India and Vietnam attended the conference as well.

USCIB will be hosting its own tax conference, alongside the OECD and Business at OECD June 3-4 in Washington DC. Now in its 14th 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.

For more information visit USCIB’s tax conference registration page.

US Business Launches ‘All In’ Initiative to Advance Business Engagement for Global Goals Implementation

Geneva Week roundtable

USCIB partnered with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to convene the first ‘All In’ Roundtable on Inclusive Multilateralism, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Business. USCIB’s ‘All In” Initiative seeks to launch a global conversation on how to strengthen dialogue, partnership and engagement with business to advance implementation of 2015 outcomes.

Over fifty participants from Geneva-based diplomatic missions, UN bodies, NGOs and business joined the event, including:

  • UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
  • Charge d’Affaires, ad Interim, of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations Mark Cassayre
  • Secretary General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder
  • Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi
  • UK Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Julian Braithwaite
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks at the All In Roundtable

Expert panelists from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),UNICEF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the UN Global Compact and the Partnering Initiative reflected on two themes that were raised in All In Discussion Starter papers:

Public Private Partnerships with the UN – Designing for SDG impact

Leveraging public private sector cooperation on technical and scientific knowledge for targeted SDG implementation

“The event highlighted the diverse variety of working arrangements to engage with non-state actors and the private sector,” said USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Environment and Energy Norine Kennedy. “Through the “All In” initiative USCIB will draw on its long experience in the multilateral system to highlight what has worked well and to flag areas where further partnership, improvement and strengthening are needed to speed up and scale SDG impact. “

Further ‘All In’ roundtables are planned for Bangkok and other UN cities, on additional themes, including metrics for impact, infrastructure investment for SDG action and economic empowerment and inclusion. Based on this series of discussions throughout 2019, ‘All In’ will develop a 2020 Action Plan for Inclusive Multilateralism.

The ‘All In’ roundtable took place in conjunction with USCIB’s second annual Geneva Week, May 6-9.

USCIB Geneva Week Highlights US Business Priorities for Inclusive Multilateralism

USCIB Geneva Week delegation

A delegation of USCIB members joined USCIB’s second annual Geneva Week May 6 – 9 to highlight U.S. business priority issues, underscore USCIB’s continuing commitment to engage constructively in the multilateral system and advance U.S. innovation and partnership for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). USCIB also held its public launch of the ‘All In’ Initiative in Geneva on May 8, with a luncheon and roundtable discussion on inclusive multilateralism, SDGs and business.

USCIB Geneva Week provided an opportunity to discuss with diplomatic missions and UN entities enhanced access to intergovernmental organizations and to foster increased engagement between the public and private sectors. Geneva Week included meetings with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as bilateral meetings with a range of national missions, including the United States, Brazil, Ethiopia and Japan. The USCIB delegation was welcomed by the Director General of World Intellectual Property Rights Organization (WIPO) Francis Gurry and took part in a series of thematic briefings and discussions with other WIPO officials.

USCIB’s Geneva Week delegation included representatives from AB InBev, Bayer, BIO, Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, Ferrero, Mastercard, and PepsiCo. USCIB Vice Presidents Norine Kennedy and Mike Michener, Senior Director for Membership Alison Hoiem and Policy and Program Assistant Mia Lauter supported the group in meetings throughout the course of the week.

Members also joined a Geneva Business Dialogue at the World Trade Organization (WTO), hosted by theInternational Chamber of Commerce (ICC), ICC Switzerland and USCIB.  Joining a panel of speakers from the government of Switzerland and the EU Mission were private sector representatives from Nestle, Novartis and Ab InBev to highlight opportunities to create shared value using the SDGs as a framework.

Senior Vice President of Ferrero U.S.A. Gerald Kunde, who also chaired the delegation, was pleased with the outcome. “The USCIB team did an amazing job organizing and executing Geneva Week and the ‘All In’ Roundtable,” said Kunde. “Relationships are at the heart of our business. This year’s program advanced existing relationships, established new ones and greatly enhanced the private sector’s commitment to inclusive multilateralism.”

“Connecting members to key multilateral leaders and representatives of member states in important UN cities like Geneva is a fundamental part of USCIB’s policy work,” said Michener.  “We are very satisfied with the both the level and content of our engagement this week, and grateful to our members for their interest and active participation.”

USCIB will prepare a summary report of USCIB Geneva Week meetings for members and will begin to plan follow-up meetings for relevant committees with the Administration to consider next steps.

USCIB Shapes Launch of OECD Review of Privacy Guidelines

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a special OECD workshop on May 6 aimed at advancing the mandated five-year review of the 2013 OECD Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (the “Privacy Guidelines”). A Privacy Guidelines Expert Group (PGEG), which was established earlier this year to advise and provide input to the review, proposed exploring organizational accountability via this workshop as one of the key challenges in implementing the 2013 Privacy Guidelines.

Barbara Wanner, who leads USCIB’s work on ICT policy, attended the meetings along with several USCIB members from AT&T, Facebook, Google, Mastercard, and Microsoft.

“Business underscored the importance of assuming responsibility for the privacy of data through its life cycle by conducting rigorous and documented risk assessments and mitigation, ensuring transparency through both internal and external audits, continually monitoring and testing to prevent gaps, and generally going above and beyond what is required by law,” said Wanner.

USCIB members also took the lead in drafting a Business at OECD (BIAC) statement setting forth BIAC’s priorities for the OECD’s review of the 2013 Privacy Guidelines.

“This statement will inform BIAC interventions in Privacy Guidelines Review in the coming months and help to shape refinements to 2013 Privacy Guidelines that ensure its continued relevance as a global standard for privacy frameworks as the digital economy continues to evolve,” added Wanner.

The OECD also held its meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) Working Party Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE) from May 6-7. The Committee moved forward work focused on revising an OECD Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online, developing principles for access to and sharing of data, advancing the Global Forum for Digital Security for Prosperity, and adopting the draft Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence. The Working Parties on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP) and Measurement and Analysis in the Digital Economy (MADE) met during this period as well. CISP agreed to undertake an ambitious review of the OECD’s 2004 Recommendation on Broadband Development.

Nobody Wins in Escalation of U.S.-China Trade Fight, Says USCIB

Washington, D.C., May 8, 2019 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, appealed to the United States and China to ratchet down their trade fight in the wake of President Trump‘s decision to increase duties on some $200 billion of Chinese exports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

“When the U.S. and China fight, nobody wins, as the past year’s market gyrations, lost deals, and strained diplomatic ties have made abundantly clear,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “American business continues to have major problems with China’s commercial policies, but we simply must find a way to tackle these that doesn’t turn our most competitive companies into collateral damage.”

Robinson continued: “The earlier rounds of tariffs, coupled with China’s retaliatory measures, are already a significant strain on U.S. consumers, and on the economy as a whole. This latest U.S. escalation, and the inevitable Chinese response will impose considerable additional strains on our exporters and on companies, workers and communities that rely on international trade to succeed.”

Robinson 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.

“The U.S. has won some important victories, including against discriminatory Chinese practices and policies, in the WTO lately,” he noted. “We should use the multilateral platform as it was intended to be used, to defuse escalating trade tensions, and to end the uncertainty that is rattling markets and fraying the nerves of both business owners and consumers.”

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
jhuneke@uscib.org, +1 212.703.5043

Giblin Promotes Value of ATA Carnet System in Colombia

Megan Giblin

USCIB Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan Giblin traveled to Colombia April 23-25 to attend and present on the ATA Carnet System as part of a broader “Trade Facilitation: Opportunities for Global Economy” forum that was co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Colombia, the Bogota Chamber of Commerce, and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation.

ATA Carnets are international customs documents that allow for duty-free and tax-free temporary import of goods for up to one year and are important tools for international trade facilitation. In addition to its affiliate role of ICC, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, USCIB is the National Guaranteeing Association (NGA) for ATA Carnet. As the NGA, USCIB operates and manages the ATA Carnet system in the United States.

The event was primarily focused on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and its implementation in Colombia through Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation funded projects. In addition, there was a panel on the ATA Carnet System, “ATA Carnet as a Mechanism for Global Commerce.” Giblin linked the temporary admissions provisions of the WTO TFA, which does not specify how they should be implemented, to the global gold standard or global best practice for temporary admissions, the ATA System.

At the event, Giblin, presenting in Spanish, focused on the basics of the ATA System, educating the audience, which consisted of Colombian exporters, on the ATA System and its benefits. Representatives from Colombia Customs (DIAN), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Colombian audiovisual sector and the ICC Colombia Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation joined Giblin on the panel to provide additional value add of the ATA System.

“In efforts to encourage TFA plus implementation, we recommend Colombia become a contacting party to the WCO Istanbul Convention with broadest scope of coverage and promptly implement the System, which USCIB has been promoting in Latin America alongside ICC WCF,” said Giblin. “We look forward to working with ICC Colombia and the Colombian government, especially Customs, to promote the ATA System and provide support and guidance as questions, clarifications, or other obstacles related to full adoption arise.”

Business Not Bullish on Prospect of New China Tariffs

USCIB joined other members of the American for Free Trade coalition to issue a statement to President Trump in response to his announcement on May 3 to increase the China tariffs from 10 to 25 percent, representing a tariff total of $200 billion.

The statement highlighted key figures that indicated the enormous consequences the tariffs would have on the U.S. economy and consumers. According to the statement, not only would this increase result in a loss of nearly one million jobs, but current tariffs already burden consumers with $69 billion in added costs.

“For ten months, Americans have been paying the full cost of the trade war, not China,” read the statement, which referred to the 10 percent of tariffs imposed earlier this year. “To be clear, tariffs are taxes that Americans pay, and this sudden increase with little notice will only punish U.S. farmers, businesses and consumers.”

Eva Hampl, who leads USCIB’s work on China also emphasized: “The tariffs currently imposed on Chinese imports are already a significant strain on the U.S. economy and consumers. An increase on such a broad cross section of industries will exacerbate the negative effects to a degree that will be a significant challenge for companies.”

USCIB Member and Marriott’s Tu Rinsche Receives Award for Anti-Trafficking Work

Tu Rinsche (USCIB Member and Marriott)

An active member of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Tu Rinsche, who serves as Marriott International’s social responsibility director, was honored with the 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Award by the Nomi Network at the organization’s annual gala on May 1. The Nomi Network is a nonprofit economic development organization fighting human trafficking in Cambodia and India. The gala marked ten years that the Nomi Network has been providing training, job opportunities and community development services to women at risk and survivors of human trafficking.

As part of the award ceremony, Rinsche’s fifteen years of experience developing social impact programs was highlighted. Her career began in public service as a U.S. Peace Corp Volunteer in Mauritania, where she worked on community health programs. She went on to work as an expert in global forced labor policy issues for the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Bureau and served as a volunteer teacher with Amnesty International, teaching Washington DC public school students about human rights.  While at The Walt Disney Company, she led the company’s first multi-million dollar Supply Chain Investment Program, enhancing supply chain accountability and transparency.

Leading Marriott’s global business and human rights since 2016, Rinsche has developed a unique and robust program focused on human trafficking awareness and accountability initiatives and partnering with leading human rights organizations. Recognizing that hotels can sometimes be inappropriately used by customers to engage in exploitation, Rinsche recognized an opportunity to disrupt those practices by training on-property associates to identify and report the signs of human trafficking and forced labor. Rinsche went on to develop a program in partnership with the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery to teach victims of human trafficking about the hospitality industry that empowers them as they transition into full time work.

“Throughout her career, Rinsche has been a powerful advocate and change agent,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog, who works with Rinsche on these issues within USCIB’s CRLA Committee. “USCIB congratulates Tu for her prestigious award in recognition of her work and Marriott’s commitment to the fight to end human trafficking and modern slavery.”

Michener Presents USCIB-GAIN Nutrition Partnership Principles to UN Agencies in Rome

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener speaks in Rome.

The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM), an organization representing the agri-business sector at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome, invited USCIB to present its public-private partnership recommendations at an event on April 26, Transforming Food Systems for Improved Nutrition. PSM members presented seventeen forward-looking policy recommendations to be considered for inclusion in the upcoming CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, based on real case studies and examples that illustrated the recommendation and its importance to the nutrition guidelines.

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener discussed the USCIB-GAIN nutrition partnership principles as the PSM’s Recommendation 17: Partnering for Outcome.  The event was attended by approximately seventy CFS stakeholders, including member states, staff from Rome based agencies and representatives of civil society, NGO and philanthropic organizations.

The USCIB Foundation teamed up with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to organize two public-private partnerships dialogues to tackle malnutrition. The first dialogue, held in New York in October 2017, developed seven principles of engagement between governments and business to improve nutritional outcomes through public-private partnerships. The second dialogue, held in Rome in November 2018, explored practical and tangible ways to implement and scale coordinated initiatives to put the draft Principles into practice. The program focused on both under-nutrition and the rise of overweight and obesity, as well as the associated diet related non-communicable diseases.

As one of the important outcomes of the Rome dialogue, GAIN and The USCIB Foundation agreed to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations and companies interested in public-private partnerships. Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on food and healthcare, emphasized the importance of engaging the CFS and other Rome-based UN agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  “As we committed to do in November, we took the Principles to the Rome-based agencies with this briefing for Permanent Representatives via the PSM event,” he said. “We also plan to take the Principles to regional meetings, with the first meeting tentatively set for Ethiopia in early 2020.”

“Global food and agriculture constitute a $7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40 percent of the working population in many countries yet progress towards the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is too slow and the scale and complexity of the problem underscores the need for deepened collaboration and renewed commitment to improving nutrition outcomes for all, especially the most vulnerable,” according to Michener. “Countries cannot achieve their SDG goals without an aligned, motivated and incentivized private sector as a key partner,” added Michener. “In this context, improved dialogue and collaboration between government, business, civil society and international organizations is crucial for guiding engagement and focusing efforts where they can have the most sustainable impact and long-term success.”