Donnelly and Claman Play Key Roles at OECD and BIAC Investment Meetings

Shaun Donnelly speaks at OECD, joined by (on the left) BIAC investment Committee Chair Winand Quaedvlieg of VNO (Netherlands)

Citi Director of International Government Affairs Kimberley Claman joined USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly at the recent March 12-13 meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Business at OECD (BIAC) Investment Committee meetings in Paris.

Claman, a last-minute addition to the wrap-up panel for the OECD’s day-long annual Investment Treaties conference, offered business perspectives on the day’s debates on investment treaties and investment chapters as tools to protect and promote much-needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows around the world.

After BIAC’s in-house Investment Committee discussions and strategizing on March 13, Donnelly and Claman joined the BIAC delegation, as well as invited labor and civil society “stakeholders,” to participate in the OECD Investment Committee’s discussion of “National Security” provisions and exceptions in Investment agreements.

“This was a very timely topic in light of the Trump Administration’s invocation of ‘national security’ justification for steel and aluminum tariffs,” said Donnelly. “Business took a strong position that national security provisions and especially their ‘self-judging’ nature could be serious threats to the quality of investment treaty disciplines.”

Donnelly joined the Dutch BIAC Investment Committee Chair at the table for formal stakeholder consultations with the OECD Committee, where they outlined BIAC policy priorities and positions, presenting BIAC’s “Proactive Investment Agenda for 2018.”  The day concluded with Claman, Donnelly and the rest of the BIAC Investment leadership hosting an informal working dinner for the OECD’s Investment Committee leadership, a useful off-the-record forum for explanations, probing questions, and candid debate.

“It was a long and challenging couple of days but with challenges growing to investment agreements and especially Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), it’s critical that USCIB be there standing up for strong investment protections, including effective enforcement/dispute settlement provisions,” noted Donnelly. “We offer special thanks to Kimberley for bringing her unique company and former USG negotiator expertise to the discussions.”

“Illicit Trade” Work Heating up at OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Governance Committee’s Task Force on Illicit Trade is raising its profile and tempo of work and increasing its effort to include the private sector in that workstream.

USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly led Business at OECD’s (BIAC) participation in the first of two days of Task Force meetings in Paris on March 15-16 with strong participation from USCIB member companies and other private sector representatives.  Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Christa Brzozowski is one of the two new co-chairs for this OECD Task Force, driving this important OECD work and providing strong senior-level U.S. government leadership.

“Illicit trade is a broad and elastic concept, including but not limited to pirated, counterfeit, “gray market”, and smuggled goods but also illicit movement of arms, drugs, antiquities and endangered species as well as and human trafficking,” commented Donnelly.  “As the OECD steps up its policy and coordination efforts to combat illicit trade, strong, broad and proactive private sector involvement will be essential.  BIAC and its national committees, including USCIB, will play the key role in making this process work.”

USCIB Delegation Contributes to Extending a Global Pact on Chemicals

Mike Michener (USCIB) and Sophia Danenberg (Boeing)

A global framework for chemicals that was to end in 2020 will be extended and include the sound management of associated industrial waste, government officials from around the world agreed at a summit in Stockholm which ended Thursday, March 15. The meeting, hosted by the Swedish government and attended by representatives of UN member states, NGOs and business and industry, aimed to draw up a global strategy for managing waste and chemicals based on agreed international standards.  Mike Michener, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation, Sophia Danenberg of Boeing, chair of the USCIB International Product Policy Working Group, and Frank Mastrocco of Pfizer represented U.S. downstream users of chemicals as part of the private sector delegation.

Global cooperation in chemicals is currently governed by the UN-backed global initiative, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), but this only extends to 2020.  Sweden wants SAICM to be replaced with a global deal, similar to the Paris Agreement for climate.  The meeting decided that existing principles of SAICM should be retained beyond 2020, including risk reduction and illegal international traffic.

“This was the first meeting, so nothing is decided,” stated Michener. “The countries that participated all agreed they want to work jointly on extending an international agreement on the management of chemicals and waste, and that a global deal approved at the highest levels is necessary. Now the SAICM co-chairs will begin work on a zero draft of a new agreement, to be approved by member states sometime before 2020.”

 

USCIB Welcomes Senate Confirmation of McAleenan as CBP Commissioner

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2018 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which advocates on behalf of America’s global companies and helps exporters of all sizes do business abroad, applauded today’s Senate confirmation of Kevin McAleenan as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“Kevin McAleenan is the right man for the job,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “As Acting Commissioner, he has demonstrated strong, skilled and knowledgeable direction to CBP. Under his leadership, the agency is positioned to move forward effectively in addressing the challenges and complexities of the trading environment in the U.S.”

Jerry Cook, vice president for government and trade relations with Hanes Brands and chair of USCIB’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee, added: “USCIB has a longstanding relationship with CBP, reflecting our subject-matter expertise and practitioner work on customs policy and trade facilitation. We look forward to working with Commissioner McAleenan and his team to help speed streamline and simplify trade for the benefit of American companies, workers and consumers.”

USCIB is already actively engaged with CBP on a range of issues, including, but not limited to customs valuation, customs classification continued ratification and, implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, engagement with the work of the World Customs Organization, and continued progress toward the Automated Customs Environment (ACE). It is working with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which USCIB serves as the American affiliate, to encourage the streamlining of customs practices overseas.

Robinson noted USCIB’s role in overseeing the ATA Carnet service in the United States under CBP authorization. ATA Carnets are internationally recognized customs documents that enable the duty-free, tax-free importation of product samples, goods for trade shows and professional equipment into some 80 countries worldwide for up to one year.

“With our unique perspective, we look forward to continuing to work with and help Customs meet its goals and objectives,” he said. “We stand ready to continue to serve as a key CBP stakeholder, and provide both subject matter expertise and practitioner support on topics of interest to Customs and to our membership.”

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. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, including ICC, 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
 

USCIB Pushes for Women’s Empowerment at ILO Event

 

The International Labor Organization (ILO) organized a panel discussion during the UN Commission on the Status of Women on March 16, featuring remarks from Ambassadors of Rwanda and Canada, Valentine Rugwabiza and Louise Blais, respectively. USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg joined the panel titled, “Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work for Rural Women.”

Speaking on behalf of Employers in the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Goldberg pointed out that many of the challenges women generally face are amplified for rural women.  “Infrastructure development, girls education, skills, entrepreneurship, rule of law, effective property rights and access to credit are vital elements in any policy to create jobs and improve the lives of working women in rural areas,” stressed Goldberg.

Goldberg also emphasized that “rural” does not necessarily mean “agriculture.”  “A focus on development in such areas as food processing, transport, and tourism has the potential to empower more women into work,” she added.

ICANN Focuses on Compliance of Registration Data and Privacy

Barbara Wanner, fourth from left, at ICANN 61 along with fellow ICANN Business Constituency Executive Committee members.:
Steve DelBianco (NetChoice); Phil Corwin (VeriSign); Claudia Selli (AT&T); Barbara Wanner (USCIB); Jimson Olufuye (AfICTA)

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is responsible for ensuring the security, stability and resilience of the domain name system (DNS), held its Community Forum in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10-15. The Forum attracted over 2,000 participants from business, government, civil society, and the technical community from 150 countries, including USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner. Over 300 sessions delved into a range of topics relating to the Internet’s addressing and identifier systems. Last year’s implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) drove discussions throughout the week-long meeting.

Wanner, who also serves as the business constituent representative to the Commercial Stakeholders Group (CSG), was able to provide greater input to policy discussions at the executive committee level on behalf of USCIB members and facilitated important meetings with senior ICANN officials and key constituencies.

The focus of the Forum was an ICANN interim model aimed at ensuring that ICANN and the industry of more than 1,000 generic top-level domain registries comply with existing ICANN requirements concerning the collection of registration data (known as the WHOIS database) as well as meet the EU’s privacy protection requirements. Business participants also surfaced a proposal to establish an accreditation mechanism to enable third party access to data for law enforcement, consumer protection, brand management and intellectual property protection purposes.

The implications of the GDPR on ICANN’s WHOIS database policies dominated discussions throughout the week-long meetings,” commented Wanner. “The clock is running out on the May 25 implementation of the GDPR, so all stakeholders engaged in discussions with a sense of urgency,” she observed.

On March 8, ICANN proposed the so-called Calzone interim model, an approach that ICANN maintained endeavors to strike a balance between proposals put forward by various community stakeholders.

“Commercial business users raised concerns with the interim model, however, maintaining that it is overly broad in scope and does not sufficiently support legitimate public interests in allowing access to certain data for law enforcement, consumer protection and intellectual property protection,” commented Wanner.  “In order to gain access to this non-public data, business users proactively proposed a mechanism that would enable accredited users to gain access to the data they need to pursue legitimate business and public interests.”

Working through the business constituency and Commercial Stakeholder Group, USCIB will engage with other ICANN stakeholders in coming weeks to refine the accreditation model so it can be utilized when the GDPR formally goes into effect in late May.

BIAC Hosts Gender and Skills Seminar, Launches New Report

Business at OECD (BIAC) hosted a breakfast seminar on gender equality and skills as part of the OECD’s March on Gender Initiative on March 9 in Paris. The seminar was chaired by Ronnie Goldberg, USCIB senior counsel, and marked the official launch of the BIAC report “Preparing All our Minds for Work: Girls, women and learning over a lifetime” (2018), produced by BIAC and USCIB with support from Deloitte and Dell. This is the third in a series of BIAC reports that highlight business efforts towards the global advancement of women and girls in the economy.

The focus of the seminar was on corporate efforts to address unconscious bias impacting gender equality at work and featured a summary of the 2018 BIAC report and a presentation by Dell on their implementation of the MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) initiative. MARC aims to identify where unconscious bias exists and aims to promote a more collaborative and inclusive leadership style. As the first IT company to participate in MARC, Dell discussed their experience and impacts.

“Empowering women in the workplace has positive consequences for the lives and careers of both women and men —as well as for the companies that employ them,” said Goldberg. “There has been progress, but it is painfully slow. Initiatives such as MARC are making an important contribution to the cause of gender equality, which more and more companies are recognizing as a key bottom line issue.”

Gabriella Rigg Herzog who leads USCIB work on corporate responsibility and labor affairs added, “Empowering women to participate meaningfully in the global economy is good for families, communities, business and society. We applaud BIAC and the OECD for their leadership in bringing attention to practical tools and best practice examples to reduce gender discrimination and support women in the world of work.”

 

Colombians in Washington Lobby on OECD Accession

Last week, USCIB was actively involved in various meetings with the Colombian government, business community and civil society on the issue of Colombia’s accession process to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). USCIB Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl, who coordinates U.S. business input on OECD accession issues attended a number of these meetings, along with USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan.

“With only two outstanding OECD Committees left to approve the accession, Colombia has ramped up lobbying efforts to the U.S. business community and government,” said Hampl. The outstanding committees are the Committee for Employment, Labor and Social Affairs (ELSA) and the Trade Committee. These committees are scheduled to deliberate in March and April, respectively.

In anticipation of the upcoming meeting of the Trade Committee, Colombia’s Minister of Trade Maria Lorena Gutierrez met with USCIB to discuss outstanding issues on pharmaceuticals, distilled spirits and truck scrapping, as outlined in the Business at OECD (BIAC) Pre-Accession Recommendations. Also part of the delegation was Colombia’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit Mauricio Cardenas Santamaria, who advocated strongly for Colombia to accede prior to the end of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos term this summer.

USCIB also had a meeting with ANDI, the National Business Association of Colombia, to discuss outstanding issues for business. Bruce Mac Master, president of ANDI led a delegation of Colombian CEOs in this meeting with the U.S. business community, in an effort to make progress on issues like trucking and pharmaceuticals.

Hampl also addressed these critical issues to U.S. business with Colombian civil society in an interview on Colombian radio last week. The main concerns raised during that conversation were on the timing of the accession process given the expiring term of President Santos, and substantive issues on pharmaceuticals, including patents.

“The U.S. business community remains firm on the outstanding issues,” said Hampl. “The OECD is a group of like-minded countries when it comes to believing in open trade and investment and innovation. It is important for any new members to share those views. The Colombian market is important to U.S. industry and we value the U.S. relationship with Colombia, so we look forward to Colombia making the necessary regulatory changes to allow the accession process move forward.”

USCIB Member Appointed Chair of ICC Environment Commission

Justin Perrettson (Novozymes)

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) announced the appointment of USCIB member Justin Perrettson of Novozymes as the new chair of the Commission on Environment and Energy. Perrettson is head of global engagements at Novozymes, the world`s leading bio innovation company, where he leads a series of policy and stakeholder interactions that support its sustainability agenda.  He also has broad international policy experience from consulting, finance and not-for-profit sectors and has served as an active member of the Commission on Environment and Energy over the past seven years.

“We are excited that Justin has been appointed chair of the ICC Environment and Energy Commission,” said Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s work on environment, climate and SDGs. “He has taken USCIB’s work in environment, climate and SDGs to another level in international forums, and we know he’ll bring the same amount of energy, commitment and passion about sustainability to enhancing those synergies working with ICC.”

Perrettson has been instrumental in leading the business voice for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change and public-private partnerships, serving as vice chair of USCIB’s Environment Committee and leading USCIB work on sustainable development as member of its SDG Working Group.

Perrettson will be responsible for leading the Commission on Environment and Energy in a renewed strategic direction and will ensure that ICC is leading responsible business engagement that promotes sustainable, inclusive economic growth in line with the UN Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals.

Perrettson has said that he is “both delighted and honored to take on this new role within ICC and to work with the world’s largest business organization to drive the global sustainable business agenda forward.”

Perrettson will take over from Kersten Karl Barth, who has led the Commission on Environment and Energy’s work for the past five years.

ICC: New Leadership for World Business Organization

International Business HandshakeThe International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has announced the election of a new secretary general and new first vice chair at its March 12 meeting of the ICC World Council in Tokyo. CEO of the leading Australian law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth John W.H. Denton has been elected as the next secretary general of ICC.

Denton is a legal expert and adviser on global policy, international trade and investment and infrastructure. Denton, who was unanimously elected, will succeed outgoing ICC Secretary General John Danilovich. Denton previously served on ICC’s Executive Board and, in 2016, became the first Australian to hold the position of first vice chair of the Paris-based organization.

Commenting on his election, Denton added, “I’m deeply honored to have been elected as secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce. At a time when the dual threat of populism and protectionism still loom large, it’s more vital than ever for business to have a seat at the table in global policy-making. ICC has a unique role to play in ensuring the views and experience of the global private sector are taken into account in key global forums, from the United Nations to the G20. I look forward to working with ICC’s global network in over 100 countries to do just that.”

CEO of Unilever Paul Polman has also been unanimously elected as ICC’s new first vice-chair. Polman will succeed current ICC Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal on July 1, 2018, who in turn will take the position of honorary chair. Polman is a globally recognized business leader and a pioneer in the field of corporate sustainability having served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel responsible for formulating the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), launched in 2015, and was subsequently appointed as a UN SDG Advocate responsible for promoting the “Global Goals.”

Commenting on these appointments, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “USCIB has appreciated the opportunity to work with John Danilovich and Sunil Mittal in recent years and thank them for their service to ICC. We now very much look forward to working closely with John Denton and his team. And of course we welcome the addition of renowned business statesman Paul Polman to ICC’s chairmanship, which will surely elevate the world business organization’s stature on sustainable development and many other topics.”

For more information, please visit ICC’s website.