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

USCIB Unveils Nationwide Incoterms® 2020 Seminars

New York, August 13, 2019 – With the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) set to publish the latest update is to its essential Incoterms® rules for cross-border trade, its American national committee, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), has announced plans for a nationwide series of seminars to train users in Incoterms® 2020.

Facilitating trillions of dollars in global trade each year, the “international commercial terms,” or Incoterms® rules, are a commonly accepted set of definitions and rules governing commercial trade activity. Updated approximately every ten years, the latest Incoterms® 2020 revision will be released worldwide next month.

USCIB’s training seminars will be led by renowned Incoterms® expert Frank Reynolds, CEO of International Projects Inc., who represented the United States in the ICC working group that drafted the 2020 revision.

“As America’s foremost Incoterms® authority, Frank Reynolds is uniquely qualified to explain these rules as they apply to U.S. trade practice,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “Frank brings over 50 years of hands-on practical expertise to ICC’s Incoterms® 2020 revision, and he has provided essential instruction to users on several previous revisions.”

Visit www.incoterms-for-americans.com for the full list of upcoming U.S. Incoterms® 2020 training seminars, and to register. To pre-order digital or print copies of the Incoterms® 2020 rules, visit the USCIB International Business Bookstore. ICC’s official worldwide launch of Incoterms® 2020 is set for mid-September.

USCIB has established a central information page on its website for all the latest developments surrounding the introduction of Incoterms® 2020. Go to uscib.org/about-incoterms-2020 for more information.

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, 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 Backs Coalition Response to Trump’s Call for More Tariffs on Chinese Goods

USCIB supported a Tariffs Hurt the Heartland coalition statement, responding to President Trump‘s announcement to impose a ten percent tariff on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is a nationwide campaign against tariffs supported by over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations representing retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture.

The statement noted: “The administration is doubling down on a failing strategy. Nobody wins in a trade war, and raising tariffs further on American businesses and consumers will only result in slower economic growth, more farm bankruptcies, fewer jobs and higher prices. These new tariffs will target the products American families buy every day, ranging from shoes and apparel to toys and electronics.”

The statement also emphasized that “it’s time for the administration to come up with a real strategy, put a stop to harmful tariffs and finally deliver the trade deal Americans were promised.”

USCIB had previously supported the coalition during a Fly-In campaign against tariffs, combining the efforts of Farmers for Free Trade and Americans for Free Trade, of which USCIB is a member, and also did a submission and testimony on the 300 billion dollars on tariffs.

Robinson Talks Policy With Senior State Department Leaders

USCIB’s Peter Robinson and Rob Mulligan meet with State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Environment and Science Ambassador Marcia Bernicat

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson had three successful senior-level meetings at the U.S. Department of State this week. On August 5, Robinson and USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly met Ambassador Kevin Moley, who serves as assistant secretary for International Organization (IO) Affairs for a tour d ’horizon of shared interests across a wide range of UN and other international organizations. IO Deputy Assistant Secretary Nerissa Cook joined the meeting. Much of the meeting focused on the shared objective of USCIB and the U.S. government of ensuring maximum access to and participation in international organizations for American and international business.

On August 6, Robinson, accompanied by Donnelly and USCIB SVP for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan, followed up with a wide-ranging meeting with the new Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach, along with his new leadership team in the Undersecretary’s office. Finally, the three met with Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) Ambassador Marcia Bernicat to discuss climate change and other important environmental issues.

“I was very fortunate, especially in early August, to get three very high-level meetings at the State Department within twenty-four hours,” Robinson said. “Each meeting was uniquely useful for USCIB and our member companies. With Ambassador Moley and his leadership team in the IO Bureau, we were able to compare notes on a range of shared interests, many of them related for access for American and global business to important international organizations. From Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in multiple UN bodies, to global health at the WHO, to UN climate and environmental negotiations, the private sector has a vital role to play. We are very grateful for the strong support the U.S. Government and Ambassador Moley and his team have provided us at USCIB. Although our USCIB team and member companies have worked closely with Ambassador Bernicat over her year on the job in OES, this my first chance to meet her personally.  We had a good, candid exchange on the challenge confronting the U.S. Government, American business, and the world in the climate and environmental areas. We will be working very closely with her going forward on a range of important issues.

“I especially appreciate all the time new Undersecretary Krach and his ‘E office’ leadership team spent with us today. We touched on a lot of important areas for cooperation going forward, from trade and technology to economic security and international organizations, including the OECD. Undersecretary Krach brings a very impressive private sector background to his new role as the senior economic policy official at the State Department. I assured him that USCIB stands ready to assist him and his team on any and all issues.”

Staff Contacts:

VP, Investment & Financial Services Shaun Donnelly (202.682.1221)

VP, Strategic International Engagement, Energy & Environment Norine Kennedy (212.703.5052)

USCIB Joins Congressional Lobby Days to Push for USMCA

USCIB joined the effort of the USMCA Coalition in its most recent Congressional Lobby Days just ahead of August recess, which reached more than 100 House offices. USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl joined a group which met exclusively with House Democratic offices July 24-25. According to Hampl, representatives noted that they understood the importance of USMCA for the economic future of the U.S.

The Coalition referenced the July 23 letter signed by over 600 business associations across the country in pushing for urgent Congressional approval of USMCA.

There was a keen interest in the USMCA working group of House Democrats, which was established last month by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to address some Democrats’ lingering concerns about issues in the agreement, specifically on labor, environment, enforcement and pharmaceutical pricing. While there were varying views on the substance of those discussions, there was general approval of the process. Many are looking to Pelosi for next steps. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his team continue to meet with members of the working group. Discussions have been described as productive, and the Coalition has urged all parties to continue this important work during the August recess. The Senate remains in session this week.

“The Coalition is emphasizing the urgent need for action to move the agreement through Congress,” said Hampl. Hampl also noted that approval will depend on a collaborative approach.

The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on USMCA today (July 30) and is featuring auto industry, agribusiness, transportation, dairy, and small business representatives, as well as a witness focusing on labor policy. For a list of witnesses please click here.

New Business Partnership for Sustainable Development Launched

USCIB Vice President Michael Michener (left) and BPSD Executive Director Scott Ratzan at the New York launch event

New York, N.Y., July 17, 2019 – The USCIB Foundation, Inc., an educational and research foundation affiliated with the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), today announced the launch of Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD).

BPSD will create new international public-private partnerships in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will provide a framework for government, business and civil society to share information, resources, activities and capabilities, and work in collaboration to achieve objectives achieve things together that the sectors cannot achieve independently. BPSD will facilitate partnerships, identify creative solutions, leverage proven strategies, measure progress and report results.

All BPSD initiatives will be based on four pillars of partnership:

  • Inclusion: Bringing together all stakeholders to establish accountability, shared risk and mutually beneficial objectives.
  • Innovation: Fostering forward thinking, collaborative solutions and imaginative partnership strategies for implementation.
  • Influence: Leveraging thought leadership and digital resources to promote the role, explain the benefits and achieve the impact of multisector engagement on achieving the SDGs.
  • Impact: Adapting or developing credible techniques for measuring, monitoring and evaluating the impact of public private partnerships.

“We want BPSD to be an important step forward in facilitating successful and impactful public private partnerships to achieve the SDGs,” According to Michael Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation.

Dr. Scott Ratzan will serve as executive director of BPSD. Ratzan will serve in a part-time leadership role developing the strategic priorities for the center, directing its initial activities and advancing the visibility of the BPSD within multilateral organizations and the U.S. government.

“Scott Ratzan brings extensive experience and keen insight for setting the future direction of BPSD to achieve the SDGs,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “I am honored to join in a leadership capacity to advance this important mission,” said Ratzan. BPSD will be a leader and an innovator in advancing successful and impactful public private partnerships to achieve the SDGs.”

Ratzan recently served as senior fellow at Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business & Government, Harvard Kennedy School. He has multi-sector program experience with AB InBev, Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a number of leading academic institutions.

At Harvard, Ratzan led a team where he developed Guiding Principles for Multisector Engagement for Sustainable Health, building upon experience from a number of partnerships he pioneered including Together for Safer Roads, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, Global Smokefree Worksite Challenge. and the Global Smart Drinking Goals. Ratzan also served as CoChair of the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child Innovation Working Group, as Vice Chair of the Business Industry Advisory Council’s Health Committee to the OECD and also on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Health & Well-being.

About The USCIB Foundation, Inc.: Since 1980, The USCIB Foundation has been dedicated to a single mission: advancing the benefits of a free market economy and promoting the essential role of the private sector in stimulating economic growth and progress in social development. Today, the Foundation pursues that mission through a portfolio of initiatives that strives to inform future choices made by stakeholders and policy makers that benefit people around the world.

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. 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.

USCIB Partners With Deloitte, IOE to Launch Report on Scaling Investment for Sustainable Development

Patricia Buckley of Deloitte explained the report’s findings.

While global leaders meet in New York this week for the annual United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), USCIB partnered with Deloitte and the International Organization of Employers to launch a new study that shows the critical role the private sector will play in meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, which calls for promoting “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”  According to some experts, the success of the entire SDG agenda depends to a large extent on achieving SDG 8.

The event was attended by corporate leaders from Fortune 500 companies, small business company executives, top UN officials, the heads of USCIB and IOE to map out the path to increase private sector investment in SDG 8 targets.The report Reaching SDG8: Challenges, Opportunities and Risks provides detailed data analysis on current progress towards meeting the targets of this goal.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson launched the discussions. “There is an urgent need to develop new and inclusive partnership models that engage business and other non-state actors as equal partners with government,” said Robinson. “This model will embrace innovation, mobilize resources and expertise, and create shared accountability and value.”

According to the report, “the findings are discouraging, as the rate of global progress has, so far, not kept pace with the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda. Very little success has been achieved on […] increasing employment opportunities, especially for the young workforce; reducing informal employment, labor market inequality, and gender discrimination; improving resource efficiency in consumption; promoting safe and secure working environments; and improving access to financial services.”

IOE President Erol Kiresepi, who attended the launch event, also provided his insight in a recent blog post, in which he warns that the global community has just over a decade to ratchet up action or run the risk of failing to achieve this ambitious development agenda with devastating consequences. “To bridge the gap between the aspirational and actions on the ground, employer and business member organisations can play a pivotal role,” writes Kiresepi. “Employer organizations worldwide have long and deep experience in translating development agendas into corporate strategies and frameworks.”

In discussing the results of the report, Patricia Buckley, managing director for economics at Deloitte U.S., highlighted “how little progress has been made on most of SDG 8 targets – targets which called for a variety of improvement ranging from increasing skills and reducing informal employment to improving resource efficiency and expanding access to financial services for all.”

USCIB Helps Celebrate ILO Centennial, Business Role in Sustainable Development

Ringing the closing bell at Nasdaq. L-R: Mamadou Diallo, deputy secretary general, International Trade Union Confederation; Moussa Oumarou, deputy director general, ILO; USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, IOE VP for North America. USCIB Vice President Gabriella Herzog is immediately to the right of Robinson.

As leaders assembled in New York for the United Nations’ annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, USCIB and its global network were on the scene, making the case for inclusive multilateralism and celebrating the hundredth anniversary of a key pillar of global cooperation, the International Labor Organization.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson helped ILO ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange on July 11, joined by officials from the ILO, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

“It was an honor to help celebrate the ILO’s centennial in such auspicious surroundings, and in a tripartite way,” said Robinson, who serves as the IOE’s regional vice president for North America. “Here’s to another hundred years of growth, opportunity and success for workers, employers and the societies they continue to help build.”

USCIB’s Peter Robinson speaks at the UN High-Level Political Forum.

Robinson also took part in the first week of UN meetings around the HLPF, with many more planned for this week as well. He appeared alongside IOE Deputy Secretary General Matthias Thorns at a panel discussion on “Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality.”

Robinson focused his remarks at the UN to emphasize three key elements that will provide an enabling environment allowing business to contribute the most:

  1. Improved governance and rule of law:“Some of the areas of the world in most need of business infusion are ones with big enough governance gaps that business has little incentive to invest; and trying to get business to shoulder the responsibilities that are primarily governmental in nature will be a further disincentive.”
  2. “Inclusive Multilateralism”:“Intergovernmental organizations must ensure that all voices are heard, and in particular must ensure that all business sectors have a seat at the table and prevent the arbitrary exclusion of interests—everyone has a role to play in solving societal challenges, and some of those sectors that many of you in the room might be most critical of, are in fact developing new and innovative approaches to furthering SDGs such as those related to health and climate”
  3. Governments need to facilitate public/private partnerships:“Since many institutions are not yet adequately structured or resourced to support the needed scale of working toward the SDGs, there is an urgent need to develop new and inclusive partnership models that engage business and other non-state actors as equal partners with government. This model will embrace innovation, mobilize resources and expertise, and create shared accountability and value.”

 

USCIB Objects to Implementation of Digital Service Taxes by France

Washington, D.C., July 17, 2019 – Responding to the recent announcement by France to implement a digital service taxes (DST), the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, urges countries to avoid unilateral measures and instead pursue a consensus-based, comprehensive and income tax-based solution. USCIB supports the OECD Inclusive Framework process for reaching agreement on these global issues.

The French law will impose a tax of three percent on certain revenue earned by technology companies including advertising, commissions from digital marketplaces and sales of data.

“Taxes on revenues are distortive,” said USCIB Vice President for Tax Policy Carol Doran Klein. “The total tax may exceed company profit and misallocate profits to the market jurisdiction. Any solution should be treaty compliant and designed to avoid controversy. It should tax income based on where value is created by companies, including appropriate recognition of where intangibles are created. Furthermore, any solution should not discourage innovation.”

Klein also warned that the French tax will not be easy to implement and will put a significant burden on companies to set up systems to track global revenues. “Implementing such new systems would be both time consuming and expensive – not simple or easily implemented – and would divert company resources from useful profit-making activities.”

“It is unfortunate that France has decided to repeat the mistakes identified in the debate over the unsuccessful EU DST,” said Bill Sample, chair of USCIB’s Tax Committee. “I urge France to focus their energies on reaching a consensus solution within the OECD’s Inclusive Framework for a sustainable international tax system that recognizes innovation and production and minimizes the adverse impact of the costs of double taxation on business investment and growth.”

USCIB reiterated its concerns in a letter to the government of New Zealand, which is also looking at options for taxing the digital economy.

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 the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

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