ICC Warns Against Misuse of Incoterms 2020 Rules

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is preparing for the publication of Incoterms® 2020, an update of the renowned regulations that define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers operating in the international trade system.

According to ICC, with the launch of Incoterms set for later this year, websites are already claiming to have information or training sessions about the update of its commercial trade terms. As the world business organization, ICC is the originator and sole official publisher of the Incoterms® rules. Any misuse of the terms can lead to costly mistakes. So how can users spot fake Incoterms® rules information? ICC provides three tips to ensure the right details, from the most credible source:

  1. Does it mention ICC? One of the easiest ways to spot a misleading Incoterms® 2020 rules website is to check and see if ICC mentioned at all. As the originator and official publisher of the Incoterms® rules, it is important for business to consult resources directly sourced by ICC.
  2. Words matter: In most cases, websites will make bold predictions about the Incoterms®2020 rules. Speculative sentences, such as “rumors point to changes,” or “it would be very important to change,” are commonplace on these deceptive websites and do not reflect the official position of ICC.
  3. Are they offering training sessions now? ICC urges those using or studying to consult only ICC-supported websites for information pertaining to the Incoterms® rules to ensure application of the right procedure. By registering for non-ICC affiliated training sessions, businesses and other users run the risk of spending money to receive false information.

For more detailed information, visit ICC.

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.

Hampl Discusses China and USMCA at Investor Conference

USCIB Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl spoke on a panel entitled Trade & Tariffs – Today & Tomorrow at the annual MLP & Energy Infrastructure Conference (MEIC 2019) in Las Vegas last week. The panel, which also included Colin Bird from the Embassy of Canada and Karen Antebi from the Embassy of Mexico, provided a macro perspective on current trade issues. The discussion focused on various issues surrounding China, the importance of the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico and Canada, including the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA),and other trade issues.

According to Hampl, the timing was fortuitous with a lot of activity in the trade policy space. “One of the positive developments included the U.S. administration’s announcement that they would be removing Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs currently imposed on Mexico and Canada, removing one of the remaining obstacles to Congressional approval of USMCA,” said Hampl.

“Unfortunately, as one set of tariffs was removed, the tariffs under Section 301 against China were escalated,” she added.

After the Administration increased tariffs on the list of $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% on May 10, China retaliated by increasing tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, which will take effect on June 1.

Earlier this month, USCIB issued a statement urging the Administration to refrain from continuing to escalate the trade fight with China.

Annual Proskauer Lecture Analyzes Challenges of Arbitration Community

As in previous years, USCIB was honored to co-sponsor the 7th annual Proskauer Lecture on International Arbitration along with Proskauer, Columbia University School of Law’s Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration Law and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration. Taking place on May 14, the event opened with a welcome by Peter Sherwin from USCIB member law firm, Proskauer, and featured a lecture by widely respected commercial and investment arbitrator Mark Kantor.

The lecture focused on the topic Legitimacy Challenges to International Commercial Arbitration on the Horizon? Kantor reflected on the challenges that the arbitration community is currently facing, including bad press from cases that involve state or state-owned entities with large monetary awards, as well as the lack of diversity in the arbitration industry.

USCIB’s General Counsel, who leads USCIB’s work on Arbitration, Nancy Thevenin gave a closing statement, thanking the co-sponsors and attendees. “The Proskauer lecture series draws globally-renowned experts to educate the international arbitration community in New York, and beyond, on specific topics,” reported Thevenin following the successful event. “Through presentation’s like Mark’s, the lecture series has become a must-attend event.”

USCIB, or ICC USA, is the U.S. National Committee to the ICC and serves as a contact point in the U.S. for the ICC’s multi-faceted dispute resolution services.

Governments Actively Engaged at WTO E-Commerce Negotiations

In an effort to support e-commerce negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), USCIB has been contributing to the Digital Trade Network, led by Nick Ashton-Hart.

Ashton-Hart participated in the Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce’s (JSI) first substantive negotiating round in Geneva May 13-15, which was based upon a subset of the subjects in the 14 contributions of WTO Members. Topics covered included online consumer protection, electronic authentication and electronic signatures, Electronic transactions framework, domestic regulation, transparency, non-discriminatory treatment of digital products, and many others.

According to Ashton-Hart, the level of engagement was quite high, the tone very constructive and collaborative, and quite a few countries that have not yet tabled proposals said they expect to do so. There was a general view that the services-related elements of the outcome agreement are intended to build upon GATS though it remains an open question what form the agreement will take – not surprising or seen as controversial at the present.

The next session will take place June 18-20, in Geneva, with proposals to be considered due June 6. The session will cover, among other subjects, privacy and data protection, cybersecurity and telecommunications. There will be at least two seminars from industry groups on logistics and the flow of data respectively.

Earlier this year, Ashton-Hart contributed a column in USCIB’s quarterly magazine, International Business, regarding the importance and impact of these global talks on online trade. Click here to view.

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