USCIB Members Address Network Security During Crises, Environmental Sustainability at IGF

The fifteenth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which was held in two phases November 2 -November 17, featured expert commentary from USCIB members that addressed two of the key thematic pillars of this year’s event – trust and improving the environment. Chris Boyer (AT&T) moderated a USCIB-organized workshop, in which Kathryn Condello (Lumen) highlighted how business and government closely collaborated from the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure secure, stable and reliable connectivity and, in so doing, create a framework for trust in the online environment.

In another USCIB-organized workshop, Matt Peterson (Amazon) and Caroline Louveaux (Mastercard) described their respective companies’ efforts to leverage technologies and their networks to address the planet’s environmental challenges through such initiatives as Amazon’s “Climate Pledge Fund” and Mastercard’s “Priceless Planet Coalition.”

According to USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner, both USCIB workshops attracted thirty-five to fifty virtual attendees from stakeholder groups throughout the world and garnered praise for the relevance and insightfulness of speakers’ comments in view of the still-rampant pandemic and challenges to the global environment.

Under the overarching theme ‘’Internet for human resilience and solidarity,” the annual IGF was hosted virtually by the United Nations given COVID-related travel restrictions. Given its virtual nature, the IGF Secretariat estimated that the event brought together more than five thousand leaders and ‎stakeholders of all sectors and all parts of the world, to discuss the impact of the Internet on ‎our lives within four key thematic tracks: (1) Data; (2) Environment; (3) Inclusion and (4) Trust.‎ As mentioned, USCIB members chose to showcase their corporate expertise under the trust and environment themes in two of the more than 200 IGF workshops.

Carol Doran Klein Retires, USCIB Welcomes Rick Minor as New Tax Lead

Carol Doran Klein
Carol Doran Klein

USCIB is pleased to announce that Richard Minor (who goes by Rick) has joined as its next International Tax Counsel upon Carol Doran Klein’s retirement.

“Carol has contributed immeasurably to the strengthening of the USCIB tax practice and we are grateful for her professional contributions and personal friendship over the last ten years,” said Peter Robinson, USCIB’s president and CEO. He added, “While we are saddened to see Carol go, Rick is a worthy successor and an excellent addition to the USCIB team. He brings a wealth of technical knowledge on international tax matters, experience in OECD tax policy and process, and a robust foreign government and European Commission network. I’m confident his expertise and international perspective will serve USCIB members well.”

Rick Minor
Rick Minor

Minor has deep experience in both the private and public sectors, having held senior tax roles with three large companies in Europe, in addition to serving as a Digital Policy Advisor to the Government of Luxembourg on a broad range of cross-border business issues with particular regard to EU data privacy, VAT and digital tax policy. His corporate background included positions as Vice President, Group Tax Counsel and Government Affairs for AOL Europe; Head of Tax, EMEA for ArcelorMittal; and Director of Tax, EMEA for Honeywell Europe. Minor also served as Director of International Cooperation and Business Investment for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, working to attract U.S. and foreign corporate investment to North Carolina. Minor got his bachelors at Duke University, his law degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and his LL.M. in tax at Georgetown. He began his career as an attorney specializing in international tax planning with global law firms in DC, Munich and London. Doran Klein and Minor served together on the OECD Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for VAT.

Minor assumes management of the USCIB Committee on Taxation, which promotes sound, appropriate and consistent international tax policy in the U.S. and overseas, including minimizing double taxation. The committee is chaired by Bill Sample, tax policy advisor at Microsoft Corporation, and encompasses leading tax professionals from USCIB member companies and organizations. The committee is especially active on OECD matters, in view of USCIB’s role as the American affiliate of Business at OECD (BIAC), and organizes a yearly conference bringing together USCIB members with top tax officials from the OECD and member governments.

Taxation

Magnifying Your Voice with USCIB:

  • USCIB’s Tax Committee is the most respected U.S. business association on international tax issues. USCIB is the only U.S. business association formally affiliated with the world’s three largest business organizations where we work with business leaders across the globe to extend our reach to influence policymakers in international markets that are important to American business.

Trends and Challenges Facing U.S. Business:

  • Multiple sets of inconsistent rules that drive up costs and result in double taxation
  • The mounting political pressure to move towards changing the taxation of the digitalized economy
  • Efforts to unfairly increase the tax burden on companies

USCIB’s Response:

  • Build consensus with like-minded industry peers and participate in off-the-record briefings with policymakers both home and abroad
  • Engage with the OECD on the development of international taxation principles
  • Proactively shape the development of the OECD’s guidance on the taxation of the digitalized economy by demonstrating to policymakers that unilateral action can result in double taxation, decreased trade, and reduced global growth
  • Actively monitor and contribute to the work of the UN Committee of Tax Experts to ensure its alignment with the work of the OECD Tax Committee and inform policymakers of their actions’ impact on investment
  • Support enactment of foreign tax simplification provisions in the IRC that would significantly reduce the burden of complexity for U.S. companies and enhance their international competitiveness
  • Host an annual conference in Washington, DC that 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”).

More Recent Accomplishments

News Stories

Carol Doran Klein Retires, USCIB Welcomes Rick Minor as New Tax Lead (11/18/2020) - USCIB is pleased to announce that Richard Minor (who goes by Rick) has joined as its next International Tax Counsel…
USCIB Submits Comments to USTR on Proposed Digital Services Taxes (7/21/2020) - USCIB provided comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding the proposed Digital Services Taxes (DSTs) of several countries, including Austria,…

Read More

Chair

Bill Sample
Tax Policy Advisor
Microsoft Corporation

Vice Chairs

Timothy M. McDonald
Vice President, Finance & Accounting, Global Taxes
The Procter & Gamble Company

Will Morris
Deputy Global Tax Policy Leader
PwC

Louise Weingrod
Vice President, Global Taxation
Johnson & Johnson

Chad J. Withers
Global Tax Director
Caterpillar Inc.

Staff

Rick Minor
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or rminor@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy & Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Subcommittees

BIAC/ICC Subcommittee

Legislative and Administrative Developments Subcommittee

Tax Treaties Subcommittee

Transfer Pricing Subcommittee

Working Groups

Working Group on Consumption Taxes

Working Group on the Digital Economy

Working Group on Environment and Energy Taxes

 

USCIB Banking Committee Welcomes New Chair: Bank of America’s Geoff Brady

Geoff Brady
Photo credit: Bank of America

USCIB is pleased to announce the appointment of USCIB member Geoff Brady of Bank of America as new chair of the USCIB Banking Committee. Brady, who is head of global trade and supply chain finance at Bank of America, succeeds Michael Quinn of JPMorgan Chase.

According to USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl, USCIB’s Banking Committee works to increase efficiency and decrease the cost of international trade transactions by promoting the standardization of international banking procedures—primarily by providing input into the global work of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

“We look forward to Bank of America’s active participation in this important area,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “We are confident in Geoff’s leadership in the ongoing work of the Committee, including ensuring strong U.S. representation in the ICC Banking Commission and ICC’s work to develop global rules and facilitate access to trade finance.”

USCIB Urges Governments to Strengthen Capacity to Protect Human Rights

The United Nations held a sixth special session of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) October 26-30 to negotiate a proposed legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights. USCIB, through its observatory status in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), was represented by members of its Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs team, notably Vice President Gabriella Rigg Herzog and Assistant Policy and Program Manager Daniella Goncalves. Other participants this year included sixty-seven governments (down from eighty-nine in 2019), as well as other civil society organizations.

As could be observed by the UN TV-streamed proceedings, no clear consensus on either the draft text or the overall initiative emerged at the session.

“Unlike the unanimous support that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights received from the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, this IGWG session demonstrated once again the continued and strong divergence of views of governments on this matter” said Herzog. “USCIB and our members remain committed to fulfilling the business responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles, and we encourage all stakeholders to redouble efforts to support the advancement of the UN Guiding Principles.”

“Recognized gaps concerning the core role of governments in fulfilling their State duty to protect human rights remain. Encouraging and supporting States as they work to build their capacity to effectively enforce their own national laws should be a priority for all stakeholders if meaningful access to remedy is to be achieved,” added Goncalves.

The United States government has opposed the IGWG since its launch in 2014 and issued a public statement again this year on October 26, citing opposition to the treaty based on its substance and the process around its development.

Other countries, such as Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and Norway, also did not attend this year’s sessions. Among the sixty-seven countries who did attend, many expressed the need for greater clarity on definitions, scope, liability and jurisdiction, emphasized the differences in state capacity and costs associated with implementation, as well as asserted the need to respect sovereignty.

USCIB will continue to observe and provide direct insights to its Members on this initiative.

USCIB Welcomes US Intention to Rejoin the Paris Agreement

Co-creating a U.S. climate plan to restore economies and to deploy American innovation globally

Washington, D.C., November 10, 2020 — The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomes the intention of the incoming Administration to rejoin the Paris Agreement. Multilateralism matters to business, and nowhere is this conviction more important than in addressing climate change, especially against the backdrop of the pandemic and its economic and social impacts.

For over twenty-five years, USCIB members have supported the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and have been fully committed both to international cooperation and partnership with our government to tackle the impacts of climate change while advancing American private-sector driven economic prosperity and environmental stewardship at home and abroad. In our view, it is critical to continue to focus on and champion substantive engagement of U.S. business in all dimensions of the UNFCCC.

Enabling conditions inside and outside the framework of climate policy will be vital to progress towards the objectives of the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement. USCIB is ready to recommend synergistic approaches that mobilize trade and investment to support and deploy innovative technologies and forms of energy.

As the U.S. affiliate of Business at OECD (BIAC), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), and with its own standing at the UNFCCC and at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), USCIB is uniquely placed to scale and amplify these opportunities across the UN system, and in the OECD and the WTO.

As it re-engages, we encourage the Biden Administration to work closely with the full diversity of U.S. business across every sector of the economy. This will be essential to deliver a U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that advances U.S. economic growth, energy security, job creation and climate action, for the widest benefit of all in our society.

While this might take time, we believe it is worth the effort to consult and reflect the views and expertise of USCIB members and other business stakeholders on economic, social, energy and environmental dimensions of U.S. actions at home and abroad in this critical area.

We look forward to this new chapter of vigorous American involvement and cooperation towards a successful COP26 climate meeting in 2021, and to U.S. involvement in the UNFCCC process into the future.

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. USCIB has represented U.S. business at the UNFCCC since 1993. Furthermore, as the U.S. affiliate of leading international business organizations and as the sole U.S. business group with standing in ECOSOC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Congratulates President-elect Biden, Stands Ready to Support US Global Leadership

President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Washington, D.C., November 9, 2020: The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) issued a statement by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson:

“We congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on having been declared the winners of this important election. We note with pride the record number of voters in these very challenging times.

“Looking ahead and facing the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic, it is more important than ever for the United States to provide global leadership on a range of issues affecting our national prosperity, including international trade, climate change, sustainability, rule of law and support for a rules-based global economy.

“Working together, we can and must overcome the public health and economic obstacles that weigh so heavily on the American people and economy by bringing American business ingenuity and commitment to the fore, both at home and abroad.

“The Administration’s top priority should be to develop and implement, with the Congress, a strategy for U.S. recovery from the pandemic’s economic and health impacts, in engagement with the wider world. U.S. government and business leadership working together is indispensable to this effort.

“Such a comprehensive multi-stakeholder strategy will need to build upon America’s strengths in its innovation, entrepreneurship, know-how, educational system and world-class work force. It should seek to further leverage American business to reinforce U.S. global leadership and effectively engage with multilateral institutions for international rules that support American competitiveness. It should also insist that those institutions become more accountable to and inclusive of key global stakeholders, including the private sector, in pursuit of shared goals and values.

“USCIB members are already responding on many fronts to support response and recovery to the global health crisis, and for that reason have a major stake in expanded U.S. positive influence and impact internationally, renewed investment and growth at home, and restoration of the global economy to a shared and inclusive prosperity. As the U.S. affiliate of Business at OECD, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), USCIB is uniquely placed to scale and amplify these opportunities.

“We are ready to work with the Administration to realize the promise of the American economy, to reap the gains from participation in global markets and trade, to advance sustainable development, and to deliver benefits in the form of jobs and opportunities for U.S. workers. These objectives should be pursued together as the U.S. moves to build forward better and stronger, in partnership with its allies worldwide.” 

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of the leading international business organizations, and as the sole U.S. business group with standing in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Issues Recommendations to EU on a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

The European Union concluded a public consultation last month on a proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), part of the EU’s ambitious Green Deal, focusing on deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. USCIB submitted its members’ response on October 28, drawing on the expertise of its Committees on Customs, Environment, Taxation as well as Trade and Investment.

“The EU CBAM proposal is complex, seeking to “level the playing field” by imposing extra costs on imports from countries with different climate change policies” said USCIB Vice President for Environment, Energy and Strategic International Engagement Norine Kennedy. “In our comments, we addressed climate change, trade and technical aspects of the proposal which we believe to be most relevant to American companies doing business with, and in, the EU.”

One critical recommendation was on timing; USCIB encouraged the EU to undertake thorough consultative and data-based economic and trade impact assessments, especially with regards to developing countries, to avoid unintended and counter-productive consequences on livelihoods. “As countries continue to experience the fall out and economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe governments should proceed cautiously before adding stresses to the global trading system,” warned Eva Hampl, USCIB senior director for trade, investment and financial services.

USCIB also stressed the importance of ensuring compatibility with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, warning that some elements of the EU CBAM proposal are unclear, which may lead to time-consuming disputes and delay the positive potential for deployment of innovative technologies and materials vital to climate change action, as well as hinder economic growth and recovery.

Hampl added: “Any further development of this currently counter-productive proposal must avoid and head off climate disputes at the WTO that may lead to unpredictable or unintended negative outcomes in environment, climate and trade negotiations.”

On technical practicality and administrative burdens, USCIB’s recommendation included reducing those burdens and the associated costs of compliance, which would inevitably subtract from resources available for other areas of environmental improvement.

USCIB believes that synergies between trade and environment protection should be the focus of international cooperation, and unilateral measures should be discouraged.

“Open trade advances economic prosperity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it is an essential vehicle to achieve widespread and rapid deployment of climate-related investments and cleaner and more efficient technologies and forms of energy,” emphasized Kennedy. “To meet the commitments and objectives of the SDGs, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, it is clear that more trade will be needed.”

For more information:

Earlier this year, USCIB published a paper Seeking Synergies: Environment, Climate and Trade Policy.

USCIB Competition Committee Hosts DOJ Antitrust Division Deputy

USCIB’s Competition Committee held its fall meeting on October 28 in a virtual format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Following welcome and introductory remarks by Dina Kallay (Ericsson) and Jennifer Patterson (Arnold & Porter), Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee, respectively, the group received an update on the upcoming meetings of the OECD Competition Committee from John Taladay (Baker Botts), Chair of the Business at OECD (“BIAC”) Competition Committee, and on the current work of the ICC Competition Commission from USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment, and Financial Services Eva Hampl.

The meeting featured Alexander Okuliar, deputy assistant attorney general, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), as the main speaker. Okuliar recently returned to the DOJ following two decades at both federal antitrust agencies and the private sector, and is responsible for civil merger and conduct investigations and litigation. He delivered remarks to USCIB members that included the DOJ’s recent work regarding competition in digital markets; the recent DOJ Business Review Letter to IEEE; and China, including due process challenges in China’s antimonopoly agencies and the new China Standards 2035 policy. Following his remarks, DAAG Okuliar engaged in an open Q&A session with committee members.

The Committee, under the direction of Kallay also discussed various issues of concern, including on advocacy for international convergence re compliance. Finally, Lisa Kimmel (Crowell & Moring) provided the group an update of the recent report of the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative law, on the Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets.

 

US Nominates Liddell for OECD Secretary General

Chris Liddell

The United States government formally nominated Chris Liddell on October 20 to be the next Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the influential Paris-based thirty-seven-member international economic policy group.  Current OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria’s third five-year term will expire mid-2021. The selection process is underway with multiple candidates nominated, headed toward a final selection in early 2021.

Liddell is currently serving as Assistant to the President and White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination. He is a dual national, American and his native New Zealand. According to USCIB Senior Advisor and Former U.S. Ambassador Shaun Donnelly, Liddell brings a very impressive private sector resume to his current White House senior position and to his OECD candidacy. Prior to joining the Trump Administration, Liddell served as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer at General Motors, where he led global finance operations and managed the company’s $23 billion IPO in November 2010, which, at that time, was the largest public offering in history. Liddell has more than three decades of experience in corporate leadership, including Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Microsoft Corporation and Chief Financial Officer of International Paper.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson welcomed Liddell’s nomination. “We at USCIB are pleased to see the U.S. government coming forward with a strong nominee for the important OECD Secretary General position, succeeding Angel Gurria with whom we have enjoyed working over the past fourteen years,” said Robinson. “We are particularly pleased to see a nominee with strong private sector background and hands-on policy experience at the top levels of the U.S. government. The competition for the post will be tough with other strong nominees but there has never been an OECD Secretary General from the U.S.”

The nomination process closed on November 1. The governments of Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Geece, Poland, Switzerland and Sweden have also formally nominated candidates for the Secretary General position. The United Kingdom Ambassador, as Dean (i.e. longest serving) of the OECD’s Council of Ambassadors, is leading the selection process. According to Donnelly, the target is to have the next Secretary General elected by the Council by March 1, 2021 and in place for a five-year term beginning June 1, 2021, presumably shortly after the organization’s annual Ministerial meeting scheduled to take place in Paris.

“USCIB and our business colleagues in the OECD’s Business at OECD (”BIAC”) organization hope to be able to play a constructive, informal role in the selection process,” said Donnelly.