2018 OECD Tax Conference

SOLD OUT!

The 2018 OECD International Tax Conference

 June 4-5, 2018

Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C.

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 to discuss the latest developments in international taxation. Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD, will deliver opening remarks and Kevin Hassett, Chairman of Council of Economic Advisors, will deliver keynote remarks. Other senior tax officials from the U.S. and other key countries involved in the OECD’s international tax work will participate on panels covering the latest developments in the taxation of multinational enterprises including tax treaties, transfer pricing, the work of the Task Force on the Digital Economy, dispute resolution and more.

For more information, or to be placed on the wait list, please contact Erin Breitenbucher (202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org).

Final Agenda 

Information for Participants

2018 Featured Speakers:

  • Kevin Hassett – Chairman, Council of Economic Advisors, Executive Office of the President
  • Angel Gurría – Secretary-General, OECD
  • Pascal Saint-Amans – Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration, OECD
  • Grace Perez-Navarro – Deputy Director, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration
  • Martin Kreienbaum – Director General, International Taxation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany
  • Brian Ernewein – General Director (Legislation), Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance, Canada
  • Mike Williams – Director, Business and International Tax, HM Treasury
  • Lafayette (Chip) G. Harter – Deputy Assistant Secretary (International Tax Affairs), U.S. Treasury
  • Doug O’Donnell – Commissioner, Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, IRS
  • Achim Pross – Head of International Cooperation and Tax Administration, OECD
  • Tomas Balco – Head of the Transfer Pricing Unit, CTPA, OECD
  • Sophie Chatel – Head of the Tax Treaty Unit, CTPA, OECD
  • Michael Graetz – Professor of Tax Law, Columbia Law School
  • Will Morris – Chairman, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Bill Sample – Chairman, USCIB Tax Committee; Vice Chair, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
  • Other Senior Treasury and Foreign Tax Policy Officials

More on USCIB’s Taxation Committee

Sponsored By:

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PWC

 

 

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exxonmobil

 

 

For information on how to become a sponsor, please contact Abby Shapiro (617-515-8492 or ashapiro@uscib.org). 

 

Presented by:

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OECD

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In association with:

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ITPF
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Organization for International Investment

Tax Executives Institute, Inc.

Governments Reject Discriminatory Barriers to Business at UN Climate Talks

Following intense and sometimes contentious negotiations, governments meeting in Bonn under the UN climate treaty last month rejected any reference to “conflict of interest” or conditionality for observer organizations. Commenting on the successful conclusion of UN discussions to allow transparent and inclusive involvement of business, Justin Perrettson (Novozymes), who co-chairs the USCIB Environment Committee encouraged  “all Parties to take full advantage of the depth and breadth of business engagement and experience with climate change issues and to partner with business to help inform and implement ambitious national pledges.”

Countries including the Africa Group, China, Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba began the Bonn deliberations arguing for new measures to protect against “undue business influence,” and proposing language to:

  1. define “conflict of interest” in a way that would inherently discriminate against business
  2. require a statement of support of the UNFCCC in order for any non-governmental entity to be allowed to observe the climate negotiations.

Climate Justice, Youth, Indigenous Peoples and Women and Gender NGOs all advocated restricting, or even banning, certain sectors of business from the UNFCCC discussions, asserting a distorted interpretation of “conflict of interest,” and citing the precedent of the World Health Organization Framework of Engagement for Non State Actors (FENSA).

Along with Perrettson, USCIB representatives Nick Campbell (Arkema) and USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Environment and Energy Norine Kennedy met with U.S. and other government delegations to make the case for inclusive and transparent engagement opportunities for all stakeholders, including business. In addition to the U.S.,  Australia, New Zealand and Norway spoke out definitively against the addition of any such business discriminatory practices.

The Bonn Climate Change Conference took place from April 30 to May 10 in Bonn, Germany. Approximately 4000 participants from governments, UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations, business and civil society organizations, and the media were on hand to make final preparations for the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, which will take place later this year (December 3-18, 2018).

The main objective of the Bonn negotiations was to advance the Paris Agreement Work Programme (also known as “the Paris Rulebook”) and develop “negotiating text” for the decisions required to make the Paris Agreement operational by COP24. When complete, the Paris Rulebook would set out procedures for carbon markets and guide the tracking of comparability of effort across different national pledges.

Limited progress in Bonn necessitated the announcement of a supplementary negotiation session to be held in Bangkok, Thailand (August 31 to September 8).  It will be critical to have a negotiating text at the end of the Bangkok session if the Paris Rulebook is to be agreed at COP24.

USCIB members seeking more information on climate change and conflict of interest discrimination should contact Norine Kennedy and attend USCIB’s June 7 Environment Committee in NYC

Qatar to Join Global “Merchandise Passport” System

The World ATA Carnet Council meeting in Xian, China

Earlier this month, Qatar officially joined the ATA Carnet system, which enables the temporary duty-free, tax-free importation of various types of goods in over 80 countries and customs territories around the world. The Carnet system is overseen by the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Customs Organization. USCIB serves as the U.S. national guaranteeing association for the system.

The official announcement was made by Sheikha Tamadar Al Thani, director of international relations and chamber affairs at Qatar Chamber and ICC-Qatar, during her participation in a World ATA Carnet Council (WATAC) meeting organized by ICC’s World Chambers Federation on May 9 in Xi’an, China. The ATA Carnet system is expected to be implemented in Qatar as of August 1, 2018, but the country will only accept Carnets issued for Exhibitions and Fairs. (Many countries and territories also accept them for Product Samples and for Professional Equipment.)

During her address to the WATAC meeting, which was attended by USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, Al Thani noted that Qatar’s formal accession to the Carnet system came as a result of lengthy negotiations conducted during the previous sessions with WATAC leadership and council members. She said the ATA Carnet plays an important role towards advancing the cause of free trade as a mechanism of trade facilitation.

Al Thani further noted that world trade is facing momentous challenges nowadays, with protectionist policies on the rise again and the State of Qatar’s accession to the Council is a testimony to its adherence to free trade, and to its belief in the importance of the free movement of goods and services around the world.

The ATA Carnet is the global gold standard for temporary admissions under the auspices of the World Customs Organization. ATA Carnets are international tools of trade facilitation, which serve as a temporary export-import documentation. The ATA System is in place in over 85 countries and territories, and provides duty-free and tax-free imports on goods that will be re-exported within 12 months.

Please visit the Qatar ATA Carnet page for more info.

UN Global Pact for Environment Negotiations to Begin

After months of informal discussion, UN Member States have voted to launch a negotiation toward the development of a “Global Pact for Environment.” An initiative of French President Emanuel Macron, the Pact is to be a binding, universal “umbrella text” providing a common global legal basis for:

  • environmental policy principles, such as the polluter-pays and precautionary principles;
  • environmental rights-based approaches;
  • other international environmental regulations and treaties.

The United States voted against the resolution to launch the negotiations, while 143 countries voted in favor.  A copy of the resolution is available here.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN in New York Nikki Haley commented on the new General Assembly resolution stating, “When international bodies attempt to force America into vague environmental commitments, it’s a sure sign that American citizens and businesses will get stuck paying a large bill without getting large benefits. The proposed global compact is not in our interests, and we oppose it.”

As a basis for the deliberations, the UN will develop a report “that identifies and assesses possible gaps in international environmental law and environment-related instruments with a view to strengthening their implementation,” to be delivered to the UN General Assembly in New York. It is widely expected this report will be prepared by UN Environment.

“An ad hoc open-ended working group, under the auspices of the General Assembly, (will) consider the report and discuss possible options to address possible gaps in international environmental law and environment-related instruments, as appropriate, and, if deemed necessary, the scope, parameters and feasibility of an international instrument, with a view to making recommendations to the General Assembly, during the first semester of 2019, which may include the convening of an intergovernmental conference, to adopt an international instrument.”

Non-governmental organizations, including those representing business, will be allowed to observe the negotiations.  A first “organizational” meeting will take place in New York in late July; following that, deliberations will begin in Nairobi, Kenya at UN Environment headquarters based on a review of the report.

“USCIB will closely follow the negotiations, and work with the Administration, other governments and the International Chamber of Commerce to understand the specifics of what is to be proposed,” said Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s work on strategic international engagement, environment, and energy. “USCIB will continue to gather intelligence, as questions remain on the legal form of the ‘Pact,’ and how it would relate to other existing agreements, such as UN Climate and chemicals conventions,  and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

USCIB members seeking more information on the GPE should contact Norine Kennedy, and attend USCIB’s June 7 Environment Committee in NYC.

Hampl Testifies Regarding Proposed China Tariffs

 Following the Trump administration’s proposed Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl testified before the Section 301 Committee, chaired by USTR on May 16 regarding the proposal. Hampl’s testimony reflected USCIB member concerns about potential consequences the proposed tariffs will have on sectors vital to the U.S. economy. Her testimony was drawn from comments USCIB sent earlier this month to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Hampl was joined by over 100 other business representatives to share specific concerns regarding the proposed tariffs.

“We believe that the imposition of tariffs will not achieve the important goal of changing China’s behavior in the space of emerging technologies and intellectual property rights,” said Hampl in her testimony. “China’s threat of retaliation further exacerbates uncertainties caused by this proposed action. Rather than create more opportunities for U.S. business, sweeping tariffs will stifle U.S. agriculture, goods, and services exports and raise costs for businesses and consumers.

Hampl emphasized the need for a “holistic structure” to address the aforementioned issues. Speaking on behalf of USCIB, Hampl applauded the Trump administration for looking at alternative approaches, such as initiating a WTO dispute by requesting consultations with China.

“It is important for the administration to address these issues with a broad view, working collectively with U.S. industry, Congress, and our trading partners, to adequately address China’s unfair trade practices and get China to be WTO compliant,” noted Hampl.

The proposed tariffs pose a unique challenge to industrial inputs, which represent over 80 percent of the proposed list. Tariffs on industrial goods are especially problematic because they represent not just a tax on U.S. consumers but a tax on U.S. manufacturers and workers, and on the products they export. Tariffs on aerospace, machinery and IT parts and other advanced technologies can undermine the most competitive sectors of American manufacturing, driving up production costs in the U.S., impacting U.S. manufacturing employment, and making U.S. manufacturers less competitive against global rivals.

“Tariffs on industrial parts imported into the U.S. could have the unintended consequence of prompting manufacturers to move final production outside of the U.S.,” warned Hampl. “To see how U.S. companies will be affected by the tariffs, it is important to look to how the supply chain functions. China is the second largest economy and the largest manufacturing economy in the world. We cannot ignore that China may have some unique capabilities, at the product level, that U.S. businesses need to tap into in order to remain globally competitive. For many products or inputs, there is no feasible alternative to procuring from China. We urge the Administration to use this process to ensure that its actions do not inadvertently harm some of the most competitive sectors of the U.S. economy, and the hundreds of thousands of American jobs that depend on them.”

In addition to the testimony, USCIB also co-sponsored a reception last week for Hill staff centered around the China 301 hearing, as well as NAFTA, celebrating Great American Jobs Supported by Trade. Representatives from U.S. government, companies, and associations, spent the evening discussing various important developments in the trade space.

USCIB Warns of Potential Harms to the US Following China Tariffs

In light of the Trump administration’s proposed Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods, USCIB sent comments last week to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressing concern about the potential unintended negative consequences the proposed tariffs will have on sectors vital to the U.S. economy and jobs. With $587.6 billion in total goods trade in 2016, China has become the United States’ largest goods trading partner. China was also the third-largest export goods market in 2016 for the U.S., while U.S. foreign direct investment in China was $13.8 billion in 2016, with the ICT sector alone encompassing $4.34 billion.

“China can be a challenging market for U.S. companies to navigate. The ongoing intellectual property rights violations, forced technology transfer requirements, and state interventions harm U.S. companies, workers, consumers, and competitiveness,” stated Eva Hampl, who leads USCIB work on China-related issues.

Made in China 2025 is considered by many an indication that China plans on further advancing in developing their high-tech industries, such as robotics, advanced information technology, aviation, and new energy vehicles, with the eventual goal of global dominance in those industries through uncompetitive means such as subsidies.

“While this unfair advantage to Chinese companies in the high-tech industry space is a legitimate threat to U.S. leadership in innovation, continued engagement in the Chinese market is also very important for U.S. companies in terms of their ability to be globally competitive,” emphasized Hampl. “USCIB members are very concerned that these proposed tariffs will stifle the U.S. economy, and not achieve the important goal of changing China’s behavior in the space of emerging technologies and intellectual property rights. China’s threat of retaliation further exacerbates uncertainties caused by this proposed action. Rather than create more opportunities for U.S. business, sweeping tariffs will stifle U.S. agriculture, goods, and services exports and raise costs for businesses and consumers.”

The comments urge the administration to use this public comment period to listen to USCIB members and other U.S. stakeholders who explain how they will be directly affected by the proposed tariffs.

“It is critical that the administration exclude from its tariffs particularly those products that cannot feasibly be replaced by non-Chinese sources, where the harm of potential tariffs would fall more on U.S. businesses, workers, and exporters than on Chinese entities,” said Hampl. “Hurting American exporters cannot be the outcome of a process designed to level the playing field in China.”

USCIB has also signed on to a broader coalition of trade associations to echo these and other business concerns. Additionally, USCIB is co-sponsoring a reception later this week for Hill staff centered around the China 301 hearing, as well as NAFTA, celebrating Great American Jobs Supported by Trade. Finally, USCIB will also testify this week as part of the China 301 hearing.

USCIB Members Honored with Best Corporate Citizens Ranking

Corporate Responsibility magazine has honored several USCIB members, including Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, AT&T, Qualcomm and Walt Disney, among many others, in their annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens rankings. Each year, the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking measures the success of the Brands Taking Stands movement by celebrating the most successful, most transparent companies that report on their responsible practices.

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list documents 260 ESG data points of disclosure and performance measures—harvested from publicly available information in seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance, and philanthropy & community support.

The list ranks the Russell 1000 Index and research is conducted by ISS Corporate Solutions.  There is no fee for companies to be assessed. Companies listed on the Russell 1000 are analyzed using publicly available records from their websites, annual reports, shareholder calls, media interviews, NGOs and government documents. The analysis includes 260 data points on environmental, climate change, human rights, employee relations, corporate governance, philanthropy, and financial performance.  As a result, companies are rated on what information they disclose as well as how much they disclose.

To compile this ranking, data is obtained from public records and not from private self-reports to the analysts. Many rankings ask companies to fill out surveys and questionnaires about internal operations and ours relies on what is publicly available. That’s because transparency and public commitments help make a company’s sustainability program stronger.

 

Download a copy of the complete list and information on the methodology here

View past 100 Best Corporate Citizens winners here

Russian Sanctions: How Do They Affect US Business?

A roundtable discussion was held at HodgsonRuss LLP in New York on April 26, connecting participants from Washington DC, New York and Europe to discuss the recent sanctions imposed by the U.S. Government on Russia, enforcement trends and how they affect the way the U.S. companies conduct business around the globe. This event was organized by the Committee on Eastern Europe and Committee on International Trade of the International Section of the New York State Bar Association. Distinguished panelists included Charles R. Johnston (Citi), chair of USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee, Michael Hendrix, OFAC, U.S. Department of Treasury, Hon. Volodymyr Yelchenko, permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations and Robert J. Leo, chair of the Committee on International Trade. The discussion was moderated by Serhiy Hoshovsky, chair of the Committee on Eastern Europe. Participation from overseas was moderated by Oleh Beketov, chapter chair in Kiev.

The event was opened by Paul M. Frank, a former chair of the International Section and renown international law attorney who hosted the event at his law firm. Yelchenko provided a comprehensive political context for the Russian sanctions and reminded of the events that led to their initial imposition in 2014. Michael Hendrix, an enforcement officer with OFAC, summarized legal framework for the sanctions and enforcement priorities as well as discussed some recent enforcement actions. Johnston provided a great overview of the sanction regime from the perspective of the U.S. business community, explaining in detail how the sanctions are becoming a new reality and how the U.S. businesses adapt to doing business. He also shared practical experiences of what U.S. companies do to stay compliant. Leo shared a very useful handbook on sanctions and practical tips on what to do when issues arise and how to stay compliant.

“The event provided a unique opportunity for the participants, especially those from the overseas, to ask questions and hear from people who are on the forefront of the sanction policy and enforcement at the US government, business community and legal profession,” said Nancy Thevenin, USCIB’s general counsel. “All panelists and participants agreed that the event was a major success and provided a great platform for sharing views and discussing major issues affecting business and legal community not only in the U.S. but also internationally.”

Robinson Reinforces USCIB Ties with Chinese Business Groups

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson meets with China Enterprise Confederation Director General Zhu Hongren.

While U.S. economic ties with China have been strained of late, the ongoing working relationship between USCIB and our main Chinese counterpart organizations is growing closer. USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson is in Beijing and Xian this week, meeting with top officials from the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC), the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and other groups.

Both CEC and CCPIT/CCOIC are part of USCIB’s global network. CEC serves as the Chinese affiliate of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), and as such represents Chinese employers in the International Labor Organization. Robinson, who also serves as IOE vice chair for North America, met with CEC Vice Chair and Director General Zhu Hongren and other senior staff. He discussed USCIB’s work on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Business for 2030 website, the Future of Work, as well as climate change, trade and the UN Global Compact.

L-R: Anna Zhang (USCIB), USCIB President Peter Robinson, ICC-China Secretary General Yu Jianlong, Yu Min (ICC-China)

CCOIC houses ICC-China, the International Chamber of Commerce national committee in the country. In addition, its partner organization, CCPIT, like USCIB, serves as the national guaranteeing association for ATA Carnets, the “merchandise passports” developed by ICC. They played host to the meeting of WATAC, the World ATA Council, which encompasses all ATA Carnet guaranteeing associations. Robinson met with Yu Jianlong, secretary general of CCOIC and ICC-China, and other officials including Deputy Director Director General Yu Min. In addition to Carnet matters, they discussed emerging policy challenges including the “conflict of interest” discussions at the UN climate talks, where activist groups and some governments are seeking to limit the private sector’s access to the negotiations.

Robinson also met with officials of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce. USCIB Director of Carnet Claims Administration Anna Zhang is accompanying him on his mission to China.

USCIB Sponsors National Governors Association North American Summit

From left to right: CEO of Rassini Eugenio Madero; USCIB VP for Trade and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly; Woodrow Wilson Institute and former US Ambassador to Mexico Tony Wayne; National Restaurant Association Senior VP Steve Danon

USCIB was an organizational sponsor for the National Governor Association (NGA) North American Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, which was held May 4-6. USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly represented USCIB at the weekend event. The NGA welcomed Mexican Governors and Canadian provincial premiers to the North American Summit, which focused on strengthening North American economic integration and competitiveness in today’s and tomorrow’s global economy.

“The good news is that governors, across the three nations of North America, get it!” said Donnelly. “Open trade and investment gets broad bipartisan support across the political spectrum of governors and premiers. They welcome trade and investment and they welcome business comments and recommendations at these sessions. Obviously, NAFTA, and the on-going negotiations to update that key agreement, were key areas of discussion.”

Business speakers from the three countries were united in urging governors across all three countries, particularly in the U.S., to be strong advocates for a strong updated NAFTA with their national governments at this key moment in the negotiations.

USCIB member company representatives were also present and active at the NGA Summit with UPS, Walmart, and Squire Patton Boggs executives among the formal speakers/panelists to the Governors; CenturyLink was another active participant in the corridors. Former Canadian Foreign Minister Perrin Beatty, CEO of USCIB’s Canadian counterpart organization the Canadian Chamber was another clear pro-NAFTA, pro-business panelist in his presentation to the assembled governors.

Donnelly commented, “I come away from this NGA weekend with some key governors from across North America very encouraged that they really understand and support NAFTA and importance of an integrated, competitive North American economy/marketplace going forward. At this trilateral Summit, I saw none of the partisanship and anti-trade grand-standing we see so much of in Washington these days. The coming weeks will be critical for the fate of NAFTA and America’s governors, of wither party, can be important allies in convincing the Administration and, then down the road, the Congress to do the right thing…….and not to do the wrong thing on NAFTA.”