USCIB Continues to Support Comprehensive Trade Deal with Japan

Using a transparent effect.

Washington, D.C., September 25, 2019 – Following the announcement of a partial trade deal between the United States and Japan today on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, welcomed the conclusion of the deal with Japan addressing some key trade concerns, but looks forward to continued negotiations of a comprehensive agreement to benefit American businesses in all sectors.

“This partial deal is an important first step in opening the market with the fourth largest trading partner of the United States,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “However, several other sectors that also have trade concerns are not covered by this agreement, so we urge the Administration to continue negotiations to create vital opportunities for U.S. companies exporting to and investing in Japan.”

USCIB continues to support a comprehensive trade deal including important provisions on broad market access, intellectual property protections, investment, customs and trade facilitation, financial services, and dispute settlement. These provisions, providing broad access and protections, are key to ensuring the economic success of American companies in the global market place.

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 (ICC), the International Organization of Employers, and Business at OECD (known as BIAC), USCIB helps to provide 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:
Kira Yevtukhova, USCIB
+1 202.617.3160, kyevtukhova@uscib.org

USCIB Discusses International Environmental Policy With EPA Administrator 

L-R: USCIB VP Norine Kennedy, U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

As the 74th United Nations General Assembly High Level Session got underway, USCIB members met with the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler to discuss advancing U.S. business innovation and investment towards transboundary environmental challenges.

The meeting was a unique opportunity for USCIB members to engage with the Administrator on U.S. business priorities for international environmental engagement and public private partnerships while advancing economic prosperity and environmental stewardship at home and abroad.

“We needy enabling conditions for dialogue and partnership with the private sector in the multilateral system,” stressed USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson during his welcoming remarks. “Therefore, we do need to remove barriers to some business sectors in some parts of UN system – USCIB is working on this, and we would welcome EPA’s support in this area too,” he added.

Wheeler’s remarks focused on current environmental priorities for the EPA, such as the global water crisis, which he noted must be tackled through improving access to safe drinking water, strengthening infrastructure and preventing plastic debris from reaching oceans. Wheeler also emphasized global challenges and EPA involvement to tackle food waste.

“USCIB members had an opportunity to share perspectives on the kinds of partnerships that business and EPA can collaborate on to find solutions to global challenges, in addition to discussing the necessary infrastructure investments that are needed,” said USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy.

USCIB Releases Statement on China’s WTO Commitments, Urges Bilateral and Plurilateral Dialogue

In response to an annual request by the United States Trade Representative for comments on China’s compliance with WTO commitments and notice of public hearing, USCIB gathered member input and submitted a comprehensive statement on September 18.

The statement emphasizes the direct and important stake American business holds in the relationship between the U.S. and China and in its success. As the world’s largest economy, China’s practices and policies have a significant impact on its trading partners, and engagement with China can be challenging. China’s growing importance in the global economy provides strong incentives for both countries to work together to address common challenges and responsibilities.

USCIB members continue to have serious concerns with several policies and practices maintained by China that undermine the ability of U.S. businesses to operate, including unfair and discriminatory governmental practices. Furthermore, U.S. tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs imposed as a result of the U.S. Section 301 investigation into China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation policies have been disruptive to U.S. business.

“The tariff actions have not resolved the underlying issues identified by the U.S. or have changed Chinese behavior regarding the matters covered by the investigation or the broader issues identified in this submission,” said Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl.

Accordingly, the USCIB submission urged high-level bilateral dialogue between the U.S. and China. USCIB also urged both countries to utilize, in addition to the WTO, the full range of formal multilateral fora, including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to work toward improved commercial relations. Plurilateral dialogues that include U.S.-friendly jurisdictions such as the European Union, Canada or Australia should also be considered.

“This annual submission provides a valuable opportunity to stakeholders to share issues that business is facing in China, following their accession 18 years ago in 2001,” said Hampl. Many sectors continue to face significant issues related to market access, transparency, regulation and protection of intellectual property rights. In addition to addressing many cross-sectoral and sector specific issues, this submission takes the opportunity to address the ongoing tariff war with China and the damaging effect that is having on companies.

“USCIB has been consistently pushing back against this tariff escalation, the start of which alleged to address some of the issues highlighted in our broader China WTO submission,” added Hampl. “Our submission clearly shows that the issues related to IP theft and forced tech transfer continue to be a problem for companies doing business in China.”

Pledge to America’s Workers: Spotlight on Walmart

Source: Walmart

The U.S. Department of Labor has recently announced the 5th annual National Apprenticeship Week, which will take place November 11-17, to showcase the positive impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.  In celebration of this, USCIB has been featuring case studies of members making an impact in the re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers.

This week, we’re featuring Walmart, which is empowering its employees with the skills, confidence and the technology they need to serve customers and their own careers—whether they choose to stay in retail or take their skills to a different field.

Walmart is accomplishing this, in part, through the Walmart Academy training program, which has completed more than 800,000 trainings since the academy opened in 2016. When signing the pledge Walmart stated that their commitment would be partly determined by completion of its internal training programs, including the Academy program, which provides focused training for their associates, both hourly and salaried, through classroom and on-the-sales-floor exercises and tailored integration of technology. Walmart provides instructor-led training, web-based training and virtual reality training.

Last year, Walmart introduced Virtual Reality (VR) to the world of employee training and development by using the technology to upgrade training at Walmart Academies nationwide. With the huge success of that program, the company is now providing Oculus VR headsets to all stores in the U.S. to bring the same level of training to its more than 1 million Walmart associates.

Additionally, Walmart launched the Live Better U program, which provides access to debt-free, in-demand college degree and professional certification programs from nonprofit universities in the fields of technology, business, and supply chain management. Associates can earn college credit for training they receive on the job through our Academies. The Live Better U program also provides high school completion at no charge and college prep courses that translate into credit towards a degree. Since the program launched last summer, more than 13,000 associates have been accepted into the program in all 50 states. Within the first year, students had earned more than 30,000 college credits valued at more than $17.5 million.

For more information on Walmart’s pledge, please read this piece written by Walmart’s Executive Vice President of People, Julie Murphy.

See here for other spotlights:

Salesforce, the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) focused on bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age.

 

US Business Priorities for UNGA High-Level Opening Week

Photo credit: United Nations

USCIB issued the following statement on September 18 for the 75th United Nations General Assembly High-Level opening week. The statement reflects U.S. business priorities.

On the occasion of the High Level Opening Week of the UN General Assembly on the urgent and intertwined topics of climate change and sustainable development, USCIB joins with many others in highlighting the critical importance of inclusive multilateralism as a means to increase pace and impact to meet climate, financing for development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitments and objectives, involving all societal partners, including the private sector. In each of these three areas, economic policies that drive growth and job creation will be critical to generate the necessary resources and enable business to make its strongest contributions to implementation.

UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

USCIB members have placed the SDGs and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda at the center of their sustainable development policies and actions.  As needed progress towards delivering the SDGs is lagging, we encourage governments to do likewise. We urge the United Nations to call for greater global action to achieve Agenda 2030, using the occasion of its 75th anniversary in 2020 to galvanize the international community and actively include business and other non-state actors.

Business for 2030 homepage logoScientific assessment, policy dialogue and assessment all need to integrate business expertise and views on a more systematic basis at international, national and local levels. The private sector brings important experience and knowledge to deliver the 2030 Agenda; it is in the DNA of business to turn challenges into opportunities and to innovate and develop practical and realistic solutions for the problems we face together.  Recent examples of this business commitment and action will be highlighted at the September 25 SDG Business Forum, organized by ICC with the UN GC, the International Organization of Employers and the UN, and can be found on USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform.

In addition, a renewed emphasis on public-private sector partnerships is required to crowd-in private sector solutions.   In our view, business is needed more than ever as a source of solutions, real world experience, innovative technology, financial resources and partnerships in the multilateral system.  The UNGA SDG Summit is an opportunity to move toward mainstreaming collaborative approaches among the UN, governments, civil society, and business throughout the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

Climate Change

On the occasion of the UN Climate Action Summit, USCIB recognizes that we must take urgent action to tackle climate change on all fronts.  According to the IPCC, reducing future climate-related risks will depend on the upscaling and acceleration of far-reaching climate mitigation and both incremental and transformation adaptation.  In this regard, business investment, innovation and action, working in partnership with governments, society and other stakeholders, will be vital.

We continue in our active support of the 2015 Paris Accord and the world business position presented at COP21.  We continue to call for the commitment of all governments to this global effort, so that business and government can work together to enact economically sound policies that:

  • Promote development, deployment and use of cleaner and more efficient technologies and energy sources
  • Enhance sustainable energy access and security in all countries
  • Utilize markets and market-based approaches to animate least-cost GHG reductions, working through multilateral trade
  • Drive investment in innovation for mitigation and adaption

We share the concern that there is a shortfall in hoped-for progress toward the Paris goals, and encourage renewed efforts to get back on track.  We welcome ambitious aspirations on the part of organizations and companies and look forward to bringing the best of business forward in addressing this critical global challenge, working closely with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change en route to the 25th Conference of the Parties in Santiago, Chile.

Financing for Development

A major challenge faced in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is lack of financial resources, from both public and private sources.  Domestic resource mobilization is one of the core pillars identified in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to help close this gap, and the private sector is indispensable in this regard.  However, even with robust plans to incorporate financing for development, governments still need to do more to enhance enabling frameworks for investment and strengthen rule of law and institutions needed for inclusive economic prosperity.

At the UN High Level Meeting on Financing for Development, we encourage governments to redouble their efforts to protect human rights, tackle corruption wherever it is encountered in public or private sectors and pursue democratic and transparent processes whether via international cooperation or at home.

USCIB Informs UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation

USCIB submitted a letter on the final report of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC). The HLPDC was established by the UN Secretary-General in July 2018 to identify good examples and propose modalities for working cooperatively across sectors, disciplines and borders to address challenges in the digital age. USCIB had previously submitted two other sets of comments aiming to shape the substance of the final report.

The letter was sent to Fabrizio Hochschild, special adviser to the UN Secretary General on the preparations for the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the UN and emphasized USCIB’s view that the global digital ecosystem benefits when government policymakers work in close cooperation with business and other stakeholders to develop and ensure that the legal, policy, and regulatory approaches adopted and implemented result in a holistic framework.

Additionally, USCIB provided comprehensive comments on the need to provide a business perspectives to help fine-tune the analysis, refine the proposed IGF Plus global digital cooperation architecture model, concerns about certain elements of the Recommendations and relevant work already underway in other intergovernmental organizations that should be leveraged.

“We are pleased that another pervasive theme recognizes the complexities of the emerging digital ecosystem and, in turn, underscores the importance of informing policy development through multistakeholder processes,” said Barbara Wanner, USCIB vice president for ICT policy. “In the coming months, we look forward to working with the HLPDC Secretariat to help host technical roundtables aimed at implementing the report recommendations.”

USCIB Hosts World Customs Organization Secretary General

L-R: Declan Daly (USCIB), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya (WCO), Peter Robinson (USCIB)

USCIB, the U.S. National Committee for ICC, hosted the World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya on September 12 in Washington DC. USCIB leadership and staff, including President and CEO Peter Robinson, Senior Vice President and CFO Declan Daly and Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan Giblin hosted the meeting.

Attended by many USCIB members across various industry sectors, the meeting provided an opportunity for USCIB staff and members to get Mikuriya’s views on WCO priorities for the next three years, share views on critical customs and anti-illicit trade topics at the WCO, including the ATA Carnet System and Free Trade Zones, and engage in constructive member-driven dialogue.

“As the only global organization authorized to speak on customs matters, WCO is of tremendous importance to the international business community,” said Robinson. “We believe the heart of the WCO is the international customs tariff, the Harmonized System, and its technical work to support the World Trade Organization (WTO) Customs Valuation Agreement and Origin Agreement. These are critical tools for business, which provide needed transparency and predictability.”

USCIB staff and members join meeting with WCO Secretary General

During the meeting, USCIB applauded the WCO and Mikuriya for making the fight against illicit trade and counterfeit as well as pirated goods a high priority for the WCO, including across Free Trade Zones (FTZ). These global trade and transnational security and customs enforcement matters are important to the United States, USCIB and its membership. “USCIB looks forward to continued work on FTZ matters, including at the WCO,” said USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee Chair David Luna of Luna Global Networks & Convergence Strategies, LLC.

The WCO 2019 – 2022 strategic priorities and emerging initiatives include: (1) coordinated border management; (2) safety and security; (3) e-commerce;  (4) Revised Kyoto Convention; (5) Harmonized System; (6) Capacity Building Strategies; (7) performance measurement; (8) integrity; and (9) digital customs and data analysis.

Jerry Cook of Hanesbrands, who also serves as chair of the USCIB Customs Committee, remains committed to the development of relevant technical white papers. “We look forward to continuing to develop and advance our thoughtful consensus member views on issues under discussion and review at the WCO, including the critical work on the future of the Harmonized System, which serves as the international language of trade, and further work on the WCO E-Commerce Framework of Standards, and SAFE Framework of Standards,” said Cook.

Mikuriya began his first-term as WCO Secretary General in 2009. Prior to his current role, Mikuriya served from 2002 as the WCO Deputy Secretary General. Before joining the WCO, Mikuriya spent 25 years with Japan’s Ministry of Finance, serving in an array of senior-level positions.

Click here to learn more about USCIBs Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee.

Click here to learn more about USCIB’ s Anti-Illicit Trade Committee.

Donnelly and US Government Talk Investment With African Union Group

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly was one of two private sector investment policy experts invited to join a September 10 U.S. government interagency team meeting with a delegation of economic policy experts from the African Union (AU) Commission staff.

According to Donnelly, the investment policy meeting, one of several meetings that day at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), focused on African-wide investment reforms and ongoing international investment negotiations, including in the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Donnelly offered a U.S. private sector perspective on the importance of comprehensive, high-standard international investment agreements and especially of strong Investor-State Dispute Settlement (”ISDS”) enforcement provisions.

“We had an excellent, candid exchange on a range of important international and African investment issues with the team of AU Commission experts,” said Donnelly.  “I think we all benefited from the discussions. I certainly learned of some interesting AU-led investment initiatives across Africa and I appreciated the opportunity to explain why U.S. business strongly supports investment agreements and ISDS protections.”

Future of Work Event Explores Opportunities for Business

USCIB’s Peter Robinson makes opening remarks at the Future of Work workshop on September 5

As megatrends, such as technology, changing demographics and climate change, continue to disrupt the world of work at an accelerating pace, policy makers, business and international agencies have begun to explore opportunities for reskilling and retraining workers. This served as the framework for a joint, interactive workshop on the Future of Work on September 5 at the historic Evermay Estate in Washington DC.

Organized by The USCIB Foundation, the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Wilton Park USA and the S&R Foundation, the workshop brought together business leaders for a candid discussion on challenges and opportunities. Throughout the discussions, USCIB members, including AT&T, Chevron, McDonalds, Nestle and PMI, shared insights on launching company-wide initiatives.

Welcoming the group, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “Today’s convening is at the intersection of policy and practice. Our goal is for everyone today to become informed about Future of Work policy, but more importantly, our goal is for you to come away inspired by the practical examples shared in the room by companies wrestling with these issues and converting them into positive opportunities for business, workers and society overall.”

IOE Adviser Akustina Morni

IOE Adviser Akustina Morni kicked off the discussions, providing a comprehensive overview of the regulatory landscape, future of work megatrends and recommendations, all of which are presented in a report created by IOE and The USCIB Foundation to inform the event.  Participants then moved through a series of topics on initiating, scaling, measuring and communicating about future of work programs.

“Apprenticeships were widely highlighted and cited as a potential way to skill, reskill and upskill a workforce, especially for mid-career professionals,” noted USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog. “What is most important is the opportunity to receive certification through an apprenticeship that will serve as recognized credential among employers.  While many different definitions of apprenticeships exist worldwide, their success, particularly in EU Member States, has provided a model to build from in the U.S. As the US government begins to examine establishing a more robust apprenticeship and credentialing program, business leaders will continue to work with stakeholders to meet the demands of the future of work.”

The organizers plan to hold follow-up discussions and will also produce an outcome report.

 

Pledge to America’s Workers: Spotlight on Salesforce

Marc Benioff, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce

For the next twelve weeks, USCIB will spotlight case studies of USCIB members making an impact in the re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers. This week, USCIB is celebrating Salesforce, the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) focused on bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age.

As part of its ongoing commitment to workforce development, Salesforce pledged earlier this year to train 1 million Americans for the workforce of the future. The company also announced two unique workforce development programs powered by Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform: the expansion of the Salesforce Pathfinder program and a new Vetforce Alliance to accelerate the hiring of the military community across the country.

Since launching in 2014, Trailhead has been a game changer for more than 1.5 million people looking to learn in-demand skills and jumpstart a career in the digital economy. Through guided, hands-on learning, Trailhead provides reskilling opportunities in artificial intelligence, mobile app development and further skills that empower anyone to earn globally-recognized credentials and fill top roles in an ecosystem set to generate 3.3 million new jobs by 2022.

According to Salesforce, integral to that ecosystem is the vibrant Trailblazer Community. Every day, more than 1.5 million Trailhead learners support and empower each other on the path to new careers. Using Trailblazer Connect, anyone can get started by finding a career fair or online bootcamp, identifying mentors for their career path and sharing resumes with local recruiters.

“A true pioneer, Salesforce is setting an example and showcasing the enormous impact American companies have in building an economy of the future, enabling inclusive growth, and removing barriers to learning,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog.

With a mission to “properly respond to the changing needs in the world of work,” the National Council for the American Worker created a Pledge to America’s Workers, which, in just over a year, has been signed by over 300 companies and organizations and has generated more than 13 million training and education opportunities.

A White House Executive Order established the National Council for the American Worker in July 2018 with a mission to “properly respond to the changing needs in the world of work.” USCIB will be doing a weekly spotlight in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week this fall.