Annual APEC Summit Fails to Reach Consensus

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leadership Summit held its annual summit this year in Papua New Guinea (PNG) November 12-18, but for the first time in the Forum’s history, economies attending failed to reach consensus. The area of contention was around the Multilateral Trade System (MTS) section. This was also the first year that USCIB did not send a delegation to the APEC Summit, however USCIB contributed to earlier meetings this year, including the APEC meetings in Chile held September 11-12, which produced new principles in transit.

“This is clearly a disappointing outcome,” said USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, who coordinates USCIB’s work on APEC. “APEC’s strength is the ability of member economies to find consensus on topics of mutual benefit, like trade. It is apparent that differing visions of trade policy blocked agreement for the first time in nearly 30 years.”

Following the summit, PNG released Statements to highlight what has been accomplished this year, including a reaffirmation of APEC’s commitment to achieve balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth and prosperity in the APEC region, while pledging to combat protectionism and unfair trade practices. The Statements also emphasized the need to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to improve and strengthen the body to better address existing and emerging global trade challenges.

Furthermore, the Statement noted continuing support for the Work Program on E-commerce to advance initiatives on e-commerce, investment, small and medium enterprises, and trade and women’s economic empowerment.

For the 2018 APEC year, PNG chose the theme of “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future.” APEC will be led by Chile in 2019 and will focus on the digital economy, regional connectivity, and women’s role in economic growth. Chile previously hosted APEC in 2004.

G20 Highlights 2019 Priority Issues in Leaders Declaration

As Japan prepares to assume the role of host of the G20/B20 in 2019, G20 leaders issued a Declaration on December 1, outlining items needed to build consensus for fair and sustainable development.

According to USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner, there is noteworthy focus in the Declaration on the digital economy.Of the 31 points, at least three of the top ten focus on the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation,” noted Wanner. “Points 6-7 focus primarily on potential job displacement and the need for reskilling and vocational training while point 9 draws upon the work of the G20 Digital Task Force. This underscores the importance of bridging the gender digital divide, securing the use of ICTs, and ensuring the free flow of information, ideas, and knowledge ‘while respecting applicable legal frameworks and working to build consumer trust, privacy, data protection, and intellectual property rights protections.’” Point 9 of the Declaration also calls for the establishment of a G20 Repository of Digital Policies to share and promote adoption of innovative digital economy business models.

Beyond the digital economy, G20 leaders pointed out other critical areas of work, such as international trade and investment, which serve as engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. However, the group added that the multilateral trading system has fallen short on some objectives and voiced continued support for the necessary reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to improve its functioning. The Group also reaffirmed its commitment towards preventing and fighting corruption.

On sustainable development, leaders emphasized commitment to leading the transformation towards sustainable development and support for the United Nations 2030 Development Agenda as the framework for advancing the G20 Action Plan. Regarding the role of energy, the G20 leaders recognize the opportunities for innovation, growth, and job creation, while acknowledging the role of all energy sources and technologies in the energy mix and different national paths to achieve cleaner energy systems.

The G20 focused this year on infrastructure for development, the future of work, and a sustainable food future and a gender mainstreaming strategy across the G20 agenda.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman to Be Honored by USCIB at Annual Gala

New York, N.Y., November 20, 2018Paul Polman, chief executive officer of Unilever, will be honored by the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s leading global companies, at the organization’s 2018 International Leadership Award Dinner. The gala event will be held on December 11 at the Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations HQ in New York City, under the theme “Business and Society: Creating Shared Value.”

“Under Paul Polman’s leadership, Unilever has worked tirelessly to decouple its growth from its environmental footprint and to increase the company’s positive social impact,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “Paul has actively sought to drive transformative change across sectors to implement long-term, sustainable business models. As chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), one of USCIB’s key global business partners, he is demonstrating vigorous business leadership on the international stage, both on sustainability and on a host of other issues.”

Polman has served as Unilever’s CEO since 2009. In addition to his chairmanship of ICC, he is a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, chair of The B Team, vice chair of the UN Global Compact, and a board member of the Consumer Goods Forum. Polman also served until recently as chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Established in 1980, USCIB’s International Leadership Award is presented annually to a leading CEO, international figure or institution, recognizing outstanding contributions to global trade, finance and investment, and to improving the global competitive framework in which American business operates. Recent recipients have included Ajay Banga of Mastercard and Randall Stephenson of AT&T. The annual USCIB award dinner attracts hundreds of top business executives, policy makers and members of the diplomatic community.  More information on the event is available at www.uscibgala.com.

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

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

 

Joint Conference Addresses Digital Taxation

The German business association BDI hosted the OECD, Business at OECD, USCIB and other business representatives at a joint conference in Berlin, Germany on November 6 to contribute to the current debate on digital taxation. The OECD is the leading organization in developing a consensus approach to this debate.

Leading global tax experts discussed current business models and value creation, profit allocation and nexus rules, and future challenges of profit taxation. Among them was USCIB Taxation Committee Chair Bill Sample (Microsoft Corporation) who gave a keynote on a panel, “Future Challenges of Profit Taxation.”

Sample spoke about a “borderless world,” with borderless businesses and borderless consumers, which increases the need for governments to work together to reduce the negative impact of hard borders on the digitalized economy.

The event, titled International Taxation in Light of Digitalization, also featured participation by OECD Deputy Secretary General Ludger Shucknecht and Director for the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration Pascal Saint-Amans, as well as Head of the International Tax Unit at the German Federal Ministry of Finance Christian Schleithoff.

USCIB Event Concludes With Action Plan to Promote Food Security and Nutrition Partnerships

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) speaks at the Rome event. USCIB food and agriculture lead Mike Michener (left)
This year’s event concluded with some important outcomes to help deliver results: GAIN and The USCIB Foundation are planning to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations, and companies interested in public-private partnerships.
USCIB will ask its member companies, with existing public-private partnerships to pilot the Principles of Engagement by applying them retroactively to the ongoing PPP.
Michener emphasized the importance of engaging the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

 

With the future of food continuing to be a pressing global challenge and malnutrition profoundly affecting every country, The USCIB Foundation once again teamed up with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to organize a public-private partnerships dialogue to tackle malnutrition. The November 8-9 dialogue in Rome, Italy was a second in a series and was built on last year’s event in New York. USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson participated in the event alongside Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener. Robinson spoke at the opening session and took part in a fireside chat conversation with GAIN Executive Director Lawrence Haddad, who is the winner of the 2018 World Food Prize.

This year’s event featured the theme of “Together for Nutrition: applying principles for public-private engagement.” The high-level dialogue explored practical and tangible ways to implement and scale coordinated initiatives to put the draft Principles, that were agreed upon last year, into practice. The program focused on both under-nutrition and the rise of overweight and obesity, as well as the associated diet related non-communicable diseases. Leaders of governments, development agencies, and the private sector from a wide range of countries, with a particular focus on developing countries with high burdens of malnutrition, participated in the dialogue.

This year’s event concluded with some important outcomes to help deliver results. GAIN and The USCIB Foundation are planning to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations, and companies interested in public-private partnerships. USCIB will also ask its member companies, with existing public-private partnerships to pilot the Principles of Engagement by applying them retroactively to the ongoing PPP. Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on food and healthcare, also emphasized the importance of engaging the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“We [GAIN and USCIB] will take the Principles to the Rome-based agencies, starting with a briefing for Permanent Representatives early in 2019, followed by the FAO Program Committee and the Executive Boards of WFP and IFAD,” he said. “We also plan to take the Principles to regional meetings, with the first meeting tentatively set for Africa in late 2019.”

Global food and agriculture constitute a US$7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40 percent of the working population in many countries yet progress towards the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is too slow and the scale and complexity of the problem underscores the need for deepened collaboration and renewed commitment to improving nutrition outcomes for all, especially the most vulnerable,” according to Michener.

“Countries cannot achieve their SDG goals without an aligned, motivated and incentivized private sector as a key partner,” said Michener. “In this context, improved dialogue and collaboration between government, business, civil society and international organizations is crucial for guiding engagement and focusing efforts where they can have the most sustainable impact and long-term success.”

USCIB Urges Free Data Flows to Achieve Economic Growth

USCIB filed comments on November 11 in response to a Federal Register notice from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding a proposed approach to consumer data privacy. NTIA’s proposal is designed to provide high levels of protection for individuals, while giving organizations legal clarity and the flexibility to innovate.

USCIB’s comments highlighted the view that the free flow of data and information is critical for economic development and growth, citing a recent study that the increase in GDP from data flows was an estimated $2.8 trillion.

“Business realizes that the benefits of technology innovation enabled by data flows will only be realized and embraced by consumers, businesses, and governments who trust the online environment and feel confident that the privacy of their personal data will be respected,” stated the letter. “USCIB members are committed to complying with applicable privacy regulations and recognize their responsibility to adopt recognized best practices to ensure that personal data and information is appropriately secured as technology and services evolve.”

However countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Panama and South Korea have proposed restrictive data protection laws that could significantly harm U.S. companies while also undermining efforts to enhance global interoperability.

“These countries’ approaches range from quite onerous data localization requirements to national privacy frameworks that are administratively burdensome and complex, all of which end up imposing economic costs on the country by undermining their attractiveness as destinations for jobs-creating investment and innovation,” warned Barbara Wanner, USCIB’s vice president for ICT policy. “They also create an increasingly fragmented regulatory landscape, which imposes added compliance costs on business that hampers continued innovation.”

The comments also highlighted an example of a proposal made by India that would establish an alarming global precedent and could significantly impede the growth of innovation, investment, entrepreneurship, and industrial growth through strict data localization requirements, restrictions on the cross-border data flows, and extraterritorial application.

“It is vital that the U.S. continue to exercise global leadership in pushing back against this type of protective approach to personal data protection,” said Wanner.

NTIA’s initiative runs parallel to the efforts of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a voluntary privacy framework and the efforts of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration to increase global regulatory harmony.

To read USCIB’s comments, please visit our website.

 

 

Robinson Furthers USCIB Ties with US Mission to Geneva

The Palais des Nations, which serves as the UN’s Geneva headquarters

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was in Geneva the first week of November for high-level meetings of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), for which he serves as vice president for North America. While in the city, Robinson also met with senior officials at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, including Deputy Permanent Representative (and Charge d’Affaires in the absence of an Ambassador) Mark Cassayre. Tom Mackall, USCIB senior counsel and ILO Governing Body representative, accompanied Robinson.

Cassayre was only recently posted to Geneva, but already speaks with keen knowledge about areas of mutual interest, according to Robinson. Key senior staffers from the U.S. Mission also attended the meeting, including Howard Solomon, Bill Lehmberg and Phil Cummings.

“The meeting afforded us the opportunity to underline to the Mission USCIB’s unique positioning with regard to international institutions, and its role on behalf of U.S. business in global regulatory and standard-setting diplomacy, reflecting our parallel and mutually-supportive missions,” said Robinson.

A major issue of discussion was the emergence in recent years of allegations in some UN organizations of “conflict of interest” and “corporate capture” as an attempt to limit, if not exclude, business (industries, companies, and the organizations that represent their interest) from international discussions in areas ranging from health to climate change to labor protections. Robinson also noted The USCIB Foundation’s collaboration with a Geneva-based NGO, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), to develop principles for nutrition-related public private partnerships.

“The U.S. Mission seemed very supportive of an all-inclusive approach to today’s economic challenges, and we will look forward to working with them to help ensure preservation of that principle in international institutions,” noted Robinson.

Specific areas of discussion included current ILO debates within the Governing Body, the worrisome Ecuador-led efforts to secure a treaty on business and human rights, and approaches to other Geneva-based institutions including UNCTAD.

“We also highlighted USCIB’s longtime collaboration with the U.S. Missions in New York and Geneva, and our hope for a second USCIB member company delegation to Geneva, as we had undertaken this past spring with the help of the Mission,” said Robinson. “We ended the meeting feeling confident that this was a solid next step in constructive engagement with the U.S. Mission. On a personal note, I was delighted to learn that Mr. Cassayre, like me, had been an AFS exchange student, he to Lausanne, Switzerland, and I to Graz, Austria, and that both of us had maintained solid connections with those respective countries.”

USCIB Event Concludes With Action Plan to Promote Food Security and Nutrition Partnerships

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) speaks at the Rome event. USCIB food and agriculture lead Mike Michener (left)

With the future of food continuing to be a pressing global challenge and malnutrition profoundly affecting every country, The USCIB Foundation once again teamed up with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to organize a public-private partnerships dialogue to tackle malnutrition. The November 8-9 dialogue in Rome, Italy was a second in a series and was built on last year’s event in New York. USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson participated in the event alongside Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener. Robinson spoke at the opening session and took part in a fireside chat conversation with GAIN Executive Director Lawrence Haddad, who is the winner of the 2018 World Food Prize.

This year’s event featured the theme of “Together for Nutrition: applying principles for public-private engagement.” The high-level dialogue explored practical and tangible ways to implement and scale coordinated initiatives to put the draft Principles, that were agreed upon last year, into practice. The program focused on both under-nutrition and the rise of overweight and obesity, as well as the associated diet related non-communicable diseases. Leaders of governments, development agencies, and the private sector from a wide range of countries, with a particular focus on developing countries with high burdens of malnutrition, participated in the dialogue.

This year’s event concluded with some important outcomes to help deliver results. GAIN and The USCIB Foundation are planning to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations, and companies interested in public-private partnerships. USCIB will also ask its member companies, with existing public-private partnerships to pilot the Principles of Engagement by applying them retroactively to the ongoing PPP. Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on food and healthcare, also emphasized the importance of engaging the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“We [GAIN and USCIB] will take the Principles to the Rome-based agencies, starting with a briefing for Permanent Representatives early in 2019, followed by the FAO Program Committee and the Executive Boards of WFP and IFAD,” he said. “We also plan to take the Principles to regional meetings, with the first meeting tentatively set for Africa in late 2019.”

Global food and agriculture constitute a US$7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40 percent of the working population in many countries yet progress towards the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is too slow and the scale and complexity of the problem underscores the need for deepened collaboration and renewed commitment to improving nutrition outcomes for all, especially the most vulnerable,” according to Michener.

“Countries cannot achieve their SDG goals without an aligned, motivated and incentivized private sector as a key partner,” said Michener. “In this context, improved dialogue and collaboration between government, business, civil society and international organizations is crucial for guiding engagement and focusing efforts where they can have the most sustainable impact and long-term success.”

USCIB Member Marriott Wins Coveted Integrity Award

 

USCIB member company Marriott International won the 2018 Corporate Leadership Award from the Coalition for Integrity, a leading U.S. anti-bribery, anti-corruption organization.  Marriott was awarded the prestigious Corporate Leadership award at the Coalition’s annual awards dinner held in Washington, DC on October 29.

Marriott International’s Chief Compliance Officer William Dempster accepted the award for Marriott and delivered brief remarks.  Marriott was singled out for its efforts to foster a culture of accountability and anti-corruption compliance.  The Ethisphere Institute has recognized the company for 11 years as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies.”

For the fifth time in the eight years the Coalition has been presenting its Corporate Leadership award, a USCIB member company was honored. Marriott joins a distinguished list of other USCIB member companies including General Electric, Coco-Cola,  PepsiCo, and Bechtel which have also received the coveted award.

USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly, a member of the Coalition for Integrity’s Policy Advisory Board, and USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl represented USCIB at the awards dinner.  Donnelly and Hampl lead USCIB’s anti-bribery and anti-corruption policy work, including with the U.S. Government and with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)  in Paris and other international partners.

“USCIB is delighted to one of our leading member companies win the Coalition’s Corporate Leadership Award again this year,” commented Donnelly.  Marriott is a great example of principled, proactive leadership in combating bribery and corruption.  We are proud of the work Marriott and other member companies are doing every day in this important policy area.”

ICANN Focuses on Policy Priorities for Domain Names

ICANN 63’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) wrapped up on October 25 in Barcelona, Spain, marking the 20th anniversary of ICANN. The AGM brought together roughly 3,000 participants from business, government, civil society, and the technical community from across the world to focus on policy priorities for the domain name system (DNS).

The meeting was dominated by ICANN stakeholder efforts to develop a formal policy to replace the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data (Temp Spec).

“The Temp Spec was designed to ensure that ICANN and the industry of more than 1,000 generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries and registrars meet existing ICANN contractual requirements concerning the collection of registration data, as well as comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),” reflected USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner. “A special group of ICANN’s policy-making body spent most of the meeting focused on moving forward the ‘expedited policy development process’ (EPDP) that must replace the Temp Spec by May 25, 2019.”

ICANN’s proposed Draft Framework for a Possible Unified Access Model for Continued Access to Full WHOIS Data (UAM) was also in the spotlight. At ICANN 63, the Business Constituency (BC), of which USCIB is a member, continued to press ICANN to undertake work to implement the UAM concurrent with the EPDP. In addition, the BC urged emergency interim measures to enable third-party access to WHOIS data, citing already extraordinary economic and security costs stemming from spikes in cybersecurity attacks, cybercrime, and brand and IP infringement.

Wanner participated in the October 20-25 meetings in her capacity as the BC’s representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG), a position that has enabled greater input to policy discussions at the CSG executive committee-level on behalf of USCIB members and facilitated important meetings with senior ICANN officials and other key constituencies. At ICANN 63, in particular, this entailed coordinating with CSG partners to support the election of USCIB member Keith Drazek (VeriSign) to GNSO Council Chair, a position that will be key to shepherding work on the EPDP and third-party data access.