USCIB Statement on the Summit for Democracy

Washington D.C., December 13, 2021—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomes the recent Summit for Democracy and reaffirms our long-standing support for the critical importance of democracy and rule of law as foundational pillars of well-functioning and inclusive societies.

We agree, as the Biden Administration rightly stated, “that both history and overwhelming data show that societies that respect and defend democratic institutions, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and gender equality are more stable, prosperous, secure and better equipped to confront global challenges.”

“Businesses are key actors in democratic societies, contributing to civic and economic empowerment of people and public institutions, while advancing growth and equality,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “Importantly, business and employer membership organizations are themselves democratic institutions and a core part of the fabric of democratic societies.”

USCIB advocates for good governance, rule of law, anti-corruption and anti-bribery frameworks and other measures of responsible governance, as being among the required elements of the enabling environments for trade and investment that bring growth and opportunity. Indeed, UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions,” makes clear the key role that governance and the rule of law play in promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies and in ensuring sustainable development.

As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of CommerceBusiness at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers, USCIB joins with global business and employer peers in advocating these policies in international policy fora, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the United Nations. As an example, we note in particular USCIB’s engagement through BIAC to support the recent successful launch of the OECD Public Integrity Indicators Portal and the 2021 Recommendation for Further Combatting Bribery of Foreign Officials.

Finally, USCIB and its members reiterate their firm belief that alongside national rule of law and good governance, based on democratic principles, multilateral cooperation is the single most powerful vehicle to achieve an inclusive and sustainable path to dealing with the enormity of the challenges facing society today. Business is a necessary voice in that effort, and USCIB will continue our work to engage meaningfully and constructively as a leading actor at home and within the multilateral organizational system to advance democratic principles and rule of law.

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. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC), 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 Commemorates Human Rights Day and Universal Declaration of Human Rights

USCIB dedicates its 2021 Human Rights Day statement to the memory of Professor John Ruggie, a human rights champion and visionary behind the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

New York, N.Y., December 10, 2021 — On the occasion of Human Rights Day today, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) issued the following statement:

USCIB joins with the global community today in commemorating the seventy-third Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which clarifies the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to, as a human being – regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Human rights protections extend to LGBTIQ people too.

Human rights remain a timeless priority and USCIB especially welcomes the theme chosen for 2021: Equality – Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights. Article 1 of the UDHR states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Yet, in far too many places in the world, discrimination and inequality persists and hinders individuals from full and equal participation in society. Fighting discrimination and inequality requires redoubling our shared efforts to tackle challenges like deep-rooted forms of discrimination which continue to affect the most vulnerable people in our societies.

We all have a role to play in advancing equality and human rights, and for companies this includes undertaking responsible business practices and working to demonstrate their corporate responsibility to respect human rights as set forth in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As we look ahead to the New Year and continued progress towards recovery, USCIB looks forward with optimism for our shared priority – in collaboration with governments, business and civil society – to advance human rights, non-discrimination, prosperity, and inclusion for all.

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. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

COP26: US Business States Support for Inclusive Action on Outcomes

The United States Council for International Business commends the strong efforts of the U.S. delegation, the UK Presidency and other governments and stakeholders that were at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow to reach conclusion in key areas for business, overcoming challenging differences of opinion and delivering stepped-up international cooperation on climate change. Real progress has been made across the board, including strengthening Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), prioritizing adaptation, and completing outstanding work on carbon markets. In addition, the U.S. announced significant new global alliances to reduce methane emissions and to combat deforestation.

However, these hard-fought COP26 outcomes demonstrate the need for a new, more ambitious and inclusive phase of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process after Glasgow.  Keeping 1.5 in reach, mobilizing investment, innovation and finance and driving a just transition for workers and employers can only succeed through partnership and dialogue with key stakeholders, notably the private sector as an engine of growth and investment.

Turning out in record numbers in Glasgow, U.S. business demonstrated its readiness to be part of the solution, through pledges, initiatives and engagement with the Administration, the UNFCCC Marrakesh Action Platform and a host of others.  While the concluding documents of COP26 made disappointingly scant mention of the private sector, USCIB is convinced the meaningful inclusion of business is indispensable to keep 1.5 alive and to ramp up private sector deployment of innovation, resource mobilization and just transition.

USCIB looks forward to further technical work on Article 6.  We urge UNFCCC parties to commit to continued discussions, while engaging the private sector in order to build confidence in how the Article 6 rules will function effectively in the real economy.

USCIB is proud of the actions and thought leadership of its international affiliate organizations, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), bringing the voice of global business and employers to this vital meeting. An inclusive multilateral approach will have to invite and crowd in engagement from all businesses large and small to assist on practical policy design, accelerated action and the economywide effort needed to attain global net zero as soon as possible.

USCIB members are committed to stay the course and make the case for the enabling frameworks inside and outside UNFCCC that converge a sustainable resilient recovery with Paris Agreement commitments.  U.S. business represented by USCIB will continue to play its part to inform increasingly ambitious NDCs and to highlight the need to engage business expertise in the Global Stocktake.  As declared in the closing statement for business groups at COP26, USCIB agrees that business has “a key role and responsibility to push for effective collective action at COP and at home. We can, we must, and we will accelerate our collective efforts.”

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.

 

UN Climate Agreement in the Balance: Role of Business in Innovation and Investment

Virtual BizMEF Dialogue at COP-26

As the second week of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) was underway in Glasgow, USCIB and its members continued to make the case for outcomes at a critical turning point to enable business investment, energy security and ambitious and cost-effective climate action.

According to USCIB Senior Vice President Norine Kennedy, who is on the ground in Glasgow to lead the USCIB delegation, governments are now negotiating the final crunch issues that include: carbon instruments and markets and completing the Paris Rulebook; increasing finance for developing countries, particularly for adaptation, as well as loss and damage; and transparency and credibility of pledge implementation.

“The UK government serves as the President of the COP26 meeting, and is now leading negotiations to reach conclusions on these and other remaining political matters, with involvement of ministers to break any logjams,” said Kennedy.

Last Friday, November 5, USCIB joined the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) in convening a virtual Business Dialogue at COP26, which included White House, government, the UN, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and business participants. The meeting included thematic sessions on transparency and the global stock-take, involving business for ambition, as well as trade, transition and recovery.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson opened the BizMEF meeting, stating that the UN climate process should evolve to a more practical and inclusive multilateralism in which business is directly and substantively involved.

BizMEF virtual dialogue participants also heard presentations on the business implications and WTO viability of border carbon adjustments proposals, and the ways in which business can contribute to reviews of the effectiveness of overall government implementation of climate pledges – a process that sets the stage for new targets under the Paris Agreement.

Building on the momentum of the BizMEF event, USCIB then held a virtual side event the following Monday, November 8, titled “Mobilize: Infrastructure, Innovation and Investment for a Sustainable Recovery,” which was part of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) virtual COP26 Conference, “Making Climate Action Everyone’s Business.”  Presenters included:

  • Elizabeth Losos, Duke University Nicholas School of Environment
  • Scott Jacobs, CEO Generate Capital and
  • Kristen Siemens, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Motors

Kennedy led the roundtable discussion on how to create enabling frameworks for “shovel worthy” projects with due attention to responsible business behavior, multi-sectoral climate considerations and capacity building.

According to Kennedy, in spite of COVID restrictions, COP26 has become the largest climate meeting in UN history, beginning with a three-day World Leaders Summit, where President Joe Biden and over a dozen Administration Cabinet members were in attendance, alongside other heads of state and CEOs.

USCIB Acknowledges the G20 Finance Ministers Endorsement of the October Two-Pillar Global Tax Proposals

Washington D.C., October 13, 2021—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) notes the endorsement by the G-20 Finance Ministers today of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework landmark deal announced on October 8. The deal, agreed by 136 countries, including the US, establishes a new framework for international tax reform represented by two distinct proposals or pillars. The two-pillar solution will be delivered to the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome at the end of the month while the intensive work on the design and drafting of the numerous parts of the deal continues into 2022.

“The OECD has once again reached a significant milestone on schedule and was able to add a handful of key countries into the fold of the deal agreement since July,” said USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel Rick Minor.

The October deal terms include a long list of technical work that must still be completed in relatively short order according to the OECD timeline. USCIB Tax Committee company members are positioned to directly advise the OECD drafting teams through its membership in the Business at OECD Taxation Committee. According to Minor, “putting aside the ambitious timelines through 2022, our members will be focused on the development of the design and details for key aspects of each of the pillars. With respect to Pillar One, this includes, but is not limited to, dispute prevention and resolution mechanisms, the tax liability rules, revenue sourcing, the marketing and distribution safe harbor and so-called Amount B. We are also mindful of the fact that the drafting of the Pillar Two rules is on a parallel path with the numerous GILTI deliberations in Congress this fall which arguably puts pressure on that process if there is no coordination in review.” USCIB will remain engaged in the OECD rule design process through Business at OECD and directly, through the appropriate engagement.

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. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC), 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:

Rick Minor

VP and International Tax Counsel

rminor@uscib.org

USCIB President Peter Robinson Issues Statement Upon Death of Richard Trumka

Richard Trumka
Image Source: Alex Brandon/AP Photo

New York, N.Y., August 05, 2021—USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson has issued the following statement upon the death of Richard Trumka:

“On behalf of USCIB and its member companies, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and colleagues of Richard Trumka. His dedication to the labor movement and the interests of American workers and their families has long earned him the respect and admiration of the business community.

“That dedication also extended to working people around the world. As the American member of Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), USCIB has been proud to work with Rich and the AFL-CIO in both the OECD and ILO, where we shared the common objective of ensuring that labor rights are respected internationally. Rich was a true global leader with whom we were privileged to work in partnership.”

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. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

Business Partners to CONVINCE Supports Global Workplace Vaccine Requirements

New York, N.Y., August 02, 2021—Business Partners to CONVINCE (BP2C), a global communication and education initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among private sector employers and employees, released a statement commending the Biden administration’s announcement on July 29 that it will require all federal employees to attest their vaccination status or be subject to masking, social distancing and COVID-19 testing requirements.

The following statement was made by Scott Ratzan MD, executive director of Business Partners to CONVINCE, an initiative of The USCIB Foundation:

“As COVID-19 vaccination rates wane for a variety of reasons, the COVID delta variant is spreading globally. With vaccination as our principal hope to stem the pandemic, we are pleased by the Biden administration’s decision to require federal employees and onsite contractors to get safe and effective vaccines. We encourage all eligible Americans to get fully vaccinated. We welcome opportunities to work with government, business and civil society to help achieve the vaccination levels for community immunity.

“We call on BP2C’s vast global network, which consists of organizations such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Business at OECD (BIAC), Vaccines Europe, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to support their local governments across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America in communication and education initiatives around COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective and the best way forward out of this pandemic and towards economic recovery.

“We applaud BP2C steering team partner the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as well as USCIB members Facebook, Google, The Walt Disney Company, Walmart and Uber that have announced new requirements to encourage vaccinations among their workers and ensure a safe workplace. We encourage other companies to do the same and we stand ready to offer resources and communications strategies to employers about vaccine literacy.”

ABOUT BUSINESS PARTNERS TO CONVINCE: The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), The USCIB Foundation, and Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD) have launched Business Partners to CONVINCE, a global communication and education initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among private sector employers and employees. The new partnership will play an integral role in a broader, global CONVINCE (COVID-19 New Vaccine Information, Communication, and Engagement) campaign to advance vaccine literacy and help ensure a strong and swift recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through widespread acceptance of safe, effective and accessible vaccines.

ABOUT THE USCIB FOUNDATION: The USCIB Foundation is the research and educational arm of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB). The principal purpose of the Foundation is to carry out research and educational activities designed to promote and advance the benefits of a free-market economy and to demonstrate and document the role of the corporate private sector in economic growth and social development.

USCIB Letter Urges Agreement on EU-US Personal Data Flows

USCIB submitted a letter to both the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo and the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders regarding the transatlantic agreement on EU-U.S. personal data flows.

The July 14 letter, signed by a variety of sectors across the transatlantic business community, urged a swift agreement for a new, strengthened EU-U.S. framework.

The letter noted: “we were encouraged by the recent EU-U.S. Summit commitment to ‘work together to ensure safe, secure, and trusted cross-border data flows that protect consumers and enhance privacy protections, while enabling Transatlantic commerce’ and to ‘strengthen legal certainty in Transatlantic flows of personal data.’”

According to the letter, thousands of European and American companies continue to be impacted by the EU’s Court of Justice judgement that invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework just over a year ago.

“USCIB’s ICT Policy Committee will continue to monitor the Privacy Shield negotiations closely and engage with appropriate U.S. Government officials given the importance of a new sustainable transfer framework agreement to reinvigorating both U.S. and EU economic and business interests,” said Barbara Wanner, USCIB vice president for ICT policy.

In the News: USCIB Quoted in Tax Notes Following OECD Global Tax Update

USCIB Vice President for Taxation Policy Rick Minor was quoted in a lead article in Tax Notes on July 6 regarding the significant global tax update statement made on July 5 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD inclusive framework on base erosion and profit shifting confirmed that 130 of its 139 members have agreed on key elements of the plan, which aims to address the tax challenges of an increasingly digital and globalized economy.

According to the OECD, the 130 countries and jurisdictions represent more than ninety-percent of global GDP.

In the Tax Notes article, Minor said the USCIB’s members will follow the inclusive framework’s progress closely. “I understand the next significant document will be the design and implementation plan mentioned in the statement,” he said. “We should expect consultation with the business community will continue more earnestly now.”

USCIB Tax Committee members Will Morris (PwC) and Robert Stack (Deloitte) were also quoted.

USCIB is Committed to Fighting for LGBTQI+ Equality and Inclusion

Pride Month may be coming to an end, but USCIB is committed to fighting for LGBTQI+ equality and inclusion throughout the year.

As stated in Article 1 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

In her statement for Pride Month, United States Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield pointed out: “The struggle to end violence, discrimination, criminalization, and stigma against LGBTQI+ persons is a global challenge that deserves a global response. LGBTQI+ status or conduct is still criminalized in more than 70 countries or territories, and many individuals continue to face discrimination, harassment, and violence at work, at school, and in public accommodations.”

USCIB and our members are committed to treating all individuals with dignity, respect and equity and call on the international community to fight for the human rights of LGBTQI+ individuals around the world.