Unilever’s Polman Exhorts Industry to Redouble Action on Sustainability

Unilever CEO Paul Polman
Companies need to spur new partnerships to get to the “tipping point” on sustainability, said the 2018 recipient of USCIB’s International Leadership Award.
Hundreds of attendees gathered at the Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations for the annual USCIB award gala.

Business leaders must increase their commitment to sustainability, partnering with governments, international organizations and NGOs, if humanity is to avoid serious crises resulting from environment degradation and persistent poverty, according to Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and the 2018 recipient of USCIB’s International Leadership Award. Polman was honored at a gala dinner last night at the Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations in New York.

“We need to create broader partnerships to get to the tipping point” of tackling climate change and other global challenges, according to Polman. “It doesn’t take much to move the global agenda. It just takes a few people. It takes the right leaders, leaders with a high awareness of what is going on, but also a high ability to engage. Leaders with a certain sense of humanity and humility, purpose-driven, longer-term, willing to work in partnerships. Not necessarily the skills that we’ve all been taught.”

L-R: USCIB Chairman Terry McGraw, ICC Secretary General John Denton, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, USCIB President & CEO Peter Robinson

USCIB’s annual award dinner attracted hundreds of top business executives, policy makers and members of the diplomatic community to the UN headquarters on a crisp, starry night, with speakers extolling the importance of a strong business role in confronting global challenges. UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed applauded the private sector’s participation in realizing the ambitious 2030 Development Agenda, and she, like Polman, encouraged companies to do more.

As global leaders confront new, populist challenges on trade, USCIB Chairman Terry McGraw, CEO emeritus of S&P Global, said that governments and international organizations also must do more to ensure the 2030 goals are met. “Without expanded cross-border trade, smart regulation and support for innovation, there is not a chance in the world that we can hit the mark of the UN’s 2030 Agenda,” he stated.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson took the opportunity of the 2018 award gala to note the 70th anniversary of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which he called “a fundamental recognition of our shared humanity and the equality of every person in the eyes of God and in the eyes of their fellow men and women.” He told gala attendees that “USCIB members stand united in support of human rights, and we pledge to do all we can in the ongoing struggle to defend human dignity.”

Robinson also introduced a new USCIB video highlighting the organization’s policy expertise, close working relationship with decision makers and links to key international business organizations. (See video link below.)

But the evening belonged to Polman, who recently announced plans to retire from the helm of Unilever following a long career with the company. “There’s no reason for 840 million people to go to bed hungry every night, not even knowing if they [will] wake up the next day. There’s no reason for us to waste 30 to 40 percent of the food that we produce. There’s no reason to value a dead tree more than a tree that’s alive, taking the lungs out of the world.”

John Denton, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, which Polman chairs, praised the Unilever CEO’s generosity, grace and openness as a person.

The Unilever chief used his experience transforming his company’s social and environmental footprint as an indication of what could be done if corporate leaders put their minds to it. “Unilever’s model is indeed decoupling our growth from environmental impact, but also to maximize our overall social impact. At a time when trust is low, we think the only way to regain that is with transparency. Transparency builds trust, which is the basis for prosperity.”

He continued: “By having that simple focus, you will soon discover that you’re better off as well, We are getting two million people [applying for jobs at Unilever] every year, in fact the third-most on LinkedIn, after Google and Apple.”

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. More on the annual event is available at www.uscibgala.com and photos from the event are here.

2018 USCIB International Leadership Award Dinner

Honoring
Paul Polman
CEO, Unilever

2018 USCIB International Leadership Award Dinner

December 11, 2018

Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations HQ

USCIB’s International Leadership Award recognizes vision, international success and excellence in leadership.

USCIB is delighted to honor Paul Polman, chief executive officer of Unilever. Each year this gala event attracts several hundred industry leaders, government officials and members of the diplomatic community to celebrate open markets and the recipient of USCIB’s highest honor.

Established in 1980, USCIB’s International Leadership Award is presented to a senior business executive who has made significant policy contributions to world trade and investment, and to improving the global competitive framework in which American business operates. Join us for what will be a truly memorable evening!

We look forward to seeing you on December 11!

About the Nominee

Paul Polman has been CEO of Unilever since January 2009. Under his leadership Unilever has an ambitious vision to fully decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact through delivery of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Paul actively seeks cooperation with other companies to implement sustainable, long-term business strategies and drive systemic change. He is Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, 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. Until recently he was also Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Paul’s commitment to long-term, sustainable capitalism is reflected in his membership of the Global Board of Directors of Financing Capitalism for the Long-Term (FCLT). He has played a significant role first in developing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and now in promoting action towards their delivery as a member of the SDG Advocacy Group.

In 2016, he received France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, recognising his efforts in galvanising business action on sustainability and for his involvement during the historic 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. In 2018, Paul was named an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for services to business and received the Treaties of Nijmegen Medal, in recognition of his contribution to building a more sustainable world.

Together with his wife, Kim, Paul founded the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust charity which supports literacy for visually impaired children throughout Africa.

Since 2010 Paul has been a Non Executive Director of The Dow Chemical Company (since 2017 Dow DuPont)

Our Sponsors

 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Interested in sponsoring? Please contact Abby Shapiro (ashapiro@uscib.org, 212-703-5064).

 

UNCTAD Highlights Role of Digital Technologies in Sustainable Development

UNCTAD’s E-Commerce Week, which was held last week (April 16-20) in Geneva, Switzerland highlighted progress by emerging economies in developing digital ecosystems to support electronic commerce and digital trade and, in turn, drive sustainable economic development, reported USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner.

More than 1,000 participants from government, business, civil society, and international organizations convened for the fourth edition of this conference under the theme “Development Dimensions for Digital Platforms.”  Wanner was on the ground for the first half of the week and observed enthusiasm for the potential of digital platforms to create commercial and economic benefits, but also a clear-eyed recognition of challenges to their effective use caused by an array of issues such as lack of sufficient access to ICT infrastructure and services, legal uncertainties, and the absence of e-payment solutions, among other problems.

Concurrently, the Group of 71 nations who agreed to pursue future WTO work on e-commerce at the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC-11) in December 2017, held a second set of discussions on April 18. Although the United States, Japan, Brazil, Singapore and others have introduced proposals setting forth work topics, the April 18 meeting was the first opportunity of the Group of 71 to discuss the substance of these proposals.

“They did not publicly reveal any specifics during the UNCTAD conference,” reported Wanner. “They also were unwilling to engage as a group with the business community about priorities for the future WTO’s e-commerce work.”

Consequently, the International Chamber of Commerce Digital Economy Commission (ICC-DEC) will organize an engagement session with key members of the Group of 71 just prior to their anticipated mid-May round of negotiations.

Washington Update: Highlighting Key Activities, February – March 2018

During the months of February and March 2018, USCIB Staff met with Special Assistant to the President Clete Willems and Senate Finance Chief International Trade Counsel Shane Warren on our trade priorities, advocated for business interests in NAFTA on Capitol Hill and at negotiating rounds in Canada and Mexico, submitted comments to the United Kingdom on proposals regarding corporate taxation and the digital economy, briefed the new Economic and Business Bureau Assistant Secretary at State, Manisha Singh, on business issues at the OECD, highlighted member issues at ITU in a discussion with Assistant Secretary of Commerce and NTIA Administrator David Redl, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

    1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
    2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
    3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
    4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
    5. Membership

    6. Upcoming Events
    7. Staff List

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Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

  • USCIB Trade Committee Meets with Special Assistant to the President and Senate Finance Chief Trade Council: The USCIB Trade and Investment Committee, which is Chaired by Rick Johnston, Citigroup, met at the Citi offices in Washington, D.C. on March 6, 2018. The committee was first joined by Shane Warren, Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. Shane provided his off the record view of the administration’s announcement that it would impose steel and aluminum Section 232 tariffs, the most recent NAFTA negotiating round, KORUS, the U.S.-China trade relationship, and the status of key nominations. Clete Willems, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Trade, Investment, and Development, then joined the committee to have an off the record discussion on a range of issues including the Administration’s focus on trade enforcement, improving trade agreements, and dealing with the WTO.
  • USCIB Sets Up Investment Task Force: Following up on discussions at the March 6, 2018 meeting of USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee about the growing list of investment policy issues (CFIUS, NAFTA Investment renegotiation, Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) “reform”), USCIB members agreed to set up an Investment Task Force, under the overall Trade and Investment Committee. Unfortunately, some of these challenging issues seem to be moving in the wrong direction for business, so it is a critical time for USCIB to be engaged. If you or a colleague has an interest in investment issues, or might just want to learn a bit more about these issues, please let Shaun Donnelly (sdonnelly@uscib.org), Eva Hampl (ehampl@uscib.org) or Chris Olsen (colsen@uscib.org) know.
  • USCIB Advocates for Member Interests at NAFTA Rounds in Canada and Mexico: USCIB Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl was on the ground for the sixth and seventh rounds of NAFTA negotiations in Montreal and Mexico City, coordinating with member companies and associations, and meeting with negotiators from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. A delegation of the House Ways & Means Committee was on the ground in Montreal as well as Mexico City, participating in a range of meetings and events, showing bipartisan support of NAFTA. The sixth round saw progress made on a technical level in several chapters, including digital trade and telecom, and the closing out of the anti-corruption chapter. The four “poison pill” proposals, which refer to automobile rules of origin, investor-state dispute settlement, government procurement, and sunset provision remained contentious, though Canada and Mexico presented new and creative ideas in an attempt to work within the U.S. proposals. The seventh round concluded on March 5 with three new chapters and two sectoral annexes closed out. While valuable progress continued to be made on modernization chapters such as customs and digital trade, there continued to be very little progress in the poison pill or rebalancing proposals the United States has put on the table. On investment protection, Canada and Mexico have begun negotiating among themselves, and have similarly begun to do so on government procurement, which was a new development during the Mexico round.
  • USCIB Partners with Keidanren on NAFTA Letter to Governors: Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, coordinated with representatives of the Japanese Business Group, Keidanren, in developing a joint letter to the governors of every state expressing support for keeping and modernizing NAFTA. The letter stressed the view that USCIB has urged from the beginning that negotiations should “do no harm” to the existing NAFTA framework and reinforced key messages related to ISDS, rules of origin, government procurement, and any sunset provision. It also noted the importance of NAFTA to encouraging foreign direct investment as evidenced by the number of jobs in each state that are accounted for by Japanese-owned firms. The letter was sent in advance of the National Governors Association that was held in Washington, D.C. at the end of February so governors would highlight our issues in their meetings with the Administration.
  • Hampl Speaks on ISDS at Program During NAFTA Round in Mexico: During the NAFTA round in Mexico, Eva Hampl participated in an event entitled “NAFTA Negotiations Status – Current Situation & Impact Analysis” hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico. Hampl’s remarks at this event addressed the business perspective and priorities, covering the current status of the negotiations, highlighting the substantive and political difficulties, and outlining what these various developments mean for U.S. business especially with regard to ISDS. Hampl was joined by Salvador Behar, director for North America in the Secretariat of Economy, part of Mexico’s negotiating team and Jean-Dominique Ieraci, minister-counsellor for trade for the Embassy of Canada, and part of Canada’s negotiating team. The off-the-record remarks were followed by a discussion with the three speakers, joined by Jennifer Haworth McCandless, partner at Sidley Austin and international arbitration and trade expert. The discussion was moderated by Armando Ortega, president of the CanCham Mexico.
  • USCIB Leads Group of Companies and Associations at NAFTA House Lobby Day: Leading up to the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City, Eva Hampljoined more than 100 representatives from the business and agriculture community on Wednesday, February 21, for a second NAFTA House Lobby Day. The Lobby Day gave business representatives the opportunity to talk about business concerns and perspectives regarding the ongoing negotiations to modernize NAFTA and to increase support in the leadup to the Mexico round, which took place February 26 to March 6. Hampl led one of the groups on the Hill, which included representatives from other associations and companies from the business and agriculture community. The diversity of sectors represented was extremely helpful in getting the business message across. Hampl’s group alone met with 9 offices throughout the day, receiving generally positive feedback about supporting our issues and concerns, including interest in signing on to a House NAFTA letter.
  • Peter Robinson Pushes USCIB Agenda on International Organizations at State Department: USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson met with the senior leadership of two key State Department bureaus on February 28, 2018, to press our agenda for private sector access, sound economic policies, and management reforms in the OECD and key UN agencies. Peter emphasized the need for strong U.S. Government action to confront increasing efforts by NGOs, some foreign governments, and parts of the UN bureaucracy in the World Health Organization, International Labor Organization and other UN organizations to restrict private sector access and public/private partnerships. With new Economic and Business (EB) Bureau Assistant Secretary Manisha Singh, Peter focused on challenges confronting the OECD, including restricted access for business and apparent anti-business policy bias in some key OECD committees and programs.
  • Mulligan Joins Podcast on Trade Models That Work for Everyone: ICC United Kingdom invited Rob Mulligan to participate in a podcast discussion on trade models that work for everyone on February 15. The discussion was moderated by Chris Southworth, Secretary General for ICC UK and included Jean Blaylock, Coordinator at the Trade Justice Movement. Mulligan described the many layers of consultation with stakeholders that are part of the U.S. process for negotiating trade agreements including Trade Promotion Authority requirements, solicitation of comments through the Federal Register and the formal Trade Advisory Committees. All of these and more provides a basis for broad stakeholder input into the U.S. government as it pursues trade agreements. As the UK is preparing for trade negotiations post-Brexit, it does not have these types of processes in place and is exploring best practices among different countries.
  • USCIB Leads U.S. Business Advocacy Effort on Colombia’s Accession Process to the OECD: The week of March 5, 2018, USCIB was actively involved in various meetings with the Colombian government, business community and civil society on the issue of Colombia’s accession process to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In anticipation of the April meeting of the OECD Trade Committee which will consider Colombia accession, Rob Mulligan and Eva Hampl met with Colombia’s Minister of Trade Maria Lorena Gutierrez to discuss outstanding issues on pharmaceuticals, distilled spirits and truck scrapping, as outlined in the Business at OECD (BIAC) Pre-Accession Recommendations. Also part of the delegation was Colombia’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit Mauricio Cardenas Santamaria, who advocated strongly for Colombia to accede prior to the end of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santosterm this summer. USCIB also had a meeting with ANDI, the National Business Association of Colombia, to discuss outstanding issues for business. Bruce Mac Master, president of ANDI led a delegation of Colombian CEOs in an effort to make progress on issues like trucking and pharmaceuticals. Hampl also addressed these critical issues to U.S. business with Colombian civil society in an interview on Colombian radio.
  • USCIB Moderates Panel on Trade and Corruption in Paris: The week of March 26, 2018, Eva Hampl was in Paris, participating in the OECD Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum. On March 27, Hampl moderated a panel titled “Integrity & Trade: No Need to Grease the Wheels”, which focused on the relationship between trade facilitation and opportunities for corruption at the border. The speakers were Evdokia Moise, Senior Trade Policy Analyst at the OECD; Benedicte Fleischer, Policy Director of Trade Negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway; Ernani Checcucci, Capacity Building Director at the World Customs Organization (WCO), and Gonzalo Guzman, Director, ABAC Governance and External Engagement at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Hampl noted the importance of trade running smoothly to our companies. Corruption is a cost to business and companies invest in compliance systems, however there are limitations to what business can affect internally. OECD presented preliminary work addressing issues like automation and the relationship to corruption. Following the presentation, a lively debate ensued covering various issues and concluding that while much is already being done, still more must be achieved, particularly when it comes to collaboration between governments, business, and civil society.
  • Hampl Advocates on SOE Issues at OECD meetings: While in Paris the week of March 26, 2018, Eva Hampl also participated in various meetings surrounding the work of the OECD Working Party on State Ownership and Privatization Practices. The consultation with the SOE working party took place on March 27. BIAC presented comments on global reporting standards for internationally active SOEs, integrity and anti-corruption in state-owned enterprises, as well as the OECD working party’s program of work for 2019-20. Hampl made specific comments addressing the importance of stakeholder and particularly business involvement, the importance of the adherence to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to ensure government backing, the benefits of privatization, and the importance of a horizontal OECD work program. The SOE issue has been addressed in turn by various Committees of the OECD. During the consultation, BIAC learned that such horizontal activity is being pursued by the OECD. On March 28, BIAC participated in a discussion with members of the Working Party on the follow up to the special roundtable on SOEs and Integrity in October, and on the “building blocks” of future OECD Anti-Corruption and Integrity Guidelines for the state as owner of SOEs.
  • USCIB Continues to Push for More Openness to Stakeholder Input at the OECD: While in Paris for meetings, Eva Hampl had several meetings pushing the importance of stakeholder input and corresponding necessity to open OECD meetings more to business input. Hampl met with several officials at the U.S. Mission to the OECD, including Andrew Haviland, Chargé d’Affaires and Melissa Kehoe, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission. In addition, Hampl spoke with Nathan Anderson, who covers investment, anti-corruption, and governance issues among other portfolios, and closely follows concerns relating to stakeholder input and other structural issues. USCIB is encouraged to see strong support for U.S. business and a desire to support our push for increased access to relevant discussions in areas of importance to our companies.
  • USCIB Advocates for Business on Anti-Corruption Issues at State and Commerce: On February 20, 2018, Eva Hampl participated in an off-the-record Roundtable on Anti-Corruption Priorities and G20 Engagement at the State Department. A small group of business and civil society received an update and engaged in discussion with various State Department officials covering different parts of the U.S. anti-corruption agenda. Topics covered included 2018 Multilateral Priorities, Priorities for the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, and Visa Denial Authorities. USCIB engages on the G20/B20 anti-corruption work via the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). This roundtable provided an opportunity to raise some of our issues of concern in the anti-bribery space and provide input on work going forward. The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, co-chaired by Argentina and France, had their first of three meetings in Buenos Aires February 28 – March 1. The next two meetings will be held in Paris June 27-28 and October 11-12. In addition, on February 22, Hampl joined a meeting on anti-bribery business priorities with Department of Commerce General Counsel Peter Davidson. USCIB provided input on how the Commerce Department should be addressing international corruption issues affecting trade and U.S. exports. The Commerce Department also participates in the OECD Working Group on Bribery.
  • Hampl and Donnelly Talk Investment and ISDS with API’s Trade Working Group: On February 20, 2018, Eva Hampl and Shaun Donnelly met with the Trade Working Group of the American Petroleum Institute (API), comparing assessments and priorities on investment issues in the NAFTA negotiations and the Administration’s efforts to weaken investment protections and ISDS enforcement procedures in NAFTA and more generally. The API team included several USCIB member company representatives so there was clear consensus on the challenges ahead and a commitment to keep working together.
  • Illicit Trade Issues Heat Up: The OECD’s Task Force on Illicit Trade (under the auspices of OECD’s Governance committee and division) came to Washington to roll out its major new report “Governance Frameworks to Counter Illicit Trade” at the OECD Washington Center on March 1, 2018. USCIB Vice President, Investment and Financial Services, Shaun Donnelly represented USCIB at that session and consulted with key OECD secretariat staff and with Christa Brzozowski, Deputy assistant Secretary at DHC, the new co-chair of the OECD Task Force. Two weeks later, on March 15-16, Shaun was in Paris representing USCIB at the OECD Illicit Trade Task Force’s annual conference along with a cross-sectoral group of USCIB member companies active in combatting Illicit Trade around the world. With member companies from consumer goods, IT, pharmaceuticals, package delivery and beyond increasingly concerned with and active in combatting illicit trade issues at the OECD, ICC and elsewhere, USCIB is developing a coordinated approach which will likely touch on multiple current committees. “Illicit Trade” is a broad, elastic and still-evolving term covering counterfeiting and piracy, gray market goods, illicit or unauthorized e-commerce, and all forms of smuggling (from cigarettes and luxury goods to arms, drugs, currency, antiquities, endangered species, and human trafficking).
  • Donnelly Talks Stakeholders at State Department’s Training for U.S. Government Delegates to OECD Committees: Shaun Donnelly represented USCIB as a Stakeholder panelist at the annual day-long training session for U.S. Government staffers across the government who represent the U.S. at various OECD Committees and other sessions in Paris. Shaun (representing business and the BIAC consultation process) joined representatives from the AFL-CIO (for the Trade Union Advisory Committee or “TUAC”) and the Accountability Council (for “OECD Watch”/civil society). Shaun emphasized the value of business/BIAC input (representing real world practitioners) to OECD committees and urged U.S. Government representatives to push to maximize access for BIAC and other stakeholders in OECD committees and other fora. BIAC still faces real barriers to participation in or even real dialogue with some important OECD bodies. Shaun challenged USG reps in those committees to take the lead in pressing to open up those sessions.
  • Claman Speaks for USCIB/BIAC at OECD Investment Treaties Conference: Citi’s Kimberley Claman joined Shaun Donnelly at the semi-annual OECD and BIAC Investment Committee meetings in Paris March 12-13, 2018. Claman is Vice-Chair of the BIAC Committee. She represented BIAC on the closing panel of the OECD’s all-day Investment Treaties Conference on March 12, effectively emphasizing the business perspective and challenging some unhelpful points made earlier in the day by academics and investment critics. Shaun helped lead the BIAC team in the formal consultation where we pressed OECD to work from BIAC’s proactive investment policy agenda. In large part due to BIAC’s steady pressure for more access to OECD investment Committee substantive session, all stakeholders were included in an interesting debate on “National Security” provisions in international investment agreements – an important and timely topic (especially with the U.S. Administration’s recent steel and aluminum tariff decisions being justified on Section 232 national security grounds).
  • ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

    • USCIB Promotes Business Priorities at ICANN Intersessional Meeting: Los Angeles, California served as the venue for the 5th Intersessional Meeting of ICANN’s Non-Contracted Party House (NCPH) on February 1-2, 2018. The two-day gathering brought together seven delegates from each of the six Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG) and Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) constituencies. It was facilitated by ICANN staff and featured Business Constituency (BC) Chair Claudia Selli (AT&T) and BC Executive Committee member Barbara Wanner (USCIB), among others. The NCPH Intersessional meeting served as a dedicated forum for discussions about DNS policy and procedural issues that regular ICANN meetings often cannot accommodate. Importantly, the February meeting enabled the two houses to explore with ICANN CEO Göran Marby and members of the Board many concerns – both shared and differing – about the implications of the May 25, 2018 implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ICANN’s WHOIS database policies and the contractual obligations of companies providing domain names.
    • USCIB Members Explore 2018 Challenges in Digital Trade: On February 13, 2018, USCIB’s Digital Trade Working Group (DTWG) convened for a wide-ranging discussion about e-commerce initiatives underway in APEC, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). USCIB members Daniel Crosby, Partner, King and Spalding, who heads the firm’s Geneva office, and Hamid Mamdouh, Partner, King and Spalding, who is the former Director of the Trade in Services Division, WTO, provided insights into likely elements of the WTO’s Enabling E-Commerce Initiative. OECD’s Julia Nielson, Head of Development Division in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate, and Javier Lopez Gonzalez also from the Trade and Agriculture Directorate, updated members on the OECD’s digital trade work, which will feed into the broader OECD Going Digital project. Michelle Sylvester-Jose, Commerce Department, previewed what to expect at the SOM 1 meetings in Papua New Guinea of APEC’s Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG), which were held February 26-March 2. Eva Hampl shared developments at the late-January round of NAFTA negotiations in Montreal.
    • USCIB Members Showcase Privacy, Domain Name Expertise at ICANN 61: USCIB member representatives from Amazon, AT&T, BT America, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, VeriSign, and Verizon made key contributions to discussions at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 10-15, 2018, (ICANN 61). In view of the fast-approaching May 25 implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), USCIB members, working through both the Commercial Stakeholders Group and the Registry Group, seized the initiative to provide critical feedback about an interim model proposed by ICANN. The model is aimed at ensuring that ICANN and its contracted parties comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements concerning the collection of registration data (the so-called WHOIS database) as well as meet the GDPR privacy protection requirements. Importantly, USCIB participants in the ICANN Business Constituency surfaced a proposal to establish an accreditation mechanism to enable third party access to restricted data for law enforcement, consumer protection, and brand management and intellectual property protection purposes. Barbara Wanner, USCIB Vice President, ICT Policy, participated in these meetings in her capacity as the Business Constituency representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group.
    • Commerce/White House Officials Brief USCIB Members on the Multilateral ICT Agenda, Privacy, and Cybersecurity Issues: At the USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting on March 26, 2018, David Redl, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), provided an overview of NTIA’s multilateral ICT agenda, noting key issues that will be addressed at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary (PP-18), October 29-November 16, in Dubai, UAE. He encouraged USCIB to continue to engage with NTIA and other U.S. Government agencies in shaping the PP-18 outcome. In addition, Abigail Slater, Special Assistant to the President for Technology, Telecommunications and Cybersecurity Policy, National Economic Council, The White House, discussed the potential impact on U.S. companies of the pending implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as key cybersecurity initiatives under development. ICANN officials Christopher Mondini, Vice President, Global Business Engagement, and Matt Larson, Vice President of Research, Office of the CTO, explored ICANN’s ongoing efforts to maintain the safety, security, and resilience of the domain name system (DNS) and expand global engagement on DNS and internet governance issues.

    Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

    • USCIB Participates in Pacific Rim Tax Conference: Carol Doran Klein, USCIB VP and International Tax Counsel, participated in a panel on dispute resolution with Doug O’Donnell, Commissioner, Large Business and International, Internal Revenue Service and Mark Konza, Deputy Commissioner International, Australian Taxation Office at the recent Pacific Rim Tax Conference in California. This conference provides a good opportunity to engage with governments, companies and advisors from this part of the world. At the Conference, Carol emphasized that dispute resolution not only requires good processes, but also consensus on underlying principles, so that unilateral measures such as the Australian Multinational Anti-avoidance Law and the Diverted Profits Tax undercut the ability of countries to improve dispute resolution.
    • USCIB Submits Comment Letters to the United Kingdom: USCIB submitted two comment letters to the UK on recent proposals on the taxation of royalties and corporate income taxation and the digital economy. The taxation of the digital economy is likely the main tax topic at the OECD, the EU and the UN this year (and perhaps beyond). Many of the proposals for taxing the digital economy (not just these from the UK) would result in significant shifts in taxing jurisdiction and may have a negative impact on U.S. based businesses. It is, therefore, important for USCIB to keep an eye out for new unilateral proposals and respond appropriately to those proposals. Historically, the UK has been a strong supporter of residence based taxation, but in recent years has shifted to much lower rates, patent boxes, weak CFC regimes, combined with anti-abuse rules (such as the DPT) designed to preserve this reduced level of taxation. Some of these proposals (including the DPT) have been picked up in other countries. The UK recently released an updated position paper on corporate income taxation and the digital economy. That paper seems to take a step back from the earlier paper, but continues to press for recognition of user contributions to the determination of corporate income tax.
    • USCIB Holds Tax Committee Meeting: USCIB held a Tax Committee meeting on February 22, 2018. Some of the topics covered included the USCIB’s response to U.S. tax reform, the work at the OECD and the UN and the Platform for Collaboration on Tax. Kevin Nichols addressed the members of the committee on issues arising under the BEAT.

    Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

    • New U.S. Brussels Attaché Gets Briefing on USCIB and its Work: There is a new U.S. attaché in Brussels covering the EU Commission, Brussels Mission, and the World Customs Organization. On February 1, 2018, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation met with Ms. Christina Bell to introduce USCIB, key issues of interest to USCIB in the customs arena (e.g., WCO E-Commerce Working Group, Temporary Admissions and the ATA Carnet System, Container Convention Virtual Working Group), and to lay the ground work for future USCIB engagement and coordination. USCIB and the Customs Committee look forward to working with Ms. Bell and serving as a subject matter, content, and practitioner information source as the U.S. defines government positions on issues under discussion at the WCO.
    • USCIB Customs Committee Finalizes and Shares Comments on Draft WCO Cross-Border E-Commerce Framework: After several content focused meetings to review draft USCIB Customs Committee comments and collect additional member inputs on the V2 WCO Draft Cross-Border E-Commerce Framework, USCIB Customs Committee comments were finalized on March 9, 2018. These comments were shared with government partners including CBP, Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of State, Treasury and USTR. USCIB comments were also shared with the ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation E-Commerce Working Group to be included in the ICC Commission formal comments to the WCO.
    • Colombian Customs and Trade Attachés Hear from USCIB Customs Committee: In follow-up to late 2017 meetings with Trade attaches in Washington, DC, Megan Giblin met with Colombian Trade and Customs attaches in Brussels to discuss Customs Committee concerns related to, among others: TFA package status, formal Customs – Industry engagement mechanisms, adequate time for review and comment of proposed regulations, implementation of the 2016 Customs Law, and Customs Valuation. The meeting was positive and built on our open dialogue regarding member concerns and looking for creative resolutions. Follow-up meetings with U.S. attaches in Colombia will take place on Customs Valuation issues in the future.
    • Giblin Represents ICC at 61st Session of the WCO HSC Meetings in Brussels: Megan Giblin served as an ICC delegate, along with CompTIA’s Stefanie Holland, at the 61stst Session of the WCO HSC, where several issues of member concern were on the agenda for opinion finalization or global classification including: peanuts, drones, monitors, tobacco capsule, crab flavour, iPhone6, Play-doh kits, and more. The first day of the full Committee served as a platform for the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Harmonized System Nomenclature, which brought together past WCO Directorate leadership, UN representatives, and under the ICC umbrella USCIB Customs Committee member Carlos Halasz of HP to present on the importance of the common language of international trade.
    • USCIB Customs Committee Hosts Dept. of State, CBP, and Industry Experts: The USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee held an in-person meeting on March 14, 2018. This well attended event was hosted at the offices of Sandler, Travis & Rosenburg. The Committee heard from Randy Rotchin, CEO and President of C3E Technologies to discuss GTIN and GSI. Manuel Garza, ‎Director, Manifest & Conveyance Security – ‎U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Joseph Reese, Chief, International Postal Policy Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies (IO/STA) Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State to continued our ongoing dialogue related to advanced electronic data and international postal shipments.

    Membership

    • Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Applied Materials, CenturyLink and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson met with representatives from member companies DHL, Exxon, Ericsson and Verizon to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
    • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Holland & Hart LLP and Nike as new members

    Upcoming Events:

    • USCIB Competition Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – April 9, 2018
    • UNCTAD E-Commerce Week, Geneva, Switzerland – April 16-20
    • USCIB Environment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – April 19, 2018
    • ICC Digital Economy Commission (ICC-DEC) Meeting, Paris, France – April 19-20
    • USCIB Geneva Week, Geneva, Switzerland – April 23-26
    • BIAC Trade Committee Meeting, Paris, France – April 23
    • OECD Trade Committee Meeting, Paris, France – April 24-25
    • UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group (Investor-State Dispute Settlement), New York, April 23-27
    • USCIB CSR/Labor Affairs Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – May 2-3
    • ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation Meeting, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 2-4
    • USCIB-AmCham EU Webinar: International Health and Environment Policy Linkages – Thursday, May 3, 2018
    • NGA North American Summit, Scottsdale, Arizona – May 4-6
    • Meetings of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties, Paris, France – May 14-18
    • ICC Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption Meeting, Paris, France – May 30
    • 2018 OECD International Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 4-5
    • ICANN 62, Panama City, Panama – June 25-28

     

    USCIB Policy and Program Staff

    Rob Mulligan
    Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
    202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

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

    Norine Kennedy
    Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
    212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

    Shaun Donnelly
    Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
    202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

    Elizabeth Kim
    Policy and Program Assistant, New York
    212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

    Megan Giblin
    Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
    202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

    Carol Doran Klein
    Vice President and International Tax Counsel
    202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

    Ronnie Goldberg
    Senior Counsel
    212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

    Mia Lauter
    Policy and Program Assistant, New York
    212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

    Eva Hampl
    Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
    202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

    Mike Michener
    Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
    202-617-3159 or mmichener

    Alison Hoiem
    Senior Director, Member Services
    202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

    Chris Olsen
    Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
    202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

    Gabriella Rigg Herzog
    Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
    212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

    Barbara Wanner
    Vice President, ICT Policy
    202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

    Jonathan Huneke
    Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
    212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

    Kira Yevtukhova
    Communications Manager
    202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

    Top

USCIB Washington Update October – November 2017

Highlighting Key Activities, October-November 2017

During the months of October and November 2017, USCIB Staff met with Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat on U.S. trade policy, discussed OECD policy work with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Brian McFeeters, engaged on CFIUS with Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS Aimen Mir, spoke on a NAFTA panel at the Services Summit conference, submitted a comment letter to OECD on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy, raised concerns regarding the work of the OECD Health Committee with the Director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the OECD Stefano Scarpetta, reviewed questions on customs treatment of international postal shipments with Deputy Post Master General Ronald A. Stroman, provided the business view at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

    1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
    2. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
    3. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
    4. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
    5. Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    6. Innovation and Intellectual Property – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
    7. APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region
    8. Membership
    9. Upcoming Events
    10. Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

Mulligan Talks NAFTA at CSI Summit: USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Rob Mulligan spoke at a Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) summit on October 17, where he outlined USCIB’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) priorities. Mulligan noted that NAFTA can be brought into the 21st century by including provisions that ensure cross-border data flows, include strong e-commerce rules, protect against data localization requirements, and level the playing field for firms competing against state-owned enterprises. More can also be done to improve the customs processes with Canada and Mexico. These steps will help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs. Mulligan noted that USCIB member companies strongly support NAFTA and have greatly benefited from it over the last 23 years, so they want the governments to avoid changes to existing parts of NAFTA that would harm trade rather than expand it. He especially highlighted concerns with U.S. government proposals on rules of origin, government procurement, ISDS and a sunset clause.

USCIB Lobbies Senate and House on NAFTA and Co-sponsors Reception: As part of a wider Coalition effort related to NAFTA, Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, and Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, lobbied the Senate and the House, respectively, in October as the fourth round of talks unfolded. Private-sector representatives spent two full days talking to House and Senate Republicans and Democrats. Issues addressed included proposals coming from the U.S. side in the NAFTA talks addressing rules of origin, government procurement, investor-state dispute settlement, and a proposed sunset provision that would essentially force NAFTA to be renewed at regular intervals. There continues to be great concern in the business community that NAFTA is being set up to fail with some of the proposals that are being tabled. USCIB also co-sponsored a reception on the sidelines of the NAFTA talks, where Hampl amplified USCIB’s central message of urgency, noting that USCIB members rely on the agreement and its benefits for their operations, which provide jobs for U.S. workers.

USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meets with USTR on NAFTA Digital Trade Negotiations:  Jonathan McHale, Deputy Assistant USTR for Telecommunications Policy briefed the USCIB Digital Trade Working Group on the NAFTA negotiations at its meeting on November 7, 2017.  He provided an update on the digital trade elements of the NAFTA negotiations as well as an outlook for e-commerce at the WTO Ministerial.  Jonathan highlighted several positive developments with regard to the digital trade issues and noted areas where the U.S. has proposed additional provisions for negotiation.  Members also heard from Nick Ashton-Hart, calling in from Geneva, who has been assisting the Friends of E-Commerce for Development group of countries seeking to have the WTO move forward with work on e-commerce issues.  He noted that there is a group of African countries opposing these efforts to address e-commerce more actively in the WTO and urged USCIB and ICC to work with affiliate business groups in those countries.  The DTWG also discussed planning for 2018 and will look to prioritize advocacy and engagement that capitalizes on USCIB’s access to global organizations.

USCIB Joins BIAC Board for Meetings in Washington, D.C. with Key U.S Officials:  The Business at OECD (BIAC) Board of Directors held its most recent meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2017.  Rick Johnston, Citi, who is the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Chair, also serves as a Vice-Chair of the BIAC Board and hosted their meeting at his office.  In addition to a day-long strategy meeting which included a presentation from Rob Mulligan as the representative of the U.S. affiliate to BIAC, the Board Members had the chance to exchange views with a number of key U.S. officials and thought leaders including Everett Eissenstat (Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs), Andy Taylor and Matthew Zweig (Staff for House Committee on Foreign Affairs), and Brian McFeeters (Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs).  They also had a lunch discussion with Greg Ip (Wall Street Journal) and Shawn Donnan (Financial Times).  Peter Robinson, CEO and President of USCIB, and Rob Mulligan joined the Board for these meetings.

Hampl Advocates for Strong Investment Policies in Paris: In October, Eva Hampl, Director, Investment Trade and Financial Services, participated in the meetings of the OECD Investment Committee. In addition to a formal stakeholder consultation, and a dinner with leadership from the Investment Committee as well as the OECD Secretariat, Hampl had bilateral meetings with various OECD investment staff, as well as with officials from the U.S. Mission to the OECD. During the stakeholder consultation, BIAC made strong statements focused primarily on international investment agreements, specifically ISDS and related issues. BIAC maintained the position that investment agreements are very important to business, and are necessary for a robust international investment environment. Unfortunately, the OECD has not yet been able to produce reliable data definitively proving the benefits of IIAs. Hampl also made an intervention on behalf of U.S. industry, underlining the importance of empirical research in this area, and raising concerns about leaving a vacuum of information in the space related to IIAs.

Donnelly Speaks Up for Business at UNCTAD’s High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements (IIAs): USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly was the lead business speaker at the October 9-11 annual High-Level Conference on International Investment Agreements in Geneva. Shaun kept reminding the government, NGO and academic “experts” that strong IIAs, including effective Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) disciplines, help drive investment flows and all the benefits (economic growth, trade and good jobs) we are all seeking. Donnelly authored a blog post on the UNCTAD IIA Conference, including key talking points from his several interventions.

Donnelly Touches Base on Geneva Issues, Tees up Peter Robinson’s Meetings with U.S. Mission: While in Geneva in early October, USCIB’s Shaun Donnelly met with the Charge d’Affaires (the Acting U.S. Ambassador) to the Geneva UN agencies, Ted Allegra. They reviewed USCIB priorities and concerns across a range of UN agencies (World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, and Human Rights Commission, in addition to UNCTAD. Donnelly also had a detailed roundtable with key U.S. Mission staff from multiple U.S. agencies (State, HHS, USTR). Donnelly met formally or informally with other Geneva-based foreign Ambassadors and staff in other UN agencies. About a month later, USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was back at the U.S. Mission for a more detailed follow-up session with the Charge, focused especially on serious challenges for USCIB members at the WHO, HRC, and ILO. Peter also was able to have a busy round of high-level meetings at UN agencies and beyond.

USCIB Discusses Transparency at OECD SOE Integrity Roundtable: On October 23, 2017, represented USCIB at a special roundtable at the OECD on Integrity, the “Fight Against Corruption and Responsible Business Conduct in the SOE Sector”. As a discussant on the issue of transparency, Hampl made comments addressing the importance of transparency regarding state-owned enterprises (SOEs). SOEs are increasing in global commerce, disadvantaging companies operating without state support or control. SOEs are particularly vulnerable to corruption due to factors such as a close relationship between government, politicians and the SOE senior management, and in some cases lack of transparency and reporting. To truly level the playing field between SOEs and companies competing in the global market, SOEs must be held to the same standards. Following the roundtable, Hampl also participated in the consultation with the OECD Working Party on State Ownership and Privatization Practices, where she reiterated many of the points made at the roundtable, as well as emphasized the importance of the OECD to focus on the demand side of bribery.

Discussing the Cost of Corruption on OECD Anti-bribery Convention and FCPA Anniversary: On November 8, 2017 Eva Hampl, took part in a panel at the event “Celebrating the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention at 20, the FCPA at 40 & Addressing the Challenges Ahead”. She addressed the cost that corruption and bribery present to business, and the important role the OECD plays to level the playing field in that regard. The OECD Anti-bribery Convention is a landmark instrument addressing the bribery of foreign officials. With its multi-disciplinary nature, the OECD has the capacity to take a coordinated approach to the fight against corruption, including addressing such issues as increased adherence to the Convention, increased efforts to address the demand side of bribery, more measures to facilitate voluntary self-disclosure, and addressing the growing complexity and costs of complying with multiple anti-bribery regimes by promoting clarity and greater international consistency.

USCIB Urges High Standards in Colombia’s OECD Accession: Through its Business at OECD (BIAC) affiliation, USCIB has been extensively involved in representing member interests in the OECD accession process of Colombia. Eva Hampl traveled to Paris in November with member companies and associations, to attend meetings with OECD officials and various OECD delegations. BIAC led the global business delegation in meetings with Ken Ash, OECD director for trade and agriculture, Nicola Bonucci, OECD director for legal affairs and coordinator for accession, Catalina Crane, high-level contact for Colombia’s OECD Accession Process, and delegation representatives from the United States, including Andrew Haviland, chargé d’affaires, as well as representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and Mexico. Colombia started the accession process in 2013, and currently 20 of the 23 OECD Committees have approved them for accession. One of the outstanding committees is the Trade Committee, which is currently drafting its Formal Opinion, which is the final stage in the process. USCIB’s current advocacy surrounds pre-accession recommendations, which we urged the OECD Trade Committee to include in the Formal Opinion. This ask is central to resolving our various business issues. Following the November 2017 meeting, the next meeting of the OECD Trade Committee will be in April 2018. USCIB will aggressively continue our advocacy efforts as this accession process moves forward, to ensure that as many of our priority issues are resolved as possible before Colombia joins the OECD.

Checking in with New Economic Leadership at State: On October 26, Shaun Donnelly had a wide-ranging introductory session on USCIB and our key priorities with the then new Acing Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs (the “EB Bureau”) Brian McFeeters plus other senior EB staff. Brian, just back from a tour as Deputy Chief of Mission in Indonesia, is the new Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (“P/DAS”) in EB but was holding the fort until his new boss was confirmed and sworn in. As a former EB PDAS in his own 36-year Foreign Service career, Shaun had a lot of common experiences to draw on with Brian as he laid out USCIB’s unique role representing U.S. business around the world and our current policy priorities. Former Senate staffer Manisha Singh was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate on November 2 to be the next EB Assistant Secretary. Ms. Singh, who served as EB’s Trade DAS in the George W. Bush Administration, should be formally sworn in very soon. Here’s a link to McFeeters’ official State bio.

Helping Mark 20 Years of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention: The Coalition for Integrity (“C4I”) organized an afternoon long seminar on the afternoon of their annual dinner in Washington marking the 20th anniversary of the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention and the 40th Anniversary of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, two key tools in the fight against international bribery. USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly spoke on the panel focused on the panel focused on the OECD’s Anti-Bribery convention (officially the “Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions”) which was signed in December 1997. Shaun and fellow panelists evaluated process and highlighted priorities for future work. Shaun emphasized two key areas for concerned USCIB member companies – balancing the now well-established work on the “supply” side of corruption from the business side to bring equal focus on the “demand” side, unmasking and punishing corrupt senior government officials attempting to extorting payments from businesses. Shaun also urged the participating governments to open more of the committee meetings and activities to business and other stakeholders.

Talking CFIUS with Treasury: With the long-awaited Cornyn Bill to reform and strengthen the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (“CFIUS”) finally now getting more attention, USCIB staffers Shaun Donnelly and Eva Hampl ventured over to Treasury (the lead agency on CFIUS) to meet with Aimen Mir, Treasury DAS for Investment Security and Chair of the CFIUS. We had an excellent, wide-ranging discussion on key CFIUS issues with the result that DAS Mir and his boss new Treasury Assistant Secretary Heath Tarbert will be speaking with USCIB member companies at our upcoming USCIB Trade and Investment Committee meeting on December 12.

Talking Trade Hither and Yon: Beyond his part-time USCIB work, our VP for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly remains a sought-after after-hours speaker on broad trade topics both in Washington and on the road. Recently Shaun spoke on Trump Administration trade policies and related trade issues at the Louisville (Kentucky) Committee on Foreign Relations and at his long-ago high school in Indiana. Here in Washington, Shaun was a dinner speaker for the prestigious Foreign Policy Discussion Group and to a “Road Scholar” group as part of a week-long program on “Sovereignty Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy.” Helps keep the old Ambassador off the street and, hopefully, helps in a small way to improve public understanding on important trade issues for our country.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Members Engage with the Internet Society on Internet Governance Issues, Commerce Debriefs on Privacy Shield Annual Review: The ICT Policy Committee Meeting on October 4 featured a dialogue with senior executives of the Internet Society (ISOC) to explore potential collaboration in developing new approaches to increasing challenges in the Internet governance space. It was noted that Internet governance issues have become more complex and the multistakeholder model has come under fire in multilateral organizations due to geopolitical pressures often couched in security terms. Members agreed that USCIB and ISOC should leverage our organizations’ positive multistakeholder experiences to showcase a new alternative. ISOC’s Chief Technology Officer Olaf Kolkman also gave a presentation on ISOC’s Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) Initiative, which is aimed at bringing companies and other stakeholders together to develop a set of norms focused on routing security. In addition, Nasreen Djouini, International Trade Specialist at International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, debriefed members on the generally successful first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. USCIB issued a statement just before the September 18-19 review reaffirming its support for the Framework, underscoring that it is accomplishing its intended goal of creating stronger, more effective means for transferring and safeguarding personal data from the EU to the United States.

USCIB Members Shape Discussions on EU Privacy Regulation Impact, Amazon Application, and Board Accountability at ICANN 60: The 60th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, October 28-November 3 was dominated by discussions about the implications of the May 25, 2018 implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ICANN’s WHOIS database policies and the contractual obligations of Registries and Registrars. USCIB member representatives from Amazon, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, VeriSign and Verizon actively contributed to their expertise. In addition, the long-running dispute concerning Amazon’s application for the Amazon generic top-level domain (gTLD) was the focus of a standing-room only session of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The ICANN Board’s abrupt suspension of a review to ensure the security, stability and resilience of the domain name system (DNS) came under tough scrutiny. Barbara Wanner, ICT Vice President, participated in her capacity as the BC’s representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG), a position that facilitated important meetings with senior ICANN officials and other key constituencies.

Key Inputs to OECD Horizontal Project on the Digital Economy are Influenced by USCIB Members: On October 25, USCIB member representatives from Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Facebook, and Microsoft, made key contributions to a joint BIAC/OECD workshop, “OECD Going Digital Scenarios,” which considered four different potential scenarios for how the digital economy may evolve over the next several decades. They provided feedback about the likelihood of these scenarios occurring and the impacts on business, consumers, and other participants in the economy and society. Selected members followed this up October 26-27, providing industry insights to a joint OECD/Government Japan conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Their substantive contributions continued through the week of October 30 at meetings of the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP), the Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy (MADE), and the Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE) as well as at the November 21-22 meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP). Working through BIAC, USCIB member input will feed into the OECD’s Going Digital project on the digital transformation of the economy. This is the most ambitious horizontal project that has ever been undertaken by the OECD, the goal of which is to help governments approach the digital transformation of the economy in a coherent, proactive, and whole-of-government manner.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Participates in OECD Conversation on the Tax Challenges of the Digitalized Economy: In response to a request for input by the OECD, USCIB submitted a comment letter on the tax challenges of the digitalized economy. The letter emphasized the need to consider the impact of changes on global growth and the need to ensure that new rules are based on sound principles. The letter analyzed the proposals under the Ottawa principles that have been used to evaluate tax proposals in the past and that the OECD has supported in the Action 1 Final Report. The written comments were followed by a public consultation held in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley meeting was well-attended by USCIB members, including Bill Sample, Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee, Will Morris, Vice Chair of the USCIB Tax Committee (and Chair of the BIAC Tax Committee), and Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel. In addition to global growth and sound principles, business emphasized the need for income taxation to follow value creation; the difficulty of valuing data, that raw data does not create value, rather value is created by what businesses do with data; that the digital economy cannot be ring-fenced (although many of the proposals seem to try to do precisely that); that gross basis taxes are especially flawed given that most businesses fail and that even successful businesses may incur start-up losses for extended periods; and that any short-term solution must be genuinely short-term and comply with both tax treaty and trade obligations.

USCIB members also met separately with officials from the German Finance Ministry to discuss their views on these issues. We will also be having a meeting in Washington, D.C., on November 30th, with the French Finance Ministry to these topics.
It is clear that there is tremendous political pressure to shift taxation rights. The EU wants new “source” rules that put more profit in market jurisdictions. It seems that the OECD may have a short window to produce results that the EU and other jurisdictions that are seeking more “source” taxation rights consider appropriate. Beyond that time-frame, which may coincide with the April 2018 report to the G20, unilateral measures become increasingly likely.

USCIB Submits Comments on Platform for Collaboration on Tax’s Draft Toolkit on the Taxation of Offshore Indirect Transfers: USCIB submitted a comment letter on the taxation of offshore indirect transfers. The comment letter strongly made the point that, if adopted as drafted, the toolkit would reverse fundamental policies on the taxation of capital gains and therefore should be considered (and adopted or rejected) by country delegates, not recommended by staff of international organizations.

USCIB Attends and Presents Comments at the OECD’s Public Consultations on Profit Splits and Profit Attribution: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein represented USCIB at two days of public consultations at the OECD in Paris on profit splits and profit attribution. Business emphasized that the use of the transactional profit split method should be rare. There was a great deal of discussion concerning risk and the accurate delineation of the transaction. Many of the business commentators argued that applying the TPSM to companies that do not assume the risk under Chapter 1 is inappropriate. Another frequent comment of business on the profit split method was that more clarity is needed particularly on the definition of unique and valuable intangibles. On profit attribution, business criticized the high-level nature of the current discussion draft, making the point that more detail is needed to achieve certainty.

USCIB Participates in BIAC Tax Committee Meeting: Bill Sample and Carol Doran Klein participated in a BIAC Tax Committee meeting in Paris that was held at the offices of Baker & McKenzie. There were presentations by a number of OECD staff summarizing the status of a number of important work streams. On the digital economy work, the OECD indicated that there is no consensus on any of the options, but external developments are sharing the conversation and the report. The OECD wants to ensure that the interim report provides a pathway to long-term solutions. With respect to profit attribution, the OECD expected that the WP6 would reach agreement on a final version by November 17. A draft should go to the CFA/Inclusive Framework for approval in January 2018. The timing is similar for finalizing the profit split discussion draft.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

Giblin Represents USCIB and ICC at WCO 60th HSC Meetings: From September 27 – October 6, 2017, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director of Customs and Trade Facilitation, participated in the World Customs Organization 60th Harmonized System Committee (HSC) Meetings in Paris, France. At the 60th HSC, there were 53 individual product classification decisions taken, and a number of issues important to USCIB membership were discussed, including 3D Printers, certain Tobacco Products, Toys, Footwear, and more.

Engaging with ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission on E-Commerce: Megan Giblin participated in the ICC Customs and Trade Facilitation Commission Meeting in Paris, France, November 9-10, 2017. ICC provided an update on its engagement in the WCO working group on e-commerce as a co-lead of the sub-working group on Revenue Collection. Other topics covered at the meeting included a discussion on the European Union Customs Code (UCC), implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and an update on the WCO Technical Committee on Customs Valuation (TCCV) developments.

Customs Committee Members Meet with Key Players on International Postal Shipments: In efforts to address member questions related to customs treatment of international postal shipments, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee had meetings with Manuel (Manny) Garza of CBP, Mr. Joseph Murphy of the Department of State, and Deputy Post Master General, Mr. Ronald A. Stroman, to continue our discussions and information gathering on current and pending regulations.

Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise

Stefano Scarpetta, OECD, Has Candid Conversation with USCIB Food and Agriculture and Health Care Working Groups: USCIB’s Food and Agriculture and Healthcare Working Groups met with Stefano Scarpetta, director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on October 25, 2017. The meeting reinforced longstanding USCIB and Business at OECD cooperation in other issue areas and the need to improve the engagement between business and the OECD Health Committee. Members also raised several concerns with a draft paper on sustainable access to innovative therapies.  USCIB outlined four areas of recommendations to Scarpetta in the hopes of improving future interactions with member states and the health division secretariat, including helping member states understand the role of Business at OECD and its national affiliates, tracking input from Business at OECD and national affiliates, increasing diversity in perspectives among OECD health division staff and better use of OECD expert groups.

Innovation and Intellectual Property – Strengthening International Protections for U.S. IP

USCIB Intellectual Property Committee is Re-Launched with Focus on Innovation: USCIB has redoubled its efforts to promote American competitiveness with the launch of its Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee. The new committee, chaired by Sharon Reiche, corporate counsel for global patents and policy at Pfizer Inc., builds upon USCIB’s longstanding commitment to improved protection of intellectual property – and the innovation and creativity it underpins – via robust U.S. trade policy and expanded international diplomatic commitments.

The inaugural meeting of the new USCIB committee took place on October 18 in Washington, D.C. Special guests at the meeting included John Sandage, Deputy Director General for Patents and Technology at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Paul Salmon, Senior Counsel for International Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Daphne Yong-d’Hervé, Chief IP Officer for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), also addressed the committee via conference call, and highlighted the ICC’s new status as Observer to the UN General Assembly.

APEC – Enhancing U.S. Business Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Region

USCIB Attends 2017 APEC CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam: Mike Michener, USCIB Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation, attended the 2017 APEC CEO Summit on November 7-10 in Da Nang, Vietnam. Under the leadership of NCAPEC, USCIB and other business groups joined a diverse array of American CEOs and other executives (including numerous USCIB members) in both the official CEO Summit programming and other meetings with governments. Meetings were scheduled with the President of Vietnam, Tran Dai Quang, Ambassador Matt Matthews, U.S. Ambassador for APEC, the Trade Minister of Australia, Steven Ciobo, and Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Michener also participated in a meeting with the Philippine’s Secretary of Trade Roman Lopez.  

Throughout 2017, USCIB has addressed a number of key priorities through APEC, including chemicals policy, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, digital trade, and women in the economy. Our members and staff have engaged in several APEC working groups, including the Chemical Dialogue, APEC Business-Customs Dialogue, Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group, Alliance for Supply Chain name=”MEM”> Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup. Currently, USCIB has just finalized the 2018 APEC Priorities and Recommendations paper. Papua New Guinea will serve as the host economy for APEC 2018.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Gilead Sciences and DowDuPont to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Reed Smith LLP and Uber as new members.

Upcoming Events

  • WCO 53rd RSC, Paris, France – December 4-12
  • ICC Marketing Commission Meeting, San Francisco – December 4-5
  • Third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3), Nairobi, Kenya – December 4-6
  • Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina – December 10-13
  • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 12
  • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – December 13
  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Geneva, Switzerland – December 18-21
  • USCIB Arbitration Committee Luncheon, New York – January 23
  • BIAC/OECD Meeting of Chemicals Committee, Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotech, Paris, France – February 5-7
  • ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida – April 3-6

Staff

 


USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

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

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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USCIB Op-Ed: Time for Some ‘Tough Love’ at the UN

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (credit: U.S. Mission to the UN)

The Hill has published an op-ed by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson on UN reform — see below. The op-ed is also available on The Hill’s website.

This op-ed follows on a letter to the New York Times on the same topic last month, as well as an op-ed on UN funding in January. It further advances USCIB’s position that the UN must work more effectively with the private sector and other stakeholders to advance shared goals.

 

The Hill

May 1, 2017

Opinion

Ambassador Haley needs to dole out some ‘tough love’ to United Nations

By Peter Robinson, opinion contributor

Critics of the United Nations are gaining ground in Washington. Proposals to defund and disengage from the U.N. have been put forward on Capitol Hill and by the Trump administration in its proposed budget.

As a longtime observer of, and participant in the U.N. representing the American business community, I’d like to offer some unsolicited advice to Ambassador Nikki R. Haley, the U.S. representative to the U.N., on how we could work to improve the global body.

The U.N. deserves a lot of the criticism being leveled at it. Many observers, myself included, acknowledge that parts of the U.N. system often suffer from poor management, an inability to efficiently set and meet priorities and the tendency to take an unbalanced view toward certain stakeholders.

This is evident in the organization’s attitude toward the private sector. There have indeed been positive experiences, such as in the U.N. 2030 Development Agenda, where the U.N. is reaching out to the private sector to meet commonly agreed goals of poverty reduction, environmental protection and better governance.

But too often, in many parts of the U.N. system, the business community is still regarded with suspicion, and its motives are called into question or criticized as a conflict of interest. With criticism of the U.N. on the rise, now is the time for the United States to push for effective reform. Here are four areas where the U.S. could exercise some “tough love” in the United Nations.

First, insist on good management. Financial resources are scarce, and we need to know that our taxpayer dollars are being used wisely. New U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has pledged to make the organization leaner and more effective.

Work with him to increase the ability of the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services to act as a truly independent “inspector general” throughout the U.N. system, with direct reporting back to U.N. governing bodies authorized to take specific action on recommendations.

Second, demand more transparency and accountability. The U.N. has taken steps to open its doors to non-governmental entities, but much more needs to be done, particularly from the standpoint of the business community. Too often, the U.N. sets global norms and standards with little or no input from outside stakeholders, including the private sector.

This is unfortunate, especially given the extent to which business is looked to for funding, innovation and implementation in such areas as climate change, improved nutrition and better health care. In addition, some U.N. agencies, such as the World Health Organization, actively blacklist business organizations from even observing their activities. This damages the U.N.’s credibility and effectiveness.

Third, ensure the U.N. avoids redundancy and mission creep. While the U.N. plays a central role in global governance, it cannot and should not do everything or have the final say. United Nations negotiators are sometimes too eager to take up issues already being addressed elsewhere, like in global taxation, data and privacy issues, or intellectual property rights.

This not only wastes government time and money, it creates uncertainty and confusion for companies and everyone else. The U.S. should guide the U.N. and its specialized agencies to focus their resources on areas where they can add the most value and where they have a clear mandate.

One way to do this would be to develop stricter guidelines for voluntary contributions from member states, which are usually funds over and above assessed contributions for pet projects that often deviate from an agency’s mission.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, encourage the U.N. to partner with the private sector. Governments can’t do everything. The World Bank estimates that effectively tackling global problems of poverty, health, job creation and energy access will require trillions of dollars over the next 15 years, with much of that coming from the private sector in the form of project finance and foreign investment.

But this won’t happen if business views are sidelined or ignored. The U.S. should spur the U.N. to step up its partnerships with companies in such areas as innovation, infrastructure and investment.

Ambassador Haley should focus especially on U.N. agencies and bodies that have kept the business community in the dark or at arm’s length. Organizations such as the WHO and U.N. Human Rights Commission have drifted away from their core agendas and have enacted counterproductive restrictions on business — a key community which is keen to bring resources, expertise and implementation to advance their respective missions.

We should insist on inclusive and transparent governance in the U.N., with an open door for responsible actors from civil society, including the private sector.

The United Nations has made important progress, and it must continue to seek out new opportunities for collaboration that can improve lives and increase prosperity in the United States and around the world.  But none of this can happen if the United States is not at the table. The U.N. was in large part an American creation. It’s going to be up to us to try to fix it.

Peter M. Robinson is president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business.

 

Sustainable Business Opens Major Economic Opportunity

ICC’s Secretary General John Danilovich welcomed a new report – Better Business, Better World – which has been developed by a group of over 35 CEOs and civil society leaders including Danilovich himself. The Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) initiative was launched one year ago with the aim of inspiring business leaders to drive implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The BSDC’s headline finding is that putting the SDG’s at the heart of the world’s economic strategy could unleash a step-change in growth and productivity. Analysis presented in the report suggests that SDG-related markets have the potential to grow two to three times faster than average GDP over the next five years – with many “unicorns” (start-ups valued at over US$1 billion) already finding major success in these sectors from mobility systems through to circular manufacturing.

Commenting on the launch of the report, Danilovich said: “The report makes clear that sustainability is no longer a luxury investment: it’s a core driver of business productivity and growth in the 21st Century. The Global Goals have created enormous opportunities for businesses willing to put sustainability at the heart of their operations.”

Danilovich added: “We believe the SDGs should be known as the BDGs – the Business Development Goals. There is a huge opportunity for business to drive the transition to a better and more just world. We want the BSDC report to inspire a new generation of business leaders who put sustainability first because it makes plain business sense.”

Many companies are already taking action to support implementation of the SDG’s. In fact, USCIB has launched Businessfor2030.org in 2015 to track initiatives and contributions that businesses have been making to achieve sustainable development through the prism of the SDG’s.

Better Business, Better World was launched at the Philanthropreneurship Forum in Vienna, Austria, and will also be discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

To access the report, visit the Business & Sustainable Development Commission

 

Trade in the Digital Economy

USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan (center) at the BIAC/Business at OECD Trade Committee meeting in Paris
USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan (center) at the BIAC/Business at OECD Trade Committee meeting in Paris

On November 3, the Business at OECD (BIAC) Trade Committee met in Paris and received a briefing from Didier Chambovey, chair of the OECD Trade Committee. Chambovey provided an overview of the OECD’s key work streams and responded to questions from members about what the OECD is doing on digital trade, the future priorities for the WTO, and the nexus between trade and environmental policy. Rob Mulligan, USCIB’s senior vice president for policy and government affairs, who also serves as a vice chairs of the BIAC Trade Committee, attended on behalf of USCIB.

The BIAC committee also discussed updating its Trade Priorities paper to address the changing global environment and to include new issues for the OECD to tackle in its work. Members provided input at the meeting and a revised draft is being circulated for input with the goal of finalizing the updated paper early in 2017.  The committee also agreed to update its papers on several issues related to Colombia accession to the OECD and agreed on talking points for BIAC intervention at the OECD Trade Committee meeting relating to agricultural trade policy, trade in environmental goods as contributing to sustainable development goals and climate change, and reforming trade in services.

Mulligan and several other BIAC members also participated in the Global Trade Forum hosted by OECD on November 2. Panels of experts addressed the topic of how policy development can keep pace with new business models and the emerging digital economy. Discussions focused on trade and investment linkages in global value chains, trade policy making in the digital economy, and managing disruption. Pat Ivory, vice chair of the BIAC Trade Committee, presented on the digital trade policy issues and highlighted the BIAC paper on cross-border data flows. A key takeaway from the forum was that an integrated suite of policies will be needed to address the declines in trade and productivity as well as the anti-globalization sentiment that has grown over the past few years.

Bringing Trade and Investment Back on Track

 

POSTPONED

2016 OECD/USCIB/BIAC Trade and Investment Conference:

Bringing Trade and Investment Back on Track

 

 

The 2016 OECD/USCIB/BIAC Trade and Investment Conference: “Bringing Trade and Investment Back on Track”, scheduled for September 15 has been postponed. We will make an announcement when a new date for the conference is set in 2017.

 

ICC Launches Global Export Finance Committee

The launch of the ICC Global Finance Committee took place on September 7 in Barcelona, Spain.
The launch of the ICC Global Finance Committee took place on September 7 in Barcelona, Spain.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) launched the “ICC Global Export Finance Committee,” an export finance working group supported by many leading banks across the export finance industry.

Operating under the umbrella of the ICC Banking Commission, the committee is the first step towards building a real global export finance community – representing medium- and long-term (MLT) export finance banks.

The Global Export Finance Committee has three key objectives:
  1. To create a credible standing global discussion forum of banking experts in MLT export financing,
  2. To create a representative body to discuss industry matters with various stakeholders,
  3. To advocate for and help develop improvements and efficiencies through the standardization and harmonization of processes and regulations.

“The Global Export Finance Committee fills a much needed role in the export finance industry,” said Eric de Jonge, head of structured export finance at ING Bank, who chairs the working group. “It aims to not only act as a discussion forum and a body to exchange information and views on export finance but also to enable improvements and increase the efficiency of the processes and regulations governing the export financing industry as a whole.”

Although the export financing industry as a whole is relatively small, it serves an important purpose for OECD governments as well as governments in emerging markets, enabling and facilitating international trade and economic activity. Indeed, governments in many countries are exploring how they can more efficiently support exports, investments and trade.

Not only has the industry observed changes in regulatory requirements such as Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR) and Basel III, it also faces changes in the value chain concerning Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). These developments, together with the involvement of the capital markets, mean it is necessary for banks active across the industry to reach a common approach.

ICC has already made a first step towards reaching a common approach through the inclusion of MLT trade and export finance products in the influential ICC Trade Register Report. The dedicated Trade Register working group has successfully evolved into a platform of active banks that are responsible for ECAs, and that supports transaction data gathering.

While the Trade Register working group focuses primarily on data gathering, there are many more topics relevant to the export finance industry. Cooperation with ECAs, advocacy before governmental and regulatory bodies, standardization, and harmonization, as well as the exchange of views and data to the extent allowed under anti-competition laws, are just a few of the areas that can be explored further by the ICC Global Export Finance Committee.

Download ICC Global Export Finance PDF Document here