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 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



USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or

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

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or


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


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 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



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

Banking Positions Statements

Activity Heats Up Around Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Cecelia Malmstrom, EU Trade Commissioner
Cecelia Malmstrom, EU Trade Commissioner

Investment protections and especially Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) arbitration have emerged as a controversial and hotly debated provision of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations underway for nearly two years between the United States and the European Union. Criticism by anti-trade activists of ISDS has been intense in Washington, Brussels and around Europe where trade has not previously been as controversial or politicized as in Washington.

“New EU Trade commissioner Cecelia Malmstrom find herself in the spotlight, trying to walk a twisted tightrope with very challenging strands of political, ideological, and even a few substantive elements,” said Shaun Donnelly, USCIB’s vice president for investment and financial services. “She has her hands full.”

TTIP is a free trade agreement being negotiated by the United States and the European Union which, if agreed, is expected to create jobs and grow the economies on both sides of the Atlantic. ISDS is a legal instrument that allows investors to file claims against a foreign government.

Before unveiling to EU Trade Ministers and the European Parliament this week, Commissioner Malmstrom was in Washington on Monday to huddle with USTR Michael Froman, consult on the Hill and deliver a public speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. During the discussion at CSIS, ISDS figured prominently, with Malmstrom only hinting generally at approaches she would be proposing this week in Brussels.

“The Commissioner’s performance at CSIS was quite impressive but there are still more questions than answers on how the EU and the U.S. will handle ISDS in TTIP,” said Donnelly. “USCIB will continue to lead business communicate advocacy on both sides of the Atlantic for a strong Investment Chapter, including strong ISDS provisions, at the heart of TTIP.”

USCIB and member company representatives attended a panel at the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) on May 5 where Malmström spoke about the European Commission’s proposal to revamp ISDS. Prior to Malmström’s speaking engagement at CSIS, Donnelly participated in an informal briefing for Congressional staff with Linda Dempsey (National Association of Manufacturers) and Scott Miller (CSIS) under the auspices of the Congressional TTIP Caucus.

USCIB has long been strongly advocating for investment protections in TTIP and America’s other trade agreements. Last week, USCIB joined over 60 business associations urging Congress to include investment protections, particularly investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), in Trade Promotion Authority legislation. USCIB staff also made a strong business case for ISDS at speaking engagements at a TTIP stakeholders forum in New York on April 23, and at a seminar on Transatlantic energy issues in Washington, D.C..

In addition, earlier last month Eva Hampl, USCIB’s director for investment, trade and financial services, spoke on a panel on The Impact of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in TTIP at an International Investment Symposium hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce Young Arbitrators Forum, where she emphasized the importance of investment with Europe, since the EU-U.S. trade relationship is the largest in the world.

Read a new Congressional Research Service report on U.S. investment agreements.

Donnelly, a retired State Department Economic Officer/former Ambassador/former USTR trade negotiator, has, over the last 18 months, done five TTIP and ISDS public speaking tours around Europe for the State Department and U.S. embassies.  Donnelly is headed to Barcelona and Madrid in late May to carry USCIB messages on TTIP, investment, and ISDS.

Foundation-Sponsored Study Weighs the Impact of Future Technologies on Employment

The United States Council Foundation, USCIB’s educational arm, is supporting a series of roundtable discussions to that seek to answer questions concerning human capital requirements in the 21st century, and the impact technology is having on education and labor markets.

The second roundtable, held last February, was part of a larger grant to the Center for Curriculum Redesign, founded by Charles Fadel (the chair of BIAC’s education committee) from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant funded a research assistant to work with David Autor, and labor economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to update a 2003 study co-authored by Autor on “The Changing Task Composition of the U.S. Labor Market,” and to report those findings as part of the second roundtable discussion.

The summary of Autor’s findings and discussion at the second roundtable, exploring the question of “Man and Machine: the Impact of Technology on Employment,” is now available. Others who have supported this project along with the United States Council Foundation include AT&T, Dow Chemical Company, Deloitte and the McGraw Hill Research Foundation.

A third roundtable is scheduled to take place February 26, 2014 in New York City, hosted by McGraw Hill Financial.

More on the United States Council Foundation

USCIB 2012 Leadership Award Dinner


The Waldorf-Astoria, New York City

Reception 6-7 p.m., followed by dinner 7-9 p.m. Business attire.
**Please beware that traffic conditions in and around The Waldorf-Astoria will be heavy that evening due to the Rockefeller tree lighting ceremony.

Click here for sponsorship information

The International Leadership Award
Katty Kay

Join USCIB Chairman Harold (Terry) McGraw III and hundreds of USCIB’s members and friends at our 2012 International Leadership Award Dinner. This annual gala event brings together industry leaders, government officials and diplomats to celebrate international cooperation in support of open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility.

This year we honor BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, on its 50th anniversary in recognition of its work to improve the global framework in which American business competes. BIAC Chairman Charles Heeter and Secretary General Tadahiro Asami will accept the award on behalf of BIAC’s worldwide membership.

Our keynote speaker is Katty Kay, lead anchor of BBC World News America, who will discuss business and leadership at a time of profound global change. Kay has served as the BBC’s Washington correspondent, and has reported from Zimbabwe, South Africa, London and Tokyo. Based in Washington, Kay covers the full gamut of American and global affairs. She is a frequent guest commentator on NBC’s Meet the Press and co-authored the New York Times best-seller Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success.

Click here to download the sponsorship information packet. Please contact Abby Shapiro (, SVP for Business Development, to discuss sponsorship or any other aspect of the event.

2012 Annual Dinner Sponsors


Leadership Partners:

Philip Morris



Dinner Partners:



Program Partners:






Media Partner:




Supporting Organizations:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce


Highlights from the 2011 International Leadership Award Dinner

Click below to view video clips from 2011’s International Leadership Award Dinner, which honored Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company. Former President Bill Clinton was among those paying tribute to Liveris, who in his acceptance remarks offered his views on how we can lay a path for future innovation and growth in overseas markets, and work together to rejuvenate American manufacturing.

Video tribute to Andrew Liveris

Remarks by President Clinton

Click here to read Mr. Liveris’s prepared remarks. Click here to read the post-event press release.