USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was in Paris last week for OECD Week, which tackled issues such as international tax rules, globalization challenges and anti-trade rhetoric. Addressing Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on June 7, Business at OECD (BIAC) Chair Phil O’Reilly called on governments to address the challenges of strengthening growth and boosting economic participation, emphasizing that “ultimately societies can only support economic openness, when it is accompanied by appropriate domestic policies to prepare people for change, with better skills and more opportunities for economic participation.” O’Reilly drew upon principles highlighted in the recently released Business at OECD 2017 Statement to Ministers, which contains the core business recommendations to strengthen open economies and inclusive societies. This paper is a call to action for OECD governments to implement a comprehensive competitiveness agenda, and also better engage with the public, especially regarding the opportunities that come with trade and investment.
In a similar statement, Business at OECD Secretary General Bernhard Welschke encouraged governments to better address an increasing anti-trade rhetoric in OECD countries, highlighting that “both business and trade unions have a responsibility to communicate in a fair, balanced, and responsible manner.” Also speaking at the session on International Trade and Investment for the Benefit for All, Business at OECD (BIAC) Vice Chair and USCIB Board member Charles R. Johnston (Citi) encouraged governments to counteract on protectionist action in the form of growing non-tariff barriers, and pointed to areas where new OECD work would help better inform this debate. Business also emphasized that governments should fully use the OECD Investment Restrictiveness Index and implement the Policy Framework for Investment.
On international tax policy, Business at OECD (BIAC) was present at the official signing ceremony for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures (MLI) to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which took place at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. The MLI opens the door to changes in the tax treaty process, and to a number of key international tax rules, that are significant. Concurrently, USCIB and the OECD were holding their 12th annual international tax conference in Washington DC, which brought together over 300 tax policy experts.