USCIB Washington Update, December 2017-January 2018

During the months of December 2017 and January 2018, USCIB Staff arranged for members to meet on CFIUS with Heath Tarbert, Treasury, and internet governance with Robert Strayer, State, issued the USCIB 2018 Trade and Investment Agenda, participated in a Senate Lobby Day on NAFTA, traveled to Montreal for the 6th round of NAFTA negotiations, led a meeting with USTR on OECD Accession issues for Colombia, submitted comments to a UK consultation on digital taxation, 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:

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
Innovation and Intellectual Property – Strengthening International Protections for U.S. IP
Health – Business Engagement for Balanced International Health and Nutrition Regulations
Membership
Upcoming Events
Staff List

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

Assistant Treasury Secretary Tarbert Briefs USCIB Trade Committee on CFIUS: On December 12, 2017, the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee met at the Citigroup Offices in Washington, D.C. The committee was joined by Heath P. Tarbert, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Markets and Development, who provided an off-the-record briefing for members on the work of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the proposed legislation in the Senate to reform the CFIUS process. Tarbert was joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Investment Security, Aimen N. Mir, who leads the interagency CFIUS process. Carol Doran Klein, USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel, then briefed the committee on the international provisions of the tax reform bills then in the House and Senate, and following this update, the committee was joined via conference call by Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Beatty gave his assessment of the state of the NAFTA negotiations and the perspective of the Canadian businesses community and government. Finally, Tatjana Sachse, Counsel from Sidley Austin’s Geneva office, called in to the meeting and provided a report directly from Buenos Aries on the latest at the WTO Ministerial.

USCIB Spells Out Priorities for U.S. Trade and Investment Policy: In January USCIB issued its 2018 Trade and Investment Agenda outlining our policy priorities for the year. The Agenda highlights USCIB’s commitment to a global rules-based trade and investment system that opens international markets. Other key principles include support for strong enforcement of existing U.S. trade pacts, pursuing new trade and investment agreements, and ensuring strong investment protections. The Agenda stresses the importance of U.S. engagement and leadership in creating and enforcing rules for international trade and investment. It also emphasizes the need for policies to improve U.S. competitiveness such as preparing U.S. workers to compete and succeed in the 21st century economy. The Agenda has been shared with the White House, USTR and the lead Congressional trade staff.

Hampl Advocates on NAFTA in Montreal: The 6th round of NAFTA negotiations took place in Montreal starting on January 21, with a concluding Ministerial on Monday, January 29, 2018. Eva Hampl, USCIB Director, Investment, Trade and Financial services, traveled to Canada for the round, and together with member companies and associations, met with negotiators from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as congressional staff, Republican and Democratic members of congress, and members of the Canadian and Mexican business community. In his Closing Statement, Amb. Lighthizer acknowledged that some progress has been made, but that it is slow. Importantly, he noted that the United States is committed to moving forward with negotiations. The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in Mexico City from February 26 to March 6.  In line with Amb. Lighthizer’s remarks, the feeling on the ground during the week was one of progress and proceeding in a workmanlike and constructive manner. The four “poison pill” proposals, as they have been called (automotive rules of origin, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), government procurement, and sunset provision) remain contentious, though Canada and Mexico have presented new and creative ideas in an attempt to work within the U.S. proposals. Of particular concern is the U.S. proposal on the ISDS provision and dispute settlement more generally in the agreement. USCIB will continue to engage on these important issues and advocate for priority issues of our members.

USCIB Lobbies the Senate on NAFTA: On January 17, 2018, USCIB participated in a Senate Lobby Day on the Hill, speaking with a range of Republican and Democratic offices. Eva Hampl participated on behalf of USCIB. Following two successful lobby days in the fall, in the House and Senate respectively, these January meetings were organized in the leadup to the 6th round of NAFTA negotiations that took place in Montreal the week of January 21. Throughout the day, about 150 members of the NAFTA Coalition met with as many Senate offices as possible, raising our issues of concern. The Coalition emphasized the outstanding issues regarding the problematic proposals of a sunset clause, investor-state dispute settlement, automotive rules of origin, and government procurement. We also made the point that there are many chapters that are making progress, including customs and digital trade, which are vital for business and should get closed out as soon as possible.

USCIB Leads USTR Meeting on OECD Accession for Colombia and Plans for Future Accessions: Mid-January, Eva Hampl led a group of companies and associations in a meeting with USTR to discuss OECD Accession issues for Colombia. On the USTR side the meeting included Cara Morrow, ‎Deputy Assistant USTR for WTO and Multilateral Affairs, Leslie O’Connor, Deputy Assistant USTR for Central America and the Dominican Republic, Joe Whitlock, USTR Senior Director for Innovation and Intellectual Property, and Zoe Sophos USTR Deputy Director for WTO and Multilateral Affairs. The meeting served as a follow up to the November meetings of the OECD Trade Committee, where Colombia accession was discussed. Significant issues remain and Colombia is required to continue to make further changes before being able to accede to the OECD. USCIB will continue to strongly advocate on the outstanding issues for our companies. It is important that Colombia is only permitted to accede when all high OECD standards have been met, particularly with other countries in discussions of starting the accession process. The applicant countries are Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia. To ensure that business views are appropriately represented in the process, Business at OECD (BIAC) has issued a statement outlining a process for input, noting in part that a commitment to open markets should guide any decision to the opening of accession negotiations, and the accession process should encourage countries to improve their business environment and engage in the necessary reforms.

USCIB and State Department Consulting on Next Generation of OECD Accession Candidates: Rob Mulligan, USCIB Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, led a USCIB staff team in an early January session with the State Department’s team managing U.S. relations with the OECD to compare notes on assessments and priorities among the six new countries seeking to get invited into the formal queue for accession into OECD membership. With three Latin countries (Argentina, Brazil, and Peru) and three EU members (Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania) putting their candidacies forward, some complications arise, including each applicant’s willingness and ability to meet the OECD standards and conditions for membership, the extent of true “like-mindedness” of each candidate, and the balance between European and non-European members in the OECD. Once a country gets into the queue, it then must pass muster in rigorous reviews by dozens of OECD committees and working groups; a process that usually takes several years. Much of the attention at this point is focused on Brazil, a major global player but, unfortunately, one currently far from OECD standards on laws, regulations and policies in key areas. The good news is that USCIB is in an active dialogue with the U.S. Government and we seem to be on the same wavelength.

USCIB Advocates for Open Investment Climate in CFIUS Reform Discussions: In November of last year, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), together with the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), the legislation intended to modernize and strengthen the process of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Since then, USCIB and our members have been carefully reviewing the legislation, as it raises several concerns as to scope. In addition to continued dialogue with other associations concerned about FIRRMA, USCIB is in the process of finalizing Policy Pillars on the legislation, outlining the general view that CFIUS plays a very important role, but that any legislation must remain focused on national security review only, and that any expansion in scope is carefully calibrated so as not to hamper U.S. innovation and development. Several hearings have already been held on the subject, so the process is moving forward. USCIB plans on remaining very engaged on CFIUS reform, to ensure that the U.S. retains the open investment environment that has enabled our companies to grow and thrive over the years.

USCIB Reviews OECD Investment Issues with State Department: USCIB staffers Shaun Donnelly, Vice President, Investment and Financial Services, and Eva Hampl met in mid-December with Michael Tracton, Director of the Office of Investment Affairs (OIA) in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs to review OECD investment policy issues and to seek U.S. Government support for greater business community input and participation in OECD investment policy work. Mike Tracton heads the U.S. Government delegation to the OECD Investment Committee meetings and is a member of the Committee leadership “Bureau.” USCIB and the broader Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) international business group at the OECD have long been seeking to open up more of the OECD Investment Committee’s closed-door session to BIAC and other official stakeholders. Mike Tracton and the U.S. Government are supporting that effort. Shaun Donnelly will represent USCIB at the upcoming March Investment Committee meetings where we will continue to advocate for strong investment agreements, including investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”) provisions to ensure investor rights can be enforced.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

USCIB Members Engage with U.S. Government Officials on OECD Digital Economy Program Priorities, 2019-2020: On December 11, 2017, USCIB hosted a meeting to enable members to engage with relevant staff from the State Department, Commerce Department, Federal Communications Commission, and Federal Trade Commission on the OECD’s digital economy program priorities for 2019-2020. The informal, off-the-record session featured an exchange of views on substantive elements of the projects proposed by the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy for the upcoming work period as well as research methodology.

State Department Invites Discussion about 2018 Challenges/Opportunities in Internet Governance: On December 13, 2017, Robert Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy, State Department, was the featured speaker at the 4th quarter meeting of the ICT Policy Committee. He explored the 2018 internet governance landscape, a discussion that featured extensive discussion about the importance of ensuring that the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) remains a viable multistakeholder platform for non-binding discussions about a broad array of Internet-related issues. Discussions also reflected a convergence of views concerning priorities for the 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary, which will be held October 29-November 16, 2018 in Dubai, UAE. In addition, USCIB members provided important updates on the following topics: (1) Ellen Blackler (Disney) and Rich Clarke (AT&T) debriefed on the outcomes and implications of the November 2017 meetings of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties; and (2) Keith Drazek and David McAuley (VeriSign), Denise Michel (Facebook), and Chris Wilson (Amazon) examined key issues addressed at ICANN 60 such as the contractual compliance challenges posed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Board’s suspension of an important community-driven security review, the wrap up of Enhancing ICANN Accountability Workstream 2, and Amazon’s application for the .amazon top-level domain name. Chair Eric Loeb concluded the meeting with a review of the committee’s 2018 Goals and Objectives.

USCIB Advocates Bridging the Gender Digital Divide through Multistakeholder Processes: On December 15, 2017, USCIB submitted comments as part of the open consultation convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Council Working Group on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues (CWG-Internet) on the topic of “Bridging the Digital Gender Divide.” USCIB underscored that no one organization can tackle this problem alone; partnerships are critical, between the public and private sectors, business and non-profits, intergovernmental organizations, and between local and national governments. USCIB further highlighted the effectiveness of using multistakeholder processes to bridge the gender digital divide.

USCIB Members Offer Insights into Opportunities and Challenges of Digital Transformation and the IGF’s Role: USCIB members from Amazon, AT&T, BT Americas, Cisco, Comcast NBCUniversal, Facebook, Fenwick & West, Google, Intel, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, VeriSign, Verizon, and Wiley Rein, among others, participated in the 12th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), December 18-22, 2017, Geneva, Switzerland. These member representatives and USCIB’s Barbara Wanner, Vice President, ICT Policy, made important contributions on digital trade, artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), and bridging the gender and youth digital divide. In addition, the OECD’s Going Digital project was featured in a special session, which enabled USCIB members to reiterate points of support and concern offered by BIAC at the November 2017 meeting of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP). name=”ICT_European-Commission-Tax-Digitalized-Economy”>

USCIB Bids Farewell to Key EU Digital Economy Officer and Welcomes his Successor: USCIB hosted a special get-together January 17, 2018 to bid farewell and express appreciation to Andrea Glorioso, Digital Economy Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to the USA, for his openness to working with U.S. business during his nearly four-year term in the Washington office. Members, in turn, welcomed Glorioso’s successor, Peter Fatelnig. The informal gathering featured discussion about current issues in U.S.-EU relations and areas of cooperation – and challenge – going forward.

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

USCIB Submits Comments in Response to European Commission Consultation on the Tax Challenges of the Digitalized Economy: In response to a request for input The taxation of the digital economy will be the main issue addressed internationally this year. The UK has issued two position papers (one on the digital economy and the other on royalties withholding) USCIB submitted a response to the consultation on the digital economy and will submit a response to consultation on royalties, which is due shortly. There is enormous pressure within the EU and elsewhere to come up with new rules for taxing the digital economy. Many countries feel the need to increase the share of the income that is taxable in the market economy, regardless of whether there is a traditional presence in the market economy. USCIB will participate in this debate and attempt to ensure that U.S. business views are fully represented.

USCIB Submits Comments on Section 965: The USCIB Tax Committee submitted a letter to the Treasury concerning the implementation of new section 965. The letter focused on the distinction between cash and non-cash assets and the possibility of double counting and ways to avoid double counting. USCIB will be holding a Tax Committee meeting on February 22, 2018. The taxation of the digital economy and the new tax law will be a focus of that meeting.

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

USCIB Customs Leadership Meets with New CBP Trade Relations Director: On January 31, 2017, Megan Giblin, USCIB Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation, and Jerry Cook, Hanesbrands and USCIB Customs Committee Chair, had a meet and great with U.S. CBP Office of Trade Executive Director, Bradley Hayes. The meeting covered USCIB Customs Committee issues and interests, as well as follow-up on key priority issues discussed in the USCIB’s 2017 meeting with then Acting Commissioner McAleenan such as e-commerce, customs valuation, and forced labor. We look forward to continuing our close partnership with CBP.

Giblin Talks APEC Customs Work with USTR, USAID: On January 12 and 17, 2018, Megan Giblin met with USTR APEC and USAID APEC representatives to discuss USCIB engagement on Customs and Trade Facilitation issues. These included the Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2), specific issues of interest and possible event topics for APEC 2018 events hosted by Papua New Guinea, as well as industry engagement efforts focused on Customs and Trade Facilitation topics.

Colombian Embassy Officials Hear from USCIB Customs Committee Members: On November 30, 2017, USCIB Customs Committee Members met with Colombian Embassy representatives to discuss Colombia’s domestic TFA ratification status, customs valuation concerns, as well as other non-tariff barriers faced at, or in relation to, the Customs border. Future meetings with Colombian Customs and Customs attachés will build on these discussions in efforts to resolve USCIB member concerns.

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

USCIB Participates in ICC Intellectual Property Commission Meeting: Mike Michener, USCIB Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation, participated in the most recent ICC IP Commission meeting in Geneva that was held at the offices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Senior officials from WIPO and the WTO made presentations on developments and activities in areas of interest to business, such as copyright, enforcement, trademarks, designs and GIs, patents, genetic resources and traditional knowledge, WIPO projects on intangibles in global value chains, databases, medicines and climate change, and IP-related developments in the WTO. The Commission will closely monitor developments in the draft Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments and evaluate what action ICC should take at the next commission meeting in March, after studying The Hague Secretariat report on the possible consequences of various options, expected shortly before the meeting.

Health – Business Engagement for Balanced International Health and Nutrition Regulations

USCIB Highlights Critical Role of Private Sector in Medical Innovation: In December, 2017, USCIB participated in the OECD Health Committee, which discussed among other issues OECD work exploring Sustainable Access to Innovative Therapies. BIAC Health Committee Chair Nicole Denjoy emphasized the role of business as a key stakeholder in this debate, and Vice Chair Thomas Cueni highlighted the critical importance of adopting a holistic system-wide approach. Business at OECD (BIAC) contributed to this OECD project during stakeholder consultations in December 2016, and May and June 2017, and has also contributed to the report through substantive empirical evidence. Ali Karami Ruiz, BIAC Director for Policy, Communications, and International Affairs,showcased business contributions towards health literacy efforts in the context of OECD efforts in this field. USCIB’s Michael Michener, PhRMA’s Kevin Haninger, and IFPMA’s Andrew Jenner were also part of the Business at OECD (BIAC) delegation.

Membership

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed FMC Corporation as a new member.

Upcoming Events:

  • BIAC/OECD Meeting of Chemicals Committee, Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotech, Paris, France – February 5-7
  • USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – February 13
  • USCIB Digital Trade Working Group Meeting, Washington, D.C. – February 13
  • USCIB Tax Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – February 22
  • APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea February 26-March 2
  • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – March 6
  • ICANN 61, San Juan, Puerta Rico – March 10-15
  • WSIS Forum, Geneva, Switzerland – March 19-23
  • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – March 26
  • UNCTAD E-Commerce Week, Geneva, Switzerland – April 16-20
  • ICC Digital Economy Commission (ICC-DEC) Meeting, Paris, France – April 19-20
  • USCIB Geneva Week, Geneva, Switzerland – April 23-26
  • 2018 OECD International Tax Conference, Washington, D.C. – June 4-5

 

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 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

Top

2017 USCIB International Leadership Award Dinner

USCIB is delighted to honor Ajay Banga, president and chief executive officer of MasterCard. 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!

APEC CEO Summit

APEC CEO Summit, November 8-10, Da Nang, Vietnam

The APEC CEO Summit provides an opportunity for business leaders in the Asia-Pacific to engage in discussions with APEC Economic Leaders, policy makers, academia and other CEOs on issues facing the region. The Summit an example of APEC’s efforts to promote public-private sector dialogue and cooperation. USCIB’s CEO and President Peter Robinson will attend the CEO Summit, accompanied by Mike Michener, USCIB’s Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation.

Participation in the CEO Summit is by invitation only. If you would like to attend, please see here.

USCIB Gears Up for APEC CEO Summit in Vietnam

This week, USCIB’s Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Da Nang, Viet Nam, as a business delegate and representative of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.

Organized under the leadership of the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC), USCIB will be joining other Coalition and NCAPEC members on the ground, including CEOs and executives from USCIB member companies. NCAPEC serves as the designated 2017 U.S. Strategic Partner for the CEO Summit, Secretariat to the U.S. members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and as Chair and Secretariat of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.

Throughout 2017, USCIB has addressed a number of issues through APEC to advance discussions across a range of issue. These include chemicals regulation, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, and digital trade. USCIB 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 Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup.

In Da Nang, Michener will meet with USCIB members, leaders from APEC economies and representatives of intergovernmental organizations to discuss member companies’ APEC priorities and USCIB’s work. They look forward to hearing from USCIB members in Da Nang, in addition to joining with Coalition partners, to advance common objectives.

“USCIB appreciates the numerous committed partnerships that APEC has established with the private sector,” said Michener. “These partnerships are addressing many economic opportunities, particularly on trade and regulatory issues, that will help foster greater economic integration among APEC’s twenty-one member economies.”

The upcoming APEC meetings in Da Nang include, in addition to the CEO Summit, the Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting, Fourth APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Meeting, APEC Ministerial Meeting and APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. USCIB has collected priority issues from its membership for 2018, and will have the USCIB 2018 APEC Priorities and Recommendations Paper available in Da Nang.

APEC Working Group

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Staff

Michael Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

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

Who We Are

The USCIB APEC Working Group is composed of USCIB member companies representing a range of business and industry sectors. Advocacy priorities are determined by consensus among the members.

Mission

The USCIB APEC Working Group supports our members’ interests within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and welcomes the committed partnerships that APEC has established with the private sector to engage with participatory economies in addressing the complex economic issues that face the region.

Why This Matters

APEC is comprised of 21 member economies, which account for approximately 40 percent of the world’s population, over 50 percent of the world’s total GDP and half of the world’s trade.

It is the top economic forum in the region that actively encourages economic growth, regional cooperation and trade and investment.

USCIB At Work

The USCIB APEC Working Group convenes issue specific events and meetings with high-level government officials to discuss member priorities and APEC meetings and outcomes. The Working Group produces an annual report on member priorities in the lead up to each APEC host year, and facilitates business input into APEC through four main channels:

  • U.S. APEC Business Coalition
  • APEC Business Advisory Council (through the National Center for APEC — NCAPEC)
  • International Chamber of Commerce
  • U.S. Government

USCIB is a partner organization within the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition (coordinated by NCAPEC), which includes a number of trade associations with a direct interest in APEC and in supporting U.S. business priorities.

Current Priorities

Through these channels, USCIB advocates for policies which encourage APEC economies to maintain an open trade and investment environment and eliminate non-tariff barriers across borders.

The Working Group collaborates with other USCIB committees on areas of USCIB priority and expertise within APEC, including:

  • Chemicals;
  • Electronic Commerce;
  • Customs;
  • Marketing and Advertising; and
  • Global Value Chains.

Positions and Statements

USCIB 2016 APEC Priority Issues and Recommendations (2/23/2016) - USCIB's APEC priorities reflect our objectives of promoting open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility.
USCIB Gears Up for APEC Summit With Business Priorities (10/31/2014) - More: Boost for APEC Agenda on Marketing The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum comprised of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. In the lead-up to APEC’s November meetings in Beijing, which will close out China’s host year, USCIB welcomes the committed partnerships that APEC sustained […]

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News Stories

USCIB Gears Up for APEC CEO Summit in Vietnam (11/6/2017) - This week, USCIB’s Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Da Nang, Viet Nam, as a business delegate and representative of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.
USCIB Urges Administration to Maintain Leadership on Trade (1/23/2017) - Following President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, USCIB urged the administration to maintain economic and strategic leadership.

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Press Releases

USCIB Welcomes Michael Michener as Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation (2/21/2017) - The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced that Michael Michener, a former administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service who has also served as a U.S. trade diplomat and association executive, has joined USCIB’s staff as vice president of product policy and innovation.
USCIB Urges Administration to Maintain Leadership on Trade (1/23/2017) - Following President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, USCIB urged the administration to maintain economic and strategic leadership.

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USCIB Welcomes Michael Michener as Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation

New York, N.Y., February 21, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced that Michael Michener, a former administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service who has also served as a U.S. trade diplomat and association executive, has joined USCIB’s staff as vice president of product policy and innovation.

Working out of USCIB’s Washington, D.C. office, Michener will lead the organization’s policy work on chemicals, health, food, agriculture and intellectual property. He will also coordinate USCIB’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

“Mike brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to USCIB, especially his background in working with international organizations, that will contribute greatly to our efforts on behalf of members,” said Rob Mulligan, USCIB’s senior vice president for policy and government relations. “We are excited to have him join our team at a time when the policy and regulatory challenges facing American companies are complex and growing.”

Michener most recently served in Brussels as director of multilateral relations for CropLife International, representing the association before a range of international organizations – including the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the UN Environment Program and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – on issues related to crop protection products and agriculture biotechnology.

Previously Michener served with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in two different roles. First, as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, he managed 1,100 employees and an annual operating budget of $300 million.  Then, as minister counselor at the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, he served as the special representative of the U.S. secretary of agriculture to UN bodies dealing with food and agricultural issues.

Michener has also worked with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Agency for International Development, and he served with the United States Army for seven years in Europe. Michener earned a master’s degree in public administration from Bowie State University and a bachelor’s degree East European studies from the University of Maryland.

About USCIB:

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence.  Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world.

With a unique global network encompassing the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Gears Up For APEC Meetings in Vietnam

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) continues to be a priority forum for USCIB as the region is key to accelerating regional economic integration as well as promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth. To aid private sector engagement, USCIB works with the U.S. APEC business coalition to meet with APEC officials and participate in APEC meetings throughout the year, culminating in the APEC CEO Summit, a meeting of CEOs and leaders from the APEC economies.

USCIB has compiled its annual priority issues and recommendations paper, which focuses on ICT, chemicals and customs, which can be found here. The paper will also be circulated by NCAPEC at the Executive Roundtable in advance of SOM I.

Megan Giblin, USCIB’s director of customs and trade facilitation will be attending the first APEC Senior Officials Meeting and related meetings (SOM I) in Nha Trang, Viet Nam, held February 18 – March 3. Giblin will participate in the Subcommittee on Customs Procedures meetings, under her role as co-chair for the Customs Virtual Working Group, the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) meetings, and several Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECGS) meetings.

Giblin will also continue advocacy work initiated in APEC 2016 related to WTO TFA. Giblin noted that “TFA implementation efforts, establishing and fostering relationships with Customs officials from APEC economies and identifying linkages to the work underway within the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee are critical. USCIB is interested in securing tangible and measured outcomes tied to TFA articles for all member economies during Viet Nam’s host year.”

American Petroleum Institute (API), a USCIB member, will participate in the APEC Chemical Dialogue to continue supporting consistent implementation of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), which was created by the United Nations, across the Asia Pacific region. API encourages the Chemical Dialogue to build on the GHS capacity building event held at SOM III in Lima, Peru to promote efforts to reduce divergences in implementation of GHS. The Lima workshop ultimately agreed on several outcomes and recommendations for further work within the CD to build understanding of, and address divergences in. These recommendations include capacity building for UN GHS building blocks, capacity building regarding identification and classification of key products, determining best practices between different versions of GHS, and training on how adoption of the GHS in different sectors could result in various outcomes.

Several USCIB members will also be participating in the Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) and the Data Privacy Subgroup (DPS) meetings at SOM I. At the meetings, there will likely be continued promotion of APEC participation in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules System (CBPR), particularly further discussion about plans by South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, and other interested APEC economies to join the CBPR. There will be a continued review of the APEC Privacy Framework, aimed at improving and refining the framework, which is over a decade old. Importantly, the ECSG will consider a draft Strategic Plan to be tabled by the U.S. Government. The plan will outline four priorities: (1) promoting cross-border data flows; (2) enhancing SME competitiveness globally; (3) increasing connectivity of APEC economies; and (4) improving infrastructure through advanced technologies.

USCIB looks forward to working with members and NCAPEC at SOM I and throughout the year.

USCIB Urges Administration to Maintain Leadership on Trade

Harbor_tradeNew York, N.Y., January 23, 2017Peter M. Robinson, president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

“While we are disappointed that the United States will not take part in this ambitious and market-opening agreement, we hope this move sets the stage for future trade agreements that build upon the best in the TPP.

“As we noted in USCIB’s American Competitiveness Agenda 2017, which was released earlier today, the Asia-Pacific region is a very important market for U.S. business and the jobs they support. By 2030, two-thirds of all middle-class consumers in the world will be in Asia, so the area continues to be key to the future growth of many U.S. companies and their SME suppliers. We will work with Congress and the Administration to determine the best ways to further open markets in the Asia-Pacific region to U.S. goods and services, including by carrying forward key provisions from TPP.

“Maintaining U.S. leadership in the region should be a strategic priority. Trade relationships provide economic security but also important national security benefits. Letting other nations – including some with very different economic systems and priorities – write the rules in this fast-growing region would be a mistake. Moreover, some of our most important trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region have already ratified TPP or are continuing to undertake reforms consistent with the agreement.

“We encourage the Trump Administration to move quickly in pursuing its plan for the region, both to help American companies and workers compete, and to ensure that regional trade rules are not driven by others. We look forward to working with the Administration in support of these objectives.”

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

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

Business Supports Expansion of APEC Privacy Rules

Global Communications. 3D rendering.

Eight major business groups — including USCIB, Japan’s Keidanren and ICC Mexico — released a joint statement calling on all Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies to expand participation in the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. An important priority for USCIB, the CBPR is a high-standard and enforceable privacy code of conduct that facilitates cross-border trade and ensures strong privacy protection of personal information. The statement commended the work done by policy makers in promoting the CBPR system, and urged the 21 APEC economies to commit to the system during 2017.

CBPRs are based on the internationally respected APEC Privacy Framework and endorsed by APEC Leaders since 2011. They are an interoperable, enforceable, and high-standard privacy code of conduct that facilitates cross-border trade of goods and services and ensures that strong privacy protection will follow personal information across the Asia-Pacific region. By creating a certification system that bridges the privacy regimes of each participating economy in a cost-effective and scalable way, the CBPRs allow participating companies to focus their time and resources on innovating, serving customers, and pursuing their business objectives.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson attended the annual APEC CEO summit and various side events alongside USCIB Vice President Helen Medina. Robinson featured the joint statement in his meetings with US government officials, as well as other APEC government representatives on the sidelines of the recent APEC Leaders meeting in Lima, Peru. “We applaud the support that APEC Leaders and Ministers have demonstrated towards expanding participation in the CBPRs. We believe this reaffirms both APEC’s recognition of the importance of data flows to trade and investment in the region and its commitment to building bridges between national privacy regulatory regimes. We see great potential for the CBPRs to serve as a platform for a truly global system of interoperable and robust privacy protection,” noted Robinson. USCIB members certified under the CBPR include Apple Inc., Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., IBM, and Merck and Co., Inc.

The CBPRs signal to governments in the Asia-Pacific and in other parts of the world that mutual cooperation between like-minded economies can serve as a rational, effective international approach to high-standard privacy and data protection, without requiring data to be stored, managed, or otherwise processed locally or prohibiting data transfers to other markets.

The next meeting of APEC’s Data Privacy Subgroup, which developed the CBPR framework and continues to oversee its implementation, will be held in 2017 in Vietnam. USCIB will work with APEC member economies to support these commitments and raise awareness with officials and stakeholders on the benefits of CBPRs, increasing participation and helping APEC economies set the standard for how to do privacy right globally.