USCIB Washington Update: May – June, 2019

During the months of May and June 2019, USCIB Staff met with Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means Minority Chief Trade Counsel, Christa Brzozwski, DHS, Nick Gardner, US Dairy Export Council, and Martin Kreienbaum, German Federal Ministry of Finance, issued recommendations on the WTO e-Commerce negotiations, hosted the 14th Annual OECD International Tax Conference, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last three 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
  1. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
  1. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
  1. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
  1. Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT
  1. Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
  1. China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

  1. Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment
  1. Membership
  2. Upcoming Events
  3. Staff List

 Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment 

Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means, Briefs USCIB Trade Committee: At the June 20 meeting of the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee members received a briefing from Angela Ellard, Minority Chief Trade Counsel, House Ways & Means Committee. She shared her immediate impressions of Ambassador Lighthizer’s hearing the day prior, indicated that USMCA is a top priority and responded to questions on a range of other trade issues. This was followed by a briefing from Nick Ashton Hart of the Digital Trade Network, who called into the meeting directly after the conclusion of the WTO E-Commerce negotiations in Geneva. The most recent round of negotiations took place from June 18-20. Nick was able to provide an in depth, off-the-record briefing on the negotiations as the only business representative present in the room for the negotiations.

USCIB Statement on WTO e-Commerce Negotiations: In early June, USCIB issued Recommendations on the WTO e-Commerce negotiations, reflecting member priorities and goals for the negotiations, which had their first round in May. At the December 2017 WTO ministerial in Buenos Aires, 71 countries agreed to begin discussing new global rules to facilitate the expansion of the digital economy. The negotiations were formally launched in January with a joint statement by 76 countries, including the United States, in Davos at the World Economic Forum. As of the most recent round, the joint statement initiative now includes 78 WTO members, representing 90% of global trade. USCIB encouraged negotiators to focus on trade facilitation, services, digital trade, and transparency and trust. In addition to this paper, USCIB is actively engaging in the negotiations in Geneva via various efforts, including the Digital Trade Network and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Robinson on the Road (1): OECD and “Business at OECD” Annual High-Level Sessions: USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was one of the leaders of the Business at OECD (BIAC) delegation participating in the OECD’s annual Ministerial session in Paris May 22-23. Peter also attended the OECD’s pre-Ministerial Forum and was able to have a series of bilateral meetings with senior government representatives from the U.S. and other OECD countries, senior OECD officials including Secretary General Gurria and the newly-appointed Deputy Secretary General from the U.S., Jeffrey Schlagenhauf. Peter also attended, along with Business at OECD Vice Chair Rick Johnston (Citi), the annual BIAC General Assembly of its 30 national committees members and the 5th annual B20/G20/BIAC/OECD dialogue session ahead of the June G20 Osaka Summit, an opportunity for business to share recommendations to the G20 leaders and Sherpas.

Robinson on the Road (2): ICC High-Level Meetings: The following week, May 28-29, in Paris Peter Robinson shifted into International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) mode, representing USCIB at the ICC’s “Permanent Heads” meeting (i.e. Peter’s National Committee head counterparts from around ICC’s broad global network) and the ICC “World Council”. A special “Knowledge Solutions” session was held, at which ICC Secretary General John Denton and his leadership team laid out their vision, priorities, and structure for the organization, and which also included leadership representatives from some of ICC’s policy Commissions. A special ICC Centenary Summit was held to mark ICC’s 100th year, which was addressed by senior governmental and intergovernmental officials and at which previous ICC Chairmen and Secretaries-General were present.

Robinson on the Road (3): Geneva and London – ILO Leadership and Partnership with ICC-UK: after a short break at home, Peter was off to Geneva to participate, June 17-18, along with USCIB Vice President Gabriella Rigg Herzog, Senior Counsels Ronnie Goldberg and Tom Mackall, and several USCIB member company representatives in events at and around the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) ten-day centennial International Labor Conference. While in Geneva, Peter attended the Presidents Forum of the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and was a featured panelist, along with ILO DG Guy Ryder, WTO DG Roberto Azevedo, World Bank SVP Mahmoud Mohieldin, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos, ITUC DG Sharan Burrow and others at an ILO event on “Multilateralism for an Equitable Future of Work.” Peter was also able to have a series of very useful informal bi-laterals with key government and international organization leaders. Peter then stopped in London on his way home, joining a panel at ICC-UK’s annual general meeting, presenting USCIB views on the future of the WTO, the multilateral trading system, and the just-launched WTO e-commerce negotiations. Peter also was invited to join and speak to ICC-UK’s Board meeting about current USCIB/ICC-USA priorities.

Hampl Discusses China and USMCA at Investor Conference: USCIB Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, Eva Hampl, spoke on a panel entitled Trade & Tariffs – Today & Tomorrow at the annual MLP & Energy Infrastructure Conference (MEIC 2019) in Las Vegas, May 14-16. The panel, which also included Colin Bird from the Embassy of Canada and Karen Antebi from the Embassy of Mexico, provided a macro perspective on current trade issues. The discussion focused on various issues surrounding China, the importance of the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico and Canada, including the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), and other trade issues.

Donnelly Meets with Swiss Government Official: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly met May 14 with visiting senior Swiss Government official, Phillippe Nell, Director for the Americas in the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (“SECO”), to exchange views on a range of bilateral and global trade and economic issues, including WTO reform, China, new U.S. national security review procedures for incoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and possibilities for a U.S. – Switzerland trade agreement.

USCIB Board of Directors Focuses on Trade Policy Developments: USCIB’s Board of Directors at its Spring meeting in New York City on May 15, had a wide-ranging discussion of key trade issues. The Board focused on issues including “section 232” national security reviews of imported steel, aluminum, and automobiles; prospects for congressional approval of the U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA); U.S.-China trade tensions; as well as WTO priorities, negotiation of an e-commerce agreement and institutional reform of the WTO. The Board endorsed the leadership role and the strong policy positions USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee have been articulating.

USCIB Leading Business Voice on UNCITRAL Negotiations on Investment Agreement “Reform”: USCIB staff members have been meeting regularly with U.S. government investment negotiators and lawyers participating in the negotiations under the auspices of the UN’s Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group 3. Those discussions of possible revisions to the vast network of 3000+ Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) as well as investment chapters in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) around the world are zeroing in on key enforcement details, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement “ISDS” provisions. On April 29, USCIB staff met with the key US negotiators from the State Department and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to review developments. On May 23, USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly was a rare business participant amidst a sea of lawyers in the discussion of the UNCITRAL negotiations at the open public meeting of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law. USCIB is continuing to urge the U.S. Government and other participants to maintain strong substantive investment protections as well as enforcement provisions.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

 USCIB Members Shape Launch of OECD Review of 2013 Privacy Guidelines, Advance Work on Security, Data Governance, & Communications Issues: Business should assume responsibility for the privacy of data through its life cycle by conducting rigorous and documented risk assessments and mitigation, ensuring transparency through both internal and external audits, continually monitoring and testing to prevent gaps, and generally going above and beyond what is required by law. This was an important message delivered USCIB members who participated in a special OECD workshop on May 6 aimed at a advancing the mandated five-year review of the 2013 OECD Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (the “Privacy Guidelines”). The May 6-7 meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) Working Party Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE), also moved forward work focused on revising an OECD Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online, developing principles for access to and sharing of data, advancing the Global Forum for Digital Security for Prosperity, and adopting the draft Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence. AT&T provided a critical review of the OECD’s work on bundled communication price baskets, which was considered at the May 7 meeting of the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP).

USCIB Convenes Meeting with Co-Director of the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation Secretariat: USCIB convened a private, luncheon discussion on June 13 with Ambassador Amandeep Gill, Co-Director of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) Secretariat. The meeting was especially timely since the HLPDC report, The Age of Digital Interdependence, was hot off the press having been issued on June 10. USCIB members reiterated key points in our November 2018 and January 2019 submissions, urging a “holistic approach” to digital policy that went beyond use of digital technologies by the information, communications, and technology (ICT) sector, and considered how ICTs can serve as enablers for innovations across all sectors, such as in healthcare, education, finance, and energy, to name a few. Members cautioned against creating duplicative Internet governance mechanisms, urged increased resources to support the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and encouraged the HLPDC to integrate the OECD’s work on Artificial Intelligence and digital transformation as well as draw upon initiatives of standards organizations, such as the IEEE.

USCIB Engages with U.S. Department of Justice and State about International Initiatives Focused on Cybercrime and Cybersecurity: The June 13 meeting of the ICT Policy Committee featured discussions with Department of Justice officials about efforts currently underway to negotiate an additional protocol to the so-called Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. The changes are aimed at bringing the Convention up to date with developments in the digital economy, improve on the current Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) approach, and generally expand international cooperation to pursue various computer crimes. An important over-arching theme was that cybercrime (e.g. fraud and other crimes involving computers) should not be conflated with cybersecurity, the latter of which centers on the protection of networks. Complementing the cybercrime discussion, USCIB members explored with key State Department officials the latest developments in the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications (GGE), which enjoys U.S. support. The GGE is structured to convene regular institutional dialogue on cybersecurity issues as well as bilateral and regional discussions that feed into the UN General Assembly. In the run-up to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, however, the Russian Government put forward a competing proposal for a cybersecurity-focused Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG). The U.S. Government abstained on grounds that the OEWG’s work likely will be strongly influenced by Russia’s support for mechanisms to censor online content. Nevertheless, the OEWG kicked off an organization meeting on June 3 and likely will proceed ahead of the GGE process. The State Department speaker informed USCIB members that stakeholders accredited by ECOSOC may participate in the OEWG as observers; the GGE is a multilateral process involving governments only.

USCIB Members Advocate for Timely Development of a GDPR-Compliant Uniform Access Model (UAM) for Nonpublic Registration Data at ICANN 65: ICANN 65’s policy-focused meeting wrapped up on June 27 in Marrakech, Morocco. Barbara Wanner, USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy, and members from AT&T, Amazon, BT, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, and VeriSign, joined participants from the multi-stakeholder community to address key policy issues in management of the domain name system. For the past year, USCIB members have been contributing actively to an Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) to develop a formal policy to ensure that ICANN and the industry of more than 1,000 generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries and registrars meet existing ICANN contractual requirements concerning the collection of and access to registration data as well as comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The EPDP’s Phase 1 Final Report was issued earlier this year, which contained 29 policy recommendations. USCIB members who participate in the ICANN’s Business and Intellectual Property Constituencies used the Marrakech meeting to underscore the importance of moving expeditiously in “Phase 2.” This phase will focus on designing a Uniform Access Model (UAM) to enable third-party access to non-public WHOIS data for legitimate law enforcement, consumer protection, brand management, and intellectual property (IP) protection purposes. Wanner serves on the Business Constituency’s Executive Committee.

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

USCIB Holds Successful Tax Conference with the OECD and Business at OECD: The fourteenth annual OECD/USCIB Tax Conference took place on June 3rd and 4th at the Four Seasons in Washington, DC. The conference focused on the taxation of the digitalizing economy and provided the first opportunity for business and governments to discuss the OECD’s work program. The conference also considered treaty issues and the tax implications of Brexit. Tax Committee Chair, Bill Sample, and Vice Chairs, Tim McDonald, Louise Weingrod, and Will Morris represented business views at the conference. Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s keynote remarks focused on ways to improve the tax capacity of emerging markets, which are expected to receive a growing share of global private-sector investment in the years ahead

Other panelists and speakers at this year’s conference included:

  • Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy & Administration
  • Martin Kreienbaum, director general for international taxation, German Ministry of Finance
  • Chip Harter, deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs, U.S. Treasury
  • Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and former finance minister of Nigeria
  • Doug O’Donnell, commissioner of the Large Business and International Division, IRS
  • Mike Williams, director of business and international tax, HM Treasury (UK).

USCIB Tax Committee Meets in Conjunction with OECD/USCIB Tax Conference: The USCIB Tax Committee met with Martin Kreienbaum, which afforded committee members a deep dive on some of the issues discussed at the Tax Conference. The committee also considered ways to provide input into the OECD work program and recent guidance on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Carol Doran Klein Represents Business Views at the Pacific Rim Tax Conference in Palo Alto: USCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein presented at the ninth annual Pacific Rim Tax Conference on Digital Economy Tax Issues, held May 9-10 in California. Doran Klein’s panel covered the ongoing work on taxation of the digitalizing economy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and the United Nations. The panel provided an overview of the background including Action 1 of the OECD’s Base-Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, digital services taxes and other unilateral interim measures, and the different options under consideration at the OECD.

USCIB Submits Comments to Regulators: USCIB submitted comments on proposed regulations on Foreign Derived Intangible Income and on draft UN transfer pricing guidance. The comments can be found under the recent accomplishments section of our web page.

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

USCIB and U.S. Chamber Hold WCO E-Commerce Industry Day Meeting: On May 21, 2019, USCIB members along with many U.S. government agency partners (CBP, DHS, USTR, State, Treasury), and non-member associations working on customs issues (IRU, US Fashion Industry Association, American Association of Importers and Exporters), came together to discuss the WCO E-Commerce Framework of Standards. The meeting was led by Christa Brzozwski of DHS, and Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Chair, Jerry Cook of Hanes brand. The goal of the meeting was to ensure that the USG have enough “industry” support for their positions going into the June Policy Commission Meeting and it was felt that this goal was achieved.

Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT

USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee Talks FTZ Legislation: On June 10, 2019, USCIB hosted Paul Massaro, Policy Advisor for the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Gary Kalman, Executive Director for the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition to discuss future FTZ legislation and the Corporate Transparency Act. Massaro explained how the Helsinki Commission has engaged and become a part of the US task force on illicit trade while Kalman elaborated on the international development of the FACT coalition within the illicit finance background. At the meeting, Megan Giblin and David Luna, Committee Chair, provided updates on AITC partnerships including possible FTZ workshop, meetings with State and APEC, as well as beginning discussions with ICC BASCAP.

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

USCIB Holds Joint Food and Agriculture and Health Care Committee Meeting: On June 5, 2019, Nick Gardner, Director, Codex and International Regulatory Affairs at the US Dairy Export Council, met with USCIB members to provide a detailed overview and insight into Codex Alimentarius and its involvement with food safety. Gardner emphasized the overarching issue with WHO and FAO jointly administering Codex, which poses several challenges, such as major trade implications and access to new markets/trade to existing markets. Additionally, at the meeting, Mike Michener discussed important upcoming events, including the ECOSOC High Level Political Forum (July 9-18) and the UN General Assembly (September, 17-30).

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

 USCIB Submits Comments on China Tariffs and Hampl Testifies: USCIB submitted comments on June 17 to the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the proposed modification to Section 301 regarding China’s policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. The submission expressed concern that proposed tariffs on essentially all Chinese imports will stifle the U.S. economy and will not achieve the Administration’s goal of changing China’s behavior. Eva Hampl, Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services testified on these issues before the Section 301 Committee on June 21 as part of a hearing spanning 7 days and with over 300 witnesses. USCIB also joined with the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Coalition, alongside 661 other companies and association, to send a letter to President Trump on June 13 urging the administration to negotiate a strong deal with China that addresses longstanding structural issues, improves U.S. global competitiveness and eliminates tariffs.

Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

USCIB Urges Reversal of 1-800 Contacts FTC Ruling: USCIB filed an amicus brief with regards to 1-800 Contacts, Inc. case to highlight the challenges American businesses would face under the recent Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decision’s approach to antitrust liability for trademark settlements, and explain the potential negative impacts the decision would have on businesses, consumers and competition if left to stand. Earlier this year, the FTC decided to impose antitrust liability against 1-800 Contacts, the largest online retailer of contact lenses in the U.S., on the basis that 1-800 Contacts’ settlements of trademark infringing lawsuits against at least fourteen competing online contact lens retailers restricted trade. Among other things, USCIB’s amicus argues that the Commission’s decision ignores the critical importance to business of intellectual property rights and its enforcement and would unfairly require the lawful exercise of such rights to a higher pro-competition standard.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Nissan North America, Expedia, Astellas, and American Express 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. In addition, the USCIB membership department and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson met with representatives from member companies AT&T and Intel Corporation.

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Palo Alto Networks as a new member.

Upcoming Events:

  • OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy, Paris, France – July 1-2
  • UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), New York, NY – July 9-18
  • USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting, Washington, DC – July 10
  • USCIB Foundation-IOE-Deloitte SDG Summit, New York, NY – July 17
  • US Customs & Border Protection 2019 Trade Symposium, Chicago, Illinois – July 23-24
  • Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA), Washington, DC – July 25
  • Meeting of APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup, Puerto Varas, Chile – August 18-21
  • Preparing for the Future of Work: A USCIB Foundation Dialogue, Washington, DC – September 5
  • 11th Annual Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia – September 12-13
  • World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – October 28-November 22
  • ICANN 66, Montreal, Canada – November 2-7
  • Meetings of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties, Paris France – November 18022
  • 14th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Berlin, Germany – November 25-29

 

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

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

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

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@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 Associate, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Daniella Goncalves
Assistant Policy and Program Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5083 or dgoncalves@uscib.org

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

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

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Associate, 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

Kendall Thibeadeau
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5095 or kthibeadeau@uscib.org

Ashley Harrington
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-682-5861 or aharrington@uscib.org

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

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

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

Top

USCIB Responds to US Tariff Escalation With China

In response to the recent escalation of tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China, USCIB submitted comments on June 17 to the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the proposed modification to Section 301 regarding China’s policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. USCIB members are concerned that proposed tariffs on essentially all Chinese imports will stifle the U.S. economy and will not achieve the Administration’s goal of changing China’s behavior.

Following this submission, USCIB’s China lead Eva Hampl is getting ready to testify at USTR on Friday, June 21. “While China’s forced technology transfer requirements, state interventions, and other unfair trade practices harm many U.S. companies, workers, consumers, and competitiveness, these tariffs can also similarly endanger the U.S. economy,” warns Hampl. “Specifically, this proposed list now includes categories of products that only impact U.S. companies, and not their global competitors. Ceding market share to competitors is not weakening the Chinese economy, it is merely weakening the U.S. market.”

USCIB also joined with Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, alongside 661 other companies and association, to send a letter to President Trump on June 13 urging the administration to negotiate a strong deal with China that addresses longstanding structural issues, improves U.S. global competitiveness and eliminates tariffs. “This goal can be achieved without taxing Americans,” the letter emphatically stated.

The letter also stated that “broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China’s unfair trade practices” and would “result in the loss of more than 2 million U.S. jobs, add more than $2,000 in costs for the average American family of four and reduce the vale of U.S. GDP by 1.0 percent.”

Business at OECD (BIAC) China Taskforce

The Business at OECD (BIAC) China Taskforce will meet on June 11-12, 2019 in Paris, France. The sessions will include:

  • Business at OECD Preparatory Meeting (June 11, 2019 | 3pm-6pm)
  • Seminar with OECD Informal Reflection Group on China (June 12, 2019 |10:30am-12:30pm)
  • Subscription lunch with chair of the OECD Informal Reflection Group on China (June 12, 2019 |following the seminar 12:30pm-3pm)

The Business at OECD China Task Force was created to provide a forum to discuss important issues surrounding China for business. China is not a member of the OECD, which provides the opportunity to develop rules with like-minded countries to address many of the concerns companies face doing business in China. The OECD Informal Reflection Group on China consists of Ambassadors from select countries interested in addressing these issues.

For more information, contact Chris Olsen (colsen@uscib.org).

Nobody Wins in Escalation of U.S.-China Trade Fight, Says USCIB

Washington, D.C., May 8, 2019 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, appealed to the United States and China to ratchet down their trade fight in the wake of President Trump‘s decision to increase duties on some $200 billion of Chinese exports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

“When the U.S. and China fight, nobody wins, as the past year’s market gyrations, lost deals, and strained diplomatic ties have made abundantly clear,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “American business continues to have major problems with China’s commercial policies, but we simply must find a way to tackle these that doesn’t turn our most competitive companies into collateral damage.”

Robinson continued: “The earlier rounds of tariffs, coupled with China’s retaliatory measures, are already a significant strain on U.S. consumers, and on the economy as a whole. This latest U.S. escalation, and the inevitable Chinese response will impose considerable additional strains on our exporters and on companies, workers and communities that rely on international trade to succeed.”

Robinson urged the Trump administration to work more closely with key U.S. trading partners and with the business community to address serious Chinese trade abuses, including referring U.S. complaints to the World Trade Organization.

“The U.S. has won some important victories, including against discriminatory Chinese practices and policies, in the WTO lately,” he noted. “We should use the multilateral platform as it was intended to be used, to defuse escalating trade tensions, and to end the uncertainty that is rattling markets and fraying the nerves of both business owners and consumers.”

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, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, 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 Not Bullish on Prospect of New China Tariffs

USCIB joined other members of the American for Free Trade coalition to issue a statement to President Trump in response to his announcement on May 3 to increase the China tariffs from 10 to 25 percent, representing a tariff total of $200 billion.

The statement highlighted key figures that indicated the enormous consequences the tariffs would have on the U.S. economy and consumers. According to the statement, not only would this increase result in a loss of nearly one million jobs, but current tariffs already burden consumers with $69 billion in added costs.

“For ten months, Americans have been paying the full cost of the trade war, not China,” read the statement, which referred to the 10 percent of tariffs imposed earlier this year. “To be clear, tariffs are taxes that Americans pay, and this sudden increase with little notice will only punish U.S. farmers, businesses and consumers.”

Eva Hampl, who leads USCIB’s work on China also emphasized: “The tariffs currently imposed on Chinese imports are already a significant strain on the U.S. economy and consumers. An increase on such a broad cross section of industries will exacerbate the negative effects to a degree that will be a significant challenge for companies.”

New OECD Reports Outlines Business Investment Contribution to SDGs

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recently published a report on “The Contribution of International Business Investment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” The report surveys the main type of financing behind business investment in developing countries, recent trends, an evaluation of the contribution of these flows to the SDGs, and prospects going forward.

The report highlights that multinational enterprises (MNEs) have become one of the most important actors for channeling investment to the developing countries. A relatively new actor providing financing for development is the State-Owned Enterprise (SOE). Furthermore, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is one of the primary vehicles that MNEs use to invest in foreign markets and a major component of foreign direct investment. M&A inflows in developing countries starting declining already in 2012.

An increasingly important source of international investment into developing countries is China; in 2017 China doubled its M&A in developing countries to $25 billion, making it their top resource of international M&A (ahead of Japan and the US). Meanwhile, private flows align naturally with the SDGs in the area of infrastructure: SDG 6, which focuses on clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy, SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, and SDG 10 which aims to reduce inequalities.

“The report calls to action for improving the global rules for trade and investment, pursuing domestic policy reform agenda to improve business climates, and addressing new areas of regulatory co-operation,” observed USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl.

The OECD will be organizing a round table on investment and sustainable development on October 23, 2019, as part of the next OECD Investment Week.

USCIB Joins Coalition in Urging Specific US Government Action on US-China Trade

USCIB joined Americans for Free Trade, a multi-industry coalition consisting of over 150 members, to send a letter to President Donald Trump on April 22 regarding upcoming U.S.-China trade talks.

The Coalition letter urged the U.S. government to fully and immediately remove all recently imposed tariffs, including U.S. tariffs and China’s retaliatory tariffs as part of a final deal, while also encouraging the U.S. to come up with a deal that levels the playing field for U.S. companies by achieving meaningful changes to address China’s unfair trade practices that put American technology, innovation and intellectual property at risk.

Regarding unfair trade practices, the letter stated: “For too long, China has engaged in unfair trading practices, including forced technology transfer, cyber theft, intellectual property violations and more. We hope any final deal will resolve the structural issues that are at the core of the trade dispute in order to fully protect American technology, innovation, and intellectual property.”

The letter also urged the government to avoid any enforcement mechanism that would trigger further tariffs and obtain clarity on how the tariff exemption process will be carried out in the event of a deal.

Finally, the group also urged an economic assessment by the Administration examining the costs of tariffs for American businesses and consumers.

Americans for Free Trade represents companies that employ tens of millions of American workers and provide goods and services to virtually every corner of the United States.

At B20, Robinson Stresses Need for International Cooperation

Peter Robinson at the B20 in Japan

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was in Japan the week of March 11 for the B20 Summit, alongside other business leaders such as John Denton, secretary general and Paul Polman, chair of the International Chamber of CommercePhil O’Reilly, chair and Russell Mills, secretary general of Business at OECD, as well as Erol Kiresepi, chairman of the International Organization of Employers.

Robinson spoke on a panel titled, “Global Economy for All: International Cooperation for Global Governance.” In his remarks, Robinson proposed looking at international cooperation from two perspectives: strengthening global institutions and rules, while also encouraging bottom-up approaches and a general spirit of cooperation, rather than confrontation, in international economic relations.

“For the foreseeable future, we will need to accept that many electorates and governments view the world through a more nationalistic, mercantilist lens,” said Robinson. “We need to demonstrate the value in international cooperation, not just through new binding rules and official structures, but through voluntary, bottom-up initiatives. Efforts such as the Paris Climate Agreement, or the plurilateral agreements being pursued by WTO members on several issues including digital trade, should be welcomed and encouraged.”

Throughout the course of the panel, Robinson also touched upon trade conflicts with China, WTO modernization, and the need to radically reform education, job training and retraining approaches around the world.

Robinson also called out climate change as being a crucial long-term global challenge. “Climate impacts everything – economic growth, jobs, health care, where people live,” stressed Robinson. “We therefore need to view climate and energy policy in a more holistic manner.”

The Japan Times covered the B20 and quoted Robinson in their piece, “At B20 in Tokyo, World Business Leaders Urge Stronger Cooperation on Looming Challenges.” The Japan Times quoted Robinson emphasizing that “The American business community still believes in open trade, globalization and multilateralism.”

Robinson also applauded the B20’s prioritization of adoption and dissemination of artificial intelligence to ensure that AI development deployment remains “human-centric”. This issue will be a big focus of the digital economy conference that USCIB is organizing with Business at OECD (BIAC) and the OECD on March 25 in Washington, DC.

USCIB Co-Sponsors China-US Foreign Policy Association Panel

USCIB co-sponsored a recent Foreign Policy Association event titled, “U.S.-China Trade: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead” on February 28. The event, hosted by Citi in New York, featured a panel of experts who discussed the state of trade between the two countries, including the geopolitical and economic implications of the trade war, the 90-day truce, and the negotiations currently taking place.

USCIB member Citigroup’s Global Head of Subsidiaries Marc Merlino moderated the panel. Experts included Bloomberg’s Chief Economist Tom Orlik, Director of CSIS’ Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy Scott Kennedy and Global Head of Research for JP Morgan Joyce Chang.

Technology issues, particularly as they relate to data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), were a common theme of discussion across all panelists. AI is a necessary investment for China due to their demographics and life expectancy. However, while China is focused on AI and data, they lag in the quality of their commercial aircraft and semiconducters, making economic partnerships with the United States a necessity, particularly as China’s debt continues to grow.

USCIB Participates in Business Coalition Fly-in on China Tariffs  

USCIB Senior Director Eva Hampl participated in the Fly-In organized by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland the nationwide campaign against tariffs, combining the efforts of Farmers for Free Trade and Americans for Free Trade, of which USCIB is a member. Groups of representatives from associations and companies covered over 150 meetings with Senate and House offices from both sides of the aisle over February 6-7.

“There is general concern about the tariff actions, with many members of Congress having signed on to letters either on the section 232 tariffs or on the section 301 exclusion process,” stated Hampl. “However, there is also still a lot of apprehension about publicly pushing back against the President’s actions on tariffs. To those who expressed a desire to wait and see what happens on March 1 – the deadline for reaching a deal with China, to prevent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports increasing from 10% to 25% — we repeatedly made the point that the time to act is now, as the damage to US industry and consumers increases with every day these tariffs are in place.”

To underline these points, a new study launched showed that in the event that tariffs of 25% go into effect on March 2 on List 3, combined with various other tariffs and retaliation already in place, the net impact on U.S. jobs will be over 900,000 and the annual impact on a family of four over $750. For the complete study, please click here.

There are two pieces of legislation that were introduced in in the Senate the week of February 4, both of which have House companion bills: (1) the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act and (2) the Trade Security Act. Both attempt to push back against the President’s authority on tariff actions.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for principal-level meetings on February 14 and 15, and these meetings will be preceded by deputy-level negotiations beginning on Monday, February 11.