Donnelly, Hampl Help Lead Business Input on OECD China Work

USCIB Senior Advisor Shaun Donnelly and member company Dell staffer Eva Hampl led a significant “kick-off” session for Business at OECD (BIAC) and its China Experts Group to elevate and deepen a dialogue with the OECD’s Ambassadorial-level Informal Reflection Group on China on May 3.

The BIAC China team presented concerns and recommendations on four China-related items: state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and government support; inward and outward foreign direct investment (FDI) policies; innovation and digitalization policies; and a “climate neutrality” agenda. Other key topics will be addressed in future OECD and BIAC China discussions. Over 100 participants were on session, including OECD country Ambassadors and senior delegates, OECD staff, and BIAC participants, including USCIB members.

Representing BIAC, Donnelly led on FDI issues, focusing on both sides of the China investment coin – foreign investment into China and Chinese investment in our home countries and in third country markets.  With regards to investing in China, Donnelly highlighted business concerns over lack of a level-playing field, formal and informal discrimination against foreign investors, and a lack of effective rule of law in China. On the side of Chinese FDI in our countries, he highlighted two priority concerns, including establishing strong, targeted, and enforceable national security rules on foreign investors while avoiding investment protectionism. Donnelly also noted potential problems in competing against Chinese companies , often state-owned enterprises, which have invested in our markets can be heavily subsidized back home. Donnelly’s comments sparked a good discussion on the substantive issues and on priorities for OECD Investment Committee work going forward.

Hampl, a former USCIB policy director now with Dell’s Washington office, is Vice Chair of the BIAC China Experts group. Hampl was one of three BIAC presenters on innovation and digitalization issues, highlighting that supply chain resiliency, especially in the semiconductor sector, is at the top of global concerns with China and praising the OECD for its ability to decouple economics from politics on such vital issues. Hampl also noted the importance of engaging China constructively on a range of issues related to standards, privacy, intellectual property protections, as well as the broader issues of leveling the playing field and competition against Chinese SOEs.

According to Donnelly, other BIAC colleagues made assertive presentations on the unique challenges of competing with Chinese SOEs, especially in China, but also in the U.S. and around the world.  Several participants urged that disciplines on SOEs be added to the World Trade Organization (WTO) agenda and included in bilateral trade and investment agreements.  Finally, the climate neutrality agenda item provoked broad agreement that the OECD must play a leading role in the broader effort to enlist China constructively in the global climate effort; while much remains to be done, participants agreed that engaging China on climate should be somewhat easier now that the U.S. has rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.

BIAC Executive Secretary Hanni Rosenbaum, who led BIAC in this novel, in-depth BIAC/OECD session on China, was delighted with participation and the quality of debate. Rosenbaum sees potential for deepening and expanding the BIAC/OECD dialogue on China with new leadership coming to the OECD and a growing consensus among OECD member countries that China poses unique challenges.

“I thought it was an excellent session,” said Donnelly. “The discussion was substantive, candid and forward-looking. The four agenda items are crucial, but there are plenty of other important China-related issues where BIAC can make useful contributions to OECD’s work. These high-level, cross-cutting China discussions, hopefully to be held regularly, can complement in-depth work in specific OECD committees. There is a lot of challenging work with China and the OECD can play a valuable role in this effort.”

Alice Slayton Clark, USCIB’s new director for investment, trade and China will be leading USCIB’s work on China, both specific to the OECD and more generally, going forward. If you have issues, questions, or suggestions related to China, please get in touch with Clark.

USCIB Leads in Preparations for Upcoming China Meetings at OECD

USCIB members and staff played leading roles in the April 23 China Expert Group’s preliminary meeting to preview and discuss Business at OECD (BIAC) presentations that will be made at the kick-off session of the OECD’s Informal Reflection Group on China in May. During the preliminary meeting, BIAC experts, including USCIB Senior Advisor Shaun Donnelly and Dell’s Eva Hampl (formerly USCIB and now a Vice Chair of BIAC’s China group), advanced key points that BIAC will emphasize including on state-owned enterprises (SOEs), investment, innovation and digitalization, and climate neutrality.

With regards to SOEs, Donnelly and others emphasized the importance of including provisions on SOEs in future investment and trade agreements, updating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on subsidies, drawing China into multilateral consensus on export and development finance, as well as engaging China to reduce excess capacity in steel and rejoin the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity. The investment dialogue between China and the OECD should also be intensified and made more substantive, rather than political, according to Donnelly. Updating the investment policy review of China is also critical since the last review was done in 2008.

On innovation and digitalization, Donnelly noted the need to review efforts to onshore production in the name of supply chain resiliency, to study global value chains to ensure that policies are driven by OECD-generated facts and not politics and protectionism, to foster cooperation on IT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) information-sharing and standards’ development, engaging China on implementation and dissemination of AI principles and policies, as well as monitoring and acting on China’s development of virtual currency along with its impact on major currencies.

“Engaging China on harmonizing carbon pricing and emission trading schemes, pushing China more toward sustainable investment policies at home and abroad (such as their Belt and Road projects use of fossil fuels) and continuing to press for mitigation and strong environmental commitments from China is key,” said Donnelly.

Donnelly also led a discussion urging BIAC, as a business forum, to press the OECD and its member governments for substantive reform and results in its engagement with China and to worry less about protocol and diplomatic formalities.

“It was great to have USCIB and American business actively involved in BIAC’s preparations for this important China strategy session at the OECD,” added Donnelly.  “With a new Secretary General coming to OECD in June, a new U.S. Administration looking to play a leadership role at the OECD, and steadily growing concerns around the world about some of China’s policies and practices, it’s vital that Business at OECD and its American members focus on these issues of how the OECD can play a useful role with China.”

Donnelly added: “Eva Hampl from Dell did a great job leading Friday’s discussion on the innovation and digitalization issues.  She and I look forward to our roles as BIAC lead speakers in the session with the OECD China group.  It was also great to see several USCIB members logging on for the BIAC discussion, confirming that China issues, broadly defined, remain important priorities for USCIB and its broad, cross-sectoral membership.”

If members have issues, questions or suggestions related to this BIAC and OECD effort on China, please contact Allice Slayton Clark (asclark@uscib.org).

USCIB Welcomes New Director for Investment, Trade and China

Alice Slayton Clark

USCIB welcomed Alice Slayton Clark this week as Director for Investment, Trade and China policy. Clark brings with her considerable experience in trade policy, having worked in a number of international law firms and consulting practices, as well as on Capitol Hill.

Most recently, Clark has been a Senior Government Relations Advisor for Jacobs Global Trade & Compliance LLC. Prior to this she spent time as an independent International Trade Consultant, and as an International Trade Specialist at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy, Graham & James, and Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander and Ferdon. She began her trade career in the offices of Representative Robert Torricelli and Senator Bob Graham.

Alice received a BA in Government and Spanish from Oberlin College, and an MA in International Relations From Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. In the past she has served as the President of the Women in International Trade (WIIT) group, and as a leader in local and school organizations.

Alice can be reached at asclark@uscib.org.

USCIB Welcomes Senate’s Unanimous Confirmation Vote on USTR Tai

Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Washington, D.C., March 18, 2021—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) salutes the Senate for its unanimous vote on March 17 to confirm Katherine Tai as the next U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), believing she is a solid choice for this important cabinet-level position, bringing outstanding experience as an attorney-advisor and litigator at USTR, as Chief Trade Counsel for the House of Representatives Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, and as an attorney in the private sector.

America’s economic growth, jobs and competitiveness, our future, depends to a considerable degree on how well we are able to engage and compete in today’s, and tomorrow’s, global economy. USTR Tai will lead America’s efforts on some very important trade and investment issues including our leadership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), updated and improved rules on digital trade, reducing foreign trade and investment barriers hurting American companies and workers, and effectively enforcing our existing network of trade agreements. Tai’s experience with Congress, as well as her expertise in trade law, the WTO and in Asia and China will serve her, and our country, very well in ​this crucial position.

“USCIB knows and respects Ms.Tai and has worked well with her in her important role at the Ways and Means Committee,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “As an organization committed to open trade and investment flows, as well as high standards of corporate responsibility, all of us at USCIB and our member companies look forward to working with Ms.Tai to advance America’s economic interests and our shared values.”

Citi’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Global Government Affairs Rick Johnston, who also c​hairs the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee added, “Ms. Tai is the timely choice for this critical role as USTR at a very important an​d challenging time. Winning unanimous support from the Senate is a rare tribute to her abilities, her experience, and the respect she has earned from all quarters. The right leader at the right time for a very important job.”

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 U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD (BIAC), 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 Contributes to Discussion With OECD on China

USCIB participated in a Seminar with the OECD Informal Reflection Group on China as part of the Business at OECD (BIAC) delegation of the China Expert Group on November 27. The BIAC China Expert Group was created for the purpose of contributing expert guidance to China–OECD cooperation in areas that improve the investment climate and overall business environment in China. According to USCIB’s China lead Eva Hampl, who participated in this meeting, the group promotes adherence to OECD instruments and the sharing of knowledge on policy practices, contributing to a more level playing field for all businesses operating both inside and outside of China. It consults annually with the OECD Informal Reflection Group on China, which includes OECD Ambassadors from a wide range of countries. It also works with the OECD’s senior representative in Beijing to help scale–up the OECD presence in China. China is not a member of the OECD but participates in many of its meetings as an observer.

The focus of the discussion was “The OECD and China in the post-COVID scenario. Avoiding decoupling –strengthening resilience.” The business presentation provided an economic assessment, noted the global challenges, and included several so-called reflection topics on technological decoupling, artificial intelligence, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and supply chain resilience.

Hampl, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services, spoke on the issue of supply chain resilience, highlighting current business challenges globally in the context of the pandemic, as well as specifically related to China.

Hampl encouraged the OECD not to shy away from addressing the difficult issues, highlighting successful OECD workstreams on SOEs and subsidies.

“The relationship with China is complex, multifaceted and can be challenging for business,” stressed Hampl.

The OECD’s December 2020 Economic Outlook released yesterday highlights that China, where the recovery from the pandemic started earlier, is expected to grow strongly at 8% in 2021, accounting for over a third of global growth. Given China’s importance in the global economy, its practices and policies have a significant impact on its trading partners, providing strong incentives to work together to address common challenges and responsibilities.

Hampl Discusses Role of Open Markets, Inclusive Multilateralism in COVID-19 Recovery

USCIB Senior Director for Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided a U.S. business perspective at the Joint Conference on Reviving the Global Economy by Opening Markets and Enhancing Cooperation. The event was co-organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on September 28.  During her panel, Hampl discussed what USCIB has been focusing on to advance open markets and an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been active in all available forums to advocate that governments refrain from misusing the COVID-19 pandemic to adopt arbitrary, discriminatory or protectionist policies which only disrupt supply chains and put further strains on the economy – this also includes measures already in place that are now being justified by the pandemic,” said Hampl. “We consistently emphasize the crucial role of open trade and global value chains as fundamental drivers to recover from this global crisis.”

Hampl also discussed longer-term solutions, such as diversifying supply chains, so that global issues, such as a pandemic, do not endanger the reliable supply of necessary goods and services.

According to Hampl, the pandemic has highlighted the transformative power of digital technologies.

“Companies across all sectors stepped up to work closely with governments and other stakeholders to respond to urgent medical, economic and social needs by deploying and driving digital technology solutions,” said Hampl. “Looking ahead, digital technologies have the potential to shape the sustainable recovery from the pandemic. This also includes accelerating the digitization of government services such as licensing, permitting, tax collection and procurement.”

Hampl also emphasized the importance of global cooperation through multilateral institutions and discussed the role of inclusive multilateralism in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“A COVID-19 response must be an ‘all hands on deck’ approach,” she noted. “When USCIB advocates for multilateralism, we mean multilateralism that promotes peace, cooperation and social justice, relies on effective and transparent multilateral bodies, advances collaborative approaches among states, encourages international dialogue and cooperation to design and implement effective policies and, finally, engages business across all sectors and other stakeholders in substantive dialogue and partnerships.

To view the video in English, please click here.

USCIB Submits Comments to USTR on China’s Compliance With WTO

USCIB submitted comments on China’s compliance with WTO commitments on September 17. The comments were in response to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) request for input. In its comments, USCIB welcomed the “Phase One” trade agreement between the United States and China, as well as China’s actions to date to implement its commitments under that agreement. According to USCIB, if fully implemented, the agreement will help address a host of policies and practices maintained by China that undermine the ability of U.S. businesses to operate, including unfair and discriminatory governmental practices.

USCIB also noted that U.S. tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs imposed as a result of the U.S. Section 301 investigation into China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation policies have been disruptive to U.S. business.

“While the Phase One deal partially addresses some of these tariffs, more must be done to restore the ability of U.S. business to compete effectively in the global marketplace,” said Eva Hampl, who leads USCIB’s policy work on China. “As described in this submission, many issues affecting business remain a concern in China. Accordingly, high-level bilateral dialogue between the United States and China continues to be of the utmost importance.”

USCIB urges both countries to utilize, in addition to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the full range of formal multilateral fora, including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to work toward improved commercial relations. Plurilateral dialogues that include U.S.-friendly jurisdictions such as the European Union, Canada or Australia should also be considered.

“USCIB and its members understand and appreciate that U.S.-China economic relations are complex and multifaceted, and that American business holds a direct and important stake in this relationship and in its success,” added Hampl. “As the world’s largest economy, China’s practices and policies have a significant impact on its trading partners, and engagement with China can be challenging.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be a public hearing this year. USCIB’s submission is public and can also be found on www.regulations.gov under Docket Number USTR-2020-0033.

 

USCIB, Business Groups Urge Administration to Prioritize US-China Deal

USCIB, along with dozens of U.S. business and industry groups, sent a letter to USTR Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Vice Premier of China’s State Council Liu He strongly supporting the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement noting its “significant achievement in ongoing efforts to advance a more balanced and mutually beneficial U.S.-China economic and commercial relationship.”

The letter also stated that successful implementation of Phase One will be critical to subsequent negotiation of a Phase Two Agreement.

The organizations noted that continuing fulfillment of the terms of the Agreement particularly with regards to Intellectual Property, removal of market access barriers and tariffs are critical. With regards to market access barriers, the letter focused on U.S. fruits, grains, and nearly all U.S. beef products, the expansion of its list of U.S. facilities eligible to export beef, pork, poultry, seafood, dairy and infant formula to China, as well as the adoption of new domestic standards for dairy powder that will allow imports from the United States.

“Meeting the global public health challenges from COVID-19 and restoring growth to the global economy will depend in part on both countries working together to fully implement the mutually beneficial outcomes of the Phase One Agreement,” the letter stated. “Thorough and timely implementation of Phase One commitments is also the most direct and achievable path to removal of tariffs—and to avoid application of new ones—on both sides, which the U.S. business community strongly supports.”

USCIB Strengthens Trade Policy Advocacy Through New Coalition: Alliance for Trade Enforcement

USCIB joined a new coalition, the Alliance for Trade Enforcement, which includes nearly a dozen other industry groups and trade associations. The coalition’s goal is to support U.S. policymakers in their efforts to enforce U.S. trade agreements and ensure that America’s trading partners end unfair trade practices. The coalition is an expansion of the Alliance for Fair Trade with India.

According to the coalition’s media release, the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) recent Special 301 Report, which “identifies trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators,” can serve as an initial blueprint for the group. This year, USTR identified thirty-three countries for these types of violations. Many of these countries are repeat offenders.

“We look forward to further advancing USCIB’s trade policy priorities through this new coalition,” said USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services.

To view the media release, please click here.

Business Continuity During COVID-19

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