USCIB Urges US and China to Avoid Trade War

Washington, D.C., March 22, 2018 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, responded to the Trump administration’s plans to impose tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese exports along with restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States. USCIB expressed continued concern over Beijing’s trade abuses while also urging the administration to tread carefully to avoid a trade war.

“We support the goal of getting China to stop its unfair trade practices and treatment of U.S. intellectual property,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “We are encouraged to see that the administration is considering a range of tools in addressing these concerns, including WTO dispute settlement. However, we remain concerned that potential new U.S. measures and Chinese retaliation will hurt American companies, workers, farmers and consumers.“

President Trump today announced his intention to impose tariffs on some $50 billion of exports from China under Section 301 of the 1974 trade act, in response to intellectual property violations and other trade abuses. Specifically, he instructed the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to publish, within 15 days, a list of proposed Chinese goods that could be subject to tariffs, while the Treasury Department will have 60 days to recommend steps to restrict Chinese investment in the United States.

“It’s been said that nobody wins a trade war,” Robinson added. “That would be especially true of a trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies. Escalation of the current dispute would severely impact our members, who rely on sales in both markets and who maintain complex global supply chains encompassing both countries as well as many others. These overseas sales and supply chains support millions of jobs in the United States.”

Robinson concluded: “We therefore urge the Trump administration to carefully consider the actions it takes pursuant to this Section 301 report, and we encourage both governments to work together to resolve these unfair trade practices before taking steps that will damage both economies.”

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

Jonathan Huneke, USCIB, +1 212.703.5043

Donnelly and Claman Play Key Roles at OECD and BIAC Investment Meetings

Shaun Donnelly speaks at OECD, joined by (on the left) BIAC investment Committee Chair Winand Quaedvlieg of VNO (Netherlands)

Citi Director of International Government Affairs Kimberley Claman joined USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly at the recent March 12-13 meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Business at OECD (BIAC) Investment Committee meetings in Paris.

Claman, a last-minute addition to the wrap-up panel for the OECD’s day-long annual Investment Treaties conference, offered business perspectives on the day’s debates on investment treaties and investment chapters as tools to protect and promote much-needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows around the world.

After BIAC’s in-house Investment Committee discussions and strategizing on March 13, Donnelly and Claman joined the BIAC delegation, as well as invited labor and civil society “stakeholders,” to participate in the OECD Investment Committee’s discussion of “National Security” provisions and exceptions in Investment agreements.

“This was a very timely topic in light of the Trump Administration’s invocation of ‘national security’ justification for steel and aluminum tariffs,” said Donnelly. “Business took a strong position that national security provisions and especially their ‘self-judging’ nature could be serious threats to the quality of investment treaty disciplines.”

Donnelly joined the Dutch BIAC Investment Committee Chair at the table for formal stakeholder consultations with the OECD Committee, where they outlined BIAC policy priorities and positions, presenting BIAC’s “Proactive Investment Agenda for 2018.”  The day concluded with Claman, Donnelly and the rest of the BIAC Investment leadership hosting an informal working dinner for the OECD’s Investment Committee leadership, a useful off-the-record forum for explanations, probing questions, and candid debate.

“It was a long and challenging couple of days but with challenges growing to investment agreements and especially Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), it’s critical that USCIB be there standing up for strong investment protections, including effective enforcement/dispute settlement provisions,” noted Donnelly. “We offer special thanks to Kimberley for bringing her unique company and former USG negotiator expertise to the discussions.”

USCIB Welcomes Senate Confirmation of McAleenan as CBP Commissioner

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2018 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which advocates on behalf of America’s global companies and helps exporters of all sizes do business abroad, applauded today’s Senate confirmation of Kevin McAleenan as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“Kevin McAleenan is the right man for the job,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “As Acting Commissioner, he has demonstrated strong, skilled and knowledgeable direction to CBP. Under his leadership, the agency is positioned to move forward effectively in addressing the challenges and complexities of the trading environment in the U.S.”

Jerry Cook, vice president for government and trade relations with Hanes Brands and chair of USCIB’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee, added: “USCIB has a longstanding relationship with CBP, reflecting our subject-matter expertise and practitioner work on customs policy and trade facilitation. We look forward to working with Commissioner McAleenan and his team to help speed streamline and simplify trade for the benefit of American companies, workers and consumers.”

USCIB is already actively engaged with CBP on a range of issues, including, but not limited to customs valuation, customs classification continued ratification and, implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, engagement with the work of the World Customs Organization, and continued progress toward the Automated Customs Environment (ACE). It is working with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which USCIB serves as the American affiliate, to encourage the streamlining of customs practices overseas.

Robinson noted USCIB’s role in overseeing the ATA Carnet service in the United States under CBP authorization. ATA Carnets are internationally recognized customs documents that enable the duty-free, tax-free importation of product samples, goods for trade shows and professional equipment into some 80 countries worldwide for up to one year.

“With our unique perspective, we look forward to continuing to work with and help Customs meet its goals and objectives,” he said. “We stand ready to continue to serve as a key CBP stakeholder, and provide both subject matter expertise and practitioner support on topics of interest to Customs and to our membership.”

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 several leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide. and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB, +1 212.703.5043

Colombians in Washington Lobby on OECD Accession

Last week, USCIB was actively involved in various meetings with the Colombian government, business community and civil society on the issue of Colombia’s accession process to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). USCIB Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl, who coordinates U.S. business input on OECD accession issues attended a number of these meetings, along with USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan.

“With only two outstanding OECD Committees left to approve the accession, Colombia has ramped up lobbying efforts to the U.S. business community and government,” said Hampl. The outstanding committees are the Committee for Employment, Labor and Social Affairs (ELSA) and the Trade Committee. These committees are scheduled to deliberate in March and April, respectively.

In anticipation of the upcoming meeting of the Trade Committee, Colombia’s Minister of Trade Maria Lorena Gutierrez met with USCIB to discuss outstanding issues on pharmaceuticals, distilled spirits and truck scrapping, as outlined in the Business at OECD (BIAC) Pre-Accession Recommendations. Also part of the delegation was Colombia’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit Mauricio Cardenas Santamaria, who advocated strongly for Colombia to accede prior to the end of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos term this summer.

USCIB also had a meeting with ANDI, the National Business Association of Colombia, to discuss outstanding issues for business. Bruce Mac Master, president of ANDI led a delegation of Colombian CEOs in this meeting with the U.S. business community, in an effort to make progress on issues like trucking and pharmaceuticals.

Hampl also addressed these critical issues to U.S. business with Colombian civil society in an interview on Colombian radio last week. The main concerns raised during that conversation were on the timing of the accession process given the expiring term of President Santos, and substantive issues on pharmaceuticals, including patents.

“The U.S. business community remains firm on the outstanding issues,” said Hampl. “The OECD is a group of like-minded countries when it comes to believing in open trade and investment and innovation. It is important for any new members to share those views. The Colombian market is important to U.S. industry and we value the U.S. relationship with Colombia, so we look forward to Colombia making the necessary regulatory changes to allow the accession process move forward.”

Controversial Proposals Remain Following Recent NAFTA Round

Eva Hampl, USCIB director for trade and financial services was in Mexico City last week for the 7th Round of negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The negotiations for this round started on February 25 and concluded with a Ministerial on March 5. U.S. Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, and Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo made statements at a press conference in Mexico on the final day relating to the relative progress of the negotiations, where three new chapters and two sectoral annexes were closed out.

In Mexico, Hampl participated in an event entitled NAFTA Negotiations Status – Current Situation & Impact Analysis hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico (CanCham) and organized by Galicia Abogados, a law firm in Mexico City with expertise in arbitration and ISDS issues. Hampl’s remarks at this event addressed the business perspective and priorities, covering the current status of the negotiations, highlighting the substantive and political difficulties, and outlining what these various developments mean for U.S. business. Hampl was joined by Salvador Behar, director for North America in the Secretariat of Economy, part of Mexico’s negotiating team and Jean-Dominique Ieraci, minister-counsellor for trade for the Embassy of Canada, and part of Canada’s negotiating team. The off-the-record remarks were followed by a discussion with the three speakers, joined by Jennifer Haworth McCandless, partner at Sidley Austin and international arbitration and trade expert. The discussion was moderated by Armando Ortega, president of the CanCham Mexico. Following the event, Galicia hosted a lunch for industry, which provided another opportunity to amplify the message about the importance of NAFTA negotiations, particularly investment protection / ISDS and the general enforceability of the agreement. The casual discussion included many questions on the U.S. political process, and the differences between the U.S. government position and business on several of the proposals.

The remainder of the week in Mexico City consisted of briefings from U.S., Mexico and Canada officials. Based on various briefings business had with negotiators from Mexico and Canada, as well as Congressional staff and others last week in Mexico, there continues to be very little progress in the poison pill or rebalancing proposals the United States has put on the table. There continues to be little progress on the sunset provision and automotive rules of origin, particularly as the U.S. negotiator on rules of origin was called back to Washington before negotiations could commence. On investment protection, Canada and Mexico have begun negotiating among themselves, and have similarly begun to do so on government procurement, which was a new development during this Mexico round.

“While valuable progress continues to be made on modernization chapters such as digital trade and customs, concerns remain that the progress on the controversial proposals is too incremental to bridge the dramatic divide between negotiating positions on a reasonable timeline,” said Hampl. “While Mexican officials emphasized prioritizing a good trade deal over a quick one, there are potential political complications on the horizon with the upcoming elections in Mexico. In addition, U.S. midterm elections are coming up later this year, something Ambassador Lighthizer raised in his press conference following the conclusion of the last round of negotiations.”

It does not appear likely that the negotiations will wrap up during the next round, which will take place in Washington DC, likely the week of April 9.

Additional challenges remain following last week’s announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs by the Trump administration. Trade proponents are hoping that, the more they learn about the possible impact of the new tariffs and likely retaliatory measures, the less voters will like them.  A new study from Trade Partnership Worldwide estimated the proposed tariffs would increase employment by some 33,000 jobs in the steel, aluminum and related industries, but cost some 179,000 jobs throughout the rest of the American economy.

Meanwhile, a new survey of likely voters in four key swing states by Firehouse Strategies and Optimus revealed that most voters underestimate the importance of trade on U.S. employment. Only 13.6 percent said their jobs depend on trade, while 69.3 percent said they do not. Most economists put the percentage at more than 20 percent when both exports and imports are factored in.


USCIB Responds to Announcement of New US Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2018 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s announced plans to impose new duties of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on imports of foreign steel and aluminum:

“USCIB strongly supports a more competitive America, which enjoys economic growth and jobs by increasing exports, opening global markets and securing a level playing field for our goods and services. We are disappointed with the administration’s decision. History clearly teaches that fomenting trade wars with our commercial partners is likely to backfire on the United States, harming American businesses, workers, farmers and consumers in the process.

“The imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum will lead to higher prices for U.S.-made products, reducing the competitiveness of our exports, and will probably eliminate more jobs than it saves. In addition, it is likely to create strong disincentives for foreign investment in the United States, and to spur higher inflation. 

“Most importantly, these protectionist tariffs are likely to cause a chain reaction of retaliatory measures by our trading partners, as many of them have already indicated. Other nations are likely to target our most competitive exports and otherwise disadvantage American companies.

“We hope that these measures will be short-lived. We urge the Trump administration and America’s trading partners to work cooperatively and swiftly to address the serious issues associated with steel and aluminum dumping, and to open up new markets for our exports and new opportunities for American workers, farmers and consumers to prosper in the wider world.”

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

Jonathan Huneke, USCIB, +1 212.703.5043

USCIB Partners with Japanese Group Keidanren on NAFTA Letter

With the National Governors Association meeting last week and this week and the next round of NAFTA negotiations starting this week, USCIB coordinated with the Japanese business group, Keidanren, on a joint letter to each governor expressing support for keeping and modernizing NAFTA.

“Having worked closely with Keidanren in promoting the importance of foreign direct investment to government leaders in international forums such as G20, OECD and the United Nations, we wanted to leverage our joint voices to highlight the importance of NAFTA in driving the growth of foreign direct investment into the United States,” said Rob Mulligan, USCIB senior vice president for policy. “The investment by Japanese companies into the U.S. serves as an example of this growth and each letter identifies the number of jobs in the particular state that are accounted for by Japanese-owned firms.”

The letters stress the position USCIB has urged from the beginning that the negotiations “do no harm” to the existing NAFTA framework and then reinforces key messages related to ISDS, rules of origin, government procurement, and any sunset provision.

“We hope this letter will encourage the governors to actively engage the Administration on achieving a modernized NAFTA that we can all support,” added Mulligan.

Hampl Leads Group for NAFTA Lobby Day to Voice Concerns

With the next NAFTA negotiating round now set for Mexico City later this month, USCIB Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl joined more than 100 representatives from the business and agriculture community last Wednesday for a second NAFTA House Lobby Day. The Lobby Day gave business representatives the opportunity to talk about business concerns and perspectives regarding the ongoing negotiations to modernize NAFTA and to increase support on the leadup to the next round of negotiations, scheduled for February 26 to March 6.

Hampl led one of the groups on the Hill, which included representatives from other associations and companies from the business and agriculture community. “The diversity of sectors represented was extremely helpful in getting our message across,” said Hampl. “Our group alone met with 9 offices throughout the day, receiving generally positive feedback about supporting our issues and concerns, including potential interest in signing on to a House NAFTA letter.”

Hampl will be traveling to Mexico for part of the next round at the end of February.

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
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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or


India Now Accepting “Merchandise Passports” for Professional Equipment

New York, N.Y., January 31, 2017 – India has expanded its use of ATA Carnets for the temporary, duty-free importation of various types of goods. As of January 18, the country is now accepting the widely used “merchandise passports” for professional equipment, according to the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which administers the ATA system in the United States.

ATA Carnets are internationally recognized customs documents that allow for the temporary importation of various types of goods, duty-free and tax-free, generally for up to one year. India previously accepted Carnets only for goods destined to fairs and exhibitions, for a maximum period of six months. It is now also honoring them for temporary importation of professional equipment for up to two months, with the opportunity to renew for an additional two months.

“This is an important development that will help boost U.S. exports to India, and make it much easier for business travelers to get essential professional equipment in and out of the country,” said Andrew Shiles, USCIB’s senior vice president for ATA Carnet and trade services. “All sorts of people and companies – from news organizations to symphony orchestras to technicians making repairs – use ATA Carnets to move professional equipment around the world swiftly and cost-effectively.”

Additional information on developments in India is available on USCIB’s website at

The worldwide ATA Carnet system is overseen by the World Customs Organization and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which USCIB serves as the American national committee. Find out more about the services offered by USCIB to facilitate cross-border trade and investment at

Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043 or

About USCIB:

The United States Council for International Business (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, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide. USCIB also works to facilitate international trade and investment. It is the U.S. national guaranteeing association for ATA Carnets, which enable the temporary export of many types of goods, free of import duties or taxes, for up to one year.