Intellectual Property

Background

Intellectual property is one of the central public policy pillars for the rapidly changing knowledge-based 21st century economy. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) provide an increasingly critical legal and policy toolkit for spurring innovation, stimulating the investments needed to develop and market new innovations, creating jobs and disseminating technology and knowledge in socially beneficial ways.

Objective

Promote a robust and effective intellectual property framework worldwide. Provide a forum to encourage a US business consensus on key international policy objectives in intellectual property policy.

Current Priorities

  • International Organizations: Monitor and contribute to the work of international organizations engaged in IP issues to ensure a balanced approach to intellectual property issues that promote innovation.
  • Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Piracy: Support and advance the agenda of organizations that ensure intellectual property is respected and protected through anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy efforts.
  • Trade: Advocate for IP language in trade agreements that establishes a robust and effective intellectual property framework to promote innovation; encourage implementation of such provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trade in Services Agreement.
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Chair

Sharon Reiche
Corporate Counsel, Global Patents & Policy, Legal Division
Pfizer, Inc.

Vice Chair

Vacant

Staff

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

Mia Lauter
Policy & Program Assistant
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

  • Global Advocacy: Work to ensure that developing and developed countries support and maintain a robust and effective intellectual property environment and public policies that promote and encourage innovation. Protect from disclosure commercially sensitive and proprietary information and documents required by governments under law or regulation.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Issues: Monitor and evaluate issues of importance to USCIB members to determine whether further advocacy is required.

Please use the links below to explore recent statements and reports, news stories on USCIB’s website, and media coverage related to our work.

News Stories

Education and Re-skilling in the Age of AI (5/29/2018) - Business and policy leaders are joining together to help the workforce adapt to AI and automation, write the OECD's Andreas Schleicher, USCIB's Peter Robinson and Shea Gopaul of the Global Apprenticeship Network.
Colombia Gets Approval to Join the OECD (5/29/2018) - Colombia will join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development following an agreement among the 35-nation forum's member states ahead of this week's OECD ministerial.

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Press Releases

Colombia Gets Approval to Join the OECD (5/29/2018) - Colombia will join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development following an agreement among the 35-nation forum's member states ahead of this week's OECD ministerial.
USCIB Urges US and China to Avoid Trade War (3/22/2018) - 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.

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Education and Re-skilling in the Age of AI

By Andreas Schleicher, Shea Gopaul and Peter Robinson

Faced with major economic and social disruption, business and policy leaders are joining together to devise strategies and models to adapt the skills of the existing and future workforce to the opportunities offered by AI, automation, robotics and digitalization. McKinsey reports that 42% in the United States, 24% in Europe, and 31% in the rest of the world admit they currently lack a “good understanding of how automation and/or digitization will affect […] future skill needs.”

To prepare for looming technological upheavals, we need to understand the current educational and training landscape, its limitations, examine the latest research on the future skills needed and highlight some of the most effective employment and human resources strategies and educational models that can better position all stakeholders for the imminent change. We argue that by working together, especially through public-private partnerships, business and policy leaders can develop effective work-readiness and skill matching solutions, lifelong learning and re-skilling approaches to prepare both employers and employees for the changing world of work.

Teaching People to Learn

For some, AI and globalization can be liberating and exciting; but for those who are insufficiently prepared, they can mean uncertainty in employment, and a life without prospects. Our economies are shifting towards regional hubs of production, linked together by global chains of information and goods, but concentrated where comparative advantage can be built and renewed. This makes the distribution of knowledge and wealth crucial, and that is intimately tied to the distribution of educational opportunities.

The dilemma for education is that the kinds of things that are easy to teach have now become easy to digitize and automate (e.g. memorization vs. critical thinking). The modern world does not reward us just for what we know – Google knows everything – but for what we can do with what we know. So, the focus must shift to enabling people to become lifelong learners, which encourages constant learning, unlearning and relearning when the contexts change, and integrates both the practical world of work, with the theoretical world of learning. The future is about pairing computers with the cognitive, social and emotional skills of human beings.

These days, AI algorithms sort us into groups of like-minded individuals. They create virtual bubbles that amplify our views and leave us insulated from divergent perspectives. Tomorrow’s educational institutions will need to help students to think for themselves and join others, with empathy, in work and citizenship, and build character qualities such as perseverance, empathy or perspective taking, mindfulness, ethics, courage and leadership.

But to transform schooling at scale, we need not just a radical, alternative vision of what’s possible, but also smart strategies and effective institutions. Our current educational institutions were invented in the industrial age, when the prevailing norms were standardization and compliance, and when it was both effective and efficient to educate students in batches and to train teachers once for their entire working lives. The curricula that spelled out what students should learn were designed at the top of the pyramid, then translated into instructional material, teacher education and learning environments, often through multiple layers of government, until they reached, and were implemented by, individual teachers in the classroom.

This structure, in a fast-moving world, reacts to current needs, far too slowly. Today, we need to embrace AI also in ways that elevate the role of educators from imparting received knowledge towards working as co-creators of knowledge, as coaches, as mentors and as evaluators. AI can support new ways of teaching that focus on learners as active participants (e.g. chat bot, gaming applications).

Public/Private Coming-Together Around Skills

With 40% of employers reporting that they lack the talent required, it is surprising that at the same time global youth unemployment as stated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) is at 66 million. There is clearly a mismatch and the private sector has a critical role to play in resolving this skills-education deficit. Employer-driven education (i.e. apprenticeships, traineeships, internships, learnerships) are key in equipping the workforce with the soft and technical skills that employers require.

In countries such as Switzerland and Germany with robust apprenticeship programs and strong employer engagement, the rate of youth unemployment is very low. So, why aren’t there more apprenticeships and employer driven education? In many countries, the policies, regulations, registration process for setting up work-based learning programs are cumbersome and time-consuming for employers. The return on investment (ROI) is often unknown, e.g. in the U.S. for every $1 spent there is a return of $1.47. Lastly, educational institutions are not always linking to employers on curriculum design to reflect the world of work’s latest needs.

We have learnt at the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), a public-private partnership (PPP), that the convening of key stakeholders at the local city and country level ensures that education and legislation is better attuned to the world of work. Although private and public stakeholders do not always speak the same language, bringing them together increases their mutual understanding of the needs and changes that will assist in getting skills for business and jobs for youth.

Employers are uniquely positioned to define the skills required in the world of AI, robotics and automation as they are developing these technologies. Sadly, their importance as not only job creators, but also curricula designers, are often overlooked and they are often left out of the conversation and decision-making process. Work-based learning and notably apprenticeships connect education to work and we are seeing more and more employers creating innovative apprenticeships – part-time apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and a vast range of online tools. e.g. e-apprenticeships. In the last five years since GAN’s inception, it has become increasingly apparent that these models must be leveraged to ensure that not only youth, but also middle-aged and senior population groups adapt their skills and competencies to the fast evolving economic and technological context. In short, with the need for re-skilling and lifelong learning on an unprecedented scale, innovative apprenticeships can help get skills for business and jobs for all.

Below are two business-led initiatives that further illustrate the power of public-private partnership in skilling and reskilling. With the uncertainties linked to fast-paced technological change, these models show us how all actors – public and private- can join forces to ensure that skill development is continuously connected to present and future socioeconomic needs.

The first is IBM’s P-TECH school, a public-private partnership educational model that addresses postsecondary degree completion and career readiness by smoothing the transitions between high-school, college, and the professional world in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It recognizes that students need early and engaging experiences with the world of work, to make the academic work in high school and college meaningful and to fully prepare them with the workplace skills required by employers. The model pairs educational institutions with “employer partners” to act as mentors, develop curriculum, organize site visits, internships and other workplace learning opportunities.

The sustainability of the model depends on public authorities’ active involvement to develop appropriate frameworks, regulations, licensing, etc. Starting with one school in 2011 and engaging over 400 business partners, P-TECH expects to have 100 schools in 2018. IBM also ensures that its own workforce has continuous access to lifelong learning. Through the Think40 program IBM staff is asked to pursue at least 40 hours of personal and technical skills development through formal classes, self-paced learning, and online resources. The Think Academy platform allows IBM staff to access customized training which is constantly updated to IBM’s clients’ most current and pressing needs.

The second example is based on Randstad’s approach to “put humans first” in the age of digital transformation. Randstad supports clients to integrate versatility in their organizational culture, through a wide variety of re-skilling mechanisms, ranging from external & internal training, mentorship to job rotations and adult apprenticeships. Moreover, Randstad operating companies facilitate the integration and reintegration of vulnerable segments of society (e.g. youth, women, senior staff) with more than 100 social innovation programs mostly through public-private partnerships across the world. For example, in Spain, the Randstad Foundation works with more than 600 companies to ensure the reintegration of those at risk of exclusion from the labor market. In Italy and in the Netherlands, Randstad focuses on employees over 50 years of age, by organizing training in the latest technologies, advocacy, and networking opportunities (12 events to date) with employers.

This overview of initiatives, models and partnerships demonstrates that, through collaboration involving public and private entities, excellent strategies can be developed, not only to adapt to the upcoming technological change, but also to capitalize on the opportunities technology has to offer for the creation of better jobs and better lives.

Employers Are Optimistic in the Age of AI

We’re all being told that our jobs are doomed by robots and automation. But the OECD estimates that only nine percent of jobs across the 35 OECD nations are at high risk of being automated, although of course even nine percent can generate plenty of social difficulties. But there is an established track record throughout history of new technologies creating at least as many new jobs as they displace. Usually these new jobs demand higher skills and provide higher pay. The biggest threat is that our educational institutions won’t be able to keep pace with the new skills demands including the important skills that AI will not be able to replace.

For global employers, there is a steadily growing mismatch between what companies need in terms of skills and what the workforce is coming equipped to do. In an economy with a significant on-demand labor force, two main types of competencies will be needed: “technical” – or in other words, related to deep knowledge of a specific domain, whether welding or engineering, and “transversal,” which applies to all occupations. Those are described by the Center for Curriculum Redesign as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

The Skills Employers Will Seek

So what skills will managers need as a result of likely structural changes, driven by AI and growth of the on-demand economy? A recent survey by Business at OECD (BIAC) surveyed 50 employers’ organizations worldwide. It showed that employers value not just the skills and character traits described above, but also character qualities as well, such as mindfulness, curiosity, courage, resilience, ethics, leadership and meta-learning (e.g. growth mindset and metacognition).

Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that, in a constantly changing world, an individual’s versatility matters; so, the model developed by Jim Spohrer of IBM, of a “T-shaped” person, holds true: broad and deep individuals capable of adapting and going where the demand lies.

Employers’ organizations at the national and global levels are already developing innovative programs to help governments and educators anticipate the needs of the future workforce. Through robust action at the global level, including through the G-20 and the OECD, policy makers can also make sure that they are helping their populations succeed and thrive in a world of AI and other technological advances.

This overview highlights the strength of partnerships between the public and the private sector in preparing for the unpredictable. For such alliances to reach their full potential, on the one hand governments and policy makers must be open to the private sector’s input and on the other hand employers need to take a long term view of the ROI and accordingly commit resources in skilling and educating their current and future staff, notably through apprenticeship and work-readiness programs.

Andreas Schleicher heads the Directorate of Education and Skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Shea Gopaul is executive director and founder of the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN). Peter Robinson is president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB).

For more information, please contact:

OECD: news.contact@oecd.org
GAN: gueco@gan-global.org
USCIB: jhuneke@uscib.org

Colombia Gets Approval to Join the OECD

Colombia will join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development following an agreement among the 35-nation forum’s member states ahead of this week’s OECD ministerial.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría are expected to sign an accession agreement at the annual ministerial-level council meeting, which is scheduled for May 30, according to the OECD.

USCIB – which serves as the U.S. affiliate of Business at OECD, the representative private-sector voice in the OECD – issued the following statement:

“USCIB welcomes the progress Colombia has made over the past several years in the context of the accession process to the OECD. As the official voice representing U.S. business in this process, we acknowledge the steps taken by Colombia to meet the high standards of the OECD in various sectors. We look forward to continued progress and concrete actions being taken on outstanding issues, including on pharmaceuticals and trucking, where the current status does not yet rise to the level of like-mindedness with other OECD countries on open trade and investment. As the OECD considers inviting additional countries to join, USCIB will continue to advocate on behalf of U.S. business to ensure that all OECD countries continue to meet high standards.”

Hampl Testifies Regarding Proposed China Tariffs

 Following the Trump administration’s proposed Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl testified before the Section 301 Committee, chaired by USTR on May 16 regarding the proposal. Hampl’s testimony reflected USCIB member concerns about potential consequences the proposed tariffs will have on sectors vital to the U.S. economy. Her testimony was drawn from comments USCIB sent earlier this month to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Hampl was joined by over 100 other business representatives to share specific concerns regarding the proposed tariffs.

“We believe that the imposition of tariffs will not achieve the important goal of changing China’s behavior in the space of emerging technologies and intellectual property rights,” said Hampl in her testimony. “China’s threat of retaliation further exacerbates uncertainties caused by this proposed action. Rather than create more opportunities for U.S. business, sweeping tariffs will stifle U.S. agriculture, goods, and services exports and raise costs for businesses and consumers.

Hampl emphasized the need for a “holistic structure” to address the aforementioned issues. Speaking on behalf of USCIB, Hampl applauded the Trump administration for looking at alternative approaches, such as initiating a WTO dispute by requesting consultations with China.

“It is important for the administration to address these issues with a broad view, working collectively with U.S. industry, Congress, and our trading partners, to adequately address China’s unfair trade practices and get China to be WTO compliant,” noted Hampl.

The proposed tariffs pose a unique challenge to industrial inputs, which represent over 80 percent of the proposed list. Tariffs on industrial goods are especially problematic because they represent not just a tax on U.S. consumers but a tax on U.S. manufacturers and workers, and on the products they export. Tariffs on aerospace, machinery and IT parts and other advanced technologies can undermine the most competitive sectors of American manufacturing, driving up production costs in the U.S., impacting U.S. manufacturing employment, and making U.S. manufacturers less competitive against global rivals.

“Tariffs on industrial parts imported into the U.S. could have the unintended consequence of prompting manufacturers to move final production outside of the U.S.,” warned Hampl. “To see how U.S. companies will be affected by the tariffs, it is important to look to how the supply chain functions. China is the second largest economy and the largest manufacturing economy in the world. We cannot ignore that China may have some unique capabilities, at the product level, that U.S. businesses need to tap into in order to remain globally competitive. For many products or inputs, there is no feasible alternative to procuring from China. We urge the Administration to use this process to ensure that its actions do not inadvertently harm some of the most competitive sectors of the U.S. economy, and the hundreds of thousands of American jobs that depend on them.”

In addition to the testimony, USCIB also co-sponsored a reception last week for Hill staff centered around the China 301 hearing, as well as NAFTA, celebrating Great American Jobs Supported by Trade. Representatives from U.S. government, companies, and associations, spent the evening discussing various important developments in the trade space.

USCIB Warns of Potential Harms to the US Following China Tariffs

In light of the Trump administration’s proposed Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods, USCIB sent comments last week to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressing concern about the potential unintended negative consequences the proposed tariffs will have on sectors vital to the U.S. economy and jobs. With $587.6 billion in total goods trade in 2016, China has become the United States’ largest goods trading partner. China was also the third-largest export goods market in 2016 for the U.S., while U.S. foreign direct investment in China was $13.8 billion in 2016, with the ICT sector alone encompassing $4.34 billion.

“China can be a challenging market for U.S. companies to navigate. The ongoing intellectual property rights violations, forced technology transfer requirements, and state interventions harm U.S. companies, workers, consumers, and competitiveness,” stated Eva Hampl, who leads USCIB work on China-related issues.

Made in China 2025 is considered by many an indication that China plans on further advancing in developing their high-tech industries, such as robotics, advanced information technology, aviation, and new energy vehicles, with the eventual goal of global dominance in those industries through uncompetitive means such as subsidies.

“While this unfair advantage to Chinese companies in the high-tech industry space is a legitimate threat to U.S. leadership in innovation, continued engagement in the Chinese market is also very important for U.S. companies in terms of their ability to be globally competitive,” emphasized Hampl. “USCIB members are very concerned that these proposed tariffs will stifle the U.S. economy, and not achieve the important goal of changing China’s behavior in the space of emerging technologies and intellectual property rights. China’s threat of retaliation further exacerbates uncertainties caused by this proposed action. Rather than create more opportunities for U.S. business, sweeping tariffs will stifle U.S. agriculture, goods, and services exports and raise costs for businesses and consumers.”

The comments urge the administration to use this public comment period to listen to USCIB members and other U.S. stakeholders who explain how they will be directly affected by the proposed tariffs.

“It is critical that the administration exclude from its tariffs particularly those products that cannot feasibly be replaced by non-Chinese sources, where the harm of potential tariffs would fall more on U.S. businesses, workers, and exporters than on Chinese entities,” said Hampl. “Hurting American exporters cannot be the outcome of a process designed to level the playing field in China.”

USCIB has also signed on to a broader coalition of trade associations to echo these and other business concerns. Additionally, USCIB is co-sponsoring a reception later this week for Hill staff centered around the China 301 hearing, as well as NAFTA, celebrating Great American Jobs Supported by Trade. Finally, USCIB will also testify this week as part of the China 301 hearing.

USCIB’s Geneva Delegation Supports Innovation at World IP Day

As part of USCIB’s Geneva Week, USCIB staff and members had the opportunity to participate in the annual World Intellectual Property Day on April 26 in Geneva to celebrate the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. This year’s campaign celebrated women who are driving societal change and shaping “our common future” through innovation and creativity.

The USCIB delegation attended a reception sponsored by Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia (MIKTA), an informal partnership created in 2013 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly to support effective global governance.

“USCIB appreciated the opportunity to attend World IP Day and to support the importance causes of promoting intellectual property rights and bridging the gender divide in innovation,” noted Mike Michener, who leads USCIB’s Committee on Innovation and Intellectual Property. “USCIB’s goal within our recently revamped Intellectual Property and Innovation Committee is to improve our members’ global competitiveness as well as identify international initiatives to secure IP rights and promote innovation. World IP Day is an exemplary forum to help endorse our long-standing beliefs that intellectual property protection and innovation go hand-in-hand.”

 

USCIB Mission to Geneva Targets UN Agencies

In an effort to ensure inclusivity and transparency of international policy deliberations for business at the United Nations, USCIB organized a Geneva “door knock” meeting to UN and multilateral institutions last week, bringing together a USCIB delegation of members and staff to meet with UN agencies, officials in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and other important government representatives in order to highlight American policy priorities and concerns. The topical areas and issues of concern included food and agriculture, healthcare, intellectual property and innovation, sustainability, environment and chemicals, and trade.

USCIB presented itself as a unique business organization, affiliated with ICC, IOE and Business at OECD (BIAC), and constructively involved in an array of UN institutions, with positive examples of the benefits of such engagement. USCIB members spoke to how U.S. business innovation, investment, and partnership deliver global progress advancing economic benefits in the U.S. and globally, with examples found on USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform, and argued for enabling frameworks of policy, markets and governance.

The USCIB member delegation met with the World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the World Trade Organization, and UN Environment, as well as country missions, including the U.S., UK, Japan and Brazil.

The delegation was led by USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Environment and Energy Norine Kennedy, Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, Senior Director for Membership Alison Hoiem, and Policy Assistant Mia Lauter. USCIB members include representatives from Cargill, AbINBev, CropLife, Ferrero, Sidley and GMA.

Watch Michener’s report from the field below!

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 www.uscib.org.

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

USCIB Washington Update, December 2017-January 2018

During the months of December 2017 and January 2018, USCIB Staff arranged for members to meet on CFIUS with Heath Tarbert, Treasury, and internet governance with Robert Strayer, State, issued the USCIB 2018 Trade and Investment Agenda, participated in a Senate Lobby Day on NAFTA, traveled to Montreal for the 6th round of NAFTA negotiations, led a meeting with USTR on OECD Accession issues for Colombia, submitted comments to a UK consultation on digital taxation, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last two months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

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

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health – Business Engagement for Balanced International Health and Nutrition Regulations

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

Membership

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

Upcoming Events:

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

 

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

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

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

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

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

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

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

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

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

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

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

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

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