Hampl Provides Testimony at Interagency Committee on China’s WTO Compliance

Following USCIB’s annual submission to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding China’s compliance with its WTO commitments, USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony before the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee, which was chaired by USTR and included officials from the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, State, Agriculture and Labor.

“USCIB members continue to have serious concerns with a host of policies and practices maintained by China that undermine the ability of U.S. businesses to operate, including unfair and discriminatory governmental practices,” stated Hampl. “The tariff actions under Section 301 have not to date resolved the underlying issues [of forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft] identified by the United States. Accordingly, high-level bilateral dialogue between the United States and China continues to be of the utmost importance. We also urge both countries to utilize, in addition to the WTO, the full range of formal multilateral fora, including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to work toward improved commercial relations.”

The questions from the panel addressed the problematic enforcement of the anti-monopoly law, the myriad of certification and testing requirements, the current cybersecurity regime, market access (China’s filtering and blocking of websites and online services), the dysfunctional approval process for new agricultural biotechnology products, and recent developments on  China’s labor laws.

USCIB submitted extensive written comments last month. The submission is public and can also be found on www.regulations.gov under Docket Number USTR-2019-0010.

USCIB Releases Statement on China’s WTO Commitments, Urges Bilateral and Plurilateral Dialogue

In response to an annual request by the United States Trade Representative for comments on China’s compliance with WTO commitments and notice of public hearing, USCIB gathered member input and submitted a comprehensive statement on September 18.

The statement emphasizes the direct and important stake American business holds in the relationship between the U.S. and China and in its success. As the world’s largest economy, China’s practices and policies have a significant impact on its trading partners, and engagement with China can be challenging. China’s growing importance in the global economy provides strong incentives for both countries to work together to address common challenges and responsibilities.

USCIB members continue to have serious concerns with several policies and practices maintained by China that undermine the ability of U.S. businesses to operate, including unfair and discriminatory governmental practices. Furthermore, U.S. tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs imposed as a result of the U.S. Section 301 investigation into China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation policies have been disruptive to U.S. business.

“The tariff actions have not resolved the underlying issues identified by the U.S. or have changed Chinese behavior regarding the matters covered by the investigation or the broader issues identified in this submission,” said Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl.

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

“This annual submission provides a valuable opportunity to stakeholders to share issues that business is facing in China, following their accession 18 years ago in 2001,” said Hampl. Many sectors continue to face significant issues related to market access, transparency, regulation and protection of intellectual property rights. In addition to addressing many cross-sectoral and sector specific issues, this submission takes the opportunity to address the ongoing tariff war with China and the damaging effect that is having on companies.

“USCIB has been consistently pushing back against this tariff escalation, the start of which alleged to address some of the issues highlighted in our broader China WTO submission,” added Hampl. “Our submission clearly shows that the issues related to IP theft and forced tech transfer continue to be a problem for companies doing business in China.”

USCIB Urges Ongoing US-China Negotiations

Washington, D.C., August 13, 2019 – In response to President Trump’s announcement earlier today to delay implementation of a ten percent tariff on imports from China, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, urged the U.S. and China to continue negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement.

“Simply delaying harmful tariffs on a select number of particularly impacted products from September 1 to December 15 is not a solution,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “It is crucial for the United States and China to engage in continuous discussions in order to reach a negotiated outcome with the goal of removing these tariffs and eliminating market barriers and discrimination.”

Robinson noted that American business continues to have major problems with China’s commercial policies and urged the Trump administration to work more closely with key U.S. trading partners and with the business community to address serious Chinese trade abuses, including referring U.S. complaints to the World Trade Organization.

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
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

USCIB Joins Congressional Lobby Days to Push for USMCA

USCIB joined the effort of the USMCA Coalition in its most recent Congressional Lobby Days just ahead of August recess, which reached more than 100 House offices. USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl joined a group which met exclusively with House Democratic offices July 24-25. According to Hampl, representatives noted that they understood the importance of USMCA for the economic future of the U.S.

The Coalition referenced the July 23 letter signed by over 600 business associations across the country in pushing for urgent Congressional approval of USMCA.

There was a keen interest in the USMCA working group of House Democrats, which was established last month by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to address some Democrats’ lingering concerns about issues in the agreement, specifically on labor, environment, enforcement and pharmaceutical pricing. While there were varying views on the substance of those discussions, there was general approval of the process. Many are looking to Pelosi for next steps. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his team continue to meet with members of the working group. Discussions have been described as productive, and the Coalition has urged all parties to continue this important work during the August recess. The Senate remains in session this week.

“The Coalition is emphasizing the urgent need for action to move the agreement through Congress,” said Hampl. Hampl also noted that approval will depend on a collaborative approach.

The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on USMCA today (July 30) and is featuring auto industry, agribusiness, transportation, dairy, and small business representatives, as well as a witness focusing on labor policy. For a list of witnesses please click here.

USCIB Urges Reversal of 1-800 Contacts FTC Ruling

USCIB filed an amicus brief with regards to 1-800 Contacts, Inc. case to highlight the challenges American businesses would face under the recent Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decision’s approach to antitrust liability for trademark settlements, and explain the potential negative impacts the decision would have on businesses, consumers and competition if left to stand.

USCIB General Counsel Nancy Thevenin led the process for USCIB. “The Commission’s decision creates substantial uncertainty regarding the enforcement and settlement of intellectual property rights, increases the risk of arbitrary enforcement against even routine settlements, and potentially exposes settlements to such risk for decades,” warned Thevenin. “The decision should be reversed.”

Earlier this year, the FTC decided to impose antitrust liability against 1-800 Contacts, the largest online retailer of contact lenses in the U.S., on the basis that 1-800 Contacts’ settlements of trademark infringing lawsuits against at least fourteen competing online contact lens retailers restricted trade. Among other things, USCIB’s amicus argues that the Commission’s decision ignores the critical importance to business of intellectual property rights and its enforcement and would unfairly require the lawful exercise of such rights to a higher pro-competition standard.

USCIB thanks Eileen M. Cole, Bryant D. Gant and Seiji Niwa of member firm White & Case for their work with the amicus.

 

USCIB All In Initiative

USCIB All In

About

Faced with the urgent need to make faster and smarter progress towards achieving the ambitions of a range of international agreements including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Framework on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, inclusive multilateralism is essential. In this context, USCIB has developed a 2 year initiative: “Campaign All In.”

All In has launched a global conversation on how to strengthen dialogue, partnership and engagement with business to advance implementation of 2015 outcomes via the multilateral system. The Campaign brings together policymakers and global businesses in key UN cities to begin a conversation on opportunities for harnessing the power of all industry sectors to achieve the SDG goals and other sustainability initiatives.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks at the All In Roundtable

Campaign All In was launched during a roundtable event on May 8, 2019 in which USCIB partnered with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to convene the first All In Roundtable on Inclusive Multilateralism, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Business. Further ‘All In’ roundtables are planned for Bangkok on June 11 and in New York in July. Together, the three roundtables will address six key themes:

  1. Enabling Public-Private Partnerships with the UN for the SDGs (Geneva)
  2. More than the sum of the parts: Leveraging public private cooperation in science and technology for the SDGs (Geneva)
  3. Using Value Chains to mobilize multi-sector engagement and synergy for the SDGs (Bangkok)
  4. Economic Empowerment and inclusion to catalyze SDG impact (Bangkok)
  5. Investing in Infrastructure in all its forms for the SDGs (NYC)
  6. Measuring and Mainstreaming Impact of Private Sector Engagement on SDGs (NYC)

Utilizing the outcomes from the 2019 discussions, All In will develop a 2020 Action Plan for Inclusive Multilateralism.

Events

Geneva Week roundtable

Upcoming:

  • New York UN General Assembly Conference
    • When: September 11, 2019
    • Where: Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza
    • Agenda: Available here
    • Registration: Available here

Past:

US Business Launches ‘All In’ Initiative to Advance Business Engagement for Global Goals Implementation

Geneva Week roundtable

USCIB partnered with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to convene the first ‘All In’ Roundtable on Inclusive Multilateralism, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Business. USCIB’s ‘All In” Initiative seeks to launch a global conversation on how to strengthen dialogue, partnership and engagement with business to advance implementation of 2015 outcomes.

Over fifty participants from Geneva-based diplomatic missions, UN bodies, NGOs and business joined the event, including:

  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
  • Chargé d’affaires, ad Interim, of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations Mark Cassayre
  • Secretary General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder
  • Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi
  • UK Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Julian Braithwaite
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks at the All In Roundtable

Expert panelists from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),UNICEF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the UN Global Compact and the Partnering Initiative reflected on two themes that were raised in All In Discussion Starter papers:

Public Private Partnerships with the UN – Designing for SDG impact

Leveraging public private sector cooperation on technical and scientific knowledge for targeted SDG implementation

“The event highlighted the diverse variety of working arrangements to engage with non-state actors and the private sector,” said USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Environment and Energy Norine Kennedy. “Through the “All In” initiative USCIB will draw on its long experience in the multilateral system to highlight what has worked well and to flag areas where further partnership, improvement and strengthening are needed to speed up and scale SDG impact. “

Further ‘All In’ roundtables are planned for Bangkok and other UN cities, on additional themes, including metrics for impact, infrastructure investment for SDG action and economic empowerment and inclusion. Based on this series of discussions throughout 2019, ‘All In’ will develop a 2020 Action Plan for Inclusive Multilateralism.

The ‘All In’ roundtable took place in conjunction with USCIB’s second annual Geneva Week, May 6-9.

USCIB Geneva Week-Business in Society: Shared Values

USCIB will hold its second annual Geneva Week trip for members and prospects May 6-10, 2019 under the theme: “Business in Society: Shared Values.” 

USCIB is pleased to announce that meetings with the following organizations are now confirmed: U.S. Mission, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Additional meetings will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Please check this page for updates.

The purpose of Geneva Week is to generate valuable conversations and connections between the U.S. business community and UN Agencies, Missions to the UN-Geneva, and other important Permanent Representatives in Geneva. It is a week-long opportunity to:

  • highlight your company’s work and policy priorities in the areas of health care, intellectual property, nutrition and sustainability;
  • demonstrate business’ commitment and contributions towards shared goals; and
  • raise any key concerns you may have regarding the intersection of international policy making and global business.

USCIB’s targets for interactions include senior management from several Geneva-based UN Agencies and Permanent Missions, including:

Agencies Include:

  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • The World Health Organization (WHO)
  • UN Environment’s Chemicals and Wastes division

Missions Include:

  • U.S. Mission to the UN
  • Australian Mission to the UN
  • Brazilian Mission to the UN
  • Canadian Mission to the UN
  • EU Mission to the UN
  • Japanese Mission to the UN
  • UK Mission to the UN

Our desired outcome from the week is to build and strengthen relationships in support of continued and ongoing communication between Geneva-based institutions and the business community, as well as to ensure that UN Agencies and Missions clearly understand:

  • Our shared values – how and where the synergies and areas of cooperation exist between business and multi-lateral institutions – and
  • Our concerns regarding business access and business’ license to operate

Participation in USCIB’s Geneva Week is by invitation only, and costs a fee of $750.00. As spaces are limited, please contact Mia Lauter (mlauter@uscib.org) to RSVP or to receive more information.

New OECD Reports Outlines Business Investment Contribution to SDGs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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