USCIB Congratulates Daren Tang on New Role as WIPO Director General

Daren Tang. Photo credit: OpenGov Asia

The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) congratulates Daren Tang, Singapore’s chief executive of intellectual property, on his election to the post of director general for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson commended WIPO member states and the U.S. Administration for supporting Mr. Tang:

“The election of Daren Tang as Director General of the WIPO is good news for American business and entrepreneurs, as well as for the global economy and rule-of-law.  Mr. Tang understands the importance of intellectual property rights to all those whose livelihoods depend on the ingenuity and creative genius of inventors, artists and the companies who employ them. There is a clear correlation between economic growth and the development of new inventions, technologies and creative products that are protected by patents, trademarks and copyrights.  USCIB applauds USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, Ambassador Andrew Bremberg and his team in Geneva, and the State Department Bureau of International Organization Affairs for their hard work and support of Mr. Tang’s candidacy. We look forward to continuing our work with WIPO to protect intellectual property as a means of driving global innovation, investment, and economic opportunity.”

USCIB Supports US–Singapore Joint Statement on Financial Services Connectivity

Washington DC – February 6, 2020 – The U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) today voiced its support for the recent U.S. – Singapore Joint Statement on Financial Services Data Connectivity. We applaud this holistic approach to cooperation on the critical issue of Data Policy.

USCIB further recognizes the importance of ensuring seamless transfer of data across borders in conjunction with the business of a financial service provider. We support fostering greater understanding of this important public policy issue and acknowledge the importance of unfettered data connectivity and its role in global trade, innovation and economic growth.

Link to the Joint Statement by U.S. – Singapore on Data Connectivity:

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm899

USCIB Adopts Carbon Offset Program for Employee International Travel

USCIB today announced that it has initiated a program to support carbon offsets for its employees’ international travel.

This initiative reflects USCIB’s continuous engagement in international climate policy deliberations supporting U.S. private sector engagement and solutions towards GHG emissions reduction, adaptation and resilience, and its recognition of its global carbon footprint.

In 2019, USCIB staff, together with member company representatives, participated in over 90 meetings and negotiations of some 18 international institutions in over 25 locations around the globe.

Beginning this month, January, 2020, carbon offset tables are being used by USCIB to calculate the carbon equivalent costs of international airline flights. That amount is being donated to sustainability programs such as forest conservation and management. The contributions will go to organizations participating with airlines most often used by USCIB staff.

In many cases, specific options of sustainability programs are provided to enable the contributor to make a “greatest impact” choice.  Where an airline does not work directly with an established organization, USCIB will decide on the recipient program.

USCIB recognizes that in the future, airlines themselves may be required to offset emissions under the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), agreed in 2018 in Montreal, which when enacted would make USCIB’s program redundant for international passenger offsets. However, the lack of agreement on an implementation schedule at the recent COP 25 meeting in Madrid of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) resulted in a postponement of enactment beyond the original 2021 goal. Until that time, USCIB believes that its carbon offset program is a positive contribution that it can make in the face of the global climate challenge.

USCIB will maintain a record of the offsets that will be available to members who might wish to see progress updates.

USCIB Statement on Signing of USMCA

Washington, D.C., January 29, 2020 – The U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents many of America’s leading global companies, welcomes today’s signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement, updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Over 12 million American jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, so USMCA is an important agreement for U.S. industry for future economic growth.

“The agreement contains several provisions modernizing the original NAFTA, creating new opportunities for American companies and consumers,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “However, USMCA also leaves room for improvement for future negotiations, so we look forward to continued dialogue with the Administration on ensuring critical protections will be upheld in future agreements.”

  • Digital Trade: USMCA contains a state of the art digital trade chapter, including prohibiting cross-border data flow restrictions and data localization requirements, prohibiting requirements for source code or algorithm disclosure or transfer as a condition for market access, prohibiting customs duties on electronic transmissions, provisions on consumer protection, privacy, cybersecurity and open government data. This new chapter allows companies to more effectively operate in the modern global economy.
  • Customs and Trade Facilitation: USMCA significantly updates the customs and trade facilitation provisions from the original NAFTA, ensuring that goods can efficiently flow in and out of the United States. The parties agreed on provisions related to trade facilitation, including the creation of a single-access window system and expedited customs procedures for express shipments. The agreement also includes commitments from Canada and Mexico to increase their de minimis levels, moving toward leveling the playing field for American companies.
  • Labor provisions: The original NAFTA was the first FTA to include labor provisions, though they were contained in side letters. USCMA brings the labor chapter into the agreement’s body, introduces strengthened labor provisions and makes them enforceable. The provisions require adherence to core labor standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and effective enforcement of national labor laws.
  • IP protections: USMCA contains important provisions protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of American companies, including protections on patents, copyright, trademarks and trade secrets, which are important for the ability of American companies to continue to innovate. One major omission, however, is the opportunity to fully protect biologics. The removal of increased market exclusivity of biologics in the final agreement is detrimental to American companies and consumers.
  • Investment: Protections for American companies when investing in Canada or Mexico are vital to ensure continued growth and development. USMCA contains such protections for many sectors, however does not fully protect all American companies across the board by significantly limiting access to the dispute settlement mechanism. In addition, even the limited dispute settlement mechanism is only available with Mexico, so for investment disputes with Canada, American investors have to rely on mechanisms outside of the newly negotiated agreement. Picking winners and losers for investment protection is not an appropriate precedent for U.S. FTAs going forward.

USCIB looks forward to entry into force and effective implementation of this important trade deal for U.S. business, and increased trade opportunities for our members.

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 the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers, and Business at OECD (known as BIAC), USCIB helps to provide 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.

Contacts:

Kira Yevtukhova, USCIB
+1 202.617.3160,
kyevtukhova@uscib.org
Glen Brandow, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043,
gbrandow@uscib.org

USCIB Issues Climate Change Statement on UN Day

In light of the United Nations celebrating the ratification of its 1945 Charter on October 24, USCIB issued the following statement:

“On this UN Day, USCIB would like to join others in recognizing the indispensable importance of the UN system to American business in advancing international cooperation and providing the infrastructure in which we create shared value and serve society.

USCIB reaffirms our support for U.S. involvement in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Accord. We welcome the growth of the American energy economy from fossil fuels to nuclear to renewables to new options for energy efficiency. The Paris Accord allows every country to define its own pathway to tackling climate risks, and the U.S. has already made good progress on that front, reducing emissions and improving efficiency while advancing its own energy security, growing U.S. jobs and opening new markets for innovative American technologies.

Without U.S. leadership at the Paris Accord table, promoting its strategic and economic interests alongside other countries, opportunities for the deployment of these American private sector solutions could be threatened. We encourage the Administration to revisit its decision and submit, as appropriate, its own visionary plan to the UNFCCC and Paris Accord, in which American energy objectives can co-exist with environmental protection, private sector innovation and sustainably meeting both American and global growing energy demands.”

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.”

US Business Priorities for UNGA High-Level Opening Week

Photo credit: United Nations

USCIB issued the following statement on September 18 for the 75th United Nations General Assembly High-Level opening week. The statement reflects U.S. business priorities.

On the occasion of the High Level Opening Week of the UN General Assembly on the urgent and intertwined topics of climate change and sustainable development, USCIB joins with many others in highlighting the critical importance of inclusive multilateralism as a means to increase pace and impact to meet climate, financing for development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitments and objectives, involving all societal partners, including the private sector. In each of these three areas, economic policies that drive growth and job creation will be critical to generate the necessary resources and enable business to make its strongest contributions to implementation.

UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

USCIB members have placed the SDGs and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda at the center of their sustainable development policies and actions.  As needed progress towards delivering the SDGs is lagging, we encourage governments to do likewise. We urge the United Nations to call for greater global action to achieve Agenda 2030, using the occasion of its 75th anniversary in 2020 to galvanize the international community and actively include business and other non-state actors.

Business for 2030 homepage logoScientific assessment, policy dialogue and assessment all need to integrate business expertise and views on a more systematic basis at international, national and local levels. The private sector brings important experience and knowledge to deliver the 2030 Agenda; it is in the DNA of business to turn challenges into opportunities and to innovate and develop practical and realistic solutions for the problems we face together.  Recent examples of this business commitment and action will be highlighted at the September 25 SDG Business Forum, organized by ICC with the UN GC, the International Organization of Employers and the UN, and can be found on USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform.

In addition, a renewed emphasis on public-private sector partnerships is required to crowd-in private sector solutions.   In our view, business is needed more than ever as a source of solutions, real world experience, innovative technology, financial resources and partnerships in the multilateral system.  The UNGA SDG Summit is an opportunity to move toward mainstreaming collaborative approaches among the UN, governments, civil society, and business throughout the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

Climate Change

On the occasion of the UN Climate Action Summit, USCIB recognizes that we must take urgent action to tackle climate change on all fronts.  According to the IPCC, reducing future climate-related risks will depend on the upscaling and acceleration of far-reaching climate mitigation and both incremental and transformation adaptation.  In this regard, business investment, innovation and action, working in partnership with governments, society and other stakeholders, will be vital.

We continue in our active support of the 2015 Paris Accord and the world business position presented at COP21.  We continue to call for the commitment of all governments to this global effort, so that business and government can work together to enact economically sound policies that:

  • Promote development, deployment and use of cleaner and more efficient technologies and energy sources
  • Enhance sustainable energy access and security in all countries
  • Utilize markets and market-based approaches to animate least-cost GHG reductions, working through multilateral trade
  • Drive investment in innovation for mitigation and adaption

We share the concern that there is a shortfall in hoped-for progress toward the Paris goals, and encourage renewed efforts to get back on track.  We welcome ambitious aspirations on the part of organizations and companies and look forward to bringing the best of business forward in addressing this critical global challenge, working closely with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change en route to the 25th Conference of the Parties in Santiago, Chile.

Financing for Development

A major challenge faced in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is lack of financial resources, from both public and private sources.  Domestic resource mobilization is one of the core pillars identified in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to help close this gap, and the private sector is indispensable in this regard.  However, even with robust plans to incorporate financing for development, governments still need to do more to enhance enabling frameworks for investment and strengthen rule of law and institutions needed for inclusive economic prosperity.

At the UN High Level Meeting on Financing for Development, we encourage governments to redouble their efforts to protect human rights, tackle corruption wherever it is encountered in public or private sectors and pursue democratic and transparent processes whether via international cooperation or at home.

ICC Statement on Code Interpretation/Reference Guide on Advertising to Children

The Reference Guide on Advertising to Children can be found here. 

ICC Statement on Code Interpretation

The International Chamber of Commerce Consolidated Code of Marketing and Advertising Practice
(ICC Code) sets forth standards for marketing communications, including provisions addressing
special responsibilities for marketing “products” (as defined by the ICC Code, which includes
services)to children and young people. Article 18 of the ICC Code outlines principles for advertising
to children and young people, while Article 19 establishes principles for data collection involving
children. The purpose of this Statement on Code Interpretation is to clarify the age of “children” and
the age of “young people” for purposes of the ICC Code.

The ICC’s approach has been informed by almost 100 years of research on child development, and
recognizes that children, on the one hand, and teens, on the other, require special consideration
based on their differing ability to understand marketing messages. A wealth of data and historical
customs and practices support defining “children” as age 12 and younger (i.e. under 13 years old) for
marketing-related purposes, and this is generally the age the ICC intends when referring to “children”
in the ICC Code. Where the ICC Code refers to “young people,” the ICC generally intends this
phrase to mean teenagers (“teens”) under age 18. Children and teens are typically considered
“minors” and are barred from purchasing, consuming or using particular products intended for adults.

An overarching principle of the ICC Code is that marketing communications must be legal, decent,
honest and truthful, considering how the communication is likely to be interpreted by the primary
target audience. The ICC Code recognizes that some added fair marketing communications
principles should apply to both children and teens, while other specific marketing communications
principles should apply only to children. For example, products that are unsuitable for purchase, use
or consumption by children and teens in the jurisdiction where the marketing communications appear
should not be advertised in media targeted to them, while other provisions of the Code (e.g. the use
of fantasy in advertising) include additional best practices for child-directed marketing
communications. Likewise, children and teens should not be portrayed in advertisements using
products that are not appropriate for them to use.

The ICC recognizes that some local laws may define “children” and “young people” differently.
Marketers of course must respect local laws when it comes to structuring local marketing
communications. The ICC decision to adopt age 12 and younger as the reference age of “children”
for purposes of advertising and privacy provisions of the ICC Code, and to define “young people” as
teens under 18, reflects proven differences in the ability of children versus teens to understand
marketing communications, the very real differences in teens’ interests as compared to children, the
practical impediments to obtaining parental consent where data collection from teens is concerned,
sensitivities about teen privacy rights, and respect for freedom of commercial communications where
the principal audience is adults. Harmonization around this age will help maintain international
consistency, and is consistent with many content ratings and safety laws around the world.