USCIB Gears Up for APEC Meetings in Vietnam

USCIB members are continuing to make the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) a priority forum in which to engage, as it is key to accelerating regional economic integration as well as promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth.

To aid private sector engagement, USCIB works with the U.S. APEC business coalition to meet with APEC officials and participate in APEC meetings throughout the year, culminating in the APEC CEO Summit, a meeting of CEOs and leaders from the APEC economies.

To direct and facilitate the work with our members and APEC officials, USCIB has compiled its annual priority issues and recommendations paper, which can be found here. As can be seen in our priorities, USCIB is actively engaged in a number of the APEC issue areas and working groups related to ICT, Chemicals and, Customs and Trade Facilitation.

Two of USCIB’s policy team will be attending the third APEC Senior Officials Meeting and related meetings (SOM 3) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, held August 15-30.

Megan Giblin, USCIB’s director for Customs and Trade Facilitation will be participating in the APEC Business – Customs Dialogue (ABCD), the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) meeting,  moderating the “Streamlining Processes: Addressing Challenges from the Private Sector” panel and speaking on the “Single Window to Facilitate Trade and Economic Competitiveness” panel during the APEC Workshop on Single Windows (e.g., in U.S. ACE), moderating the WTO Trade Facilitation panel “Focus on Transparency: The WTO TFA” during the 2017 APEC Conference on Good Regulatory Practice (GRP), and working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) to present a case study tied to TFA implication during the GRP event. USCIB worked closely with both U.S. CBP and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to secure industry speakers and participation for the GRP and Single Window events.

During the closed meeting of the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, Giblin will provide an update on the Customs – Chemical Dialogue project. The deliverable for this meeting is delivery of an analysis of country survey results, including common practices at the customs border regarding treatment of industrial chemicals.

Giblin will continue to establish and foster relationships with customs officials from APEC economies as well as members of industry, identifying linkages to the work underway within the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee, including, but not limited to, e-commerce, de minimis, and single-window efforts.

The decision was taken earlier this year at SOM 1 to reduce duplication and streamline working groups, to integrate the SCCP Virtual Working Group with the A2C2 given the level of issue overlap. Moving forward the A2C2 will bring together members of the private sector as well as among other departments or agencies, customs officials, from the APEC member economies. Giblin is a member of the A2C2, which is focused on capacity-building efforts and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and its implementation.

“Given the expanded scope of the A2C2 as well as the fact that many of our members are part of the A2C2, I will continue to consider ways to increase industry visibility, engagement and potentially reduce duplicative industry resource or input requests,” noted Giblin.

Giblin will also attend the APEC Chemical Dialogue (CD) meetings on behalf of Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president of Product Policy and Innovation, to support USCIB members attending the CD-related meetings. The CD serves as a forum for regulatory officials and industry representatives to find solutions to challenges facing the chemical industry in the Asia-Pacific region. It reflects APEC members’ recognition of the importance of engaging with the private sector and building public-private sector dialogue and cooperation for mutual benefit. USCIB members have found this Forum a valuable place to promote their regional business priorities.

Barbara Wanner, USCIB vice president for ICT policy, also will attend the SOM 3 meetings. In particular, Wanner will participate in a special “APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Facilitating MSMEs to Adopt Cross Border E-Commerce,” jointly organized by the Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) and the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), August 18-19. In addition, Wanner will represent member interests at meetings of the ECSG and Data Privacy Subgroup (DPS), August 20-23.  Finally, Wanner will serve as a business observer at the APEC Advertising Standards Conference, August 24.

The Public-Private Dialogue is aimed encouraging greater MSME participation in cross-border e-commerce in the APEC region and beyond. The two-day workshop will focus on sharing information with MSMEs about trade promoting elements of the e-commerce chapters of Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It also will educate MSMEs on the trade facilitating benefits of certification under APEC’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. USCIB has been a long-time supporter of the CBPR, viewing it as a foundation to promote high-level privacy standards while ensuring seamless flows of business information through the APEC region. USCIB members Apple, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, HP, IBM, and Merck are CBPR-certified.

The DPS meetings likely will feature discussion about the recent approval of South Korea as a CBPR-certified economy – making it the fifth APEC economy in the CBPR system, joining Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. The DPS also will include a special session with representatives of the European Commission and Article 29 Working Party aimed at pursuing greater interoperability between the APEC CBPR and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) before the latter goes into effect in May 2018. An ECSG draft Strategic Plan, which was tabled by the U.S. Government earlier this year, likely will receive continued focus in the ECSG meetings.

SOM 3 will also include a Workshop on Advertising Self-Regulation. Through participation by USCIB members and ICC representatives at the workshop, USCIB is lending support to the efforts to improve advertising standards throughout the APEC region, and providing input to APEC economies on the use of regulation and self-regulation, including the ICC Marketing Code. The Advertising Standards Conference will devote a session to regulating and monitoring digital advertising, which is expected to include speakers from Google and ICC.

If you would like any further information on the above meetings or issues, please feel free to reach out to our team.

Advertising: Jonathan Huneke, jhuneke@uscib.org

Customs and Trade Facilitation: Megan Giblin, mgiblin@uscib.org

Chemicals: Michael Michener, mmichener@uscib.org

ICT and Data Privacy: Barbara Wanner, bwanner@uscib.org

APEC priorities: Elizabeth Kim, ekim@uscib.org

USCIB Welcomes Michael Michener as Vice President of Product Policy and Innovation

New York, N.Y., February 21, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced that Michael Michener, a former administrator of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service who has also served as a U.S. trade diplomat and association executive, has joined USCIB’s staff as vice president of product policy and innovation.

Working out of USCIB’s Washington, D.C. office, Michener will lead the organization’s policy work on chemicals, health, food, agriculture and intellectual property. He will also coordinate USCIB’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

“Mike brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to USCIB, especially his background in working with international organizations, that will contribute greatly to our efforts on behalf of members,” said Rob Mulligan, USCIB’s senior vice president for policy and government relations. “We are excited to have him join our team at a time when the policy and regulatory challenges facing American companies are complex and growing.”

Michener most recently served in Brussels as director of multilateral relations for CropLife International, representing the association before a range of international organizations – including the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the UN Environment Program and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – on issues related to crop protection products and agriculture biotechnology.

Previously Michener served with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in two different roles. First, as administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, he managed 1,100 employees and an annual operating budget of $300 million.  Then, as minister counselor at the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, he served as the special representative of the U.S. secretary of agriculture to UN bodies dealing with food and agricultural issues.

Michener has also worked with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Agency for International Development, and he served with the United States Army for seven years in Europe. Michener earned a master’s degree in public administration from Bowie State University and a bachelor’s degree East European studies from the University of Maryland.

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.

With a unique global network encompassing the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB to Attend APEC Summit in Lima

apec_limaThis week, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Lima, Peru, as a business delegate and representative of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition. Attending with him will be Helen Medina, USCIB’s vice president of product policy and innovation.

Organized under the leadership of the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) USCIB will be joining other Coalition and NCAPEC members on the ground, including CEOs and executives from USCIB member companies. NCAPEC serves as the designated 2016 U.S. Strategic Partner for the CEO Summit, Secretariat to the U.S. members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and as Chair and Secretariat of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.

“APEC actively supports economic growth, regional cooperation, and trade and investment,” said Robinson. “USCIB welcomes the committed partnerships that APEC, as the top economic forum in the region, has sustained with the private sector to address the complex economic issues that face the region. It is a vital platform for addressing trade and investment, which is especially important now that prospects for U.S. ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership look cloudy.”

Throughout 2016, USCIB has addressed a number of issues through APEC to advance discussions across a range of issue. These include chemicals regulation, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, digital trade, and women in the economy. Our members and staff have engaged in several APEC working groups, including the Chemical Dialogue, APEC Business-Customs Dialogue, Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group, Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup.

In Lima, Robinson and Medina will meet with USCIB members, leaders from APEC economies and representatives of intergovernmental organizations to discuss member companies’ APEC priorities and USCIB’s work. They look forward to hearing from USCIB members in Lima, in addition to joining with Coalition partners, to advance common objectives.

The upcoming APEC meetings in Lima include, in addition to the CEO Summit, the Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting, Fourth APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Meeting, APEC Ministerial Meeting and APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. As these meetings draw Peru’s host year to a close, USCIB has begun to gather priority issues from its membership for 2017, when Vietnam will serve as APEC’s host. We are continuing to collect input, and will shortly release our APEC Priority Issues and Recommendations for 2017.

USCIB International Product Policy Working Group

The meeting will focus on recent developments at APEC, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management as well as USCIB submissions to various draft chemical laws. The meeting will also discuss the group’s priorities for 2017.

 

USCIB’s Medina Leads Discussion at ChemCon 2016

USCIB Vice President Helen Media
USCIB Vice President Helen Medina

Facing increasing demands around the world to divulge details of their supply chains and production processes, how much information can (and should) companies share regarding the chemicals used in their products?

USCIB Vice President Helen Medina led a discussion of this topic at this week’s ChemCon Americas 2016 conference in Toronto. Chairing a panel on “Global Supply Chain Transparency & Stakeholders,” Medina noted the numerous efforts by governments and international bodies to promote greater disclosure by companies.

“There is increased societal pressure for the ‘right to know’ concept,” Medina stated. “What’s more, companies are facing market and stakeholder pressure to ‘green’ their supply chains as a way to improve their corporate citizenship profile.”

Others speaking on Medina’s panel included Mark Herwig (GE), Sophia Danenberg (Boeing), Wendy Brant (Walmart) and Scott Echols (ZDHC Foundation).

Medina said that policy makers in many countries and regions are expanding their concept of risk in chemicals, to encompass not just the materials in a given product but also how they are used. In addition, they are increasingly requiring information to understand chemical risks throughout a products entire life cycle.

Highlighting numerous inter-governmental efforts to promote transparency on chemicals use, Medina cited the UN Sustainable Development Goals, where Goal 12 sets out to “achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.”

This focus has migrated into various other discussions in the UN system and elsewhere, Media said. She urged companies of all sizes to pay greater attention to these discussions, which she said would influence national laws and rule-making on chemicals for years to come.

UN Report on Generic Drugs Disappoints Business Community

health_care_globe_lo-resA recent report published by the United Nations argues that low-income countries should be allowed to override pharmaceuticals patents so they can access a cheaper supply of generic drugs.

The U.S. Department of State issued a press release expressing disappointment with the report and arguing that intellectual property rights in the pharmaceutical industry are essential to medical innovation, which is fundamental to promoting global health.

“We believe that we can both increase access to medicines and support innovation for the development of new and improved drugs for the world’s most critical health challenges,” the statement said. “Indeed, there can be no access to drugs that have not been developed: support for innovation is essential.”

USCIB echoes these remarks and believes that increasing access to life-saving medicines is a complex matter, and countries have a wide array of policies and actions that may be appropriate in promoting the progressive realization of the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical health.

“Robust intellectual property rights support the development of innovative new treatments and drugs,” said Peter Robinson, USCIB president and CEO. “We’re disappointed that this new report fails to recognize the role intellectual property rights plays, and we remain committed to advancing access to new medicines while also fostering innovation and investment.”

 

Government and Business Discuss Updates on Chemicals Management at APEC

APEC Chemical Dialogue
APEC Chemical Dialogue regulators forum

The chemicals trade cuts across many industries, and its products are widely traded across borders. The chemicals industry is a key economic building block in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum economies, and the APEC Chemical Dialogue (CD) serves as a forum for regulatory officials and industry representatives to find solutions to challenges facing the chemical industry in the Asia-Pacific region. It reflects APEC members’ recognition of the importance of engaging with the private sector and building public-private sector dialogue and cooperation for mutual benefit.

Government and industry representatives from 16 economies across the Asia-Pacific region attended the CD meeting in Lima, Peru on August 17 during APEC’s third senior officials meeting (SOM III). Helen Medina, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation, participated in the dialogue along with USCIB members. During the meeting, officials agreed to revise the CD Strategic Framework document, which includes changes to the dialogue’s shared goals. The framework’s current goals include (1) expand and support cooperation and mutual recognition among chemical regulators in the region to facilitate trade; (2) enhance understanding of the chemical industry’s role as an innovative solutions industry; and (3) encourage chemical product stewardship, safe use, and sustainability.

During the meeting, the group discussed how it will promote the Best Practice Regulation
Checklist which was developed to assist APEC economies when considering changes to
chemicals regulation and when developing new chemicals regulation. The hope is that the
checklist will provide best practices for regulators.

Also noteworthy is the development of a form of self-certification by importers of chemical products, a project which is being conducted alongside the APEC Subcommittee on Customs Procedures.

“The project would develop a certification document to be used by economies that puts the burden of compliance with chemical control legislation on the importer of record and with enforcement of that legislation with the agency who issued the regulations,” Medina said.

The CD also discussed updates on an upcoming paper to examine chemical trade flows, possible contributions to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management policy and the American Chemistry Council’s proposal on sustainable chemistry. During the meeting participants also shared updates on countryspecific initiatives on chemicals management. For detailed information on these items, please contact Helen Medina, hmedina@uscib.org

USCIB Explains How Trade Associations Help Bolster Transnational Governance

Helen Medina
Helen Medina

How can trade associations, with their broad industry networks, help develop standards and rules  for their members both in and across borders? On June 10 USCIB’s Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Helen Medina participated in a conference organized by the Rutgers Law School Center for Corporate Law and Governance, the International Organizations Interest Group (IOIG) of the American Society for International Law, and the Rutgers Institute for Professional Education.

The “Industry Associations and Transnational Governance Conference” brought together practitioners and scholars to discuss the role of trade associations in transnational governance. The aim was to obtain a deeper understanding of how trade associations develop and administer standards and rules for their members and their industries both within and across borders. The discussion also informed the audience how industry associations are involved in formal law-making or soft-rule making bodies of governments and international organizations.

The conference gave Medina a unique opportunity to speak about why industry is interested in international organizations and how the various institutions engage with industry associations and civil society. Medina outlined why it is important for industry to participate in policy discussions and reminded participants that good regulatory outcomes are built on the cooperative effort among government, regulators, the regulated and the broader stakeholder community.

“Policymakers understand this concept of consulting with stakeholders and the importance of having various perspectives in rule making,” Medina said. “Industry associations are often called upon to provide input as experts on a certain topics.”

She spoke about the importance of using a whole-society approach to dealing with global challenges and industry associations and their members play a huge part in bringing solutions to the economy and marketplace.

USCIB Heads to Peru for APEC Policy Dialogues

APEC_PERUSupporting six million American jobs and hosting two thirds of the global middle class, the Asia-Pacific region is of great interest to the business community, as global companies are eager to tap the region’s growing markets. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum – the most influential economic dialogue in the region – continues to be a priority for USCIB members, as it is key to accelerating regional economic integration and promoting balanced, sustainable growth.

To aid private-sector engagement in the dialogue, USCIB works with the U.S. APEC business coalition to give members access to APEC officials and participate in APEC meetings throughout the year, culminating in the APEC CEO Summit, a meeting of CEOs and leaders from the APEC economies.

USCIB is in actively engaged in a number of the APEC working groups related to customs, product policy, and information and communication technologies. Each year, USCIB compiles an APEC priorities and recommendations paper to help direct and coordinate work with our members and APEC officials.

Three of USCIB’s policy team will be attending the upcoming first APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 1) in Lima Peru, which began this past weekend.

Action on trade facilitation

Megan Giblin, USCIB’s director for customs and trade facilitation, will participate in the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) and the Subcommittee on Customs Procedures meetings, and will identify linkages to the work underway within the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee including, but not limited to, e-commerce, single-window efforts, and other aspects that tie directly to WTO TFA implementation.

Giblin was also confirmed last week as the industry Co-Chair to the APEC Subcommittee on Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group (VWG) along with the government of New Zealand. USCIB both helped create the working group and has facilitated its work, co-chairing the group, since its inception. The VWG is comprised of both customs officials and members of the private sector.

Smarter chemicals regulations

Helen Medina, USCIB’s vice president of product policy and Innovation will attend the APEC Chemical Dialogue (CD) meetings to support USCIB’s work and recommendations on a coordinated approach to implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and future GHS capacity building workshops. Medina will also support USCIB’s Customs priorities in the area of Chemical Import Procedures.

USCIB will continue to encourage work within the CD on metals risk assessment, specifically follow-up to the workshop on this topic in 2015 as well as the dissemination of pending OECD metals assessment scientific guidance as joint OECD-APEC guidance for APEC Economies.  Lastly, Medina will meet with the Lima Chamber of Commerce, Peru’s most representative organization promoting Peru’s global economic integration, to share USCIB priorities during the Peru host year and collaborate on areas of mutual interest.

Facilitating cross-border data flows

Barbara Wanner, USCIB’s vice president of ICT policy will participate in the SOM 1 meetings of the Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG), with particular focus on the Data Privacy Subgroup. The meetings will focus on expanding APEC economies’ understanding of and participation in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules system (CBPR). The CBPR system requires firms in participating economies to develop their own internal business rules on cross-border data privacy procedures, complying with the system’s minimum requirements. The meetings will also explore a selection of next-generation privacy issues, such as data portability, open data and privacy, and big data.

Wanner  will also participate in a special workshop, “Building a Dependable Framework for Privacy, Innovation and Cross-Border Data Flows in the Asia-Pacific Region,” which will set the stage for subsequent discussions on APEC CBPR and other privacy issues during the informal and formal ECSG and DPS meetings.

If you would like any further information on the above meetings or issues, please feel free to reach out to our team.

Customs: Megan Giblin, mgiblin@uscib.org
Chemicals: Helen Medina, hmedina@uscib.org
ICT and Data Privacy: Barbara Wanner, bwanner@uscib.org
APEC priorities: Rachel Spence, rspence@uscib.org