Modest Progress at G20 Osaka Summit Welcomed

USCIB responded with cautious optimism to the modest progress made at this year’s Group of 20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, and at the meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the two leaders agreed to continue working toward a resolution of their bilateral trade disputes.

“We are relieved that the U.S. and China have stepped back from a broader escalation of their tit-for-tat tariffs,” said USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan. “We encourage both parties to move swiftly toward resolution of their disputes. The existing tariffs have already had a negative impact on American exports, and could threaten U.S. jobs as well as our broader competitiveness.”

Mulligan also welcomed the G20 leaders’ endorsement of recent OECD blueprints for cooperation on global tax measures as well as on a “human-centric” approach to the deployment of artificial intelligence – both areas where USCIB members have provided active input to international policy deliberations.

In their communiqué, the G20 leaders warned of growing risks to the global economy but stopped short of denouncing protectionism, mainly due to push-back from the United States. “We strive to realize a free, fair, nondiscriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open,” they stated.

While leaders made only passing mention of efforts to modernize the World Trade Organization, several voiced renewed support for the recently launched plurilateral negotiations on e-commerce taking place under the WTO’s aegis.

President Trump and leaders from China, Japan and the European Union joined the WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo in welcoming the Osaka Declaration on the Digital Economy, which commits the signatories to promote efforts on international rule-making in this area and urges further progress on e-commerce at the WTO.

“A fragmentation of the digital economy would hurt us all,” said Azevêdo. “It would mean higher costs and higher barriers to entry, affecting developing countries and smaller businesses the most. The 20th century showed that a fractured global trade order was not sustainable – that’s why we created the WTO. The same is true today. You may well be working on a constitution for the economy of the 21st century.

Tax Conference Provides First Look at OECD’s Digitalization Roadmap

L-R: Pascal Saint-Amans (OECD), Gaël Perraud (French Ministry of Economy & Finance), Brian Jenn (U.S. Treasury), Pam Olson (PwC), Louise Weingrod (Johnson & Johnson)

Global companies are facing potentially seismic shifts in the taxation of their operations, with national tax authorities seeking to keep pace with a rapidly digitalizing business environment. This was the backdrop when more than 250 global tax professionals, government officials and other tax experts gathered in Washington, D.C. June 3-4 for USCIB’s annual OECD International Tax Conference. This year’s event provided an especially timely window into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s work to develop tax policy recommendations to governments.

On May 31, the OECD released a work program to develop proposals for allocating a company’s profits among countries that re-balance source and residence taxation and also result in a global minimum amount tax paid on earnings. Drawing from the views of nearly 130 jurisdictions (far broader than the OECD’s membership of 36 countries), the OECD roadmap could result in fundamental changes to national tax laws and bilateral tax treaties, including a move to a much more multilateral approach to international corporate taxation.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson asked conference-goers in his opening remarks: “How will a new consensus form around reallocation of taxing rights? Many interests will need to be balanced to achieve a solution that will be ‘globally fair, sustainable and modern,’ to quote the G20. The OECD also needs to keep global growth front and center.”

This sentiment was echoed by Bill Sample, tax policy advisory at Microsoft and chair of USCIB’s Tax Committee.

“Unlike the OECD’s earlier BEPS [base erosion and profit-shifting] exercise, this project will reallocate tax revenues among various countries,” he said. “It’s a political exercise, requiring compromise and the balancing of many competing interests among governments. One thing parties generally agree on is the need to keep these revenue shifts modest, and to have a predictable, sustainable model for global tax policy going forward.”

The conference was the 14th annual gathering on global tax policy developments convened by USCIB, in cooperation with the OECD and its official private-sector advisory body, Business at OECD (also known as BIAC).

The G20’s mandate

G20 leaders have tasked the OECD, with a long and distinguished history of work on international tax policies, to lead work a consensus-based solution to address the impacts of the digitalization of the economy, with a target of developing recommendations by next year.

The OECD’s effort represents “a fundamental rethink of the basics of the international tax system,” USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel Carol Doran Klein told Bloomberg News. “The scope could not be broader.”

Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

G20 governments will review the OECD roadmap at a June meeting in Japan.

“Despite the fact that people have been listening to all the talk about this being the largest international tax project, it’s only when people read this and see how wide-ranging this is that they’ll be able to appreciate it,” Will Morris, chair of the BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Policy and deputy global tax policy leader at PwC, told Bloomberg. “It’s not just about changing technical rules. It’s about saying, essentially, the world has changed, and this system we’re looking at needs to change with it.”

Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s keynote remarks focused on ways to improve the tax capacity of emerging markets, which are expected to receive a growing share of global private-sector investment in the years ahead.

Other panelists and speakers at this year’s conference included:
Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy & Administration
Martin Kreienbaum, director general for international taxation, German Ministry of Finance
Chip Harter, deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs, U.S. Treasury
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and former finance minister of Nigeria
Doug O’Donnell, commissioner of the Large Business and International Division, IRS
Mike Williams, director of business and international tax, HM Treasury (UK).

It’s not too early to mark your calendars for next year’s OECD International Tax Conference, which will take place June 1-2 in Washington, D.C.

Doran Klein Contributes Expertise on Taxation of Digitalizing Economy at Pacific Rim Conference

USCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein presented at the ninth annual Pacific Rim Tax Conference on Digital Economy Tax Issues, held May 9-10 in California. Doran Klein’s panel covered the ongoing work on taxation of the digitalizing economy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and the United Nations. The panel provided an overview of the background including Action 1 of the OECD’s Base-Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, digital services taxes and other unilateral interim measures, and the different options under consideration at the OECD.

Other topics covered at the conference included: International Aspects of Tax Policy and Enacted Legislation: Did it Work?; Corporate Restructuring in Light of Tax Legislation and BEPS; and Transfer Pricing, Documentation and International Tax. High-level government tax officials from Australia, Canada, India and Vietnam attended the conference as well.

USCIB will be hosting its own tax conference, alongside the OECD and Business at OECD June 3-4 in Washington DC. Now in its 14th year, this annual conference provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. business community to interact with key representatives from the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (“CTPA”) as well as key members of the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs.

For more information visit USCIB’s tax conference registration page.

Pacific Rim Tax Conference

Pacific Rim Tax Conference

May 9-10, 2019

The Pullman Hotel in Redwood Shores, CA.

USCIB Vice President for Tax Policy Carol Doran Klein will be a speaker.

The theme will be Post-Tax Cut, Digital and MLI World

Session topics will include: International Aspects of Tax Policy and Enacted Legislation: Did it Work?; Corporate Restructuring in Light of Tax Legislation and BEPS; Digital Economy Tax Issues (TFDE); Inter-Government Cooperation: MLI, Bilateral, Treaties, Competent Authority and MAP Peer Review; Implementing Transparency: CbC Reporting, Implementation and Government Reactions and EU Mandatory Reporting (DAC6); and Transfer Pricing, Documentation and International Tax: Post TCJA and BEPS.

Also, High Level Government Tax Officials from Australia, Canada, India, Vietnam, and Professionals’ Insights into Doing Business in China; OECD representative, as well Doug O’Donnell, LB&I Commissioner. The conference is co-supported by TEI, USCIB, IFA, SVTDG, SF Foreign Tax Club and Stanford University Law School.

For further information, please visit the conference website: www.pacifictaxpolicyinstitute.com.

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.

Latest US Business Tax Dialogue With OECD to Focus on Digitalization

Washington, D.C., April 23, 2019 – With national governments weighing the tax implications of the digitalization of the economy, the G20 has called on the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to deliver a solution by 2020 to address the matter. Against this backdrop, American and other global companies will meet with key officials from the OECD and national governments at a high-level conference, June 3-4 in Washington, D.C.

The 2019 OECD International Tax Conference, which will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel, will provide a unique opportunity for business experts to interact directly with key leadership from the OECD’s Center for Tax Policy and Administration (CTFA), along with senior tax officials from the United States and other OECD countries.

The conference is the 14th annual gathering on global tax policy developments convened by the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), in cooperation with the 36-nation OECD and its official private-sector advisory body Business at OECD (also known as BIAC). Details on the event are available at www.uscibtax.org.

“With the taxation of the digitalizing economy on a fast-track at the OECD, this year’s conference comes at just the right time,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “All companies are potentially affected by the changes that are being considered. We will also be looking closely at tax and development policy, the latest developments in tax treaties, transfer pricing and the tax implications of Brexit. It’s really a must-attend event for global tax professionals.”

Key speakers at this year’s conference include:
Pascal Saint-Amans – Director of the Center for Tax Policy & Administration, OECD
Grace Perez-Navarro – Deputy Director of the CTPA, OECD
Martin Kreisenbaum – Director General, International Taxation, German Ministry of Finance
Lafayette (Chip) Harter – Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Tax Affairs, U.S. Treasury
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Economist and International Development Expert (Nigeria)
Doug O’Donnell – Commissioner, Large Business and International Division, IRS
Mike Williams – Director of Business and International Tax, HM Treasury (UK)
Will Morris – Chair, BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs
Bill Sample – Chair, USCIB Tax Committee

The tax event continues USCIB’s fruitful collaboration with the OECD and BIAC on digital economy topics, following upon a USCIB-hosted March conference in Washington, D.C. on the OECD’s “Going Digital” project.

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, the International Organization of Employers, and Business at OECD (BIAC), 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, VP communications, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

2021 OECD International Tax Conference – Hotel Room Block

A limited number of rooms have been blocked at the reduced rate of $435/night at the conference venue, The Four Seasons Hotel, Washington, D.C. Unbooked rooms (if any) will be released for general sale on September 29, 2021, and the group rate will not be available after this date.

Please call the hotel directly and mention the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) room block: 1-202-944-9157.

Rooms reserved without a processed registration will be cancelled in order to ensure space for confirmed participants.

Conference Website

2019 OECD Tax Conference: Information for Participants

Conference Materials:

  • USB Flash Drives with Background Documents will be included in materials handed out to attendees. Electronic copies are currently available to registered participants upon request.

PowerPoint Presentations

  • Hard Copies of PowerPoint Presentations will not be distributed. Electronic copies will be sent via email to participants when they are finalized.

Conference Logistics:

Location Details: The conference will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel located at 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The meeting portion of the conference will take place in the Corcoran Ballroom located on the Banquet level. The Luncheon on Monday, June 3rd will take place in the Dumbarton Conservatory next door to the Corcoran Ballroom.  The Reception, also on Monday, June 3rd, will take place in the Seasons Restaurant on the Lower Lobby Level.

Wireless Internet:  Wireless internet is available for conference attendees in the meeting room.  Please ask a member of the conference staff for the wireless password. Complimentary internet is also available to conference participants in your hotel room.

Parking:  Discounted Valet Parking is available at the conference venue, The Four Seasons Hotel, for conference attendees. The discounted rate is $29 per day.  Please pick up a parking validation sticker at the registration table for each day of the conference.

Metro: The nearest metro station is the Foggy Bottom-GWU station.  Both Blue and Orange lines stop at the Foggy Bottom Metro.  The Hotel is approximately a four block walk from the metro. (Map below)

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Conference Website