USCIB Hosts U.S. Chargé to OECD Andrew Havilland

Acting Head (“Chargé d’Affaires”) of the U.S. Mission to the OECD Andrew Havilland speaks with USCIB members
Havilland reviewed OECD activities and upcoming challenges, cooperation of both the U.S. Mission and the sprawling OECD structures with Business at OECD and ways to strengthen those government/business links.
USCIB will be organizing a parallel session for Nan Fife and her “OECD desk” team from state to meet with member companies.

Two dozen USCIB member companies met with Andrew Havilland, acting head (“chargé d’affaires”) of the U.S. Mission to the OECD on October 11 at USCIB’s Washington office. In a wide-ranging hour-long give and take, Havilland reviewed OECD activities and upcoming challenges, cooperation of both the U.S. Mission and the sprawling OECD structures with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (Business at OECD) group and ways to strengthen those government/business links.

Access for Business at OECD members to some important OECD committees was highlighted as an important ongoing problem.  Digital trade, tax, health, and competition policy remain important priority areas for USCIB member companies.  OECD work on “Illicit trade” is also an area of growing interest for member companies.  And accession of new member countries to the OECD, both the process and potential individual candidate countries remain very important issues for many member companies.  Member companies were appreciative of the support they are getting from Havilland’s U.S. Mission team in Paris.

Nan Fife, the newly-arrived office director of the Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy (EPPD) Office in the State Department’s Economic and Business Bureau (EB), the “desk” coordinating U.S. Government policy toward the OECD, accompanied Havilland to the session and chimed in, encouraging USCIB and member companies with interests or concerns on OECD issues to work with her and her team as well as relevant Washington agencies.  USCIB will be organizing another parallel session for Fife and her “OECD desk” team from state to meet with member companies.

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly, who moderated the session, praised Havilland for making time to meet with business and for his “expertise, candor, and open door for business. “USCIB really appreciates Andrew Havilland and the entire team at the U.S. Mission to the OECD,” said Donnelly. “They have been great partners on a range of important issues around the OECD for USCIB and for BIAC.”        

 

Pamela Bates Nominated as US Ambassador to OECD

Pamela Bates
Photo source: Securitas Global Risk Solutions

On September 24, President Donald Trump officially nominated Pamela Bates to be next U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Bates would replace Ambassador Daniel Yohannes, who departed the post in January 2017.  In the interim the U.S. Mission to the OECD had been capably led, first, by Peter Haas, and currently by Andrew Havilland as Chargé d’Affaires.

Bates is awaiting a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Bates has considerable experience as a State Department Foreign Service Officer (FSO) specializing in economic policy work and including a tour of duty on the staff of the U.S. Mission to the OECD which she is now being nominated to head.  USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson welcomed her nomination.  “We at USCIB are delighted to see the nomination of an experienced economic policy maker to be the next U.S. Ambassador at the OECD,” said Robinson. “USCIB works closely with the OECD as the sole U.S. business affiliate of the OECD’s Business and Industry Advisory Committee (Business at OECD).  We and our member companies have worked closely with previous U.S. ambassadors and their staffs and look forward to continuing that close cooperation with Pamela Bates once she is confirmed and on the job in Paris.”

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly, himself a retired State Department economic officer and former Ambassador, added, “I’ve known Pam Bates from our time together at the State Department and am confident she’ll do an excellent job representing our Government at the OECD and leading the U.S. Mission.  She comes to this important post well prepared.”

Bates served for 24 years as a career member of the United States Foreign Service before assuming her current role as a partner at Securitas Global Risk Solutions in Wayne, Pennsylvania, in 2017.  While with the State Department, Bates’ assignments included service as deputy director of the Economic and Commercial Studies Division for the National Foreign Affairs Training Institute in Arlington, Virginia, and as the senior energy advisor at the United States Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France.  She also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  Ms. Bates earned her AB degree from Bowdoin College, her MA from John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  She speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German.

At B20, Argentina’s President Notes Crucial Role of Business

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri
The annual B20 process provides a platform for the international business community to participate in global economic governance.
The set of actionable recommendations will be submitted for consideration by heads of state at the G20 Summit in late November.

 

Argentina hosted the B20 Summit October 4-5 in Argentina, gathering business leaders of B20, government representatives and members of international organizations. Among them was International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John Denton. Denton led a high-level panel on “Infrastructure + Energy: Two powerhouses for development”.

The annual summit, organised this year under the stewardship of G20 host country Argentina, provided an opportunity for Denton and selected business leaders to meet with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who addressed the group at the Casa Rosada Museum in Buenos Aires.

Formally receiving the group’s recommendations to G20 leaders during the closing session of the Summit, Macri said, “Global solutions require the commitment and action not only of governments but also of all the sectors of society, including the business community. Companies are important in the process of dialogue and consensus building.”

The set of actionable recommendations will be submitted for consideration by heads of state at the G20 Summit in late November.

The annual B20 process provides a significant platform for the international business community to participate in global economic governance, and supports the work of the G20 by hosting focused policy discussions and developing recommendations geared towards strong, sustainable and balanced growth in the global economy.

Hampl Voices China Concerns in Public Testimony

USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony on October 3 to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee.
Hampl took the opportunity to speak about China 301 tariffs, noting how disruptive they are to U.S. business.

Following USCIB’s submission to the annual request by USTR for comments on China’s compliance with WTO commitments and notice of public hearing, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony on October 3 to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC).

The interagency panel was chaired by USTR and included officials from the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, State, Agriculture and Labor. The questions from the panel addressed the cybersecurity law, addressing ICT products and services as well as data flow restrictions, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), anti-monopoly law (AML) enforcement, trade secrets, agricultural biotechnology, and the import ban on recyclable materials.

“USCIB has consistently identified a number of key areas of concern, including market access, standards, transparency, subsidies, competition policy, technology transfer, and national and economic security issues,” noted Hampl during her testimony. “While small steps are occasionally made in a market opening direction, overall China appears to be ramping up its protectionism. These issues affect many U.S. sectors, including agricultural biotechnology, audiovisual, chemicals, electronic payment services, express delivery services, recoverable materials, software, and telecommunications.”

Hampl also took the opportunity to speak about the China 301 tariffs noting how disruptive they are to U.S. business. “Extensive tariff actions do not show any indication that they will in fact resolve the underlying issues and change China’s behavior regarding intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer,” warned Hampl. “In addition, as our submission lays out, there are many more issues beyond those that need to be addressed. Accordingly, high-level dialogues between the United States and China continue to be of the utmost importance.”

USCIB also submitted extensive written comments.

Chevron Wins Key Investment Arbitration Victory

USCIB member company Chevron recently won a decisive victory in a long-running investment dispute with the government of Ecuador. A three-member international tribunal administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague issued an award in a long-running Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) case between Chevron and the government of Ecuador.  The tribunal ruled unanimously (including the arbitrator nominated by the Ecuadorian government) that the government of Ecuador violated its obligations under international treaties (including the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment treaty), investment agreements, and international law.  The tribunal held that a $9.5 billion judgment rendered against Chevron in Lago Agrio, Ecuador in 2011 was procured through fraud, bribery and corruption and was based on claims that had already been settled and released by the Government of Ecuador. The tribunal concluded that the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment “violates international public policy” and “should not be recognized or enforced by the courts of other states.” Under international law, Chevron is not obligated to comply with the fraudulent judgment.

The tribunal held that following completion of an agreed environmental remediation program, Chevron was released by the Republic of Ecuador from the environmental claims that the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment purports to address.  Following years of litigation, including visits to the former area of operations by the tribunal, the tribunal found that Ecuador violated the final release agreement that had certified the successful completion of TexPet’s remediation. TexPet was the joint venture between Texaco (subsequently acquired by Chevron) and Ecuadorian Government’s state-owned petroleum company. In more than 500 pages, the tribunal’s award details the evidence of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs’ legal team’s fraud and corruption in Ecuador, finding the evidence to be “overwhelming.”  The tribunal concluded:  “Short of a signed confession by the miscreants . . . the evidence establishing ‘ghostwriting’ in this arbitration ‘must be the most thorough documentary, video, and testimonial proof of fraud ever put before an arbitral tribunal.’”

“USCIB is encouraged that the international tribunal has rendered this important judgement and award, reaffirming that investment treaties and ISDS enforcement procedures are binding on all parties,” said USCIB Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly. “USCIB has strongly supported Chevron through this long-running case and has also long been a leading public advocate in the U.S .and internationally on the importance of strong international investment agreements (including U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaties and investment chapters in Free Trade Agreements) the ISDS disciplines to ensure implementation and compliance,” added Donnelly.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson highlighted the significance of the recent tribunal ruling in the Chevron case, “We at USCIB were certainly delighted and not surprised to see the international tribunal come down with a ruling totally on the Chevron side in this long running investment dispute with the Government of Ecuador. The rejection of the fraudulent Ecuadorian court case against a respected company like Chevron and the use of words like “fraud…bribery…corruption” and the fact that the ruling was unanimous by the three-member independent tribunal clearly and decisively rejects the Ecuadorian charges against Chevron.  Even the Ecuadorian-appointed member of the tribunal joined in the unanimous ruling.  Beyond the specific implications of this case, this tribunal’s decision shows again the importance of international investment agreement sand of strong ISDS disciplines to enforce compliance by all parties, including host governments. I congratulate Chevron on this important victory and urge all parties to support strong investment protections around the world to help incentivize major investments and create the economic development, trade and jobs which flow directly from foreign direct investment in all directions.”

Donnelly Talks Trade and EU at Chautauqua

USCIB Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly is serving as a speaker at a week-long Foreign Policy seminar at the historic Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York.  The biannual Foreign Policy seminar is  a joint effort of the Chautauqua Institution, the “Road Scholar” continuing education program, and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).

Donnelly, a retired U.S. diplomat, former Ambassador, and senior trade negotiator, is a long-time AFSA member.  In Chautauqua the week of October 1, he will be one of six experienced U.S. diplomats leading discussion sessions.

Donnelly will talk on two topics of interest of USCIB and its member companies – “U.S. Trade Policy in the Trump Era” and “The U.S. and the European Union – Partners? Rivals? Or Both?”

International Business Magazine: Fall/Summer 2018

The Summer/Fall 2018 issue of USCIB’s quarterly International Business magazine is available here. The issue features a timely column by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson titled, “The Myth of Private-Sector ‘Conflict of Interest’ at the UN. The issue also features news stories on how tariffs harm companies and consumers, tax reform impacts, and reinforcing US-China tie, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.

“International Business,” USCIB’s quarterly journal, provides essential insight into major trade and investment topics, a high-level overview of USCIB policy advocacy and services, USCIB member news and updates from our global business network.

Subscribe to USCIB’s International Business Magazine

Subscriptions to “International Business” are available free upon request to representatives of USCIB member organizations. Contact us to subscribe.

Non-members may subscribe to “International Business” and other USCIB print publications at an annual rate of $50 (U.S.) for domestic delivery, or $75 for overseas delivery. Contact us to subscribe. USCIB’s annual report, studies from the United States Council Foundation and related publications are included with your paid subscription.

Our free electronic newsletter, “International Business Weekly,” provides regular updates on USCIB’s major activities and priorities. Click here to view a sample issue. Click here to subscribe.

We welcome outside submissions and inquiries regarding our publications – send them to news@uscib.org.

We welcome advertising in International Business magazine — special discounted rates for USCIB member organizations! Contact Kira Yevtukhova (kyevtukhova@uscib.org) for more information.

 

USCIB Welcomes Trilateral Update of NAFTA

Washington, D.C., October 1, 2018 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s announcement of a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

“We welcome the conclusion of a trilateral agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada on the modernization of NAFTA, which is a longtime priority for our members and American business more broadly.

“The North American market is very important to the success of our members, and keeping the region economically integrated is vital for U.S. companies to remain competitive in the global market.

 “The USMCA contains numerous provisions important to our members, recognizing the many changes in the North American and global economies since the original agreement was signed a quarter-century ago. We look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement to ensure that it addresses our key concerns and priorities in lowering barriers to cross-border trade and investment.”

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, 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
+1 212.703.5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Op-Ed Dispels Myths of Business “Conflict of Interest” at UN

As the annual United Nations General Assembly is underway in New York this week and next, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson contributed a timely op-ed in The Hill, titled “UN’s private-sector phobia prevents if from hitting its lofty goals.”

“It is increasingly evident that the international community is not on track to deliver the expected results under the Paris Agreement (as well as the broader U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change) or the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals,” writes Robinson. “So why, at a moment when governments and international organizations should be actively seeking ways to encourage business to step up, is the private sector being accused of having a ‘conflict of interest’ or of actively seeking to upend global consensus?”

Robinson points out that accusations of conflict of interest are rampant across UN agencies, including the World Health Organization and in the context of the UN climate talks. He then outlines six “myths” about business influence in international policy-making and dispels them one by one.

To read the full op-ed, please visit The Hill.

 

USCIB Contributes to Setting Principles in APEC Transit Guidelines

USCIB represented industry at a workshop that was organized by Chilean Customs addressing Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transit Guidelines. USCIB Director Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan Giblin attended the workshop which was held in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, September 11 – 12, 2018.

Giblin participated in a panel with Chilean and Chinese Customs as well as World Customs Organization (WCO) representatives addressing the challenges and gaps on implementation of the APEC Customs Transit Guidelines. Overall the event was well attended and included participants from several APEC economies, including Chile, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam, as well as a handful of domestic Chilean industry representatives.

“USCIB participation in this event was critical in providing industry inputs into the process and is consistent with our longstanding engagement and leadership on customs and trade facilitation matters within APEC,” said Giblin. “The dialogue resulted in a positive discussion and general consensus on the ‘guidelines.’ These ‘guidelines’ are now viewed as ‘guiding principles’ and next steps among all parties, as well as secured a path forward for this issue as Chile takes on the APEC presidency in 2019.”