USCIB Geneva Week-Business in Society: Shared Values

USCIB is pleased to announce our 2nd annual Geneva Week trip for members and prospects tentatively scheduled for May 6 – 10, 2019 under the theme: “Business in Society: Shared Values.”

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.

At B20, Robinson Stresses Need for International Cooperation

Peter Robinson at the B20 in Japan

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was in Japan the week of March 11 for the B20 Summit, alongside other business leaders such as John Denton, secretary general and Paul Polman, chair of the International Chamber of CommercePhil O’Reilly, chair and Russell Mills, secretary general of Business at OECD, as well as Erol Kiresepi, chairman of the International Organization of Employers.

Robinson spoke on a panel titled, “Global Economy for All: International Cooperation for Global Governance.” In his remarks, Robinson proposed looking at international cooperation from two perspectives: strengthening global institutions and rules, while also encouraging bottom-up approaches and a general spirit of cooperation, rather than confrontation, in international economic relations.

“For the foreseeable future, we will need to accept that many electorates and governments view the world through a more nationalistic, mercantilist lens,” said Robinson. “We need to demonstrate the value in international cooperation, not just through new binding rules and official structures, but through voluntary, bottom-up initiatives. Efforts such as the Paris Climate Agreement, or the plurilateral agreements being pursued by WTO members on several issues including digital trade, should be welcomed and encouraged.”

Throughout the course of the panel, Robinson also touched upon trade conflicts with China, WTO modernization, and the need to radically reform education, job training and retraining approaches around the world.

Robinson also called out climate change as being a crucial long-term global challenge. “Climate impacts everything – economic growth, jobs, health care, where people live,” stressed Robinson. “We therefore need to view climate and energy policy in a more holistic manner.”

The Japan Times covered the B20 and quoted Robinson in their piece, “At B20 in Tokyo, World Business Leaders Urge Stronger Cooperation on Looming Challenges.” The Japan Times quoted Robinson emphasizing that “The American business community still believes in open trade, globalization and multilateralism.”

Robinson also applauded the B20’s prioritization of adoption and dissemination of artificial intelligence to ensure that AI development deployment remains “human-centric”. This issue will be a big focus of the digital economy conference that USCIB is organizing with Business at OECD (BIAC) and the OECD on March 25 in Washington, DC.

OECD Focus on “National Security” as Factor in Inward Investment Reviews

After its opening all-day Foreign Investment Treaties conference (reported in USCIB’s International Business Weekly report last week) on “level-playing fields” in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the OECD committee devoted a full-day of its meeting last week to a wide-ranging discussion of increasing reliance on “national security” factors in reviews of inward FDI flows by many OECD member and other governments.

“Business at OECD” representatives were  active participants in all those discussions, with USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly among the business speakers.  David Fagan, a partner in USCIB member firm Covington and Burling’s Washington office and a leading FDI/investment security lawyer, was a featured expert speaker during the discussion where the U.S. Government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. or “CFIUS” and the recently enacted Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act  (“FIRRMA”) of 2017 were much-discussed.

“David did a great job of explaining recent development in US policy on reviewing FDI,” according to Donnelly. “Our Business at OECD team was able to get across our key messages on the importance of closely delineating national security investment reviews around the world to specific, legitimate security issues and avoiding opening the door to abuse of “national security” provisions for blatantly projectionist discrimination against foreign investors around the world.”

USCIB Lays Out Priorities for WTO Modernization

Washington, D.C., March 13, 2019 – Responding to this week’s hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on the future of the World Trade Organization, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, has submitted a business roadmap for the WTO laying out priorities for the organization’s modernization.

“The continued existence and effectiveness of the WTO is vital to U.S. business,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Chair Charles R. Johnston in their transmittal letter.

“The WTO is a cornerstone of the global rules-based trading system and has helped spread growth and development for decades. The WTO’s existing agreements, such as those on intellectual property rights, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and technical barriers to trade, provide practical commercial benefits for business because they establish global frameworks of rules designed to facilitate international trade.”

USCIB’s roadmap focuses on addressing subsidies and other market-distorting support provided to state-owned enterprises, the establishment of new rules for current issues such as digital trade and customs processes on electronic transmissions, and ensuring a properly functioning appellate body, among other issues.

The statement notes that the U.S. has been a major beneficiary of the WTO’s dispute settlement system, bringing and winning more cases than any other WTO member. “In fact, the U.S. has prevailed in over 90% of the complaints it filed,” USCIB observed.

USCIB urged WTO members to actively solicit the views of the business community, which undertakes the vast majority of cross-border trade and investment that is impacted by WTO rules. “The private sector has a direct stake in the rules that will be the outcome of the government-to-government discussions and, accordingly, private sector comments and recommendations should be actively solicited and given careful consideration,” the statement said.

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 at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

 

Donnelly Visits Google During Trade Tour in Switzerland

USCIB Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly spent the week of March 4 as the business representative on a Washington Think Tank study tour of Switzerland, focusing on trade issues and possibilities for a potential U.S.-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

While in Zurich, Donnelly and the 12-member study tour visited Google Switzerland’s major operations and R&D center. Google’s Zurich operations are the company’s third-largest R&D operation globally and their largest outside the United States. Google opened its first office in Zurich only fifteen years ago and it has quickly grown into one of the largest and most respected employers in the city.

Coincident with the study tour’s visit, Google invited the leadership of economiesuisse, Switzerland’s largest and most influential business association to a luncheon meeting with the visiting Washington team. Economiesuisse is USCIB’s Swiss counterpart and partner in Business at OECD, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and other international business fora.

USCIB Speaks at Annual OECD Investment Treaties Conference

Shaun Donnelly (USCIB) speaks at the 2019 OECD Investment Treaties Conference in Paris

OECD’s annual all-day conference in Paris on International Investment Treaties had a distinctly USCIB flavor this year.  The conference, held on March 11, included leading academics, lawyers, civil society and business representatives under the auspices of the Business at OECD (BIAC) team in addition to the government experts delegates in Paris for the OECD Investment Committee meetings.

This year’s conference theme was a “Level Playing Field for Foreign Direct Investment.” USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy Shaun Donnelly led the Business at OECD team, serving as a panelist during the discussion on addressing State-Owned-Enterprises (SOE) Investment Issues and again as the business representative on the final wrap-up panel.  In addition, USCIB member lawyers and leading international arbitrators Jeremy Sharpe of Shearman and Sterling and a former chief of investment arbitration in the State Department Legal Advisor’s Office, as well as David Rivkin of Debevoise and Plimpton, formerly president of the International Bar Association, spoke on different panels.  Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Investment Policy Lauren Mandell was also a panelist.

“Investment policy issues, investment treaties and especially ‘ISDS’ international arbitration to resolve investment disputes are increasingly under political attack internationally so the conference did spark some interesting debate,” said Donnelly. “USCIB will be on the front lines defending strong investment treaties, including effective dispute settlement disciplines and arbitration provisions.”

USCIB Co-Sponsors China-US Foreign Policy Association Panel

USCIB co-sponsored a recent Foreign Policy Association event titled, “U.S.-China Trade: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead” on February 28. The event, hosted by Citi in New York, featured a panel of experts who discussed the state of trade between the two countries, including the geopolitical and economic implications of the trade war, the 90-day truce, and the negotiations currently taking place.

USCIB member Citigroup’s Global Head of Subsidiaries Marc Merlino moderated the panel. Experts included Bloomberg’s Chief Economist Tom Orlik, Director of CSIS’ Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy Scott Kennedy and Global Head of Research for JP Morgan Joyce Chang.

Technology issues, particularly as they relate to data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), were a common theme of discussion across all panelists. AI is a necessary investment for China due to their demographics and life expectancy. However, while China is focused on AI and data, they lag in the quality of their commercial aircraft and semiconducters, making economic partnerships with the United States a necessity, particularly as China’s debt continues to grow.

Broad-Based Business Coalition to Press for USMCA Adoption

Washington, D.C., February 26, 2019 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, has joined with an array of U.S. companies and industry associations to urge swift approval by Congress of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an updated and modernized framework for expanded trade, investment and market integration in North America.

The USMCA Coalition, encompassing more than 200 leading companies and major associations representing farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, service providers and technology companies, was formally launched today. Click here to read the coalition’s statement on the launch.

“USCIB is proud to count itself among the many vocal American business supporters of the USMCA,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “The success of our economy depends upon a reliable framework for cross-border trade and investment among our three integrated economies, and the USCMA makes important improvements over the earlier NAFTA framework. We intend to press for speedy approval on Capitol Hill.”

Robinson added that USCIB would also work closely with its counterpart organizations in Canada and Mexico, as well as with its global business network, to advance the USMCA as well as open, rules-based trade and investment regimes more broadly.

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 at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

 

USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade (AIT) Committee Meeting

The USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade (AIT) Committee meeting will be held Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 2 – 3:30 PM at USCIB offices.

Please RSVP to Ashley Harrington at aharrington@uscib.org.

At this time, we are tentatively going to have a USG speaker for the first part of the meeting. The rest of the meeting will be dedicated to the OECD March Task Force meeting as well as review of draft USCIB statement for the March Task Force meeting.