USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson was in Washington earlier this month for several high-level meetings with key U.S. government officials, including one with the new Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. Robinson was joined by USCIB’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan and USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg. The meeting focused on preparations for the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers meeting in Bad Neuenahr, Germany, as well as the Global Employers Summit and “B20/L20” dinner meeting the day before. Robinson raised the recent recommendations of the B20 Labor and Employment taskforce on which he serves as a Co-Chair.
Acosta and USCIB’s representatives discussed ways to highlight U.S. government and business leadership in Business at OECD’s work on women’s participation in the workforce, as well as the ILO’s work on apprenticeships. “We look forward to working with Secretary Acosta on these and other important issues for our members and invited him to speak to our Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee in the fall,” said Robinson. USCIB also teamed up with the Department of Labor to support a social media campaign around the G20 labor ministerial on how governments can do a better job of matching training and skills development with the needs of employers.
Robinson also met with Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan, who has been nominated by President Trump to serve as commissioner. Robinson was joined by USCIB staff and several member company representatives including the chair of the USCIB Customs Committee, Jerry Cook, who is vice president for government and trade relations at Hanesbrands. “USCIB expressed strong support for the work of CBP and its team, noting USCIB’s longstanding engagement with CBP on customs policy issues as well as the ATA Carnet program—a unique relationship as a business partner covering policy and operations,” said Megan Giblin USCIB’s director for customs and trade facilitation. During the meeting, USCIB member representatives identified various issue areas of concern related to customs valuation, implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, engagement with the work of the World Customs Organization, and continued progress and eventually closure on ACE, forced labor, e-commerce, and more. Acting Commissioner McAleenan said he is committed to working closely with USCIB in pursuing his goals for CBP as well as working with us to address our objectives.
Finally, Robinson also met with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Patricia Haslach. A number of member companies again joined the USCIB team for this meeting to discuss a range of concerns with the attitudes of many international organizations towards business engagement and the need for the U.S. government to counter some of the negative trends. USCIB Vice President Norine Kennedy, calling in from the UN climate change meetings in Bonn, noted the mounting effort by NGOs and some governments to exclude business from the climate change talks. Others noted that these efforts are following on from policies adopted at the World Health Organization last year to limit business participation in health-related policy discussions. The discussion also covered recent UN work on access to medicine and World Bank efforts to foster national networks instead of working with the private sector on payment systems. Ambassador Haslach promised to work with USCIB in tackling these issues. “To be effective, it will be critical that the U.S. government is part of the discussions at these international organizations,” noted Robinson.