USCIB Washington Update: June, July, August 2018

Highlighting Key Activities, June, July, and August 2018

During the months of June, July, and August 2018, USCIB Staff met with Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means Chief Trade Counsel, Esther Nieto Hernandez and Peter Fatelnig from the EU Mission to the U.S., Sam Dupont and Kevin McHale from USTR, Gael Perraud of the French Finance Ministry and Fabrizia Lapecorella of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labor Organization (ILO), and John Denton, the new Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce. We also discuss global trade on BBC World News, testified on 301 Tariffs, led NAFTA advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, hosted the 13th Annual OECD International Tax Conference, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last three months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions

Membership

Upcoming Events

Staff List

 

Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment

USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meets with Angela Ellard, Ways & Means: The USCIB Trade and Investment Committee, which is Chaired by Rick Johnston, Managing Director Global Government Affairs for Citigroup, met at the Citi office in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2018. Angela Ellard, Chief Trade Counsel, House Ways & Means Committee, gave her immediate impressions of the Trump Administration’s announcement of further tariffs against China, which had come out the night before the meeting. She also provided her views on the state of the Section 301 and 232 tariffs, NAFTA renegotiation priorities and timelines in Congress, the STOP Act, GSP extension, and the movement of the MTB bill from the House to the Senate. Next, Esther Nieto Hernandez, Deputy Head of Trade and Agriculture, EU Mission to the U.S., briefed members on the view from Europe on recent American trade actions, emphasizing that they do not consider relations to have become a trade war yet, but that there is serious concern for the road ahead.

Mulligan Talks Trade with BBC World News: Following the July G20 Finance Ministers meetings, BBC’s Aaron Heslehurst spoke with USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan as part of BBC’s Talking Business segment regarding international trade tensions that may undermine the global economy and stunt growth. Mulligan expressed concern that continued escalation of tariffs may cause all kinds of problems for USCIB member companies. “Tariffs will lead to higher costs, drive higher prices for consumers and, we think, in the end, can start driving job losses,” warned Mulligan. Specifically, on U.S.-China tensions, Mulligan noted there are issues with China’s unfair trade practices that need to be addressed and USCIB fully supports an effort that would bring together all our allies to make that point with China, but raising tariffs is not going to be the way to solve these problems.

USCIB Urges Congress to Curb Section 232 Tariffs: USCIB joined more than 270 national associations and state and local chambers of commerce to send a letter on June 26, 2018, in support of the Corker Bill (S. 3013), which would require President Donald Trump to submit to Congress any proposal to raise tariffs in the interest of national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The letter expresses concern about the President’s unrestricted use of section 232 to impose tariffs, noting that it may not be in the national interest to do so. It further states that the tariffs are undermining U.S. efforts to build an international coalition of like-minded countries to join the United States in combating the sue of unfair trade and investment policies.

ICC Secretary General Meets with USCIB Members and Staff: John Denton, the new secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce paid visits to the USCIB New York and Washington, D.C. offices in late June and early July. He met with USCIB staff including President and CEO Peter Robinson and Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan, along with a number of USCIB members. Discussion ranged from ICC pushing back against populist narratives on cross-border trade and investment to ICC institutional and management priorities. Denton, an Australian lawyer and diplomat who most recently headed the law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth, was elected in March to provide executive leadership to the world business organization. Denton penned a letter to the Financial Times providing a vigorous defense of the multilateral trading system and the WTO.

 Hampl Leads Group for NAFTA Lobby Day to Voice Concerns: On June 27, 2018, USCIB again participated in a Lobby Day on the House Side under the umbrella of the NAFTA Coalition. Eva Hampl led a group of companies and associations in meetings with Republican and Democratic offices throughout the day. While the purpose of the meetings was to primarily discuss NAFTA, other relevant trade issues, such as tariffs also came up in almost every meeting. With the lobby day taking place just before the Mexican election, issues arising from that dynamic were raised as well. Most offices were keenly aware of the importance of NAFTA, but many had other issues that appeared to be more pressing for them at the time. All were concerned about withdrawal, though many, particularly on the Republican side, seemed willing to see the Administration’s actions on trade play out.

USCIB Establishes Anti-Illicit Trade Committee: USCIB announced in July the establishment of a new Anti-Illicit Trade (AIT) Committee to address the threat that Illicit trade poses across sectors, borders, markets and industries. David M. Luna, president and CEO of Luna Global Networks & Convergence Strategies LLC, will chair and provide leadership for the committee, which will be made up of representatives from USCIB’s broad-based membership. The AIT Committee will take a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to elevating the fight against illicit trade, particularly related to the work of the OECD’s Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, corresponding activity by Business at OECD (the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD), and the work of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative. The first meeting of the new committee will take place on September 11.

Talking investment Policy with the State Department: USCIB staffers Eva Hampl and Shaun Donnelly met recently with senior officials at the State Department to compare notes on upcoming international meetings on investment policy, including at the OECD in Paris, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s World Investment Forum in Geneva, and the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Party 3 in Vienna on reform on Investor-State Dispute Settlement. We also compared notes on developments on national security reviews of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the U.S. under the U.S. government’s interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (“CFIUS”) under the newly adopted U.S. “FIRRMA” legislations. Investment policy issues, broadly defined, are important to our members so we try to have these sorts of informal sessions with State and other key USG agencies on a regular basis.

USCIB Participates in DOS-USAID Anti-Corruption Roundtable: On June 19, 2018, Eva Hampl, Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services participated in another roundtable on anti-corruption. These roundtables are part of a new series organized jointly by the State Department and USAID in an effort to consult regularly with civil society organizations. They serve as an opportunity to coordinate efforts, exchange practices, and discuss ideas for future work on anti-corruption in both policy and programming. This most recent discussion took place in the leadup to G20 meetings and provided a platform for exchange of views on issues like state-owned enterprises (SOEs), asset recovery, foreign bribery, financial transparency, and whistleblower protection. USCIB’s work with the OECD Working Group on Bribery, as well as the G20 / B20, is particularly valuable in these discussions. The next roundtable will likely take place in September.

USCIB Represents Business at State Department Anti-Corruption Training: Shaun Donnelly was the business community panelist at an August 10, 2018, State Department anti-corruption training session during a week-long “Tools and Strategies to Combat Corruption” course for State Department officers headed overseas this summer. The session, at State’s Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, was an informal give-and-take on how U.S. embassies and consulates abroad can work with the private sector to combat bribery and corruption. It was a very useful discussion of how U.S. business and local Embassy staff can cooperate on win-win efforts to combat corruption and bribery by local firms and government officials as well as third country competitors. Corruption anywhere is a cancer on governance and politics; it can also cost American businesses and workers a fair shot at winning major trade and investment deals. Business and government need to be full partners in combatting this cancer.

Donnelly Counsels State Department Economic Bureau Senior Officials on Effective Overseas Assistance for U.S. Companies: USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly participated in a small group of business (companies as well as associations) representatives invited for a brainstorming session August 9 with State Department Economic and Business (EB) officials. The State team was looking for business input on if/how non-binding commercial cooperation agreements might be of assistance to American companies competing for sales and partnership agreements overseas, especially in emerging markets and in Africa where other U.S. Government commercial programs are limited. It was a good preliminary discussion which could, repeat could, get off the ground and prove useful in some sectors. But it could be a long way to go before anything gets off the ground. The meeting was a return to his roots for Donnelly who spent much of his 36-year State department career in the EB bureau and ended up as EB’s # 2 official (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State or “PDAS”) 2000-05.

Donnelly’s “American Diplomat” Podcast – Trying to Demystify Trade Negotiations: USCIB VP Shaun Donnelly did an interview on the podcast “American Diplomat”, trying to help non-trade experts around the country get a sense of how U.S. trade negotiators work and how strong trade agreements can promote the interests of U.S. workers, companies, states and local government and broad U.S. national interests. Before joining USCIB, Donnelly had a 36-year U.S. Government Foreign Service career, concentrating on trade and international economic policy. Also a former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Donnelly’s career capstone came as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for European and the Middle East ’05-’08, serving as American’s top trade negotiator for those key regions.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

EU Digital Developments Dominate ICT Policy Committee Discussions with U.S. Government and European Commission Officials: S.-EU privacy issues took center stage at the June 20 meeting of the USCIB ICT Policy Committee. Speakers from the European Commission’s U.S. mission in Washington and the U.S. Department of Commerce briefed members on various digital privacy topics key to transatlantic relations. Peter Fatelnig, Minister-Counsellor for Digital Economy Policies, discussed the ramifications of the May 25 implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In particular, he noted the concerted efforts of the EU, the U.S. government, and the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to determine the legality of various approaches that would enable third party access to domain name registration data for legitimate purposes. Nasreen Djouini, U.S. Department of Commerce, updated USCIB members on preparations for the 2nd annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework in mid-October. The Shield Framework is aimed at protecting transatlantic transfers of personal data. Djouini urged USCIB members to respond to an EU survey of U.S. Shield-certified companies since this will provide key input to the annual review.

USCIB Members Help to Set the Stage for Developing a GDPR-Compliant Policy Framework: ICANN 62’s Policy Forum wrapped up on June 28 in Panama City, Panama. USCIB members from Amazon, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, VeriSign, and Verizon joined Barbara Wanner, Vice President, ICT Policy, and a broad cross-section of stakeholders from throughout the world to focus on policy priorities for the domain name system (DNS). This year’s Policy Forum was especially timely, coming on the heels of ICANN’s May 17 issuance of a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data (Temp Spec). The Temp Spec, which enables “tiered access” to DNS registrant data, was designed to ensure that ICANN and the industry of more than 1,000 generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries and registrars comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements concerning the collection of registration data (WHOIS) as well as meet the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect on May 25. USCIB members made important contributions to discussions aimed at gaining clarity on the legality of the Temp Spec and advancing work on a new GDPR-compliant policy that would enable 3rd party access to WHOIS data for legitimate purposes.

USCIB Advocates Multistakeholder Approach to International Internet Policy Issues: On July 17, 2018, USCIB responded to a request for public comment from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce, concerning International Internet Policy Priorities for 2018. Noting that the multistakeholder approach to Internet governance increasingly is under fire in certain multilateral forums, USCIB underscored that the keys to realizing economic and social benefits in today’s digital economy are policies that are informed by all Stakeholder guidance and evidence-based analysis is especially critical to ensuring that emerging technologies, such as AI, can be shaped to maximize its potential and mitigate possible risks, USCIB further emphasized.

USCIB Urges Collaborative Approach Between U.S. and Japanese Business and Government on Digital Economy Issues: Barbara Wanner participated in the U.S.-Japan Internet Dialogue, July 23, in Washington, D.C., which featured both business and government representatives. Wanner spoke on a panel of business representatives. She emphasized the need to work together in multilateral organizations and multistakeholder organizations especially in light of several countries continuing to press for government regulation of the internet by bringing Internet governance and digital economy issues under the UN or its specialized agencies. “This is not the best approach given the dynamic nature of technology development,” warned Wanner. “Heavy-handed regulations could dampen this dynamism. Additionally, this may open the door to efforts by some countries to use the Internet for surveillance of their citizens and possibly even censorship, she said.”

 USCIB to Collaborate with Oxford University on Cybersecurity-Focused Workshop for 2018 Internet Governance Forum (IGF): USCIB will join forces with the Oxford Martin School on a workshop at the 13th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which will be held November 12-14, 2018 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The joint workshop will tap USCIB member experts as well as noted authorities from governments and international organizations, like the Organization of American States, to examine the benefits of risk-based, voluntary cybersecurity frameworks that enable effective coordination of regional security initiatives.

USCIB Members Convey Serious Efforts Comply with EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework: On August 15, 2018, USCIB presented to the European Commission the results of its survey of members certified under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. The Shield Framework is aimed at protecting transatlantic transfers of personal data. Overall, members’ responses reflected their concerted efforts to comply with the Framework via enhanced internal compliance programs, new written policies and procedures, related employee training and awareness programs, and the appointment of privacy officers or leader to ensure compliance with Privacy Shield requirements. Respondents also praised the Framework for providing important protections for the transfer of EU personal data to the United States that may not be covered by other frameworks.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Submits Comment letter to the EC on the Draft Directives on Digital Services Tax and Significant Digital Presence: Following up on a series of meetings that USCIB had with European countries, USCIB submitted a comment letter to the European Commission with copies to countries that we had met with. The letter set forth in writing USCIB’s criticisms of the two directives. We have also meet with the U.S. Treasury and the Senate Joint Economic Committee to discuss our concerns. USCIB will be continuing to pursue opportunities to express our concerns and ensure that any changes to the standards applicable to taxation of the digitalized economy reflect the concerns of U.S. business. Other meetings are in the planning stages. While many countries have objected to the draft directives and the EU requires unanimity to proceed, it is important that USCIB continue to make its case about the potential damage from these directives. The OECD is working on a long-term solution. Many countries expressed a willingness to work within the OECD to achieve a long-term solution. USCIB also supports a consensus approach and believes that the OECD is the best place for working on such a consensus.

USCIB Organizes Another Successful OECD International Tax Conference in Washington: Together with the OECD, USCIB organized the 13th annual International Tax Conference June 4 and 5. Highlights of the conference included: International Tax Aspects of the U.S. Tax Reform Dispute Resolution – including the stability of the reforms and what is next on the international front; ICAP and MAP – including the need to make the process more efficient if it is going to be rolled out generally; and the Digital Economy – Interim Report – including the fundamental debate about the role of users and data in value creation.

French Finance Ministry Briefs USCIB Tax Committee: Gael Perraud of the French Finance Ministry addressed the Tax Committee on the French government’s view on taxation of the digital economy. The committee also discussed the progress on implementing the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Also in conjunction with the Tax Conference, the Digital Working Group arranged a meeting with Fabrizia Lapecorella of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

USCIB Submits Comments on the Protecting Taxpayers Act: USCIB submitted a comment letter strongly supporting the provisions in S. 3278 would establish a statutory right to review by the Office of Appeals and to provide guardrails to protect the right of appeal. In addition, to supporting the bill, USCIB suggested a number of improvements.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Discusses WTO Moratorium with USTR: On August 21, 2018, the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee met with Sam Dupont, USTR Director for ICT Services & Digital Trade and Kevin McHale, Deputy Assistant USTR for Telecommunications Policy to discuss the status of the WTO E-Commerce moratorium at both the WTO and the WCO, along with broader E-Commerce issues. The committee also shared takeaways from the CBP Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia, Drawback regulations, and the joint USCIB/U.S. Chamber E-Commerce Industry Day 2.0.

 USCIB Convenes Interagency Group on Customs E-Commerce: On June 14-15 and July 31-August 1, USCIB joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to host a series of meetings tied to E-commerce and the work being undertaken by the World Customs Organization (WCO). These “Industry Days” featured private sector and public sector representatives from multiple U.S. government agencies aimed at continuing the established dialogue on the WCO’s E-Commerce Framework of Standards (FoS). Many of these meetings were conducted in a small group fashion, which were stakeholder specific (i.e., carriers, customs brokers, e-payment, marketplaces and vendors). The events included robust representation from the U.S. government, bringing together more than 10 agencies, including Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Departments of Commerce and State, the Federal Trade Commission and the National Security Council.

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

USCIB Continues to Fight China 301 Tariffs, Hampl Testifies: On July 23, 2018, USCIB submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding the proposed 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports. This list of goods followed the first consultation on proposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, which resulted in the imposition of tariffs on $34 billion on July 6, 2018. The final list of tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports went into effect on August 23, 2018. A third list of proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports was announced in July, and USCIB has continued to actively advocate on the effect these tariffs will have on the competitiveness of U.S. companies. USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony to the 301 Committee chaired by USTR on August 20, 2018, expressing concern about the potential unintended consequences these proposed tariffs of 10 percent are likely to have, affecting many sectors vital to the U.S. economy and jobs. The Administration is also considering increasing tariffs to 25 percent. USCIB will be submitting final written comments on this list of products by September 6, 2018.

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs – Shaping the Development of CR Principles and Increasing Awareness of Business’s Positive Social Contributions

USCIB Hosts Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labor Organization: on Friday, July 20, 2018, over 20 member companies met with Guy Rider, Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO), to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern including: ILO’s centenary in 2019, the “Future of Work,” the role of governments, the role of business at the ILO, and the work of the standard-setting committee on violence and harassment at the International Labor Conference. For the centenary, USCIB will seek to organize a business-focused event in 2019, and also participate in an ILO event to celebrate the Philadelphia declaration. USCIB and its members also stressed the fundamental role governments must play in writing laws that meet international standards and effectively enforcing them. They stressed the importance of ILO’s continued focus on helping governments carry out those core functions. Lastly, USCIB also spoke very clearly about the issue of violence and harassment at work and emphasized U.S. employer commitment to this topic. Gabriella Rigg Herzog, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs, underscored the importance of the topic and that Director General Ryder and the ILO Office can provide needed support for the tripartite constituents to help reach an agreed text providing clear and practical definitions for both public and private sector employers. In that way, they can understand their responsibilities and governments can be encouraged to take the next step to ratify the ILO instrument.

Membership

  • Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff and President and CEO Peter Robinson met with representatives from member companies Boeing, General Electric, Salesforce and Eaton to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs.
  • New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Expedia, Ripple Labs and Salesforce as new members.

Upcoming Events:

  • ICC/USCIB Competition Meeting, New York – September 5
  • USCIB Food and Agriculture Working Group Meeting, Washington, D.C. – September 11
  • USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – September 11
  • ICC Digital Economy Commission Meeting, Paris, France – September 13-14
  • Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia – September 13-14
  • USCIB Trade and Investment Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – September 13
  • USCIB ICT Policy Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C. – September 27
  • ICC Trade and Investment Commission Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland – October 1
  • WTO Public Forum, Geneva, Switzerland – October 2-4
  • ICC Banking Commission Technical Meeting, Tbilisi, Georgia – October 15-17
  • ICANN 53, Barcelona, Spain – October 20-16
  • BIAC Trade and Investment Committee Meetings, Paris, France – October 22-25
  • International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary, Dubai, UAE – October 29-November 16
  • ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation Meeting, Paris, France – November 6-7
  • Internet Governance Forum, Paris, France – November 12-14
  • Meetings of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy and its Working Parties, Paris, France – November 12-16
  • 2018 USCIB International Leadership Award Dinner, New York – December 11

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

 

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Elizabeth Kim
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5095 or ekim@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Assistant, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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Staff Contact:   Rob Mulligan

Senior VP, Policy and Government Affairs
Tel: 202.682.7375

Rob Mulligan oversees our wide ranging activities on international trade, investment, economic and regulatory matters, and supervises a staff of policy professionals whose expertise covers a host of issues affecting American companies engaged in global business. He also coordinates USCIB policy and advocacy work with the U.S. and foreign governments, our international affiliates.
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