USCIB Joined Multi-Association Letter Opposing Expansion of WTO TRIPS Waiver 

USCIB co-signed a multi-association letter to the Biden Administration at the end of February strongly opposing the proposed expansion of the WTO TRIPS waiver to cover COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. The letter was addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, USTR Katherine Tai, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and White House Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients.  

The letter advanced the same arguments USCIB made in its submission last year to the U.S. International Trade Commission (Investigation No. 332-596) on the TRIPS waiver extension: the extension would undermine innovation, global health security as well as research and development for products that are fundamental to fighting global crises. USCIB was deeply disappointed with the TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines announced at the WTO in June 2022. Extending the waiver to diagnostics and therapeutics would further erode international rule of law.

As such, USCIB welcomed the outcome at the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi last week to table this proposal.  

For nearly 30 years, the WTO TRIPS Agreement has served its role well in providing the global legal architecture for supporting and driving innovation,” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Trade, Investment and Digital Policy Alice Slayton Clark. “The waiver extension would have represented a virtual death knell not only for the pharmaceutical industry but also for innovative industry writ large.” 


The 13th WTO Ministerial Conference Falls Short But Delivers Some Wins for Industry

Renewal of e-commerce moratorium and intellectual property rights secured

New York, N.Y., March 04, 2024—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomes outcomes from the WTO 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi on two key objectives for U.S. industry: a two-year extension of the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions and a rejection of efforts to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.

“If the moratorium had expired it would have been an historic setback, representing an unprecedented termination of a multilateral agreement that has allowed the digital economy to take root and grow over the past 25 years,” said President and CEO Whitney Baird who represented USCIB at the ministerial last week. “USCIB is similarly pleased that the WTO failed to extend a TRIPS waiver to diagnostics and therapeutics, a move that would have undermined innovative industries, global health security and international rule of law.”

Another positive outcome, according to Baird, 72 nations officially adopted the Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation, simplifying rules for over 90 percent of the world’s trade in services. USCIB joined the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which it serves as the U.S. national committee, in welcoming the move. The agreement text had been concluded in December 2021. USCIB also hails progress at the WTO mapping out linkages and exploring best practices in consultation with industry on trade related aspects of circularity, climate, plastics and other policies aimed at advancing sustainability goals.

The outcomes in Abu Dhabi were mixed, however. USCIB is disappointed that MC13 failed to deliver agreements on agriculture, dispute settlement and fisheries, adding uncertainty to a multilateral trading system already under intense strain. “USCIB looks forward to working with the WTO to deliver outcomes in these sectors favorable to U.S. industry,” said Baird. “As the cornerstone for open, fair and reliable global trade, the WTO is too important to industry to fail.”

USCIB was on the ground in Abu Dhabi with a strong showing of member companies and the ICC, promoting robust digital and innovation safeguards, U.S. leadership on disciplines for sustainable trade, and enhanced roles for plurilateral negotiations and stakeholder engagement at the WTO.

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 the economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million workers worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate to several leading international business organizations, including the ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and development. More at

Business at OECD Releases Statement Ahead of OECD Ministerial Council

The OECD Ministerial Council is taking place June 7-8 under the theme, Securing a Resilient Future: Shared Values and Global Partnerships. In light of the Ministerial, Business at OECD (BIAC) has released a statement to the OECD with insights drawn from the forthcoming 2023 Business at OECD Economic Policy Survey. Some of the themes addressed in BIAC’s insights include business concerns about the war in Ukraine, which has exacerbated inflation rate developments, labor shortages and energy prices. BIAC also raises concerns about supply chains disruptions, the need for structural reforms around infrastructure, digitalization, regulatory burdens and green transition.

The Ministerial is taking place amid persistent tension in world affairs, including Russia’s illegal war in the Ukraine, which has resulted in insurmountable human suffering in the Ukraine, as well as humanitarian and economic crises globally. Additionally, economies around the globe continue to face challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges around climate change.

BIAC’s statement emphasizes that this “unsettled world order requires an ever-greater capacity and commitment to multilateral cooperation and collective progress on these common fronts. The engine of societal progress, the world economy, has been paying a high price for an increasingly unstable rules-based international system, and the past year has been challenging for many businesses. The OECD private sector remains committed to defend our common values and rules-based order and continues to support effective government action towards these goals.”

According to BIAC, in the current context, the success of our economies relies on successful diplomacy, meaningful international cooperation and effective multilateralism in support of pragmatic policies.

For more information, please see the links below:

BIAC Statement to the OECD on Securing a Resilient Future: Shared Values and Global Partnerships

2023 Business at OECD Economic Policy Survey

BIAC Year Highlights: How We Delivered Value to Our Members (May 2022-May 2023)

At STI Forum, Ratzan Presents USCIB Foundation Initiatives That Help Advance SDGs

Dr. Scott Ratzan

During the eighth annual UN Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum), held in New York May 3-4, The USCIB Foundation’s Dr. Scott Ratzan made remarks as a lead discussant to support evidence-based policy to solving interconnected and complex challenges society is facing. Ratzan joined other panelists from civil society to speak during the Opening Session of the Forum, “Strengthening Trust in Science and Technology.”

Ratzan’s remarks raised the importance and relevance of several projects led by The USCIB Foundation and its partners around the globe. These initiatives include Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD), Business Partners to CONVINCE (BP2C), the Business Partner Roundtable series and a global BP2C-related campaign, There’s More To Be Done.

BP2C was launched in 2020 at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) during the height of the pandemic. The goal of the initiative is to engage the private sector and motivate employers to build confidence, vaccine literacy and support the benefit of COVID vaccines.

“Today, we work in partnership along with academics, NGOs and other stakeholders to advance vaccine literacy and to address challenges with misinformation and to cover general vaccines for employers of all sizes,” said Ratzan. “Along with the collaboration of USCIB’s global network—the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Business at OECD, as well as USCIB member, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the There’s More To Be Done campaign includes advancement of vaccine literacy and uptake and other key areas for employers to integrate in their workplace strategies.

There’s More To Be Done includes Learning Modules and resources promoting the important role of vaccine literacy and other key issues for trustworthy communication and effective COVID recovery.

“We intend to evolve this campaign to advance health and well-being on the planet,” added Ratzan. “At this historical time rebounding from the first pandemic in a century, we need to build support for science, technology and innovation with trustworthy local and global partners. We welcome the opportunity to engage at all levels from global, national, regional to local – to advance the global goals.”

Ratzan also noted that the next Business Partner Roundtable will address infrastructure (SDG 9) and will be held in partnership with the Wilson Center in Washington DC. In the latter part of 2023, there will be a Roundtable on climate change and food security.

“We intend on sharing ideas with the broad UN community and stakeholders throughout the globe as we embrace SDG 17 partnerships for the Goals,” said Ratzan. “All of these multisector activities work to support the mission of the STI Forum.”

The session was moderated by Quarraisha Abdool Karim who is the co-chair of the UN Secretary General’s ten-member group supporting the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.

The theme for this year’s Forum was “Science, technology and innovation for accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels.”

To view the full Session, please click here.

USCIB Foundation Launches Campaign to Promote Vaccine Literacy, Workplace Wellbeing

New York, N.Y., November 28, 2022—Today, the USCIB Foundation launched the ‘There’s More To Be Done’ Campaign, an initiative that seeks to maintain workplace wellbeing. Employers can encourage vaccination for COVID19 and other preventable illness by informing and educating employees on the benefit of vaccination. ‘There’s More To Be Done’ is a global movement of employers and is part of the Business Partners to CONVINCE initiative, which seeks to empower a “vaccine-literate” public.

The Campaign includes free Learning Modules for employers that incorporates training videos, action steps, learning objectives and resources.

The Campaign is simple, actionable, and vital for a safer workplace. The Campaign:

  • Focuses on the important role of employers
  • Recognizes the hard work by employers to date
  • Identifies the role of vaccines in creating a safer workplace and employee well-being.

Scott Ratzan MD, BP2C executive director, stated: “In collaboration with our partners, we created this Campaign and designed these Learning Modules to provide businesses of all sizes around the globe with free resources for developing and supporting employee vaccination. Companies of all sizes from 16 countries, representing over 250,000 employees, have joined. Employers play a critical role in the health and wellness of employees. Having a plan to inform and educate employees on the benefit of vaccination is the key to success.”

“Employers, even small to midsize employers, have a role to play given their privileged access, position of trust, and ability to address potential barriers to vaccine uptake practically,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson.

Join the movement and access a free Toolkit and Learning Modules at:

For more information, contact:

Kira Yevtukhova

ABOUT USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility. 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.

ABOUT THE USCIB FOUNDATION: The USCIB Foundation is the research and educational arm of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB). The principal purpose of the Foundation is to carry out research and educational activities designed to promote and advance the benefits of a free-market economy and to demonstrate and document the role of the corporate private sector in economic growth and social development.

ABOUT BUSINESS PARTNERS TO CONVINCE: The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), The USCIB Foundation, and Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD) have launched Business Partners to CONVINCE, a global communication and education initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among private sector employers and employees. The new partnership will play an integral role in a broader, global CONVINCE (Coalition for Vaccine Information, Communication, and Engagement) campaign to advance vaccine literacy and help ensure a strong and swift recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through widespread acceptance of safe, effective and accessible vaccines.

USCIB Urges Biden Administration to Oppose Extending TRIPS Waiver to COVID Diagnostics, Therapeutics

USCIB is urging the Biden Administration to oppose current efforts at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to extend a waiver of rules under the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. USCIB remains disappointed with the TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines announced at the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in June; it is staunchly opposed to extending the waiver to COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics.

Rules under the TRIPS Agreement are being challenged today by nations seeking to leverage the pandemic to gain unfettered access to competitively sensitive, proprietary biopharmaceutical manufacturing technology. In a letter to senior Administration officials dated September 12, USCIB contends that the TRIPS agreement provides ample flexibility to address disparities in access to medicines and treatments; the real problem is insufficient healthcare infrastructure and distribution systems necessary to distribute and adminster vaccines and medicines to remote populations around the globe, as well as residual vaccine hesitancy.  “Extension of the TRIPS waivers is a solution in search of a problem, undermining innovation, global health security, international rule of law, and faith in the global trading system,” argued USCIB Senior Vice President for Innovation, Regulation and Trade Brian Lowry.

USCIB further asserts that “it took decades studying coronaviruses and developing messenger RNA (“mRNA”) technologies to lay the foundation for the highly effective COVID-19 vaccines and other medicines of today. These revolutionary innovations, developed at unprecedented speed and scale, were fueled by global rules that protect IP which provide companies with confidence to undertake high-risk ventures over extended timelines.”  No nation has more to lose from weakened intellectual property rules than the United States, which leads the world in biopharmaceutical and technological research, Lowry stressed.

The letter was addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs at the National Security Council Jacob Sullivan, Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese, Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Counselor to the President Ashish Jha and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Kathi Vidal.

USCIB Joins Stockholm+50 Preparatory Meeting at UN Headquarters   

Agnes Vinblad

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, the UN General Assembly will convene an international meeting in Stockholm, Sweden June 2-3, 2022. The theme of the meeting will be, “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.”  

On March 28, the President of the General Assembly Ambassador Abdulla Shahid invited government delegations and civil society to partake in the Stockholm+50 Preparatory Meeting at UN Headquarters in New York. Representing USCIB, Policy and Program Associate for Sustainability Agnes Vinblad attended in person. The meeting was chaired by the Stockholm+50 co-hosts, Sweden and Kenya, with sessions organized around the three Stockholm+50 Leadership Dialogues: 

  • Leadership dialogue 1: Reflecting on the urgent need for actions to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity of all.  
  • Leadership dialogue 2: Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).  
  • Leadership dialogue 3: Accelerating the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.  

Plenary interventions focused on topics such as mitigation and adaptation, climate finance, sustainable production and consumption, nature-based solutions, and the recommendations outlined in the UN Secretary General’s Report, “Our Common Agenda.”  

“This preparatory meeting emphasized systemic change and the need for new ways to measure economic success through a lens of sustainability and intergenerational justice with an ambition of achieving a just transition,” said Vinblad. “USCIB sees Stockholm+50 as an opportunity for business to yet again show its unparalleled ability to not only contribute to – but also take the lead on – sustainable development.” 

Adopted on June 16, 1972, the UN Stockholm Declaration was the first document to recognize the interconnections between development, poverty, and the environment. Building on this heritage, Stockholm+50 will be a global conference focused on multilateral dialogue to accelerate action on the SDGs towards the realization of Agenda 2030, while serving as a critical steppingstone for the global multilateral community on the path towards UNFCCC COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November.  

Building on the commemorative nature of Stockholm+50, Vinblad said that USCIB wants to fit business into that narrative, showing that the private sector has been concerned with issues related to sustainability and climate change since the inception of the Stockholm Declaration in 1972. 

USCIB On Hand at Historic UN Environment Assembly Launching Global Plastics Pollution Agreement 

The United Nations convened the decision-making UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in Nairobi, Kenya from February 28 – March 4, hosted at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).  

At this meeting, which also commemorated the 50th anniversary of UNEP’s founding, government delegations reached agreement on the resolution, End Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument (LBI) which sets into motion an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop the LBI by end of 2024. In addition, UNEA agreed to establish a new Science-Policy Panel on Chemicals, Waste and Pollution, which will be developed in negotiations over the next two years, to serve as a trusted source of consensus in these areas, much in the same way that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a recognized source of scientific consensus on climate change.

USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy represented USCIB on the ground during this landmark inter-governmental meeting, involving all 193 UN member states. USCIB advocated the essential role business must play in addressing the triple environmental crisis, considering and reflecting all-of-economy realities.

“For USCIB, enabling private sector innovation will be key in limiting plastic pollution in the environment,” said Kennedy. “To unlock the full potential of U.S. business innovation to tackle plastic pollution and advance circular economy approaches, any agreement on plastic pollution needs to be flexible with a mix of legally binding and non-binding elements.”

USCIB conducted a live briefing for members from Nairobi on March 2 to pass on the most up-to-date developments, focusing on outcomes relevant to business. American Chemistry Council (ACC) Senior Director, Global Plastics Policy Stewart Harris provided insights on the business opportunities and challenges ahead in the development of a legally binding instrument to address global plastic pollution. Harris and Kennedy referenced the USCIB Letter to the Administration, which set out USCIB member priorities to the State Department and EPA.

During the briefing, Harris characterized the plastics pollution negotiating mandate as a good outcome for business and industry, enabling business leadership initiatives while also assessing effectiveness and supply chain impacts of proposed actions. Moreover, the resolutions prioritize flexibility and recognize the need to engage business in the treaty’s development. Kennedy also pointed out critical outcomes in the areas of circular economy and sustainable infrastructure, among others. 

On March 10, USCIB’s Environment Committee will convene a meeting which will include a more detailed briefing on the outcomes of UNEA 5.2 and their implications for U.S. Business.

Robinson Joins Business, Health and Employer Experts at IOE Event on COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know on Vaccinations and Prevention

Left to right: Roberto Suarez Santos, Guy Ryder, Susan Hopgood, Peter Robinson

As employers remain on the frontline of the pandemic response, caught between calls to mandate vaccination in the workplace and demands to respect the decisions on vaccination of the individual, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) hosted a timely dialogue, “COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know on Vaccinations and Prevention.”

The October 5 event brought together foremost experts from the health, employer and business fields, including World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, ILO Director General Guy Ryder, IOE President Roberto Suarez Santos and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, among others, to discuss this delicate balance, as well as the increasingly complicated situation in developing countries around access to vaccines, in addition to vaccine hesitancy. Panelists focused on a central question: how can employer organizations help companies navigate all these complex and politically charged issues?

Swaminathan outlined the stark realities of COVID-19 and the continued challenges of distribution and access to vaccines worldwide, while DG Ryder acknowledged some of the key dilemmas facing society and employers: in addition to the inequality in distribution and access, the question of mandates and of privacy, for example, is an employer empowered to know the vaccine status of employees? As an employer representative, Robinson discussed the responsibility employers have in vaccine literacy and COVID response and recovery, particularly following the results of the Edelman Trust Barometer, which revealed that employers—not “Big Business” but employers in general—were felt by employees to be one of the most trusted messengers of information on Covid response.

“While there have been fears of a mass exodus of people quitting and not returning to work, preliminary results show that people are following suit—trusting their employer and government—and getting vaccinated and returning to work to protect health and liberty,” said Robinson. “Recent surveys show that the public supports employers who work to protect society by requiring vaccination as a condition of entry to work. This is in sync with global efforts supporting governments to provide equitable vaccination access so that no one gets left behind.”

Robinson also referenced The USCIB Foundation’s initiative “Business Partners to CONVINCE”, or “BP2C”, designed to encourage and support employers worldwide in making the case for vaccination.

“I would like to take the opportunity to express special thanks for the support of IOE, whose role is and will be especially critical given its extensive range of employer organization members particularly as vaccines become more available in developing countries,” added Robinson. “Looking ahead, as the debate on credentials, passports, verification schemes and other ideas advance, we continue to support efforts to strategically engage business and government bodies to effectively communicate to build vaccine confidence and help galvanize support for re-normalizing a COVID-protected world. We are hopeful for a robust recovery in 2022.  Yet, if we do not work together to advance vaccine access, literacy, and uptake globally, we could face barriers for building back better. We could hit the wall and fall short of vaccination goals. Yet, I remain convinced we can find a way with business, employers and the private sector helping to forge the way forward with our efforts such as this event and in collaboration with our social partners.”

USCIB at the UN General Assembly (UNGA76)

As another challenging United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) got underway with a “hybrid” High-Level opening week, COVID-19 and challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, energy access, food security and lack of adequate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) loomed large. USCIB convened several events to highlight the essential role of business in inclusive multilateralism and, for the first time, USCIB Board Members and Trustees stepped into the spotlight and clearly state USCIB commitment from the top to deliver private sector expertise and innovation to international challenges.

UNGA76 set the stage for critical decision-point policy meetings in the next six-months: the OECD Council of Ministers, the Glasgow Climate Summit and the WTO Ministerial to name a few. These events brought together members, representatives of the UN system, governments and civil society to share ideas for productive ways to advance a sustainable and resilient recovery through collaborative public-private partnerships and strengthened enabling frameworks.

Below are events USCIB hosted with its global partners and members, indicative of continuous involvement of USCIB policy managers, senior leaders, and members at the UN in New York and in other important events on the margins of the GA, including the ICC SDG Business Forum, the Business Fights Poverty Global Goals Summit and several webinars organized by the International Organization of Employers (IOE).

USCIB Business Townhall at UN General Assembly Reaffirms Business’ Commitment to Tackling and Solving Global Challenges

September 20: On the margins of this week’s 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), USCIB partnered with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC) to organize a virtual discussion titled “Reinvigorating Inclusive Multilateralism: A Business Townhall at UNGA76.”  This meeting was among the first organized by business to comment on the just issued UN Secretary General’s Report and vision for international cooperation, “Our Common Agenda.”

The meeting was dedicated to the memory of John Ruggie, former UN Special Envoy for Business and Human Rights, who recently passed away.

Participants from business and industry, the UN, governments, and civil society tuned into the session, which highlighted the critical role of the private sector in being able to achieve ‘Our Common Agenda,’ and particularly of the U.S. private sector in aligning with global business to respond to global challenges, and provide solutions working through inclusive multilateralism.

Read Full story here.


USCIB Hosts A Conversation About the Future of Food

September 21: On the eve of the UN Food Systems and Nutrition Summit, USCIB convened a virtual event—The Future of Food: A Conversation— with experts and practitioners from across societal, scientific, value chain and innovation perspectives. The event highlighted the need for and successful examples of innovation across the food and agriculture industry, the roles and relevance of collaborative approaches to innovation, and how shared value and understanding can hold the key to future opportunities. Facilitated by USCIB SVP for Innovation, Regulation, and Trade Brian Lowry, the event was convened around the premise that in order to feed a growing population within planetary boundaries—considering amount of global climate emissions linked to agriculture and food—leaders must rethink how food, and especially protein, is made and sourced. Transforming the food system is not a solitary task; industry must come together and find new ways to collaborate and partner, and new alternatives must be created in a complementary manner.

Expert speakers included USCIB member Dr. Randal Giroux of Cargill, Chair of  USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Committee, as well as Valerio Nannini, Novozymes general manager for Novozymes Advanced Proteins Solutions. Other experts included Christine Gould, founder and president of Food for Thought, and The Good Food Institute Vice President, Corporate Engagement Caroline Bushnell.

Read full story here.

USCIB Joins Global Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation

September 23: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres convened a Food Systems Summit during the UN General Assembly (UNGA76). The Summit launched bold new actions as part of the UN’s Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs. The goal of the Summit was to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to meet the challenges of poverty, food security, malnutrition, population growth, climate change and natural resource degradation. During the Summit, the U.S. announced the formation of a global Coalition of Action on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation (the SPG Coalition). The coalition will accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through agricultural productivity growth that optimizes sustainability across social, economic and environmental dimensions. The coalition will advance a holistic approach to productivity growth that considers impacts and tradeoffs among multiple objectives. USCIB has joined the SPG Coalition.