USCIB Congratulates Colombia on Formally Becoming OECD Member

Pictured from left: Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia and Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD (Photo: OECD/Victor Tonelli)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced that Colombia has formally become an OECD Member as of April 28, 2020. Colombia is the 37th country to do so in the Organization’s near 60-year history.

According to the OECD, Colombia has now completed its domestic procedures for ratification of the OECD Convention and deposited its instrument of accession. This brings to a successful conclusion an accession process that began in 2013.

“Colombia is an important market for many companies, and we commend Colombia on successfully concluding this lengthy process and committing to the high standards of the OECD,” said USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl. As the official voice representing U.S. business in this process, USCIB was actively involved in providing input into Colombia’s accession process via Business at OECD (BIAC), the official business voice at the OECD.

OECD Member countries formally invited Colombia to join the Organization in May 2018, following a five-year accession process during which it underwent in-depth reviews by twenty-three OECD Committees and introduced major reforms to align its legislation, policies and practices to OECD standards. These spanned the breadth of policy fields including labor issues, reform of the justice system, corporate governance of state-owned enterprises, anti-bribery, trade, and the establishment of a national policy on industrial chemicals and waste management.

ICC Statement on Code Interpretation/Reference Guide on Advertising to Children

The Reference Guide on Advertising to Children can be found here. 

ICC Statement on Code Interpretation

The International Chamber of Commerce Consolidated Code of Marketing and Advertising Practice
(ICC Code) sets forth standards for marketing communications, including provisions addressing
special responsibilities for marketing “products” (as defined by the ICC Code, which includes
services)to children and young people. Article 18 of the ICC Code outlines principles for advertising
to children and young people, while Article 19 establishes principles for data collection involving
children. The purpose of this Statement on Code Interpretation is to clarify the age of “children” and
the age of “young people” for purposes of the ICC Code.

The ICC’s approach has been informed by almost 100 years of research on child development, and
recognizes that children, on the one hand, and teens, on the other, require special consideration
based on their differing ability to understand marketing messages. A wealth of data and historical
customs and practices support defining “children” as age 12 and younger (i.e. under 13 years old) for
marketing-related purposes, and this is generally the age the ICC intends when referring to “children”
in the ICC Code. Where the ICC Code refers to “young people,” the ICC generally intends this
phrase to mean teenagers (“teens”) under age 18. Children and teens are typically considered
“minors” and are barred from purchasing, consuming or using particular products intended for adults.

An overarching principle of the ICC Code is that marketing communications must be legal, decent,
honest and truthful, considering how the communication is likely to be interpreted by the primary
target audience. The ICC Code recognizes that some added fair marketing communications
principles should apply to both children and teens, while other specific marketing communications
principles should apply only to children. For example, products that are unsuitable for purchase, use
or consumption by children and teens in the jurisdiction where the marketing communications appear
should not be advertised in media targeted to them, while other provisions of the Code (e.g. the use
of fantasy in advertising) include additional best practices for child-directed marketing
communications. Likewise, children and teens should not be portrayed in advertisements using
products that are not appropriate for them to use.

The ICC recognizes that some local laws may define “children” and “young people” differently.
Marketers of course must respect local laws when it comes to structuring local marketing
communications. The ICC decision to adopt age 12 and younger as the reference age of “children”
for purposes of advertising and privacy provisions of the ICC Code, and to define “young people” as
teens under 18, reflects proven differences in the ability of children versus teens to understand
marketing communications, the very real differences in teens’ interests as compared to children, the
practical impediments to obtaining parental consent where data collection from teens is concerned,
sensitivities about teen privacy rights, and respect for freedom of commercial communications where
the principal audience is adults. Harmonization around this age will help maintain international
consistency, and is consistent with many content ratings and safety laws around the world.

ICC Underscores Importance of Freedom of Commercial Communication

Digital marketing concept

A new International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) statement urging governments to reject general advertising bans and overly prescriptive restrictions on truthful commercial communications, in favor of self-regulatory practices, warns that excessive regulation in the field of advertising and commercial communications could hinder trade and hamper economic growth and development.

Issued on November 24, the ICC policy statement addresses continuing threat of bans on advertising and promotion of legal products and restrictions on freedom of commercial communication in favor of self-regulatory practices.

“This statement presents the views of global business on the freedom of commercial communication and expands on the discussion of the rights of advertisers,” said Brent Sanders (Microsoft), chair of the ICC commission and of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee. “It outlines the responsibilities accepted by business and supports the argument for continued self-regulation through ICC codes.”

ICC’s Commission on Marketing and Advertising will hold its nextg meeting on December 7 in New York. The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice (the ICC Code), is the gold standard for most nationally applied self-regulation around the world.

The newly revised ICC policy statement on freedom of commercial communication outlines ICC Code principles related to freedom of commercial communication and self-regulation, and recognizes business responsibility to consumers in providing decent, honest and truthful commercial communication. It aims to underscore that freedom of advertising and of commercial speech, underpinned by effective self-regulation, are cornerstones of the market economy.

“Latin America has seen a proliferation of proposals or enacted laws to restrict food and beverage marketing and this statement from ICC is most timely as business concern mounts with threats continuing to extend globally,” said Ximena Tapias Delporte, vice chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising and executive chairman of the Colombian Union of Advertising Companies.

In the statement, ICC upholds that products that can be legally manufactured and marketed should be legal to advertise in line with free market media and communication laws, taking into account the interests of the public and the common good.

ICC has served as the authoritative rule-setter for international advertising since the 1930s, when the first ICC Code on advertising practice was issued. Since then, it has updated and expanded the ICC self-regulatory framework where needed to assist companies in marketing their products responsibly and to help self-regulators apply the rules consistently.

Download the ICC Policy Statement on Freedom of Commercial Communications

Download the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice

USCIB Gears Up for APEC Summit With Business Priorities

More: Boost for APEC Agenda on Marketing

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum comprised of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. In the lead-up to APEC’s November meetings in Beijing, which will close out China’s host year, USCIB welcomes the committed partnerships that APEC sustained with the private sector to address the region’s complex economic challenges.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum comprised of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. In the lead-up to APEC’s November meetings in Beijing, which will close out China’s host year, USCIB welcomes the committed partnerships that APEC sustained with the private sector to address the region’s complex economic challenges.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum comprised of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. In the lead-up to APEC’s November meetings in Beijing, which will close out China’s host year, USCIB welcomes the committed partnerships that APEC sustained with the private sector to address the region’s complex economic challenges.

Throughout 2014, USCIB advanced a wide range of policy discussions through APEC to promote a pro-business agenda on chemicals regulation, advertising self-regulation, data privacy, customs, women in the economy and local content requirements.

USCIB engaged in several APEC working groups, including the Chemical Dialogue, Customs Business Dialogue and the Electronic Commerce Steering Group, to encourage discussions between governments and the private sector on topics of interest to business.

Next week, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson will attend the APEC CEO Summit in Beijing, China from November 8 to 10 as a business delegate and representative of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition along with Helen Medina, USCIB senior director of product policy and innovation, and USCIB member company CEOs and executives. Robinson and Medina will discuss USCIB’s work and members’ APEC priorities, and will join with other coalition partners to pursue common business objectives.

The APEC forum is a valuable space for business to engage with the region’s political leaders, and USCIB has assumed a leadership role in APEC on behalf of our members. At the CEO Summit this year, USCIB will organize a breakfast event on November 10 through the U.S. APEC Business Coalition to discuss the role of global value chains (GVCs) in strengthening economic integration across Pacific Rim countries. The event will feature private sector representatives and APEC government officials who will offer their perspectives on how policies and regulations impact investment decisions, supply-chain routing, cost efficiency, and key ingredients for climbing the GVC-ladder. Please find the current draft agenda here.

USCIB has also consulted with members engaged in APEC’s work to develop top-level messaging for the CEO Summit and related meetings in Beijing, as well as an APEC priorities document ahead of the 2015 APEC Summit to be hosted by the Philippines.

On October 14, the USCIB APEC Working Group met with Ed Brzytwa, Director for APEC Affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and Bob Wang, U.S. Senior Official for APEC, U.S. Department of State, where members voiced their thoughts on priority areas including:

  • the integration of global value chains throughout the APEC region;
  • the importance of digital trade in economic development and issues regarding local content;
  • alignment to international best practices in advertising and the promotion of self-regulatory bodies (see below);
  • intellectual property rights enforcement and capacity building;
  • rule of law and ethical business practices in supply chains (child labor and human trafficking); and
  • the importance of energy security and strategic infrastructure to sustainable development.

Additionally, USCIB plans to meet with Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews to discuss USCIB’s APEC work and priorities.

More information on USCIB’s APEC activities will be available after the summit concludes next week.

Staff contact: Rachel Spence and Helen Medina
More on USCIB’s APEC Working Group

Boost for APEC Agenda on Marketing

Earlier this month, USCIB and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) convened a well-attended roundtable in Washington, DC, on moving forward with the promotion of marketing and advertising standards work in APEC. There are strong signals that the Chinese government (this year’s APEC host) is pushing for leaders at the November APEC summit in Beijing to endorse the APEC action agenda on advertising standards, which was agreed by ministers at the August senior officials meeting.

Among other things, the action agenda calls for APEC economies to develop principles to use in constructing their ad standards regimes, as well as an advertising regulatory checklist of key elements in a regulatory (including self-regulatory) framework. USCIB and GMA members discussed with U.S. government representatives what industry would like to see next. They agreed to send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman laying out the case for additional APEC work in this area in order to facilitate cross-border trade and investment in the APEC region.

Staff contact: Jonathan Huneke

More on USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee