Baird Contributes to Business at OECD’s Consultation With OECD Leadership

USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird

USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird joined business leaders from Business at OECD’s (BIAC) expansive global network for BIAC’s Annual Consultation with OECD leadership and ambassadors in Paris. The theme for this year’s consultation was Charting the Course for Competitiveness, urging the OECD to reinforce the competitiveness of market-based democracies.

Baird served as a business speaker on a discussion around inspiring a better future globally.

“In an increasingly geopolitical setting, business looks to the OECD and member governments for meaningful cooperation, pragmatic diplomacy, and effective inclusive multilateralism,” she said.

Rick Johnston

BIAC Chair Rick Johnston (Citigroup), who also serves on the USCIB Board and chairs USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee, led the delegation. Johnston also underscored BIAC priorities for OECD policymaking, stressing the need for the OECD to put a clearer spotlight on the cost and ease of doing business in its member countries.

According to BIAC, this strategic engagement at the outset of the year sets the tone for follow-up business advocacy with the OECD and its 38 Member States; BIAC is now preparing for the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in May, which will be chaired by Japan.

USCIB in the News: Bloomberg, Tax Notes Quote Rick Minor on New OECD Report on Amount B

SVP Rick Minor was quoted in both Bloomberg and Tax Notes this week following the February 19 release of the OECD’s new report on Amount B, one of the key components of Pillar One of the OECD’s global two pillar solution project.

In Bloomberg Tax, Minor said: “I feel there remains a degree of uncertainty regarding the prospects for broad adaptation of Amount B, directly and indirectly, on which we had placed considerable value from the outset.” Minor expressed concerns “in the context of a mutual agreement procedure, where a treaty partner isn’t obligated to accept the Amount B analysis of another jurisdiction if the first treaty partner doesn’t agree to Amount B.”

To access the full Bloomberg article, please click here to read with a subscription.

The Tax Notes article, titled, OECD Sets Out Amount B Transfer Pricing Simplification Framework, is also available with a subscription and can be found here.

USCIB Meets with OECD to Share US Industry Accession Priorities 

USCIB organized a member briefing on February 14 with OECD officials to discuss the accession process and to share USCIB Members’ market access concerns regarding the five accession candidates: Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru and Romania. USCIB also shared with the OECD officials an updated business priorities document, detailing industry concerns for each of the accession candidates. 

Members learned that the candidacies of Croatia, Bulgaria, Peru and Romania are most advance as they consider the accession process a national priority. According to USCIB Senior Vice President for Trade, Investment and Digital Policy Alice Slayton Clark, Brazil is taking a more cautious position, setting up a working group on OECD matters to determine how to approach accession. Interestingly, the new administration of Javier Milei in Argentina seems committed to moving forward with adoption of a roadmap for accession after putting the invitation on pause for the past two years. Finally, Thailand has requested to accede, and the OECD announced this week it is opening accession talks with Indonesia, a process that will take many years.     

It was made clear during this meeting that OECD accession provides powerful leverage for adoption of reforms in candidate countries, an opportunity for industry to resolve market access concerns. It is imperative to act early in this regard and provide detailed input that can be incorporated into market openness reports used to measure candidate country readiness.  

One main area of concern raised during the discussion was candidate country positioning on the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions, a question that will be considered at next week’s World Trade Organization (WTO) 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi. USCIB urged that all OECD members and accession candidates fully support the moratorium to be in alignment with OECD research, principles and best practices. 

Click here to download USCIB’s OECD Accession Priorities document. 

Baird and Wanner Focus on Trade and Tech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 

USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird and VP for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. Dubbed the “most powerful tech event in the world,” CES brought together over 130,000 participants, including many USCIB members and representatives of governments from across the globe.  

Whitney Baird (USCIB) and Tanneasha Gordon (Deloitte)

Baird and Wanner had a packed schedule in Las Vegas meeting members and USG officials, including Tanneasha Gordon (Deloitte), Nadia Hansen (Salesforce), Dr. Oliver Campbell (Dell), JoAnn Stonier (Mastercard), Erica McCann (Amazon) and Dr. Vanessa Chan (Department of Energy). They also attended panels and events on AI and the impact on jobs, emerging technologies shaping the tech workforce, privacy and cybersecurity, and sustainability and circularity in tech.  

During a panel on “Trade in Tech. What is it good for? Absolutely Everything!” Baird joined Ambassador Mark Lippert (Samsung), Ambassador Susan Schwab (NFTC) and Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) to discuss how trade policy promote peace and innovation globally.  

“Trade has long demonstrated its benefit in lifting nations out of poverty, promoting shared prosperity, fostering economic interdependence and trust, and providing an incentive for peaceful resolution of disputes,” said Baird. “Technology has a similar unifying effect, through the devices, gadgets and transmissions that inform people and connect cultures and countries around the globe. Trade in technology, therefore, carries a double dividend on peace.” 

Baird also discussed USCIB’s affiliation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), made possible through Business at OECD (BIAC). She noted USCIB regularly contributes U.S. industry practices and priorities to inform OECD research and policy guidelines. Through its own standing and through our affiliates, USCIB advocates strongly for WTO rules that promote connectivity, the free flow of data with trust across borders, and a permanent moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions. USCIB has also pressed for negotiation of two World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreements to eliminate all import duties on a wide range of technology products including computers, telecommunications equipment, software and educational devices.   

The “Trade in Tech” session was moderated by Ed Brzytwa (International Trade Consumer Technology Association).  

“This was the first time USCIB attended CES in an official capacity,” said Wanner. “We were delighted by the many opportunities we had for enhanced engagement with U.S. government officials and our own members on topics of significant relevance to our trade and digital policy work. We look forward to more CES events in the future.” 

USCIB Meets With OECD to Offer Business Perspectives for OECD’s US Economic Survey

Representatives from the U.S. desk of the OECD’s Economics Department met with USCIB members and staff on January 8 to solicit business input into the next OECD United States Economic Survey. The OECD typically conducts these economic reviews every two years to assess the macroeconomic and structural policy challenges facing economies and offer recommendations.

A robust group of USCIB members participated in the meeting including Rick Johnston (Citi), Jerry Cook (Hanesbrands), Carolina Costa (RELX), Elizabeth Tate (Albright Stonebridge Group) and Cristian Rodriguez-Chiffelle (Boston Consulting Group). They discussed early findings from the OECD analysts that the United States will be experiencing a soft landing with weak economic growth expected in 2024, with GDP project at 1.5 percent, unemployment over 4 percent and abatement of inflationary pressures and wage growth. This led to a conversation about business outlooks on U.S. industrial policies (e.g. CHIPS Act), China trade policy and the impact of tariffs, U.S. retreat from economic globalization, economic security and reduced business voice in economic policy debates.

“As always, USCIB greatly appreciates the opportunity to meet with representatives from the OECD,” said Senior VP for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy. “As the sole U.S. representative to Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB is in a unique position to offer invaluable U.S. business perspectives. We are committed to this important analysis and work of the OECD in providing well-informed recommendations to the U.S. government.”

OECD Surveys aim to promote a better understanding of a given country’s economic situation, identify the key challenges facing that country’s authorities and provide recommendations to improve the country’s overall economic performance.


Baird Discusses USCIB Priorities With Leaders of WTO and UNCTAD 

L-R: Whitney Baird (USCIB), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (WTO), Angela Ellard (WTO) in Geneva

USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird was in Geneva the week of November 27, meeting with the heads of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to press membership priorities.  


The focus of the meeting with WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealaand Deputy Director General Angela Ellard was industry positions for the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13), with Baird underscoring concerns regarding the U.S. retreat from important digital safeguards in the JSI on E-Commerce negotiations, the imperative of a permanent renewal of the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions and staunch opposition to a waiver extension under the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. USCIB also relayed its history as a leading industry voice in support of the WTO, spearheading business coalition letters urging better U.S. leadership in negotiations.   


“USCIB will attend MC13 in February 2024 showcasing our deep commitment to the WTO and a global rules-based trading system,” said Baird. “With some 70 percent of world trade covered under WTO rules, USCIB is a steadfast and staunch advocate for the WTO and its critical role in keeping the global trading system open for business particularly during times of pandemic or geostrategic crisis.” 


Baird also expressed her gratitude to the DG for establishing the WTO Director General business advisory group to ensure industry voices are heard. “USCIB truly understands the importance and the power of institutionalized stakeholder engagement as the unique U.S. affiliate to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE),” added Baird. 


Separately, Baird met with UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan to discuss mutual areas of interest regarding foreign direct investment (FDI) and issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). USCIB’s engagement with UNCTAD spans years of active participation at the World Investment Forum Meetings, the leading international meeting on investment matters. 


USCIB has been a longstanding, leading voice for the U.S. private sector on international investment policy issues in the multilateral system, promoting FDI and defending investor safeguards in investment agreements as a paramount priority.   


“USCIB advocates for inclusive practical multilateralism and welcomes opportunities to engage with UNCTAD in dialogue and through public-private partnerships to learn about the barriers to investments in developing countries,” said Baird.  


Baird added, “It is now more important than ever that international organizations like UNCTAD work with business to call for the necessary welcoming environment for FDI in quality projects that help put the SDGs back on track, power sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity. USCIB looks forward to a productive working relationship with the Secretary General and her colleagues at UNCTAD.” 

Business at OECD Releases Paper on Trade Priorities, Responding to 2023 OECD Trade Strategy 

This week, Business at OECD (BIAC) released its flagship paper “Trading Better, Living Better” outlining trade priorities aimed at promoting robust and resilient trade, innovation, open markets, a level the playing field and inclusivity. The paper is developed to inform the future work program of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate. 


The paper was launched on November 27 at a virtual event including OECD officials, government policymakers and other trade stakeholders. USCIB Vice President for International Investment and Trade Policy and BIAC Trade Committee Vice Chair Alice Slayton Clark presented key priorities from the digital section of the paper. These included permanent renewal of the World Trade Organization (WTO) moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions, high standard outcomes from the JSI on e-commerce negotiations and OECD advancement of the benefits of cross-border data flows and negative effects of data localization measures. 


Importantly, the document also urges the OECD to support policy efforts towards strengthening intellectual property (IP) protections, which serve as a fuel for innovation. It urges research on the benefits of IP safeguards and negative trade effects of weak IP rights enforcement.


“The paper underscores several key recommendations for strengthening trade and business,” said Clark. “It calls on the international community to foster rules-based and resilient trade, strengthen the foundations of open markets, advance the digital economy, level the playing field for government support and secure public support for open markets.


Read the full paper here.

Rick Minor Quoted in Bloomberg Law on OECD Tax Deal, Advocates for Extended Time for Business to Provide Feedback

USCIB Vice President and International Tax Counsel Rick Minor was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article yesterday regarding the Department of Treasury’s handling of a complex Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tax treaty. Treasury is awaiting business input by December 11, with the deadline for the treaty set on December 31. This treaty would reallocate residual profits of big corporations to market jurisdictions under Pillar One of the two-section tax deal.

Minor was quoted as saying, “USCIB views it as essential for Inclusive Framework members, in-scope businesses, and other stakeholders to be given more time beyond the end of this calendar year to complete this important work.” This quote stems from a letter that was sent to Treasury on November 15.

Business has expressed concern that Treasury’s solicitation of feedback from stakeholders may be the administration’s attempt to buy more time for negotiations before any significant decision-making occurs by nations. This move also shifts pressure regarding the treaty’s success or failure away from negotiators and onto business. However, the comment period also sends the message that the U.S. is taking this treaty seriously, as doubts continue to exist about whether the negotiations will be fruitful.

The full article is available with a subscription to Bloomberg Tax and can be accessed here.

Business at OECD Launches Responsible Business Conduct Committee, Co-Chaired by USCIB Member Laura Chapman-Rubbo (Disney)

Laura Rubbo attends USCIB’s 2019 International Leadership Award Dinner
L-R: Peter Robinson (formerly USCIB), Laura Rubbo (The Walt Disney Company), Guy Ryder (formerly ILO), Terry McGraw (formerly USCIB & S&P Global)

Business at OECD (BIAC) launched the newly formed BIAC Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) Committee on November 8 in Paris. The rationale for establishing a dedicated RBC committee is rooted in the growing OECD RBC workstreams, which are expected to expand in the upcoming years. While the BIAC RBC Committee was previously housed under the same umbrella as the Investment Committee, close coordination between both committees will continue. In line with this, two previous vice-chairs of the Investment and RBC Committees now serve as the new co-chairs of the BIAC RBC committee: Laura Chapman-Rubbo from USCIB member The Walt Disney Company and Paul Noll from the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA).

USCIB was delighted to nominate Chapman-Rubbo as co-chair. She has extensive expertise in working with OECD matters, closely collaborating with BIAC on the review of upcoming OECD RBC guidance. As a leading voice in RBC topics, Chapman-Rubbo brings an American perspective, along with know-how from a worldwide transnational company to the table. USCIB members are committed to driving positive change while ensuring that American business interests remain represented at the OECD level.

“I am honored to co-chair this committee,” said Chapman-Rubbo. “We are building on decades of important work by BIAC, their member national business associations, and their member companies to advance responsible business conduct and the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.”

The first BIAC RBC committee meeting was held on November 8 and now the committee is focused on a 2024 work plan and outreach.

USCIB Member Cristian Rodriguez-Chiffelle (BCG) Approved as Vice Chair for Newly-Formed BIAC Investment Committee 

Cristian Rodriguez-Chiffelle

Business at OECD’s (BIAC) Executive Board formally approved the nomination of USCIB member Cristian Rodriguez-Chiffelle (Boston Consulting Group) for Vice-Chair of the BIAC Investment Committee on November 7. 


Rodriguez-Chiffelle serves as senior advisor for Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Global Advantage and Public Sector practices. He has consulted with governments, firms and international organizations across multiple regions. He has extensive expertise in fields such as sustainable FDI strategies for renewable energy, investment attraction and promotion and the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements. His extensive experience has primarily focused on Latin American trade, climate policy and investment. 


Rodriguez-Chiffelle’s previous experience participating in the investment-related operations of international organizations and the Chilean government will be of great value when conveying business priorities to governments and OECD representatives as part of his new position. 


The BIAC Investment Committee is a newly independent committee, having previously been part of the Investment and Responsible Business Conduct Committee. It is primarily focused on challenges that companies are facing with respect to the international investment climate and aims to highlight the importance of appropriate investor safeguards, market openness and a level-playing field in global trade and investment.