USCIB Supports First-Ever Multilateral Agreement on “Living Wage”

New York, NY, February 27, 2024–This weekend, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN entity responsible for setting international labor standards, reached the first-in-history multilateral agreement on the concept of a “living wage.” The alignment on the concept, negotiated between workers, employers and governments, was part of the outcome of a week-long expert meeting on wage policies, including living wages.

In recent years, there has been a rise in political pressures on ensuring wage levels that can ensure a decent standard of living and an increase in living wage initiatives and consulting firms, claiming to help companies set correct wage levels. Yet, as reported by the ILO, such initiatives have largely been ignoring the second pillar of wage-setting, namely economic factors. The expert meeting provided clarity on this and underscored that a wage-setting process must take into account both the needs of workers and economic factors.

“We are proud to have reached multilateral alignment on the concept of a ‘living wage,’” said Ewa Staworzynska, director of corporate responsibility and labor affairs at USCIB, who represented American business during the expert meeting, together with Ryan Larsen, group director, international labor relations at Walmart. “In order to set sustainable wages and not disrupt employment levels, it is critical that wage-setting processes couple the estimates of needs of workers with economic factors, such as macroeconomic stability and productivity levels.”

The full conclusions, including the ILO’s description of the concept, is expected to be published in the coming days.

About USCIB
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) advances the global interests of American business. We do so through advocacy for an open system of world trade, finance, and investment, where business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare, and environmental protection. We are the sole U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). USCIB is also the only U.S. business organization with standing at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and is recognized at the UN Environment Program (UNEP), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD).

USCIB Helps Facilitate First Digital ATA Carnet at JFK Airport

New York, N.Y., February 21, 2024—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), the National Guaranteeing Association (NGA) and Issuing Association for the ATA Carnet (aka the “Passport for Goods®”) in the U.S., has facilitated the first ever U.S. digital ATA Carnet (e-ATA) test processing at John F. Kennedy Airport in collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Roanoke Insurance Group Inc. and Rock-it Cargo. The test will also be done in conjunction with the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) and UK Customs (HMRC), processing the e-ATA for import at London’s Heathrow airport.

“We’re thrilled to launch the official test-phase for e-ATA Carnet processing in the United States,” said USCIB Chief Operating Officer Declan Daly. “With the help of our partners, including CBP, the International Chamber of Commerce World Chamber Federation (ICC WCF), Roanoke, one of our service providers, and Rock-it, we’ve taken a crucial and exciting first step to finally bring the ATA Carnet into the 21st century.”

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is honored to collaborate with the U.S. Council for International Business and our counterparts in the United Kingdom on this first test of a digital ATA Carnet,” said Francis J. Russo, director of CBP’s New York Field Operations. “Carnets have long been an effective method to control and release materials that are temporarily imported.  Digitizing the process to align with modern technical capabilities will make it far more efficient than continuing to rely on paper,” added Russo.

The test processing was conducted ahead of the TPi Awards Ceremony in London, England, which will be held on February 26th. The Ceremony is the live events industry’s largest celebration, recognizing the feats achieved in the world of live touring in the past 12 months. USCIB selected Rock-it Cargo to participate in the e-ATA Carnet testing phase due to the nature of Rock-it’s business and because Rock-it Cargo is one of the largest ATA Carnet users in the U.S. Rock-it Cargo is a white glove, time critical, freight forwarder focused on live entertainment and TV production, which are highly dependent on ATA Carnets to ensure the show goes on.

Declan Daly (USCIB) and Amanda Barlow (Rock-it Cargo) with the TPi Awards microphones

According to Daly, TPi, Sennheiser and Rock-it Cargo have co-sponsored two bespoke microphones for use during the award ceremony. These microphones were decorated by Perry Meeks, a costume designer with whom Rock-it has worked on many live entertainment tours. The microphones will be hand-carried by Rock-it to the United Kingdom using the first U.S. issued e-ATA Carnet to enter them into the UK for the awards ceremony and then returned to the U.S. post show.

“It’s great that HMRC is at the forefront of piloting digital Carnets alongside our counterparts in the USA, and we’re really pleased to enable the first digital carnet movement between the two countries,” said Sally Beggs, deputy director for Customs Policy and Strategy at HM Revenue and Customs in the UK.

Davor A. McKinley, head of ATA Carnets and Compliance, UK National ATA Carnet Organization (UKNATACO) added, “UKNATACO is delighted that United States Council for International Business (USCIB) chose United Kingdom as the destination for their first ever digital Carnet. This clearly highlights the close working relationship between the two countries and demonstrates that digitalising ATA Carnets will play a pivotal role in strengthening our mutual trade further.”

USCIB has appointed two independent Carnet Service Providers to issue ATA Carnets: Boomerang Carnets and Roanoke Insurance Group Inc.

The ATA Carnet is a unified international Customs document that permits duty-free and tax-free temporary import of goods into over 100 countries and customs territories for up to one year. Annually, the global system issues close to 200,000 ATA Carnets for goods valued at over $25 billion dollars. The e-ATA Carnet (aka digital ATA Carnet), which was first developed by ICC WCF in 2016 and is supported by the WCO (World Customs Organization), aims to digitize ATA Carnets and their lifecycle management process – from issuance and declarations to transactions and claims.

About USCIB
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of leading international business organizations (such as the International Chamber of Commerce, International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD) and as the only U.S. multi-sectoral advocacy group with standing in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and investment. USCIB is also the National Guaranteeing and Issuing Association for ATA Carnet in the United States, having been appointed as such by the Department of Treasury Bureau of Customs, now U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in 1969. USCIB has two authorized service providers who issue ATA Carnet—Boomerang Carnet and Roanoke Insurance Group Inc. More at  www.uscib.org.

USCIB Welcomes Peru Into Global “Merchandise Passport” System

New York, N.Y., February 05, 2024—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), the national guaranteeing and issuing association for the ATA Carnet in the United States, is pleased to welcome Peru as the 80th country to be represented in the ATA Carnet system. The ATA Carnets are critical tools of trade facilitation and export promotion. The ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows duty- and tax-free temporary admission of goods for up to one year.

The Lima Chamber of Commerce, the national guaranteeing and issuing association (NGA and IA, respectively) appointed by Peru Customs (National Superintendency of Customs and Tax Administration, SUNAT), was accepted as a member of the ATA Carnet international Guarantee Chain during a meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – World Chambers Federation (WCF) General Council on November 21, 2023.

ATA Carnet operations in Peru will officially begin on April 30, 2024. Peru is the third country in Latin American, after Chile and Mexico, to accept the use of ATA Carnets for temporary admission of goods. The scope of acceptance includes professional equipment and goods to be displayed or used at exhibitions, fairs, meetings and similar events.

In January 2024, USCIB conducted a virtual operational training for the Lima Chamber of Commerce and SUNAT in preparation for the launch of the ATA Carnet system at the end of April.

According to USCIB Chief Operating Officer Declan Daly, who is also vice chair of the World ATA Carnet Council (WATAC), major progress has also been made to advance acceptance and implementation of the System in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. USCIB is pleased to report NGAs in both countries have been accepted into ICC’s ATA Carnet Guaranteeing Chain. An announcement on the launch of ATA Carnet operations will be made once respective implementation dates are confirmed.

The global ATA Carnet system is overseen and managed by the Paris-based ICC-WCF. USCIB administers the ATA System in the United States.

About USCIB

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of leading international business organizations (such as the International Chamber of Commerce, International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD (BIAC)) and as the only U.S. multi-sectoral advocacy group with standing in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and investment. USCIB is also the National Guaranteeing and Issuing Association for ATA Carnets in the United States, having been appointed as such by the Department of Treasury, now U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in 1969. More at  www.uscib.org.

Celebrating International Day of Women in Multilateralism

New York, N.Y., January 25, 2024—Today, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) celebrates International Day of Women in Multilateralism.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) formally adopted and declared January 25 as International Day of Women in Multilateralism in 2021. According to ECOSOC, the purpose of this day is to recognize the essential role played by women in the promotion of human rights, peace and sustainable development within the multilateral system. The day advocates for increased representation of women in key decision-making positions that shape and implement multilateral agendas and for ensuring that multilateralism works for women and girls through gender transformative actions and agreements.

“Truly a day to mark,” said USCIB Senior Vice President Norine Kennedy. “I’m so proud to work with my USCIB colleagues to promote American business views throughout the multilateral system and to support inclusive multilateralism.”

USCIB’s Clark Promoted to Senior Vice President

Alice Slayton Clark speaks at the OECD

USCIB Vice President for International Investment and Trade Policy Alice Slayton Clark has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Trade, Investment and Digital Policy. Clark will be working closely with USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy, as well as the rest of senior staff.

Clark joined USCIB in 2021 bringing her considerable experience in trade policy to USCIB’s policy team in Washington DC. Prior to joining USCIB, Clark worked for international law firms and consulting practices, as well as on Capitol Hill.

“Alice has shown herself to be both a DC-savvy policy expert and an excellent international advocate for U.S. business in international trade and investment deliberations during her time at USCIB.  I’m thrilled to share responsibility for leading USCIB’s policy work with her,” said Kennedy.

USCIB Celebrates 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

New York, N.Y., December 10, 2023—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) stands with the international community and the United Nations in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). On this Human Rights Day, USCIB wishes to celebrate all the work on human rights that has been done through collaboration by businesses, governments and multilateral organizations around the globe.

The UDHR set forth, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected, and its adoption was the largest milestone in the history of human rights. USCIB welcomes the UN’s 2023 Human Rights Day theme of “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All,” and, while progress has been made, more needs to be done to realize human rights globally. 12 years ago, the UN adopted the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which provide a clear framework to do exactly that.

The U.S. business community is firmly committed to the Guiding Principles and hopes to see them implemented by States globally. Only a handful of countries have implemented National Action Plans and more needs to be done to improve the human rights situation in countries where structural challenges, lack of rule of law and poor governance remain as fundamental obstacles.

“Today’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration of Human Rights is an important reminder that the global community still has a lot of work to do to realize human rights,” said USCIB Director for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Ewa Staworzynska. “Governments across the world must protect human rights and businesses should respect human rights. Progress can only be achieved if we work together, and American companies are committed to doing so.”

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of the leading international business organizations, and as the sole U.S. business group with standing in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Letter to US Administration Welcomes Strong US Leadership at COP28, Highlights USCIB Role at Climate COP

New York, N.Y., November 29, 2023—As the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prepares to open the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai tomorrow, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which will represent the U.S. business community at the Climate COP, sent a letter to U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

The letter welcomes the continued strong leadership of the Administration in climate change and its constructive focus on catalyzing investment in all forms of energy to support a just transition, new green jobs and sustainable paths to shared prosperity across society.

USCIB also recognizes the unprecedented opportunity which the Inflation Reduction Act offers to mobilize private capital to achieve our shared climate goals and strengthen long-term growth at home and abroad.

For this year’s Climate COP, USCIB will bring a multisectoral delegation of globally leading U.S. companies ready to share commitments and solutions to tackle climate change, while prioritizing investment, employment and shared economic growth in the U.S. and abroad. It has perhaps never been clearer – every sector of American business plays a critical part in strengthening implementation.

USCIB also looks forward to supporting key progress on advanced climate technologies, especially through engagement with the CTCN and the current U.S. leadership of the CTCN Advisory Board.

COP28 has the potential to become the most inclusive COP in history, with governments, Observers, NGOs, business, and wider civil society coming together for the first Global Stocktake to reaffirm commitment to the Paris Agreement and keeping the promise of 1.5 alive.

The letter can be downloaded here.

About USCIB
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) advances the global interests of American business. We do so through advocacy for an open system of world trade, finance, and investment, where business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare, and environmental protection. We are the sole U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). USCIB is also the only U.S. business organization with standing at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and is recognized at the UN Environment Program (UNEP), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD).

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. 

US Funding of the OECD is Critical to US Global Economic Policy Influence

by Whitney Baird, USCIB President & CEO 

As Congress debates on whether to maintain the current levels of funding for the OECD, USCIB urges Congress to maintain the current level of U.S. financial contribution and stresses that diminishing funding will have consequences for U.S. economic interests and the U.S. role in multilateral policymaking.

 

Congress must maintain the current level of U.S. financial contribution to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The United States benefits most when we are fully engaged with the rest of the world through vibrant international organizations such as the OECD. It stands out as an established venue for promoting U.S. interests and fostering sensible policies for sustained economic growth among OECD partners and other nations around the globe.

Few of the international organizations to which the United States belongs are as supportive of U.S. values and economic policies as the OECD. The OECD’s mission is to promote global economic growth – growth that benefits U.S. businesses, consumers, workers and taxpayers. From a U.S. business perspective, the OECD is uniquely open and receptive to the views and real-world experiences of the private sector.

As the U.S. representative to Business at OECD, the private sector voice in OECD policymaking, the U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) attests to the positive impact of the OECD across a range of issues affecting the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, including investment, taxation, trade, energy and environment, health, competition, consumer policy, bribery and corporate governance. USCIB members rely on the OECD to be an institutional voice of evidence- and data-based policy guidance and assessment, influencing policies and practices in markets important to U.S. business and to jobs generated for U.S. taxpayers.

The OECD delivers multilaterally agreed principles and standards that level the international playing field, provide business certainty, and save billions of dollars for U.S. companies. For example, the United Nations estimates over $1 trillion in bribes are paid worldwide each year, equating to a 20 percent tax on foreign investment. The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention enshrines the policies and principles of the US. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the gold standard for combating corrupt practices that increase the cost of doing business internationally.

The OECD’s creation of a global platform on product recalls has helped countries protect citizens from physical and economic harm, providing a single window for sharing information and facilitating action and coordination for recalls in a complex global marketplace. The OECD advances a critical U.S. risk-based approach to the development of digital rules and policies, for example, through its OECD Artificial Intelligence Principles, the OECD Privacy Guidelines and the OECD Policy Framework on Digital Security.

As one of the world’s largest and most trusted sources of data and analysis, OECD guidelines, rules and best practices are well regarded and emulated around the world by both member and non-member countries, OECD economists share information, encouraging countries to embrace high-level standards, so everyone plays by the same rules and cooperates on shared objectives. This is important to U.S. stakeholders, particularly as the OECD considers adding new members including current accession candidates Brazil, Peru, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. Crucially, the OECD and its 38 members serve as a powerful voice against anti-competitive and non-market economy practices aggressively promoted by nations such as China.

We believe continued strong U.S. engagement with the OECD helps the United States to lead the policy debates that take place in the wide range of OECD committees. We encourage Congress to maintain current funding levels for the OECD. If the United States diminishes its funding and influence in the OECD, the consequences for U.S. economic interests and the U.S. role in multilateral policymaking would be substantial.

USCIB Member Spotlight: EY on Multinationals Face Complex Data Challenges from Global Tax Deal

USCIB member EY America’s Kevin Flynn discusses how businesses can position themselves to comply with the BEPS 2.0 project. The full article can be viewed via a paid subscription to Bloomberg Tax.

EY was a sponsor at this week’s USCIB-OECD International Tax Conference

“Multinational enterprises are facing new and complex tax rules stemming from the OECD and G-20 countries’ BEPS 2.0 project—particularly the project’s Pillar Two 15% global minimum tax, which is set to apply to multinational groups with global revenue of more than €750 million ($829 million).

Enforcing these rules will require unprecedented global cooperation between tax authorities, and implementation approaches likely will vary among jurisdictions adopting the rules, making compliance a challenge and creating the risk of controversy. Multinationals also will need to manage a substantial increase in data collection and tracking required to comply with these rules.

Given the rules’ scope and complexity—and implementation as early as 2024 in many jurisdictions—multinationals need to evaluate and update their existing data strategies now.”

Read the rest of the post here.