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.

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 Publishes Reports with Business Recommendations to Help Scale UN SDGs

Guy Ryder (UN) speaks at the USCIB High Level Roundtable during UNGA78
Guy Ryder (UN) speaks at the USCIB High Level Roundtable during UNGA78

New York, N.Y., September 18, 2023 — With the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in full swing, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced the release of two highly-anticipated reports that provide recommendations to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit. The reports — Business & the UN 2.0 and Roadmap for Results — focus on inclusive and practical multilateralism that will help scale progress of SDG target action and focus on the role of business and other stakeholders.

The reports begin with a foreword by USCIB Board of Trustees Sustainability Champion and Novozymes CEO Ester Baiget. She writes, “As blueprints for action, Roadmap for Results walks the talk of inclusive multilateralism, offering pragmatic insights and business strategies and a focus on positive impact. Business and the UN 2.0 discusses interfaces between the private sector and the multilateral system.”

USCIB’s Moving the Needle (MTN) initiative launched the reports at a USCIB High-Level Business Roundtable. The Roundtable focused on sustainability, solidarity and shared prosperity and featured high-level speakers from AT&T, Bayer, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, the U.S. Department of State, the UN, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and many others. Discussion topics included innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the benefit of people and planet and public private partnerships for innovation and infrastructure. Business leaders from USCIB member companies presented practical business recommendations highlighted in the reports, to ramp up implementation of the SDGs and strengthen the UN’s effectiveness and impact.

“USCIB has been a staunch supporter and committed partner to the United Nations since our founding,” said USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird in closing remarks at the Roundtable. “As the only U.S. business organization at the UN, we take our responsibility seriously to provide solutions and showcase U.S. business leadership.”

About MTN
USCIB launched the MTN initiative during the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly to focus on three priorities identified by the UN President of the General Assembly: Solutions for Sustainability, Science, and Solidarity. Through multistakeholder roundtables, held around the globe in 2022-2023, which culminated in Business & the UN 2.0 and Roadmap for Results, MTN contributed insights to the ongoing deliberations concerning inadequate progress at the halfway mark towards the UN 2030 Agenda.

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).

Whitney Y. Baird Confirmed as New President and CEO to Lead USCIB, a Pro-Trade Group

Whitney Baird
Photo credit: U.S. Department of State

New York, N.Y., August 8, 2023 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced today the appointment of a new President and CEO. Whitney Baird, currently Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, will take over following the upcoming retirement of outgoing President and CEO Peter Robinson. Baird will begin in September.

Baird is a globally respected diplomat with an extensive career at the nexus of political, economic and societal issues. She joins USCIB from the Department of State, with previous assignments including Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to the OECD and Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London.

“We are delighted to welcome Whitney as USCIB’s President and CEO,” said USCIB Chair Eric Loeb (Salesforce). “Her experience working with multilateral institutions and countries around the world is an exceptional foundation for leading USCIB’s mission and members.”

Since 2005, Robinson has led the organization with great skill and dedication, through multiple global economic and political headwinds. He leaves USCIB with a strong legacy of membership growth, healthy finances, and an experienced team.

“On behalf of the Board, I am deeply grateful for Peter’s service, dedication and impact to USCIB,” added Loeb. “Peter has an unwavering commitment to USCIB’s mission, staff, members and our global affiliates. It has been a great privilege to work with him side-by-side over the years. We wish him the very best following his long and distinguished career.”

About USCIB: 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 our economy, with operations in every region of the world. USCIB is the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC). More at https://uscib.org/.

For inquiries, contact:
Kira Yevtukhova
Deputy Director, Marketing & Communications
kyevtukhova@uscib.org

USCIB Recognizes World Day Against Trafficking and Stands Firm With Global Community to Eradicate Trafficking

New York, N.Y., July 31, 2023—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) supports the global community in recognizing World Day Against Trafficking in Persons and emphasizes that trafficking in all forms is unacceptable. The U.S. business community continues to help combat trafficking globally.

Held annually on July 30, this day commemorates the victims of trafficking and provides survivors with an opportunity to make their voices heard. USCIB is proud of the work that our members have done, and continue to do, to prevent and end trafficking throughout their global supply chains.

USCIB also welcomes the recent release of the State Department’s Report, 2023 Trafficking in Persons, which raises further awareness of human trafficking and highlights the fight against it on a global level. The report calls for global partnerships between government, business and civil society to share resources and information and to leverage technology to better address the nexus between finance and human trafficking.

As both the report and global trafficking studies conclude, this issue’s scale remains vast: every year, tens of millions of people are exploited.

USCIB looks forward to working with the State Department and other government agencies, civil society and partners to eradicate all forms of human trafficking.

Together with our members and our global affiliates, such as the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the representative of employers at the ILO, we will continue to bring forward private sector solutions and resources to combat trafficking in all its forms.

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 play a leading role in informing the negotiation and adoption of international labor standards, and in human rights, labor, and environmental   policy deliberations at the United Nations, OECD, and ILO, as the sole U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). In addition, USCIB is 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 Applauds Election of Ian Saunders to World Customs Organization Secretary General

Left to right: Jerry Cook (Hanesbrands), Ian Saunders, Megan Giblin, Nicole Bivens Collinson (Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg PA) 

Washington D.C., July 11, 2023–The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) applauds the election on June 24, 2023, of Ian Saunders (U.S.) as the new Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO). Saunders, who currently serves as deputy assistant secretary, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, was selected by the majority of WCO members to lead the organization for the next five years. He begins his term on January 1, 2024.

Saunders was chosen as the new Secretary General (SG) during a vote that was taken by secret paper ballot at the 141 and 142 Sessions of the WCO Council, the highest decision–making body at the WCO, June 22 – 24 in Brussels, Belgium. The Council brings together the customs director generals of the WCO’s 185 member countries. Per the WCO: “The WCO Secretary General is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of the WCO Secretariat.”

Since January 1, 2009, the WCO has been led by SG Dr. Kunio Mikuriya of Japan. He was elected to serve as SG in June 2008. USCIB has enjoyed, over the years, the opportunity to welcome SG Mikuriya to participate in dialogues with leadership and members.

“We thank Kunio for his leadership and engagement for the past 15 years,” expressed USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson.

“Saunders’ election to WCO SG, represents a return to U.S. thoughtful and experienced leadership at the WCO,” said Megan Giblin, USCIB senior director for Customs and Trade Facilitation. “USCIB has advocated for increased U.S. engagement and leadership at the only global body authorized to speak on customs matters which are inherently technical and complex.”

During his campaign Saunders stated, “While respecting the WCO’s rich past, there is a need to innovate and adapt to modern challenges. I intend to lead the Organization by forging strong and enduring public-private partnerships, leveraging technology, promoting inclusivity for effective global Customs cooperation and ensuring transparency and openness as fundamental principles of good governance.”

“We believe Ian’s leadership skills, substantive knowledge, in customs and more broadly international trade, will make him a superb SG at the WCO,” added Robinson.

USCIB expressed its strong public support of Saunders very early in his campaign. USCIB appreciates the opportunity to have worked with and support the U.S. campaign team and process and have welcomed Saunders on numerous occasions to discuss, provide inputs into and inform members about his campaign platform.

“We have always believed that Ian was the right choice to head this heavily technical global customs body. We support Ian and his intent to raise the bar for customs globally and look forward to continued engagement with our USG partners as well as in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), WCO observers, on technical matters before this critical customs body,” said Giblin.

More information can be found at:

About USCIB: 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 our economy, with operations in every region of the world. USCIB is the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC). More at www.uscib.org.

ILO Adopts New International Labor Standard on Apprenticeships

Photo credit: Akustina Morni (IOE) Top, L-R: Luis Claudino de Oliveira (Chairperson), Amanda Brown (Vice Chairperson, Workers), Blaise Matthey (Vice Chairperson, Employers)
Bottom, L-R: Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri (President of the Conference), Gilbert Houngbo (ILO Director General)

New York, N.Y., June 16, 2023—The International Labor Organization (ILO) has adopted a new international labor standard, in the form of a recommendation, on apprenticeships, according to USCIB Director for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Ewa Staworzynska.

Staworzynska is currently on the ground in Geneva representing U.S. employers at the 111th annual International Labor Conference (ILC). USCIB is the U.S. national committee of the International Organization of Employers (IOE).

The Standard-Setting Committee on Apprenticeships is a two-year process.  This is the second year of the Standard-Setting Committee. USCIB has participated in both years partnering and collaborating with the IOE to ensure that business needs and realities are reflected in the text.

We had great success in reaching a balanced approach, with special emphasis on the promotion of quality apprenticeships.

Photo credit: Akustina Morni (IOE)
L-R: Ryan Larsen (Walmart & USCIB CRLA Vice Chair), Sarah Morgan (U.S. Department of Labor), Thea Lee (U.S. Department of Labor), Adam Lee (U.S. Department of Labor)

USCIB was represented by Ryan Larsen, senior director for International Labor Relations at Walmart and vice-chair of the USCIB Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee (CRLA), taking part in the U.S. Employers delegation. Larsen participated throughout the Standard-Setting process.

In his remarks at the Plenary, where the draft text was submitted to the Conference for adoption, he noted that, “In this unique tri-partite system, we have developed a strategy, program, and approach to continually enhance Apprenticeships, ensuring that they provide workers with the necessary skills to attain full, productive and freely chosen employment. Additionally, we have emphasized the importance of lifelong learning opportunities; promoting continuous skilling, reskilling and upskilling, which in turn contributes to the promotion of decent work and full employment.”

Larsen added that, “The promotion and development of quality apprenticeships not only lead to decent work but also provide effective responses to the challenges of the ever-changing world of work. These apprenticeships offer lifelong learning opportunities, enhancing productivity, resilience, transitions and employability.”

“USCIB has often advocated the critical role of quality apprenticeships,” said Staworzynska. “Quality apprenticeships support the development of business-ready skills, help realize the goals of inclusive economic growth and can advance the transition to the formal economy.” This new ILO standard provides non-binding guidelines for Member States to ensure quality apprenticeships.

According to the ILO, a glance around the world shows that an increasing number of countries are focusing on the development or improvement of apprenticeship systems and programs to address the challenges of changing labor market trends and the need for workers to retrain and upskill.

The ILC is currently taking place in Geneva June 5-16. Delegates from the ILO’s 187 Member States along with employers and workers have gathered to tackle a wide range of issues. In addition to apprenticeships, delegates have discussed a just transition towards sustainable and inclusive economies as well as labor protection.

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 play a leading role in informing the negotiation and adoption of international labor standards, and in human rights, labor, and environmental   policy deliberations at the United Nations, OECD, and ILO, as the sole U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). In addition, USCIB is 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 Statement on the Revised OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct

New York, N.Y., June 09, 2023—On June 8, OECD governments adopted the revised Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct. USCIB and its members have long recognized and promoted the Guidelines as the most comprehensive, government-backed, voluntary practical framework for responsible business conduct. We proudly advocate for responsible business conduct and recognize the crucial role that businesses have in promoting sustainable practices. This revised version, however, promulgates new far-reaching expectations on companies, raising serious concerns about its practicality.

U.S. businesses have consistently demonstrated their leading role in corporate social responsibility, championing initiatives that drive positive change across industries worldwide. Our unwavering commitment to the highest practicable standards for responsible business conduct remains, and we stand ready to support and implement international cooperation across private and public sectors to prioritize sustainability, fair labor practices and social responsibility.

The 2022-2023 revision of the Guidelines has resulted in substantial, far-reaching, and sometimes unimplementable changes, significantly expanding the complexity, scale, and scope of expectations on multinational enterprises and other businesses, posing risks to the Guidelines’ serving as a practical, voluntary reference for companies. Our concerns encompass, among others, upstream and downstream due diligence for an expanded range of business relationships, even beyond contractual agreements, and new approaches on environment and climate change due diligence.

USCIB actively participated in all negotiation rounds as part of Business at OECD (BIAC), and we align with their views on the revised Guidelines. Along the process, we provided constructive, comprehensive, and consensus-based private sector inputs, and while we greatly appreciate the consultations and recognize that many of our comments were reflected in the text, we regret that the revision process was not more aligned with previous practice, when OECD institutional stakeholders co-drafted the text together with the OECD Secretariat, thus ensuring business buy-in.

We welcome the fact that the voluntary and aspirational nature of the Guidelines was preserved. However, we remain concerned that some new provisions might conflict with U.S. law, particularly the right of association for workers without employment relationships. In addition, this document should not be considered as a template for binding regulatory or legislative action at international, regional, national, or local levels.  Effective responsible business conduct legislation depends on laws that are practical and reflect views of the private sector along with realities on the ground. We stand ready to provide guidance and suggestions to governments in this respect.

Companies will need sufficient time to assess the newly introduced complexities. We stress the importance of a balanced approach to implementation, taking into account business realities and complex contexts, especially in states with significant institutional, rule of law or enforcement challenges.

This expression of serious concern should not be interpreted as a rejection of business commitment and action to advance human rights globally, tackle environmental challenges, promote good practices wherever it operates, and contribute to partnership and positive impact for people and planet. We remain committed to the highest responsible business conduct standards, while enabling, facilitating, and supporting conditions for business to thrive and contribute to delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

USCIB and its members look forward to working with the OECD, its member states, and other stakeholders to advance the critical role of business in tackling sustainability challenges, promoting job creation, innovation, and investment, and informing sound policy and its implementation. We are committed to advancing and amplifying OECD’s best implementable practices and will continue to serve as a proponent of and champion for promoting responsible business conduct globally.

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 play a leading role in informing the negotiation and adoption of international labor standards, and in human rights, labor, and environmental   policy deliberations at the United Nations, OECD, and ILO, as the sole U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE).  In addition, USCIB is 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).