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-Iweala and 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.”