USCIB Launches Advocacy Campaign on OECD Accession Process

USCIB launched its advocacy campaign on the OECD accession process last week, co-hosting with the U.S. Chamber “The OECD Accession Process: Why it Matters for U.S. Business,” a high level dialogue featuring OECD legal counsel, Business at OECD (BIAC) and leaders of U.S. industry. The event featured Gita Kothari, OECD deputy director for legal affairs, Ali Karami Ruis, BIAC senior director, and Rick Johnston, chair of BIAC and the USCIB Trade & Investment Committee, who provided guidance on the accession processes and on how American companies can play a role in leveraging business interests. Norine Kennedy, USCIB senior vice president for policy and global strategy, and Gary Litman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for global initiatives, provided welcoming remarks.

Starting this fall, dozens of OECD committees will undertake detailed technical reviews of candidate country practices relating to a wide array of issues such as tax, environment, good governance and trade. The committees will consider the willingness and ability of the candidates to adopt OECD standards and recommend changes to laws and practices, a process that can take up to eight years, advancing at different paces depending on the candidate. Reforms must be adopted before a country is invited to accede.

“OECD accessions provide a unique opportunity for USCIB member companies to change policy and reform laws never thought possible before in candidate countries,” asserted Alice Slayton Clark, USCIB director for investment, trade and China. BIAC is distinctively placed to advance industry interests because it is authorized to participate in the work of the OECD and its committees. It also can activate its global business association members to coordinate advocacy strategies and provide high level access and engagement with the thirty-eight OECD ambassadors in Paris.

USCIB, through its unique affiliation to BIAC, offers its members a special avenue to influence this process. USCIB policy managers have already started engaging members at the committee level on priority issues to advocate through BIAC and with relevant Biden Administration officials.

“The OECD is a business friendly environment, bringing cooperation over the accession process to a new level and yielding tangible benefits for countries and companies,” stressed Clark.  “Now is the time for business to get involved and maximize results.”

USCIB has also released an OECD fact sheet on the advocacy campaign, which can be accessed here.

USCIB Hosts US Focused Illicit-Trade in Counterfeits Dialogue at OECD Washington Center

Left to right: David Luna (USCIB & Business at OECD), Megan Giblin (USCIB), Piotr Stryszowski (OECD)

The USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee (AITC), in coordination with the Business at OECD (BIAC) Anti-Illicit Trade Expert Group (AITEG) and the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade (TF-CIT), hosted an informal U.S. focused dialogue entitled, “The challenges of illicit trade in counterfeits for e-commerce: Towards a global, voluntary standard for online marketplaces to counter illicit trade in counterfeits” on July 26 at the OECD Washington Center. According to USCIB Director for Customs and Trade Facilitation Megan Giblin, the dialogue was robust and the meeting was extremely well attended with representatives joining from both OECD member governments, the European Commission, private sector and several U.S. federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPRCenter), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

According to Giblin, to address the risk of illicit trade in counterfeit goods in e-commerce, the OECD TF-CIT, in partnership with AITEG, has been carrying out a comprehensive, multi-phase project to provide additional structure, evidence, analysis and policy recommendations to inform policy-making communities about the continued challenge of counterfeits for e-commerce. Phase 1 of the project, undertaken and completed in 2021, involved a series of joint expert webinars organized between the TF-CIT and the BIAC AITEG that informed the development of a Final Report: E-Commerce Challenges in Illicit Trade in Fakes, Governance Frameworks and Best Practices. Among its conclusions, the report recommends that future work (phases) be focused on “the establishment of industry-led best practices, solutions, including the development of voluntary codes of conduct to enable online-marketplaces and other industry intermediaries and sectors to distinguish themselves with standards of excellence.” Phase 2 of the project is set to begin in Fall 2022, during which the TF-CIT will continue to collect and analyse existing industry best practices to inform the possible future development of a voluntary Code of Conduct for Online Marketplaces to Counter Illicit Trade in Counterfeits.

USCIB members were joined by key U.S. public and private sector stakeholders to discuss this project, take stock of existing U.S. anti-counterfeiting best practices, and identify possible next steps.  The TF-CIT Secretariat provided an update on the key findings from the first phase of the project and an overview of how current OECD initiatives serve as a model for this work, especially the recent development of a Certification framework and Code of Conduct for the Free Trade Zones (FTZs). Participants reviewed existing U.S. and EU best practices to counter illicit trade in counterfeits, identified knowledge gaps required to further research, tasks, milestones and deadlines associated with this project.

Building on the success from our Phase I joint E-Commerce project on the illicit trade, our members are keen to continue to actively participate in this important OECD initiative by sharing, voluntarily,  information and market data insights, best practices, and other industry perspectives to shed greater light on the booming trade of counterfeits across global supply chains and online marketplaces, and that leads towards more effective law enforcement and judicial action against criminals and fraudsters,” said David M. Luna, chair of both USCIB AITC and BIAC AITEG.

“USCIB was pleased to co-host this important informal discussion with BIAC, the OECD TF-CIT, and the OECD Washington Centre,” Luna added. “USCIB is committed to working with BIAC and OECD TF-CIT on critical PPPs, including FTZ implementation, Phase 2 E-Commerce, among others. We believe the FTZ model may serve as a general model for work in other areas, including E-Commerce and illicit trade in counterfeits.”

For more information about the USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee and/or the USCIB AIT Fund, please contact Megan Giblin at mgiblin@uscib.org.

Olsen Attends UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Meetings in Senegal on Plastic Pollution

Left to right: Raelene Martin (ICC) and Chris Olsen (USCIB)

In an effort to address global plastic pollution, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is seeking to develop an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic. To develop such an instrument, UNEP hosted a series of meetings to set the rules of procedure, leadership and schedule, in Dakar, Senegal from May 30 to June 1.

The meeting in Dakar, officially titled the “Ad hoc open‑ended working group (OEWG) to prepare for the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) on plastic pollution” allowed the private sector an opportunity to help inform the UN process. USCIB Policy Manager for Regulation and Trade Chris Olsen represented USCIB at this meeting as a part of the Business and Industry Major Group.

According to Olsen, UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson made opening remarks which outlined issues for countries to consider when negotiating. Calling for the agreement to be broad and cover the full lifecycle of plastic, be informed by science, have close engagement and involvement with stakeholders, spur solutions for a new economy, and learn from previous multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAs) while being willing to embrace new and bold innovations in the multilateral space.

USCIB also joined meetings, along with International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Head of Sustainability Raelene Martin, regarding the role ICC can play in the negotiating process. ICC brings not only a global voice of business, but also a combination of large multinationals and SMEs across its global affiliates.

“It was encouraging to hear consistent support for stakeholder engagement throughout the week both in informal side meetings and in the official negotiations themselves,” said Olsen, reporting from the field. “However, much work remains to be done to educate governments and convene business perspectives between now and the first negotiations (INC1) this fall and then sustain that engagement throughout the INC process. USCIB will continue to develop member engagement in the coming weeks and months, but we encourage members to come to us with any questions, concerns, or ideas of their own for how to get involved. The negotiation of this treaty, and its outcome, will have an impact across industries. It will be important to bring a broad view of private sector voices into the process.”

UNEA and the negotiating governments are looking for new, innovative ways to engage the stakeholder community in the creation of a multistakeholder action agenda.

USCIB Members General Motors and Uber Receive Accolades from the Coalition for Integrity

The Coalition for Integrity (“C4I”), a top Washington-based group promoting integrity and combatting bribery and corruption, handed out its two major awards for 2022 at its annual session late May 19. Both awards went to USCIB members. General Motors won the prestigious Corporate Leadership Award, the eighth time in ten years that a USCIB member company has been selected, according to USCIB Senior Advisor Shaun Donnelly, a former U.S. Ambassador. GM and its CEO Mary Barra were singled out by C4I for its broad corporate culture of integrity, exemplified by its strong Code of Conduct and a mantra “Winning with Integrity.” GM Assistant General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer Michael Ortwein accepted the award on behalf of the company and gave brief remarks, thanking the coalition and reaffirming GM’s commitment to integrity in all aspects of its business and at all levels. GM joins other USCIB members, including Bechtel, Raytheon, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and General Electric in winning the coveted C4I award.

The Coalition’s other major annual award is its Integrity Award to a prominent individual for her/his leadership efforts in combatting corruption and illicit practices. Previous winners have included former President Jimmy Carter, the late Senators John McCain and Richard Lugar, former World Bank President Jim Wolfensohn, and Dr. Anthony Fauci.  For 2022, C4I is honoring, Tony West for his career achievements promoting integrity and combatting corruption.  West is currently Chief Legal Officer for USCIB member Uber. He has previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Associate Attorney General, which is the third highest position in the Department of Justice, and in the private sector as General Counsel at PepsiCo and in his current role at Uber. The Coalition cited West’s “leadership and efforts to promote accountability in the public and private sectors” in selecting him for this year’s Integrity Award. In 2015, when PepsiCo was honored with the Corporate Leadership Award, Tony West accepted the award on behalf of the company at the Coalition’s annual dinner in Washington. He thus becomes the first person to receive both the Coalition for Integrity’s Corporate Leadership Award and the individual Integrity Award.

Donnelly is a longtime member of the Coalition for Integrity’s Policy Advisory Board. Donnelly, who attended the C4I virtual awards ceremony, commended the Coalition for Integrity and the award winners for their leadership in combatting bribery and corruption and in promoting accountability, strong corporate governance and ethical behavior.

“It was great, again this year, to see outstanding USCIB member companies recognized for their leadership in this important area,” said Donnelly. “We as USCIB are proud of the high ethical standards our member companies set, implement and enforce, year in and year out.”

USCIB Statement on Workplace Equality for All

June 30, 2020, New York, New York — As Pride Month 2020 draws to a close, USCIB joins in applauding the landmark decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court this month affirming that discrimination in the workplace against employees based on their gender identify or sexual orientation is not permissible under U.S. federal law. Discrimination – regardless of the form – has no place in our society or our workplaces. Through our role as the U.S. Employer representative at the International Labor Organization, USCIB has been a recognized champion of fundamental principles and rights at work, including non-discrimination in the workplace regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or national origin. This month’s decision reaffirms the rights and dignity of LGBT people and brings our nation one step closer towards the promise of equality for all.

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, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers, and Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB helps to provide business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Kira Yevtukhova, USCIB
+1 202.617.3160, kyevtukhova@uscib.org