United States Council for International Business

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The New York-based United States Council for International Business (USCIB), set up in 1945 to promote a worldwide free trade system, boasts having 300 members and providing them with “unparalleled access to international policy makers and regulatory authorities”.[1]

Organisation

USCIB has more than 25 committees and working groups, including a European Union Committee (Chair: Brian D Fix), a Health Care Working Group (Chair: Chris Gray), a Product Policy Working Group (Chair: Ernest S. Rosenberg), and an Intellectual Property (IP) Committee (Staff: Helen Medina).[2]

Its current president and CEO is Peter M. Robinson. [3]

Recent tobacco activities

In 2014 Philip Morris International (PMI) was listed as a member.[4]

In April 2012, when the UK government announced their plain packaging consultation, USCIB joined forces with other US trade associations, including the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Foreign Trade Council, to oppose the proposals. A joint statement was published to express their concern about possible "curtailing IP rights and branding".[5]The statement emphasised the importance of the "rule of law and legal certainty" not just for the business community, but also to ensure innovation and create meaningful jobs. The other issue was the possible increase in smuggling. Furthermore, illicit activity in the tobacco sector that robs the government of revenue, undermines public health objectives, impairs legitimate business and enriches organized crime ought to be a major concern in considering this public consultation.

A year later, the same collective challenged the revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). In a letter [6] to Mr. João Vale de Almeida, from 2010 EU ambassador to the US and before that Head of Cabinet of the European Commission President [7], USCIB and its allies criticise the validity of the TPD review process. Furthermore, they argue that the revised TPD provides for "arbitrary product prohibitions, stymie the very innovation that could reduce harm to consumers and would, if adopted, potentially violate international trade obligations”. Along the same lines of their opposition to the UK plain packaging proposals, the collective argues that the revised TPD will infringe intellectual property rights and “stimulate even more illicit trade with all its attending damaging consequences”.

TobaccoTactics Resources

Notes

  1. US Council of International Business, USCIB at a Glance, USCIB website, undated, accessed June 2013
  2. US Council of International Business, Committee Officers, USCIB website, undated, accessed June 2013
  3. US Council of International Business, Staff, USCIB website, undated, accessed June 2013
  4. USCIB, List of USCIB members, Screengrab of USCIB website taken 2 May 2014
  5. United States Chamber of Commerce, "Trans-Atlantic business groups issue statement expressing deep concern following the announcement of plain pack consultation", Press Release, 13 April 2012
  6. Stallman, B., Cohen, C.,Menghetti Dempsey, L., Reinsch, W.A., Brilliant, M., Bennett, T., and Robinson, P.M. Letter to João Vale de Almeida regarding the Tobacco Products Directive, 5 April 2013, accessed 25 June 2013
  7. Joshua Chaffin, Barroso aide named EU ambassador to US, The Financial Times, 17 February 2010, accessed 25 June 2013