United States Council for International Business

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The New York-based United States Council for International Business (USCIB) promotes a worldwide free trade system, stating that it has 300 members providing them with “unparalleled access to international policy makers and regulatory authorities”.1

Background

USCIB was established in 1945 to deliver “numerous business services to facilitate international trade”.1 USCIB has 20 committees and working groups, including: 2

  • European Union Committee
  • Health Care Working Group
  • Product Policy Working Group
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Committee

Relationship with the tobacco industry

Philip Morris International (PMI) has been a member since at least 2014 and has a role on the board (see below).34 In 2019, R.J. Reynolds (owned by British American Tobacco) became a member.5

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”.6The 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 7 to Mr. João Vale de Almeida, from 2010 EU ambassador to the US and before that Head of Cabinet of the European Commission President 8, 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”.

Key staff

  • President and CEO is Peter M. Robinson.9
  • Chairman is Harold McGraw III.9
  • J.B. Simko is on the Board of Directors. Simko is the Vice President of External Affairs at Philip Morris International Global Services.10

A list of current USCIB staff can be found here

Outputs

In November 2019, the US Ambassador to the UN Andrew Bremberg visited the USCIB’s offices in Washington prior to travelling to Geneva. USCIB members, including Philip Morris International, emphasised to the Ambassador the importance of “changing the persistent and counter-productive discriminatory treatment that the private sector encounters in some UN agencies”.11

Relevant links

TT resources

References

  1. abUS Council of International Business, USCIB At A Glance, USCIB website, undated, accessed May 2020
  2. US Council of International Business, Policy Committees, USCIB website, undated, accessed May 2020
  3. USCIB, Screengrab of USCIB website taken 2 May 2014
  4. US Council for International Business, Business in Society: Creating Shared Value, USCIB report, 2019, accessed May 2020
  5. United States Council for International Business, USCIB Washington Update: December, January, February 2018-2019, USCIB, 28 March 2019, accessed May 2020
  6. Cision, Business Groups Issue Statement Expressing Deep Concern, Press Release, 13 April 2012, accessed May 2020
  7. 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
  8. Joshua Chaffin, Barroso aide named EU ambassador to US, The Financial Times, 17 February 2010, accessed 25 June 2013(paywall)
  9. abUS Council of International Business, Officers, USCIB website, undated, accessed May 2020
  10. US Council of International Business, Board of Directors, USCIB website, undated, accessed May 2020
  11. Journal of the US Council for International Business, WTO Reform: Achieving Resilience for the Future, 2019, accessed May 2020
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