April 2022 Volume II

Earlier this year, we shared with our global network the news that OECD recently started accession discussions with six countries from Europe and Latin America. Following this announcement, we are pleased to share a statement from our Business at OECD (BIAC) Executive Board on the accession process, which should guide our national business members and corporate efforts as we provide on-the-ground private sector input into these important deliberations that will span over the next years. The global business community calls for coordinated business engagement on this critical process through us, and we look forward to working with the OECD to identify and promote business recommendations along the way.

Read our Executive Board statement
OECD Ministerial Consultation with Business at OECD and trade unions in Rome
Tomorrow, hosted by our Italian member Confindustria in Rome, we will hold our annual Consultation with OECD leadership, Ambassadors and TUAC in preparation for our business participation in the June 2022 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. This year, our conversation will focus on international economic cooperation in an evolving global scenario, as well as ensuring inclusive and sustainable opportunities for the digital and green transitions.

Led by our Chair Rick Johnston, and Executive Board Members Emma Marcegaglia and Gerhard Braun, our delegation will stress the centrality of a global rules-based order for business to ensure global connectivity, foster economic opportunities, and to promote digital and sustainable futures. We will share more updates as we finalize our annual business statement to OECD Ministers in the coming weeks.
Business highlights its role as OECD prepares for the Agriculture Ministerial
Earlier this week, our Food and Agriculture Committee convened both in Paris and virtually to exchange views on the implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global food systems and rising food price inflation. We also discussed business priorities with OECD Trade Director Marion Jansen and members learned about recent OECD trade work related to agriculture digitalization and sustainability.
Led by our Food and Agriculture Committee Chair Metin Akman, our business delegation also conveyed private sector priorities to the OECD Committee for Agriculture discussions on the future program of work and OECD preparations for its upcoming Agriculture Ministerial meeting in November. We also hosted a reception where we reemphasized our key priorities going forward to government and OECD delegates.
Contact: Rokas Morkūnas

Addressing mental health, tackling the invisible pandemic

Earlier this week, our Senior Director Ali Karami-Ruiz moderated an international panel as part of AMIIF’s Innovation Week in Mexico. The event outlined the partnerships and actions needed to improve population mental health and elevate related efforts as top priorities of governments’ agendas.

OECD’s Deputy Director for Employment, Labor, and Social Affairs Mark Pearson presented the latest data and insights from the Organization to tangibly advance in this field, including a recent benchmarking report offering recommendations. 

Other speakers converged on the need to deepen efforts to do away with stigma when it comes to both diagnosis and solutions, and also agreed on the need for integrated policy thinking and action to make concrete progress over the next 24 months. Panelists also concluded that documenting and communicating the links between better mental health and economic productivity hold the key to incentivizing policy change and multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Contact: Ali Karami Ruiz

Contribute to our campaign on health resilience
We are actively collecting business initiatives and input to announce our forthcoming Business at OECD campaign on health resilience. As business representatives, we have all witnessed firsthand how the Covid-19 pandemic placed considerable burdens on society, our companies, and governments. We now have an opportunity to apply the lessons learned from these two years and ask governments to address the links between health and economic productivity more clearly. Our campaign—which, among others, will inform the messages we will convey to OECD Ministers in June—seeks to showcase what our national business organizations and their affiliates have been communicating to governments on health as we recover from Covid-19 and plant the seeds for a more prepared and sustainable future.
Please contribute to the success of our campaign by sharing any initiatives you and or your respective sectors and members are undertaking with Julie Chauvet.
Contact: Ali Karami Ruiz and Julie Chauvet

A call for increased business engagement in the WTO

World trade is going through difficult times. The pandemic still keeps its grip on cross-border trade. Furthermore, the Russian invasion of Ukraine first and foremost causes immense human suffering, but also has severe effects on global value chains. In addition, protectionist winds are blowing strong on a global scale. These are all challenges world trade and the WTO are facing. Yet, global challenges need global solutions now more than ever.

2021 was a mixed year for the WTO. Amid disappointment over another postponed Ministerial Conference – we saw progress and conclusions of important negotiations, and we saw great engagement for revitalizing the multilateral trading system.

In the run-up toward a long-awaited WTO MC12 – engagement from all sides needs to continue, and it is essential to once again build momentum. We invite you to watch a video that several of our Business at OECD national members released in partnership. The video highlights the importance of a well-functioning WTO with rules that reflect business realities to achieve prosperity.

Contact: Dominik Kümmerle

Business joins OECD environment discussions on carbon pricing initiative and ways forward
Earlier this week, following the meeting of OECD Environment Ministers in March, we joined senior OECD and government representatives to discuss the future work program of the OECD Environment Policy Committee.

The session also considered a proposal for an OECD Inclusive Forum on Carbon Mitigation Approaches aiming to develop comparable metrics for assessing the effectiveness and stringency of policies resulting in explicit and implicit carbon prices. At the meeting, our Environment and Energy Committee Chair Hans-Jörn Weddige underlined our joint business recommendations to OECD Environment Ministers, and that any meaningful discussion on effective climate mitigation needs to benefit from the insights of business.
Continued engagement with the OECD on Pillar One and Two public consultations; New working group on digitalization of tax systems
We continue to engage in the OECD public consultations addressing taxation of the digitalizing economy. Our most recent comments to the OECD addressing the Pillar Two Implementation Framework stress the need for efficiency, consistency across jurisdictions, reduced complexity, minimal compliance costs, and that safe harbors will be crucial in achieving these objectives.  

In addition, our recent business comments addressing Pillar One focus on the need to apply economic principles in Amount A calculations, such as excluding extraordinary income/losses from scoping calculations, and developing an averaging mechanism that can account for profit shortfalls. We also call for an elective domestic business exemption.  Further to issues related to the digital transformation, at our recent tax conference held jointly with BDI and OECD on 23 March, we launched a working group that focuses on the digitalization of tax systems with the goal of facilitating exchanges between businesses and tax administrations on how to best use the digital tools available for the purpose of tax administration.
Information session on the OECD South East Asia Regional Program
As the third largest economy in the Indo-Pacific and the fifth largest economy in the world with a combined GDP of US$3.2 trillion, the importance of ASEAN countries is growing larger in the global economy. The OECD has been working to expand its network to this region through the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme. 
Following our participation in the OECD Ministerial Conference which took place in Korea on 9th February 2022, we held a briefing session with the OECD to provide interested members with further details on the priorities of the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Program further to the Ministerial meeting, what other events are upcoming, and how we can participate and help contribute to shaping the program. We will provide further details in the coming weeks on how our interested members can engage in the program and benefit from it, including preliminary information on the upcoming event in Hanoi, Vietnam in September this year.

Membership to our South East Asia informal contact group is still open and we encourage you to contact us if you wish to get updates on this topic.
News from our members
Future for business & government must feature fintech to fuel growth

The CBI’s economic strategy Seize the Moment identified the UK’s fintech sector as a key opportunity, with a potential £32bn additional revenues on offer by 2030. Statistics from Innovate Finance show in 2021 $11.6bn was invested in UK fintech businesses, a 217% increase from 2020. And the number of UK fintech ‘unicorns’ continues to rise.

Read More
A low carbon footprint is Colombia's new competitiveness

In a joint communication, the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez and the President of the National Association of Entrepreneurs of Colombia (ANDI), Bruce Mac Master, confirmed the union of forces to advance on the route of the 'Road to Zero', face the climate crisis and open opportunities for Colombia.

(Article in Spanish)
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If you want to protect climate, you have to get going with the expansion of renewables
Austria now needs a rapid expansion of hydro and wind power plants, photovoltaic systems and power lines. Because green electricity does not grow on trees, but must be produced. Without the necessary energy infrastructure, the fundamentally correct climate protection goals remain political wishful thinking.
(Article in German)
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Trade relations in times of war

In addition to all the human suffering, this war also has a huge impact on geopolitical dynamics and our trade relations. How should we trade in a world where a war is raging on our borders? It is precisely this issue that we are trying to solve in the fourth edition of our biennial edition of our Focus International Trade, which this time exceptionally zooms in on this conflict.

(Article in Dutch)
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