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PURPOSE AND AUTHORITY

The SAB is established under the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP) , which is a Federal Advisory Committee established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act  (FACA). The SAB operates under the authority of the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

The SAB’s primary objectives are to advise the ACIEP on:

  1. Promoting and facilitating the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (“Guidelines”).
  2. Encouraging the use of the NCP Specific Instance process as a means to resolve disputes and promote responsible business conduct (RBC).

The SAB must make all recommendations to the ACIEP on the four subjects below:

Fulfilling Commitments Regarding the NCP

  • Provide feedback on how the NCP is fulfilling U.S. commitments made at the OECD, under which NCPs should function in a visible, accessible, transparent and accountable manner. Provide specific recommendations on the NCP’s performance in these four areas.

Promoting of the Guidelines

  • Identify opportunities for U.S. NCP outreach to and engagement with stakeholders, such as providing recommendations on priority conferences and other public events where the NCP can promote the Guidelines and encourage implementation.
  • At the discretion of each member of the SAB, he or she may seek to aid in building NCP advocates within stakeholder networks, including promoting the NCP in the members’ sectors, as well as recommending helpful collaboration with other institutions (e.g., private, non-governmental, and multilateral entities, including international financial institutions) on responsible business conduct (RBC) initiatives, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and/or outreach to stakeholders.
  • Provide advice on public communication strategies and materials (website, social media, and traditional media).

Engaging in the Implementation of the Guidelines ( known within the OECD as the “Proactive Agenda”)

  • Identify current and potential issues of shared stakeholder interest and ways to engage stakeholders on the Proactive Agenda of the OECD.

Handling of Specific Instances

  • Provide feedback and recommendations on U.S. NCP procedures and any proposed procedural changes, particularly in the Specific Instance process.

MEMBERSHIP, TERMS, AND ORGANIZATION

SAB members will be experts from a wide variety of backgrounds including, for example, business, labor, civil society, and academia; who possess interest in, and experience useful for contributing to the work of the U.S. NCP and the U.S. government’s responsible business conduct agenda.

FACA  requires the committee membership be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed.” As a way to fulfil this requirement, approximately half of the SAB members are expected to be from the business community, while the other half are expected to be stakeholders from labor and trade unions, and civil society organizations. Members of academia may also be appointed to the SAB. The number of members is not fixed and the SAB may be enlarged or reduced in size as necessary to meet its objectives as a subcommittee of the ACIEP. SAB members are appointed in their individual capacity.

The methods to identify potential candidates for the subcommittee may include, but are not limited to, recommendations from current members of the ACIEP and the subcommittee, self-nominations from members of the public, and contacts of relevant officials of the U.S. government.

The Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, in consultation with the U.S. NCP and DFO, will appoint the members of the SAB to two-year terms, renewable at the discretion of the Assistant Secretary. A member may be appointed to one-year terms at his or her request. In the interest of maintaining fresh perspectives on issues related to the work of the SAB, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, will seek to diversify membership while sustaining consistency. The Assistant Secretary may remove a member at any time, for any reason. Members are encouraged to participate in every meeting.

Consistent with requirements of FACA , the Designated Federal Officer or Alternate will attend all SAB meetings.

The Chair of the SAB will be the U.S. NCP or a designated representative selected by the U.S. NCP. There will be two vice-chairs – one representing the business pillar and one representing the labor and civil society pillar. Vice-Chairs will be appointed by the U.S. NCP for a one year term in that capacity, with the option for renewal. In addition to representing their pillars, the Vice-Chairs will be called on to facilitate conversations during SAB meetings. To the extent they are able and it is appropriate, Vice Chairs and other SAB members may find it helpful to attend some OECD meetings and follow the activities of related organizations (e.g., BIAC, TUAC, OECD Watch). The U.S. government would not compensate or reimburse SAB members who opt to do so, however.

REPORTS, FINDINGS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Per FACA , the SAB will transmit reports, findings, and recommendations to the ACIEP. The ACIEP will consider these items and, if they are approved, will submit such information to the State Department for consideration.

Whenever possible, the SAB should strive for consensus and seek to ensure that a diversity of views is represented throughout deliberations.

CONFIDENTIALITY

To the extent allowed by the Freedom of Information Act, SAB discussions are deliberative and the SAB will not disclose business confidential information.

MEETING FREQUENCY AND AGENDAS

It is anticipated that the SAB will meet quarterly, although fewer or additional meetings may be scheduled at the discretion the DFO as required to fulfill the objectives of the SAB. Meetings will be facilitated by the U.S. NCP.

The U.S. NCP, in coordination with the DFO, will set the agenda, direct meeting discussions, and set objectives for the meeting. The U.S. NCP and DFO will consult with the Vice-Chairs in the development of the agenda and meeting objectives. To that end, the NCP will seek to share a proposed meeting agenda with the Vice-Chairs two weeks prior to a meeting in order to receive and consider feedback. The NCP will seek to distribute a final agenda one week before a meeting. Agenda items may be proposed by the U.S. NCP, SAB members, or the ACIEP.

When relevant to the agenda, the U.S. NCP may invite experts to SAB meetings for the purpose of addressing agenda items and to further the work of the SAB.

The U.S. NCP remains solely responsible for decisions with respect to Specific Instances. The SAB does not review of the content of ongoing Specific Instances or act as an appeals body for past Specific Instances.

TRANSPARENCY

SAB membership will be made public on the website here.

The Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs may review or revise these terms of reference at any time, and will consider undertaking a review of these terms of reference approximately two years after their adoption.

U.S. Department of State

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