Tax Cuts Act a Win for American Business and the American Worker

Photo of White House event celebrating passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Earlier this week, Congress passed the first overhaul of the U.S. tax system in more than three decades. The historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses both large and small. The Act also will make American more competitive, will bolster continued job creation and will help increase wages for American workers.

“President Trump’s tax plan will make our tax code more simple and fair, and help American business stay competitive. Accomplishing these objectives will lead to increased economic growth, and, most importantly, better jobs for the American worker.” – Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Highlights of the Tax Cuts Act for include:

Bigger paychecks for American workers. The Tax Cuts Act provides $5.5 trillion in tax cuts by nearly doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, protecting tax savings for higher education and retirement, and lowering rates across the board. It also repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate tax, 80 percent of which hit households earning less than $50,000 a year in 2016.

Putting American businesses on a level playing field with foreign competitors. America’s corporate tax rate will go from being the highest in the developed world to below the average for Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. A one-time tax on corporate earnings stashed overseas will end the incentive for companies to keep their profits outside of the United States.

Eliminating dozens of special interest tax breaks and loopholes. The Tax Cuts Act will raise $4 trillion in revenue to help offset tax cuts by closing the door on dozens of corporate accounting tricks. The bill eliminates a loophole used to deduct compensation for executives earning more than $1 million a year.

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CFTC Statement on Self-Certification of Bitcoin Products by CME, CFE and Cantor Exchange

Washington, DC — Doc 1, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME) and the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) self-certified new contracts for bitcoin futures products, and the Cantor Exchange (Cantor) self-certified a new contract for bitcoin binary options.

“Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past,” said CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo. “As a result, we have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts, and CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets. In working with the Commission, CME, CFE and Cantor have set an appropriate standard for oversight over these bitcoin contracts given the CFTC’s limited statutory ability to oversee the cash market for bitcoin.”

“Market participants should take note that the relatively nascent underlying cash markets and exchanges for bitcoin remain largely unregulated markets over which the CFTC has limited statutory authority. There are concerns about the price volatility and trading practices of participants in these markets. We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures contracts’ price discovery process, including potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages. Nevertheless, investors should be aware of the potentially high level of volatility and risk in trading these contracts.”

Commission staff held rigorous discussions with CME over the course of six weeks, CFE over the course of four months, and had numerous calls with Cantor. CME, CFE and Cantor agreed to significant enhancements to contract design and settlement, and CME to margining, at the request of Commission staff, as well as more information sharing with the underlying cash bitcoin exchanges to assist CME, CFE, Cantor and the CFTC in surveillance. The Commission, CME, CFE and Cantor will also coordinate to the extent possible in any surveillance activities, including providing the CFTC with additional surveillance information.

As trading on these DCMs evolves, the Commission will continue to assess whether further changes are required to the contract design and settlement processes and work with the DCMs to effect any changes.

Once the contracts are launched, Commission staff will engage in a variety of risk-monitoring activities. These activities include monitoring and analyzing the size and development of the market, positions and changes in positions over time, open interest, initial margin requirements, and variation margin payments, as well as stress testing positions. Commission staff will additionally conduct reviews of designated contract markets, derivatives clearing organizations (DCOs), clearing firms and individual traders involved in trading and clearing bitcoin futures.

The CFTC will also work closely with the National Futures Association (NFA). NFA has issued an investor advisory on this topic to its members, including futures commission merchants and introducing brokers that are involved in the trading of any virtual currency futures product, and will closely monitor its member firms trading this product. If the Commission determines that the margin the DCOs hold against bitcoin futures positions is inadequate, it can take measures to require that the margin held at the DCOs be increased, including requiring that they use a longer margin period of risk to generate margin requirements.

As with all contracts offered through Commission-regulated exchanges and cleared through Commission-regulated clearinghouses, the completion of the processes described above is not a Commission approval. It does not constitute a Commission endorsement of the use or value of virtual currency products or derivatives. It is incumbent on market participants to conduct appropriate due diligence to determine the particular appropriateness of these products, which at times have exhibited extreme volatility and unique risks.

The Commission, pursuant to its statutory mission, will continue to foster open, transparent, competitive and financially sound markets. The CFTC will monitor markets and work closely with the exchanges to avoid systemic risk and to protect market users and their funds, consumers and the public from fraud, manipulation and abusive practices related to products that are subject to the Commodity Exchange Act.

Upcoming Event: DFI Impact Investment Roundtable

DFI Impact Investment Roundtable
06 Dec 2017
London, UK
EBRD

Senior-level Conversation with Development Finance Institutions on Investing for Impact.

As impact investing grows in scale and attracts greater investment flows, more fund managers and advisors are getting involved in sourcing, screening and reporting on investments that deliver measurable impact alongside financial returns.

Development finance institutions (DFI) are the original impact investors – we have been sourcing and managing commercial investments in emerging markets for economic and social impact over the past 70 years. In the process, we have developed substantial experience and expertise of relevance to impact investors, whether institutional investors, asset managers, philanthropic organizations or family offices. We also offer co-investment opportunities for investors seeking exposure to emerging market assets that offer measured impact, commercial returns, and rigorous attention to environmental, social and governance safeguards.

The EBRD is hosting a closed-door conversation between DFIs—EBRD, IFC, and CDC—and selected impact investors that will explain DFI approaches to investing for impact and identify opportunities for collaboration. The roundtable conversation will be held at EBRD’s London Office (1 Exchange Square) on 6 December, from 9:00am to 14:00pm, followed by a lunch.

This event is by invitation only.

Outlook on Ukraine 2017 Investment Conference

09 Oct 2017
London, UK
EBRD, Emerging Europe

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Emerging Europe are co-hosting the EBRD-Emerging Europe: Outlook on Ukraine 2017 investment conference at the EBRD Headquarters in London on Monday 09 October.

The free to attend event will bring together policymakers, investors and prominent business people to discuss the economic outlook on Ukraine. It will also offer you opportunities to have one-to-one meetings with decision makers from the Ukrainian government, international financial institutions and business representatives.

During the conference, EBRD will explore investment opportunities in three fast-growing areas of the Ukrainian economy: energy, manufacturing and ICT.

Special guest speakers and panellists include:

Daniel Bilak, CEO, UkraineInvest / Advisor to Prime Minister
Sevki Acuner, Country Head of Ukraine, EBRD
Ivan Mikloš, Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine and Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Group for Support of Ukrainian Reforms
Natalia Boyko, Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry on European Integration
Oleksandr Sayenko, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers (tbc)
Sergiy Savchuk, Head, State Agency of Energy Efficiency
Maxim Timchenko, CEO, DTEK
Elias van Herwaarden, EMEA Service Leader, Deloitte Global Location Strategies
Stepan Veselovskiy, Director, Lviv IT Cluster
Volodymyr Zhenchak, CEO, Lviv IT Park

Registration opens at 1500hrs and then the business session will begin punctually at 1530hrs in the Auditorium, with a coffee break at 1710hrs between the panel discussions. Then the event will conclude with a cocktail networking reception starting at 1830hrs.

Looking forward to seeing you at EBRD Headquarters on Monday 09 October!

United Nations Private Sector Forum 2017

The United Nations Private Sector Forum 2017 will focus on the theme of Financing the 2030 Agenda. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires unlocking new forms of financing at an unprecedented scale, and ensuring the UN and its partners makes a strategic pivot to facilitating financial innovation, catalyzing responsible business growth, and increasing private and public investment in the Global Goals.

Each year, the UN Private Sector Forum convenes to bring the voice of business to major inter-governmental debates. CEOs, Heads of State and Government, and leaders from the UN and civil society come together at the Forum to explore partnerships which address global challenges that no single organization or sector can tackle alone.

This event is by invitation only.

Statement from the Department of Commerce on the President’s America First Budget Blueprint

The President’s America First Budget Blueprint begins the important task of streamlining government and making it more efficient. It does this while protecting the Department of Commerce’s core missions and directing tax dollars to where the federal government can have the most impact for all Americans.

The Blueprint prioritizes and protects investments that put America first. 
To that end, it strengthens the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) trade enforcement and compliance functions, including the Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duty investigations, while rescaling the agency’s export promotion and trade analysis activities. It increases funding for the U.S. Census Bureau to continue preparations for the 2020 Decennial Census, and brings private-sector sensibility to our major capital expenditures.

Starting with the America First Budget Blueprint released today, the Administration will be able to fulfill the key priorities of maintaining our national security, spurring job growth, and creating opportunity for all Americans. The Department looks forward to working with its partners across the government to further realize these goals.