The meeting took place as part of a General Council meeting of ICC’s World Chambers Federation (WCF). Led by Hamad Buamim, WCF Chair and President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, the WCF General Council is an elected group of chamber leaders that promote chambers of commerce as global trade facilitators and drivers of local economic development.
ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton, who co-hosted the meeting, reaffirmed ICC’s commitment to working cooperatively with the B20 in the lead up to this year’s G20. “Governments and central banks need to consider the voice of the private sector when formulating economic and monetary policies,” said Mr Denton. “ICC is looking forward to working hand in hand with the B20 to ensure that business interests are adequately represented at G20 Saudi Arabia.” The meeting also featured Yassin Al Suroor, ICC Vice-Chair, and Nayla Comair-Obeid, ICC Executive Board member.
In his presentation to the WCF General Council, Mr Al-Benyan discussed the importance of maintaining strong links between ICC and the B20 to ensure that this year’s G20 agenda delivers results of business. As a network partner with four co-chairs, ICC will play an essential role in engaging with business leaders and contributing to the final set of B20 recommendations, said Mr Al-Benyan.
The B20 has identified three themes to help guide this year’s agenda, including Women in Business, SMEs and Entrepreneurship, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among the top priorities for Mr Al-Benyan is to provide an open, inclusive, and results-oriented process to ensure that the B-20 recommendations are reflective of the entire global business community.
“We want an impactful and differentiated B20 that is action-oriented,” said Mr Al-Benyan. “ICC is a unique platform that is wired in every local business community that can provide us with on the ground insights from the private sector.”
With the re-emergence of protectionism and tariffs creating uncertain conditions for business worldwide, G20 taskforces will pay special attention to modernising global trade rules and World Trade Organization (WTO) reform. “We’re seeing a trend against free trade. Some nations are taking specific positions to limit free trade,” stated Mr Al-Benyan. “All [of] those issues will create a slowdown in economic growth and affect business,” he said.
In May 2019, ICC, in cooperation with the B20, launched Trade Dialogues, a platform to facilitate business recommendations on pressing global trade issues, including electronic commerce and sustainable development. The next meeting of Trade Dialogues will occur on 31st March at WTO headquarters with a focus on trade issues ahead of the 12th WTO Ministerial Meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, from 8 to 11 June 2020.