ICC Chairman Marcus Wallenberg co-hosted a panel discussion on the Doha round with the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, and the new Swedish Trade Minister, Ewa Bjorling, earlier this week in Stockholm.
Attended by over 20 CEOs and business leaders from top Swedish companies, the meeting was moderated by ICC Sweden Chairman Ulf Dinkelspiel. Lars Anell, Chairman of ICC’s Commission on Trade and Investment, set the stage for discussion by providing background on the Doha round.
Mr Lamy was upbeat about the current status of the Doha round and said that although the round was not complete, the prospects for a successful completion were looking better now than they did six months ago.
In his presentation, Mr Lamy acknowledged ICC’s unwavering support of the round. He also noted that some in the business arena had been much too quiet over the last few years, with the outstanding exception of ICC. He congratulated ICC on its strong backing and thanked Mr Wallenberg for his relentless support for the successful conclusion of the round. Mr Lamy also expressed his hope that ICC would continue to support the round in its final phase to completion.
During a question and answer session, Mr Lamy maintained that bilateral agreements are not the way forward. “Bilateral, or regional agreements, never go as deep as multilateral agreements do,” he said.
Ms Bjorling emphasized Sweden’s willingness to work with Mr Lamy and the WTO to reach a final deal in the Doha round. She said the last phase would be tough and that Sweden and others in the EU would have to make compromises.
In closing the meeting, Mr Wallenberg stressed the need for business to speak with one voice on this issue and encouraged all participants from the business sector to show their support for the Doha round and speak up on the importance of successfully completing the round.
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