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As the global economy heads into severe headwinds, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich headed to Davos, Switzerland to discuss the world’s most pressing challenges around the theme of “a fourth industrial revolution”.

Joining 2,500 participants from more than 140 countries, including over 40 heads of state and government, the ICC leader engaged in a full schedule of speaking engagements, meetings and media interviews to provide views on the global economic outlook for 2016 and global business concerns from climate change to access to finance.

Following are four of the issues Mr Danilovich touched on in his discussions at the World Economic Forum 2016.

On trade

Mr Danilovich highlighted the flat lining of global trade as a major concern for business. His message at Davos 2016 was that governments must work constructively with business to reinvigorate trade, which over the past two decades has been a powerful driver of GDP growth and job creation. Speaking live on France 24 television Mr Danilovich also said he was confident that the twelve-member Pacific Rim Transpacific partnership would ultimately be a success. “We are absolutely convinced that this trading block which covers 40% of the world economy will give a great boom to the global economy as it becomes implemented,” he said.

On climate change

In a meeting with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Laurent Fabius, France’s Foreign Minister, Mr Danilovich discussed the new climate for doing business following last year’s historic COP21 agreement. During the meeting, Mr Danilovich stressed the need to ensure the Paris agreement is implemented in a way that scales up investment and innovation in climate solutions. Speaking in an interview with the Associated Press Mr Danilovich said that adapting investment to meet the lower-emissions goals in the Paris agreement would be among several struggles for global businesses in 2016.

Adapting investment to meet the lower-emissions goals in the Paris agreement would be among several struggles for global businesses in 2016.

On small-and medium-sized enterprises

“2016 must be the year of action to support small business growth,” said Mr Danilovich underscoring the crucial role of SMEs and their important contribution to the global economy. Mr Danilovich said that two major problems for SMEs were securing access to finance and trading across borders. “SMEs must be centrally positioned in the efforts of governments to remedy the almost chronic problems of sluggish global growth and record levels of youth unemployment,” he said. “We are doing everything that we possibly can, through our World SME Forum, to promote, advise and advocate on behalf of small- and medium-sized enterprises.”

On the future of the World Trade Organization

At an ICC hosted breakfast with World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo, Mr Danilovich discussed the role of business in maintaining momentum on international trade. He said that governments must do all they can to speed the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement which ICC research suggests could more than double SME exports-creating some 21 million jobs in the process. “The question today is how business can work with the WTO and its member governments to reinvigorate global trade as a driver of growth and development,” Mr Danilovich said.

Follow @iccwbo and @JohnDanilovich at #WEF.

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