Coming on the heels of a breakthrough at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, ICC and USCIB Chairman Harold (Terry) McGraw, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, were among over 240 guests – comprising government officials, business leaders and representatives from international organizations – who attended the event to salute Mr Azevedo’s efforts to breathe new life into the multilateral trade agenda.
Having returned to WTO headquarters in Geneva to oversee a breakthrough on the TFA, Mr Azevedo was unable to accept the USCIB International Leadership Award in person but gave a progress report on the agreement and assured viewers that he would continue to press ahead with a multilateral trade agreement in a video message. Giving thanks for the award and for the support shown to the WTO, Mr Azevdo said: “I am extremely proud to receive your backing in this way.”
Referring to Mr Azevedo’s return to Geneva, ICC Chairman Harold McGraw said: “It is a good thing that Roberto Azevedo isn’t here. He’s doing what he has to do. The opportunity of trade facilitation came alive again.” Calling on all attendees to give their full support to the WTO, Mr McGraw said: “We’ve got to do everything we can to elevate the prominence of the WTO.”
“Roberto Azevedo has brought a new dimension of energy, perseverance and creativity to WTO negotiations and, skillfully navigating the tortuous currents of multilateral negotiations, has provided a level playing field for all participants,” said Mr Danilovich.” We at ICC are supportive of his efforts which embody our mission to promote peace and prosperity through international trade and investment.”
In special remarks Mr Froman also commended USCIB for its support of President Obama’s ambitious trade agenda and remarking that the previous week had been “a good week for trade,” given recent progress on the TFA, the Information Technology Agreement and the G20 Summit in Brisbane where leaders listed trade as one of the main drivers of economic growth. “The recent resolution to the TFA impasse is one of many victories for global trade that made last week a good week for trade,” he said. “The stakes are huge…for the billions of people around the world that stand to benefit from expanding trade.”
After joking that building consensus among members at the WTO “is like herding animals: cats, frogs or venomous snakes, depending on the day,” Mr Froman commended Mr Azevedo for his role in securing a meaningful outcome at the WTO’s ministerial in Bali last year. Froman noted that Azevedo’s perseverance during those contentious negotiations was essential for a successful deal.
Click here to read Mr Froman’s speech.