Trade & investment

10 things we did for business in our 99th year?

  • 2 January 2019
ICC letter on EU cross-border data flows

At ICC, we’re excited to be in Centenary year. As 2019 begins, we’re taking a look back at some of the things that kept us busy and enabled business to secure peace, prosperity and opportunity for all during our 99th year…

1. Leaders for a new era

In March, ICC announced the appointment of international legal expert and adviser on global issues John W.H. Denton AO as the organisation’s incoming Secretary General. Shortly after his appointment, Mr Denton hit the airways appearing on Sky News to give his take on prevalent anti-globalisation sentiment.

Later in the year Paul Polman, CEO of consumer goods company Unilever, was elected to take over from Sunil Bharti Mittal as ICC Chair. Taking up his new leadership position Mr Polman, a renowned champion of sustainable development and a 2015 recipient of the Business for Peace Award said:

“As the voice of the private sector on the world stage, ICC is uniquely poised to mobilise business towards long-term gains that are both socially and economically productive.”

2. Going digital for the temporary movement of goods

In June, we announced the launch of the first stage of a pilot project to digitalise the ATA Carnet, a customs document allowing duty- and tax-free movement of goods for up to one year. The year draws to an end with the announcement of the seven countries selected or targeted to participate in the Mercury II Pilot project. You can find out who they are here.

3. We launched a new channel of the ICC Digital library…

Staying on a digital theme, we also launched a new channel of the ICC Digital Library providing a one-stop-shop for Incoterms® Rules related publications and ICC’s practical commercial contracts. The launch of the channel comes ahead of the much anticipated launch of Incoterms® 2020 rules in 2019.

It’s not only ICC adapting to the digital world though. Our report—Global Trade: Securing Future Growth, released in May, revealed that 60% of banks are moving towards greater digitalisation, with over 60% of banks surveyed reported to have implemented, or to be in the process of implementing, technology solutions to digitalise their trade finance operations.

4. … and showcased transformational partnerships at the SDG Business Forum

At this year’s SDG Business Forum at the United Nations High Level Political Forum in July, ICC launched a report highlighting the concrete actions being taken by businesses worldwide to put the sustainable development goals at the heart of their business operations. The report ‘Business for Sustainable and Resilient Societies’ also provides governments with a set of policy recommendations to help more companies implement the SDGs into their strategies

5. Dubai was announced as the destination for the 2021 World Chambers Congress!

As preparations get underway for our World Chambers Congress in Rio de Janeiro next year, we were looking ahead even further to 2021 as we announced that the 12th edition of the event will be co-hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The biennial Congress is a world renowned event on the chamber calendar bringing together chamber leaders and business professionals from more than 100 countries to share best practices, exchange insights, develop networks and address the latest issues affecting their respective communities.

6. We pledged to promote gender diversity of panels

In October, we all learned what a “manel” is (all male speaking panel) when ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton joined ICC’s leadership team to sign a pledge committing to undertake efforts to increase gender diversity in panel discussions at conferences in which the organisation is represented.

7. We provided help to marketers and advertisers in the digital age…

New York was the setting for the release of the tenth revision of ICC’s flagship Advertising and Marketing Communications Code—a globally-applicable self-regulatory framework for raising consumer protection standards around the world.

The 2018 revision takes into account emerging digital marketing and advertising practices, such as artificial intelligence-enabled marketing, market influencers, vloggers and data analytics.

8. …and launched a unique Global Dialogue on Trade

October saw us heading to Bali for the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group where World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo and ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton launched the Global Dialogue on Trade – a unique business initiative to support the reform process of the multilateral rules-based system.

In a letter to the Financial Times, published in June, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO called on G20 leaders to chart a new roadmap for reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) that supports sustainable and inclusive growth. Another letter published in September rallied business to chart a new course for trade.

The first digitally-enabled debates on the Global Dialogue on Trade platform began in November, proving companies, multilateral institutions, think tanks and academics with an opportunity to contribute to on-going debate on world trade reform.

9. A rulebook for climate action was welcome news

Heading to the end of the year with good news for our planet, ICC welcomed an international agreement to lay down the rules for countries to implement the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.

Before the climate change talks in Poland ICC, which represented business and industry at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24), had called for a Paris Rulebook to give business the framework it needs to go further in stepping up climate action.

10. We’re wrapping up a pioneering year for ICC dispute resolution too!

A major International Arbitration Survey once again named the International Court of Arbitration of ICC as the preferred arbitral institution worldwide. From the beginnings of operations at new case management offices in Sao Paulo and Singapore to major advances in diversity, the Court also concludes a landmark year. If you missed any them you can catch up on 10 Court highlights in 2018 in this article.