Advance trade agenda to achieve growth, business tells G20

  • 18 July 2014
ICC Finance

Concluding the Business-20 (B20) Summit in Sydney today, CEOs from around the world have called on the G20 to forge ahead with opening global markets, by liberalizing trade and investment, as the surest way to revive economic growth and job creation.

Chairman of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of SEB (Sweden), said: “Our strong presence in Sydney sends a clear signal to G20 leaders that CEOs stand ready to lend their expertise to drive a forward looking G20 agenda that promotes stronger economic growth and renders the global economy more adequate to deal with future shocks.”

ICC led a delegation of business leaders and CEOs to the B20 Summit, for two-days of discussions with business and government representatives. The event saw the finalization and prioritization of 20 mutually reinforcing recommendations for action by G20 leaders that if adopted, would exceed the 2% growth target set by G20 Finance Ministers in February.

With the World Trade Organization forecast for global trade in 2014 still below the 20-year average ICC has called on G20 leaders to promote a multilateral approach to international trade and investment and to demonstrate the G20’s continued relevance to global governance by maintaining momentum on trade.

Specifically, ICC seeks collective action to remove barriers to global exports of tradable services by making progress on an international trade in services agreement and also calls for further expansion of an International Technology Agreement relating to the export of IT products.

As the voice of global business, ICC has also pressed for the greater promotion and protection of cross-border capital flows – especially foreign direct investment – an infrastructure information hub to increase the pipeline of bankable, investment-ready projects and a multilateral framework on investment that will create an enabling environment for greater investment across borders.

“In a time of low, slow growth the most effective way to stimulate the economy and employment is moving ahead with a robust trade agenda,” said ICC Chairman and Chairman of McGraw Hill Financial Harold (Terry) McGraw III. “That is why first and foremost, G20 nations should implement and ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement that the WTO agreed to in Bali last December. By removing barriers to trade and cutting red tape this agreement has the potential to reduce total trade costs by 10% in advanced economies and by 13-15.5% in developing economies.

“Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has displayed great leadership by offering a focused agenda that promises an opportunity to further liberalize multilateral trade and propel negotiations on the stalled Doha Round of global trade talks,” added Mr McGraw. “All of us–the business community, government and NGOs—need to work together and push for more cooperation from all sides in order to build on the momentum coming from the Bali agreement and realize the promise of global trade as a means of raising standards of living around the world.”

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “For the fifth consecutive year, ICC CEOs held leadership positions in the B20 task forces and contributed significantly to the development of the final recommendations. ICC’s participation in the B20 will contribute significantly to turning Mr Abbott’s objectives for the Australia leg of the G20 into concrete action to drive measurable progress on the underlying G20 agenda of trade, growth, and jobs.”

Comprising over 30 CEOs and prominent business leaders, the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group has been a platform for continuity in the B20 process between Summits, soliciting priorities and recommendations from companies and business organizations of all sizes and in all regions of the world.

During the Summit an ICC delegation of business leaders, headed by Mr McGraw, contributed to B20 recommendations and took part in a meeting with G20 trade ministers, to continue to promote ICC World Trade Agenda priorities in the G20 context.

“Looking ahead to the Brisbane G20 Leaders Summit in November, ICC will remain fully engaged with B20 leaders to rally ICC’s far-reaching network of companies and chambers of commerce to advocate for G20 Leader endorsement of the B20 recommendations,” said Mr Danilovich.

ICC’s G20 CEO Advisory Group mobilizes worldwide policy-making expertise and solicits priorities and recommendations from companies and business organizations of all sizes and in all regions of the world. The group is composed of over 30 CEOs and business leaders working to ensure that the voice of business is heard by governments, the public and the media before, during and after each Summit.