Business executives gather in Istanbul to prepare G20 Summit input

  • 6 March 2012
ICC Global governance

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), under the umbrella of its G20 Advisory Group, held consultations with local business leaders on G20-related policy issues yesterday.

The meeting gathered policy priorities from CEOs operating in the Eastern Europe and Middle East region for contribution to the June 2012 G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The meeting was hosted by Rifat Hisarciklioglu, a leading member of the ICC G20 Advisory Group and President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

“This consultation is part of our effort to ensure that businesses worldwide have an opportunity to contribute their views and help shape ICC’s policy recommendations for input into the G20 process,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC Secretary General.

Participants suggested that the G20 must focus on practical measures to stimulate economic growth and employment. They also urged G20 countries to reduce global imbalances so as to stabilize exchange rates and fund flows in order to contain the adverse effects on countries such as Turkey.

“The B20 process offers a valuable opportunity for our local and regional business leaders to recommend solutions to the problems plaguing the global economy”, said Mr Hisarciklioglu. “Turkey is increasingly playing a more important role on the world economic stage and the views and concerns of Turkish companies are critical to both regional economic stability and global growth.”

An important part of the programme was the presentation and Q&A session of Mehmet Gucuk, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkey’s lead government official for the G20. “I appreciate ICC’s effort to solicit input from local businesses. Business is an integral part of the process and cannot be disassociated from the G20’s work on the global economy,” he said. “In addition, business is an important part of civil society and is therefore responsible to play an active role.”

Participants were appreciative of the opportunity to engage in the G20 process, noting that countries like Turkey, Korea, Mexico and Australia – which are not BRIC countries or G8 members – should have a greater role in the G20’s agenda. Mr Hisarciklioglu participated in the G20 Business Summit last year in France and he will be among leading CEOs attending the B20 Summit this year in Los Cabos.

Much of the discussion centred on the importance of keeping trade and investment open, especially because they are key contributors to job creation. Participants stressed the value of multilateralism especially for trade and investment liberalization and the need for the G20 to show political leadership in the face of growing inclinations towards protectionist measures.

The meeting also called upon the G20 to concentrate on its core mission of providing strategic direction and setting norms and standards for themselves, non-G20 governments and the many intergovernmental agencies responsible for specific project implementation and funding.

Participants also put forward suggestions for battling against unemployment, and called for G20 leadership that concentrated on incentive-based programmes for entrepreneurs and training for youth.

On the topic of green growth, many participants shared their experiences in investing in the emerging green economy, noting not only the value but also the long-term nature of the transition. They stressed the need for a new understanding of the positive returns on investment in green growth and the knock-on benefits for stimulating long-term employment.

Other subjects included food security, transparency and anti-corruption, Information and communication technology and innovation, and financing growth and development.

Results from the consultation will be fed into the business recommendations being prepared by Mexico’s B20 Organizing Committee, chaired by Alejandro Ramirez, CEO of Cinepolis, with support from ICC, the World Economic Forum, the OECD and McKinsey. Mr Ramirez and CEOs from the B20 policy task forces will present recommendations to Mexican President Felipe Calderon in advance of the Business (B20) Summit and G20 Summit being held 17-19 June 2012 in Los Cabos, Mexico.

CEOs from ICC’s G20 Advisory Group have been playing an instrumental role in the B20 process since the Seoul Summit in November of 2010 – including the development of business policy recommendations and meeting with heads of state and their Sherpas.

“The G20’s agenda impacts business priorities for growth and employment, among other key issues, and warrants our engagement from Summit to Summit to ensure that business recommendations are heeded,” said Mr Carrier. “We aim to help Mexico build on the progress achieved in Seoul and Cannes.”

Participants also included Kimball Chen, CEO of Energy Transportation Group, Gokhan Bozkurt, CEO of Turk Telecom, Zeynel Abidin Erdem, Chairman of Erdem Holding, Abdulkadir Konukoglu, Board President of Sanko Holding, Omer Cihad Vardan, CEO of Çukurova Heating Systems, Nail Olpak, Chairman of Nora Electricity Equipments, Cihan Candemir, Board of Yuksel Construction, Levent Veziroglu of Doguş Holding, Yilmaz Arguden, Board of ARGE, Remzi Gur, Board President of Gurmen Clothing Co., and İbrahim Eksi, Board President of Hektas Construction. Participants also included the leaders of ICC national committees in Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Georgia and Syria.

The regional consultation in Istanbul is the first in a series of meetings in preparation for the G20 and B20 Summits in Los Cabos, with upcoming locations including Doha, Moscow, Washington DC, and Beijing.