Business executives gather in South Africa to discuss G20 policy priorities

  • 25 October 2012
ICC Global governance

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

The meeting of CEOs operating in South Africa and the region examined the G20’s policy agenda and began shaping business recommendations for input to G20 leaders in advance of the 2013 G20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The meeting was co-hosted by ICC South Africa and Brian Dames, CEO of Eskom Holdings, a member of the ICC G20 Advisory Group.

“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.

More than 50 South African business executives gathered for the consultation and were appreciative of the opportunity to engage in the G20 process, noting that countries like South Africa, Turkey, Korea, Mexico and Australia – which are not members of the BRICs or the G8 – should have a greater role in the G20’s agenda.

The executives stressed that the G20 must focus on practical measures to stimulate economic growth and employment. The importance of keeping trade and investment open was emphasized as a critical part of the solution. Participants stressed the value of multilateralism especially for trade and investment liberalization and the necessity of the G20 to show political leadership in the face of growing inclinations towards protectionist measures.

Other topics included the G20’s development agenda, anti-corruption and clean energy and energy efficiency. The meeting called upon the G20 to concentrate on its core mission of providing strategic direction and setting benchmarks for themselves, in consultation with non-G20 governments and the many intergovernmental agencies responsible for specific project implementation and funding.

Results from the consultation will be incorporated into ICC’s global survey of business priorities and fed into the business recommendations being prepared for the Russian G20 Summit in 2013. CEOs from the ICC G20 Advisory Group have been playing an instrumental role in the G20 Business Summit 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 regional consultation in Johannesburg is part of a series of worldwide consultations, hosted by ICC to give local business an opportunity to be heard and to be relevant to the global policy debates that ultimately impact their cross-border activities including trade and investment. To date, these meetings have been held in: Mexico City, Hong Kong, Zurich, Doha, Istanbul, Washington DC, Beijing, and Melbourne.

“The G20’s agenda impacts global business priorities for growth and employment, among other key issues, and warrants ICC’s engagement as the world business organization from Summit to Summit to ensure that business recommendations are heeded,” said Mr Carrier. “We hope that the outcomes of this consultation can help the Russian government build on the progress achieved in G20 Business Summits held in Seoul, Cannes and Los Cabos.”