At the centre of the week-long activities were policy discussions hosted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Sydney Chamber of Commerce. During both meetings Mr McGraw and leading Australian business representatives explored key policy issues of most importance for the Australian G20 presidency. Topics included the need for the G20 to moderate financial regulation, bring better balance to public finance, increase private investment in infrastructure, address the global challenge of youth unemployment and implement tangible solutions to the Doha trade negotiations.
“ICC has been instrumental in G20 business policy development since the Seoul G20 Summit and we are keen to continue to play a key role as Australia takes over the presidency at the end of this year,” said Mr McGraw, who is also Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of McGraw Hill Financial. “We are here in Australia to encourage the G20 to lead the way in lowering trade barriers and unlocking jobs and growth.”
The policy priorities delineated by business were reiterated in Mr McGraw’s meeting with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. During the meeting, Mr Rudd stressed the importance of the G20’s attention to trade and investment and confirmed his belief that businesses, both in Australia and internationally, have a critical role in the process for generating the commerce behind economic growth and jobs. Mr McGraw emphasised that Australia’s leadership will be essential for the G20 to maintain momentum in the global economic recovery.
With Australia in the throes of a national election, Mr McGraw also met with opposition leader Tony Abbott and members of the shadow government. Mr Abbott noted that Australia’s G20 leadership will be an opportunity to recommit to the open market policies that have historically driven global economic growth. In both instances, Mr McGraw was pleased with the Australian leaders’ vision, leadership and commitment to work with business in the G20 process.
“The G20 Summit in Brisbane provides the perfect occasion to create new opportunities for Australian industry to access new markets,” said Peter Anderson, ACCI Chief Executive. “ACCI favours international affairs policies that will help Australian business reach export markets through closer integration of commercial and economic supply chains.”
For this year’s Russian cycle of the G20, ICC has been deeply engaged in the policy development process, and the G20 Advisory Group of CEOs were leading participants in the B20 Summit held in Saint Petersburg last month. Mr McGraw is serving as co-chair of the B20 task force on trade and will join a group of CEOs presenting business recommendations to G20 heads of state during the G20 Summit being held 5-6 September, also near Saint Petersburg.
ICC believes that business can and will play a crucial role in delivering economic growth and will be at the heart of sustained investment and innovation, creating growth and employment. ICC has this year called on the G20 to:
- Reject measures that restrict trade and investment by extending the standstill agreement and tangibly reduce trade protections throughout the G20;
- Commit to finalizing a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement at the WTO Bali Ministerial;
- Honour commitments for complete ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC);
- Develop a high-standard multilateral framework for international investment, drawing up the ICC Guidelines for International Investment;
- Ensure the availability, stability and sustainability of trade finance;
- Mandate multi-lateral development banks and international financial institutions to frame and promulgate global project preparation guidelines for sustainable infrastructure projects;
- Support the implementation of the WTO rules on Trade-related Intellectual Property (TRIPs);
- Establish and implement clear and elevated standards for energy efficiency.
The ICC G20 Advisory Group comprises approximately 35 CEOs working to ensure that the voice of business is heard by governments, the public and the media before, during and after each Summit. It has consulted with business around the world to secure policy priorities of companies large and small. To date, these meetings have been held in Berlin, Canberra, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Zurich, Qatar, Istanbul, Washington DC, Beijing, Melbourne, Jakarta, Johannesburg, and Riyadh.
“As the everyday practitioners of the global economy, businesses both large and small have a clear stake in the success of the G20 process,” Mr McGraw said.
Download the 2013 ICC G20 Business Scorecard