ICC Chairman Victor Fung meets Gordon Brown ahead of G20 Summit

  • 12 March 2009

The upcoming G20 Summit in London should strongly reject growing protectionist pressures and increase multilateral cooperation to resolve the global financial crisis, ICC Chairman Victor K. Fung told British Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday.

In a meeting with the Prime Minister and other high-level British government officials at 10 Downing Street, Mr Fung presented the international business community’s views about the current crisis.

The ICC Chairman described trade as the lifeblood of the global economy and a key instrument in ending the current recession. Trade is expected to drop this year for the first time since 1982, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Mr Fung has urged both the IMF and individual governments to increase their export credit insurance guarantees.

“It is very important to make sure that trade is flowing,” the ICC Chairman said in an interview with the BBC before the meeting.

But Mr Fung also warned that economic nationalism must be fought at all levels because failing to do so will only increase unemployment and prolong the current downturn. “To pump money into the global economy is very important, but in the process of doing this I think it is also very important to make sure that we don’t allow protectionism to creep in,” Mr Fung told the BBC.

Present at the meeting with the Prime Minister were Lord Mervyn Davies, Minister for Trade and Investment, Baroness Shriti Vadera, Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business, and John Buchanan, ICC United Kingdom Chairman.

Before the meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Fung called on Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Peter Mandelson to discuss the crisis and the G20 Summit, which will be held in London on 2 April.

At the meetings, Mr Fung insisted that co-operation at the global level to further strengthen the multilateral trading system and bring the Doha Round to a successful conclusion would go a long way to restoring confidence.

The ICC Chairman presented the Prime Minister with a preliminary report from the ICC Banking Commission on trade finance. The report, based on survey responses from 122 banks in 59 countries, confirmed the decrease in both trade volume and value and said trade finance around the world was shrinking.