Trade & investment

ICC gives final push at critical juncture in Doha trade talks

  • 30 June 2006

As ministers gather in Geneva this week during what many claim is a make-or-break stage in the World Trade Organization's Doha trade round, ICC has rallied its resources across the globe to help ensure much needed progress will be made.

In Geneva, ICC Chairman Marcus Wallenberg and other ICC representatives stressed to high-level officials and negotiators this week that a successful outcome to the talks is vital and urgent for world business.

In a final push as negotiators try to agree on procedures for liberalizing industrial and agricultural trade, Mr Wallenberg pressed for ambitious results in meetings with Don Stephenson, Canadian Ambassador to the WTO and Chair of the negotiating group on non-agricultural market access; Mia Horn of Rantzien, Swedish Ambassador to the WTO; and Rufus Yerxa, Deputy Director-General of the WTO.

Simultaneously, ICC offices in 90 countries around the world provided interviews and op-eds to their local media in an effort to put pressure on national government officials to make the tough decisions and compromises necessary in order to reach agreement in the trade talks. They also sent letters directly to government and business leaders calling for their support.

While in Geneva, Mr Wallenberg also shared ICC’s views during CNBC’s Global Players, a 60-minute programme hosted by well-known political journalist Sabine Christiansen. On the show,  Mr Wallenberg participated in a panel discussion on the Doha trade round alongside former WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, now Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development; Harsha Vardhana Singh, Deputy Director-General of the WTO; and Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The programme reaches 350 million households worldwide.

If solid progress is not made over the next few days, the danger will increase that negotiations will not be concluded by the end of 2006.

Mr Wallenberg’s panel participation follows his two television appearances last week also on the subject of the Doha Round. Mr Wallenberg was interviewed on CNBC’s European Closing Bell programme and Bloomberg news.

As part of ICC’s media campaign to push for a successful outcome to the negotiations, ICC UK Director Andrew Hope appeared on CNN’s World Business Today last night to discuss the importance world business places on the Doha Round.

This morning, BBC World Report aired an interview with ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban on ICC’s opposition to the new airline tax, which takes effect in France on 1 July. Mr Sebban emphasized that the rules-based system of multilateral trade and a successful conclusion of the Doha Round will do more to help lift people out of poverty than aid raised by an airline tax.