ICC says G20 must find political will to conclude Doha Round

  • 29 September 2009

There is much to applaud in the communiqué from the Pittsburgh G20 Summit pledging to revive global trade, reject protectionism, boost trade finance, and refrain from imposing new barriers to investment on trade in goods and services.

ICC warmly welcomes the decision to make the G20 the primary forum for international economic cooperation. With member countries representing 90% of global gross national product, the G20 reflects the new distribution of economic power in today’s world.

On the fundamental issue of the Doha Round of trade negotiations, however, ICC is disappointed that the G20 leaders did no more than repeat their previous incantations calling for an “ambitious and balanced conclusion.” Given the progress that has already been made, we are discouraged that the G20 leaders did not commit themselves to an earlier target for the conclusion of the talks than the end of 2010.

“The G20 leaders said all the right things about keeping markets open, resisting protectionist pressures, boosting trade finance and tackling climate change,” said Jean Rozwadowski, ICC Secretary General. “However, they need to spend more political capital to push for a quick conclusion of the Doha Round. An agreement would send a shock of confidence to governments and businesses around the world, increasing the momentum towards restoring worldwide economic growth.”

Despite the vagueness on Doha, the G20 Summit overall took numerous steps in the right direction. These include the commitment to carefully plan and coordinate an exit strategy from the massive stimulus packages in the interest of fiscal responsibility. This last point is essential if the world is to avoid growing inflation and runaway public sector deficits.

We also welcome the expressed will to reach agreement on a climate change protocol in Copenhagen this December. On this crucial issue, ICC continues to stress that business needs a clear, predictable framework to stimulate investment in technologies that will enable a transition to a low carbon economy.

The commitment to reform the mission and governance of the International Monetary Fund, following the increase of funds made available to the institution after the G20 summit in London, is also commendable.

“ICC welcomes the stronger global governance and leadership shown by the G20 and looks forward to increasing cooperation among the world’s major economies, which is vital to resolving the major challenges facing mankind today,” Mr Rozwadowski said. “ICC will continue to provide business input into the deliberations of the G20, building on its contributions during the past year.”