Global governance

ICC Sec Gen appears on CNN to discuss Coronavirus and US-China trade deal

  • 12 February 2020

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO appeared on CNN’s Quest Means Business to address business responses to Coronavirus and the US-China trade deal.

With confirmed cases of Coronavirus rising and US-China trade negotiations progressing into phase two, ICC Secretary General joined Richard Quest on CNN to discuss how these emerging developments are influencing global trade.

During the interview, Mr Denton expressed his support and sympathy to all of those affected by Coronavirus, particularly Chinese businesses within ICC’s global network.

“There’s a lot of people there who have lost loved ones and…who have family still in suffering,” said Mr Denton. “With the rest of the global community, we would like to reach out and give our empathy, sympathy and support to the Chinese business community and the citizens there.”

Mr Denton also discussed the private sector’s concern that the continued spread of Coronavirus could create uncertain conditions for companies in China and surrounding countries, which would result in the rerouting of global supply chains.

“If this is persistent – and that is the problem – then we are actually going to see some significant shifts in the way in which companies operate and that will be detrimental to the growth outlook for China.”

Reflecting on his conversations with ICC’s global network, Mr Denton affirmed that the Chinese government is taking clear and decisive measures to respond and contain the spread of Coronavirus.

“What people are taking a little bit of heart from is the way that the Chinese authorities have reacted quite decisively in a way that a number of other countries could not do,” he said.

After covering Coronavirus, the interview turned towards business takeaways from phase one of the US-China trade deal. For Mr Denton, phase one of the US-China trade deal was a win for both the United States and China, but a much wider loss for the future of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and multilateral trading system.

On the need for WTO reform, Mr Denton stated:

“If two major powers can operate outside the multilateral trading system, what does that mean for the [reliability] of the multilateral trading system which is so critical to the way that trade disputes are understood and managed by small and medium-sized powers?”

Watch Mr Denton’s full interview with Richard Quest on CNN’s Quest Meet Business.