Global governance

ICC urges G8 to press for global trade accord

  • 23 May 2007

Even at this desperately late hour, a good deal can be struck in the Doha round of multilateral trade talks if G8 leaders intensify their diplomatic efforts, the International Chamber of Commerce said today in its annual statement on behalf of the world business community to the heads of state and government who will attend the G8 summit.

Leaders of the world’s richest countries will gather at the annual G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany on 6-8 June to find ways of addressing the most pressing issues affecting the world economic order.

The Doha trade round represents a historic opportunity to generate economic growth, raise living standards and create potential for development across the world that should not be squandered. World leaders need to urgently devote their personal attention to reaching an agreement so that rapid progress can be made on the contours of a balanced package of measures to substantially improve market access in agriculture, industrial products and services, facilitate trade and update WTO rules.

It seems that a final and very narrow window of opportunity has opened up to forge an agreement in the weeks ahead, even though the US Congress will have to be called upon to extend the president’s Trade Promotion Authority, ICC said.

ICC has a close working relationship with the G8 and many other intergovernmental organizations, including the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. The core mission of ICC is to promote trade and investment across frontiers and help business corporations meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization.

Reverse the trend toward investment protectionism

G8 governments must set an example for the rest of the world and roll back the tide of investment protectionism showing renewed vigor – including within some G8 countries, ICC urged. Cross-border investment is crucial to spread the benefits of globalization more widely, since foreign direct investment plays an important role in transferring technology, know-how and management skills to developing countries, the statement said.

Encourage energy efficiency

ICC welcomed the focus at this year’s Summit on energy efficiency, but asked G8 leaders to keep in mind that investments on the massive scale needed to stimulate innovation will require a more favourable policy and regulatory framework. Strict adherence to a number of conditions is also a prerequisite, such as upholding laws against corruption, ensuring fair competition, and guaranteeing contracts.

But lack of global consensus and stable policies is discouraging innovation and investment in future sources of clean energy, ICC said. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change provides a useful forum for international cooperation to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the longer term.

Uphold commitments to curb counterfeiting and piracy

While counterfeiting and piracy remain a topic at this year’s G8, deeds continue to fall short of words in addressing a global epidemic that leaves virtually no sector untouched, ICC said.

ICC called on the G8 to make counterfeiting and piracy a higher priority by gathering more accurate data, launching public awareness campaigns of the damage done, and improving training and cooperation of national enforcement agencies. ICC’s initiative, Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy, addresses these issues in a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting plan that fosters world business collaboration with government.