In CNN interview, ICC Chairman urges G20 to stimulate trade

  • 13 November 2008

Leaders of the G20 economies should take immediate measures to facilitate global trade, particularly in the area of trade finance, to help resolve the global financial crisis, Victor K Fung, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, said today on CNN.

“Trade is the lifeblood of the global economy. We must do everything we can to keep trade flowing,” Mr Fung said. “Trade finance is drying up, and so we must come up with some measures to provide immediate relief. There is a lot that multilateral financial institutions can do in that regard.”
Mr Fung was interviewed live from Singapore by CNN’s Andrew Stevens, in Hong Kong, on the program World Business Today. Mr Stevens referred to ICC as the world business organization with “hundreds of thousands of member companies in 130 countries.”

In what CNN described as perhaps the most important global summit of our time, world leaders from 20 countries will meet Saturday in Washington, D.C., to coordinate efforts to address the worsening financial crisis and to put in place a system to prevent another major crisis from occurring.

In a statement issued yesterday, ICC called on the leaders of the G20 nations to take bold and responsible actions to restore confidence in the world economy, including bringing the Doha Round to a successful conclusion.

In addition to addressing trade, Mr Fung said in the CNN interview that ICC expects the G20 to take a series of other actions now to address the financial crisis: “The first thing that we would expect from the G20 meeting is that they would begin the process of looking for potential reforms in the financial system. It is very important to put in place concrete measures to address the current crisis. What the world needs today is a boost in confidence.”

At the same time, G20 leaders must make sure their efforts have a broad international scope, Mr Fung went on to say. “They (the G20) must have the interests of the world at large, and especially the interests of smaller developing economies.”

While Mr Fung said ICC did not anticipate the G20 this weekend to develop a ‘Bretton Woods II,” a successor to the current global monetary system, he said the G20 must nonetheless “set in motion opportunities to study questions, and align potential structural reforms.”

Further down the road, Mr Fung added there must be more engagement in the global financial system. “In the long term, there is a need for much greater participation in the global (financial) architecture,” he said.

The G20 forum promotes dialogue between advanced and emerging countries on economic growth and financial system stability. Its members are finance ministers and central bank governors from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund also participate.