Multilateral movement essential to avoid creating inequality, ICC Secretary General tells Euronews

  • 13 May 2014
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Featuring in Euronews’s Real Economy programme to discuss the benefits of a multilateral approach to trade agreements, ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier said that the problem with mega-regional agreements is that they leave out most of the countries of the world.

“You’ve got to get some movement multilaterally to let developing and least developed economies benefit from trade,” Mr Carrier said: “If you don’t do that, you are going to create extreme inequality across world economies.”

Mr Carrier said that while businesses see mega-regionals as a positive development business people prefer a multilateral approach better than a bilateral one. “The problem with bilaterals is that the rules change in every market and so if you are a small- or medium-sized company that wants to trade but you don’t have a legal department, sometimes it is a very daunting proposition,” he said. “What happens with multilateral agreements is that the same rules apply to everybody. It’s nicer, you sail around the world, you do business around the world and you know pretty well it is always going to be the same conditions. And so you can adapt to them.”

Responding to a question from Real Economy anchor Maithreyi Seetharaman on how to convince people in Europe that global trade is good for them, Mr Carrier said: “There is still an entrenched belief by a lot of people – and it’s not just Europe – that somehow global trade steals jobs from me and sends them to poor countries. That kind of belief doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.” Mr Carrier said that trade creates jobs while the protectionist tendencies that have been dominant in recent years does the opposite. “If France and Germany are selling cars into China and suddenly they impose constraints on solar panels coming into France or some other Chinese products, necessarily you get a reaction and you start blocking the possibilities that create jobs.”

Reaching approximately 400 million households in 155 countries, Euronews is the most-watched news channel in Europe. Real Economy is a fortnightly programme looking at macroeconomic issues affecting Europe’s move from crisis to growth. The programme featuring Mr Carrier first aired on 6 May and can be viewed on the Euronews website.