World business responds to Cannes G20 Summit outcome

  • 7 November 2011

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – the world business organization – is urging G20 governments to put trade and investment at the heart of their Action Plan for Growth and Jobs in response to the outcomes of the Cannes G20 Summit.

“Trade has lifted millions out of poverty over the past 60 years by stimulating economic growth and job creation,” said ICC Chairman Gerard Worms.  “At a time when governments are grappling with excessive debt, a new approach to trade negotiations can be a cost-free stimulus to growth and job creation.”

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that for every 10% of trade that opens among G20 countries, around one million jobs are created.

ICC was encouraged by the G20’s recognition of “the merits of the multilateral trading system”, and its reaffirmation of its commitments to the Doha Development Agenda mandate and to avoid introducing new protectionist measures.  G20 leaders acknowledged the current stalemate in multilateral trade negotiations and that the Doha Round would not be concluded under current negotiating rules.

The G20 recognized the need to “pursue in 2012 fresh credible approaches to furthering negotiations” and it “directed its ministers to work on such new approaches” at the upcoming ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December in Geneva. It also encouraged the ministers to “engage into discussions on the challenges and opportunities to the multilateral trading system in a globalized economy” and to report back at the next G20 Summit in June 2012 in Los Cabos, Mexico.

“ICC welcomes the acceptance by G20 leaders that a new agenda for trade negotiations under different rules is needed to finally achieve a Doha agreement,” said ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier. “ICC intends to mobilize the global business community to help define this new trade agenda, to secure the many advantages negotiated in the Doha Round over the past 10 years.”

ICC will also join efforts by the OECD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the WTO to monitor and report on protectionist measures by launching an ICC Open Markets Index to assess, from a global business perspective, openness to international trade and investment by WTO members.

ICC commends the G20 for including measures in its Action Plan for Growth and Jobs to reduce barriers to trade and investment and the development gap. Particularly relevant is the recognition that “improved market access for least developed countries should be complemented with a strengthening of trade facilitation, trade finance and aid-for-trade programs to enhance their trade capacity.”  In this respect, ICC will pursue its work to provide market intelligence on trade finance in order to support measures to ensure the availability and affordability of financing for international trade, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries.

ICC is encouraged by the G20 plan’s recognition of the role of investment in developing countries as a catalyst for economic growth.  As a concrete policy initiative to support such investment, ICC urges the G20 to give further consideration to establishing a multilateral framework for investment.  In 2012 ICC will issue its revised Guidelines for International Investment, outlining the elements of a balanced approach to promoting and protecting cross-border investment.

Finally, ICC welcomes strong measures from the G20 to combat corruption including the “need for swift implementation of a strong international legislative framework … and the development of joint initiatives between the public and the private sector.” ICC stands ready to complement governmental efforts including through the development of training products to help companies implement effective compliance programmes.

For more information please visit the ICC G20 Advisory Group.