Trade & investment

Global Business Priorities for the World Trade Organization and MC13

  • 28 February 2024

Global Business Priorities for the World Trade Organization

In the lead up to the 13th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference (MC13), ICC sets out the private sector’s priorities and recommendations to make the multilateral trading system work better for people and the planet.

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This paper outlines five key areas that the global business community would like Member States of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address as a priority. They were delivered by ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO and ICC Chair Maria Fernanda Garza to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, UAE during the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13).  

These global business priorities are drawn from extensive consultations with ICC’s business network spanning all continents and all levels of business development.  

They address the need to turn the tide on rising protectionism, reform the three organisational pillars of the WTO, address issues related to environmental sustainability, deliver ambitious outcomes for the digital economy, and accelerate implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement..  

Doing so would benefit businesses of all sizes and level the playing field for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises who are disproportionately impacted by tariff and non-tariff barriers and risk being left out of trade altogether. Making trade as inclusive as possible contributes to jobs, development, prosperity and peace.  

These global business priorities complement an open letter from ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO to trade ministers urging them to make every possible effort to ensure that MC13 delivers tangible outcomes to bolster the multilateral trading system. 

In a period marked by growing trade protectionism and geopolitical tensions, the WTO remains the most important forum for creating modern trade rules, providing transparency for government actions that promote and hinder trade, and resolving disputes between Member States.