The International Chamber of Commerce has unveiled the initial recommendations of its Business World Trade Agenda initiative, aimed at stimulating the global economy by helping to move the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) multilateral trade negotiations out of an 11-year deadlock.
The ICC said its initiative is “aimed at mobilizing international business – representing small, medium and large enterprises that produce the goods and services traded daily throughout the world – to define a practical and forward-looking multilateral agenda.
“Global trade has dropped sharply in 2012 and volumes are not expected to rise without restructuring multilateral trade negotiations and salvaging as much as possible from the WTO’s Doha round of trade negotiations,” the ICC pointed out. “Business is therefore providing its recommendations for governments to address the urgency of declining trade, which has been further hampered by the shortage of trade finance and the rising threat of protectionism.”
The initial recommendations from this process will be considered at the World Business Summit, being hosted by the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry in April 2013, back-to-back with the ICC World Chambers Federation 8th World Chambers Congress, which were launched on the occasion of the World Business Leaders Conference in Beijing.
ICC Honorary Chairman Victor K. Fung stated: “Resolving the current trade deadlock is a priority for global business. International trade and investment are the engines of economic growth and job creation, which will ultimately pull the global economy out of recession. It is crucial that governments work now to find a solution to unleash the benefits of trade and investment.”
The ICC noted that it “has been leading the global business community with initiatives – including the ICC Business World Trade Agenda and the ICC G20 Advisory Group – that encourage dialogue between business and government, in a bid to establish practical policies for opening trade and investment. The World Trade Organization supports ICC’s trade agenda, and global business will continue to provide input to governments in the lead up to the next WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia in December 2013.”
ICC Chairman Gerard Worms explained: “Business is uniquely placed to suggest innovative ways for overcoming obstacles in the ongoing trade negotiations. The potential impact of failed trade talks on business and job creation has moved us to take action. Without a stronger multilateral trading system, business will face an even more difficult environment for trade and investment.”
Harold McGraw III, ICC Vice-Chairman, and Chairman and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies, added: “The evidence shows that all countries and peoples will benefit from greater international trade and investment, because this drives economic growth and jobs based on a level playing field, innovation and inclusion.”
The ICC’s Business World Trade Agenda priorities include a call on governments to take the following measures:
— Conclude a stand-alone trade facilitation agreement
— Advance the multilateral process under the WTO framework
— Liberalize trade in services
— Lower barriers to trade in information technology products and services
— Work towards a multilateral framework on international investment
The bulletin also pointed out that a “WTO agreement on trade facilitation is expected to deliver gains of at least $130 billion per year worldwide and millions of new jobs, which will particularly benefit developing economies.
“The ICC Business World Trade Agenda initiative will hold regional consultations in various parts of the world to gather further input on its recommendations before presenting them to governments in Doha in April 2013.”
Source: International Chamber of Commerce
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