The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), part of USCIB’s global network, presented policy priorities on behalf of global business on the eve of this year’s Summit of G20 leaders in Los Cabos, Mexico.
“The G20’s expanding agenda increasingly bears upon core business goals for trade, economic growth and job creation,” said ICC Chairman Gerard Worms, who headed a delegation of ICC leaders at the G20 Business Summit. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that the G20 takes into account global business priorities in their deliberations. As the everyday practitioners of the global economy, we need to make sure that the voice of world business is heard.”
Worms was joined in Los Cabos by a CEO delegation that included USCIB Chairman (and ICC Vice Chairman) Harold McGraw III, chairman and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies; ICC Honorary Chairman Victor Fung, chairman of the Li & Fung Group Chairman Victor K Fung; and ICC G20 Advisory Group Chairman Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of SEB.
ICC has delivered business priorities to G7, G8 and now G20 Summits since 1990, and beginning with the Seoul Summit has partnered with host-country organizations to produce business policy recommendations for consideration by the G20. Currently, this work is conducted collaboratively between ICC, the World Economic Forum and principal host-nation business associations so as to canvas broad business input into the policy development process.
USCIB President Peter M. Robinson is also taking part in the business meetings surrounding the G20 Summit.
“Although the majority of issues tackled by the G20 are directly related to global business priorities, until the creation of G20 business summits, the G20 process had no formal means to solicit input from business leaders on its agenda and work,” said ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier. “The G20 Business Summit is therefore a welcome opportunity and we are grateful to Mexican President Calderon for reaching out to business.”
Among ICC’s top policy priorities are trade and investment. ICC contends that especially at a time when governments are struggling with excessive debt, multilateral trade liberalization would create jobs and drive economic growth.
“Trade is the lifeblood of the global economy and the world needs more of it at this critical moment, not less,” said Fung. “We are calling on G20 leaders to lead by example in resisting protectionism and rejecting measures that restrict trade and investment. The G20 should provide strong support for multilateral trade liberalization and foster more rapid progress on the WTO negotiating agenda. We’d like to see the G20 make trade and investment a permanent item on its agenda.”
While a successful conclusion of the Doha Round in its current form doesn’t seem likely, there are alternative approaches to making progress on the multilateral trade agenda that can spur growth, foster economic opportunities, and create much-needed jobs.
“The G20 should enhance capital markets so the world has the liquidity it needs to meet massive demands in infrastructure and corporate debt,” said McGraw, who also emphasized that the G20 should lead in protecting intellectual property rights. “The current trend of ‘free content’ through piracy is nothing more than the digital age’s version of old-fashioned theft,” he said.
Wallenberg said: “We call on G20 leaders to be attentive to business’s messages and to learn from companies’ experience of the practical consequences of regulation and policy decisions on the economy and on jobs.”
“Business is especially concerned with the trend toward ‘over-regulation,’” Wallenberg said. “The financing of the economy is being restricted by higher bank funding costs, higher lending spreads and lower credit supply. All this is happening at a time when the world economy is most in need of productive investment,” he added.
ICC has called on the G20 to lead efforts to create a predictable and stable climate for global cross-border investment.
We would wish that the G20 would show more concern to the promotion and protection of foreign-direct investment,” said Wallenberg. “We’d like to see the G20 create a special working group on investment to advance this agenda which would report back to the next G20 Summit in Russia in 2013.”
ICC is committed to establishing an ongoing policy dialogue between the G20 and global business. To do so, ICC has launched the ICC G20 Business Scorecard, a policy tool designed to gauge the G20’s response to business recommendations.
ICC upholds that the G20 will more effectively set priorities, honor commitments, measure its own progress over time, and identify issues that deserve greater attention, if it is better informed on how its actions are interpreted by the business community. In parallel, global business should work more closely with the G20 to promote economic growth and job creation.
“The purpose of the ICC G20 Scorecard is to generate a balanced and reliable measurement of the G20’s performance in response to business recommendations that have been put forward to G20 leaders,” said Carrier.
The ICC G20 Scorecard was unveiled by USCIB Chairman McGraw at a June 5 conference in Washington, D.C. with U.S. G20 Sherpa Michael Froman. It marked G20 performance as “incomplete” across the four policy areas evaluated: trade and investment, green growth, transparency and anti-corruption, and financing for growth and development.
On trade and investment the Scorecard gives the G20 a score of “incomplete,” based primarily on its failure to help advance multilateral trade negotiations. “The Scorecard is a useful tool for business to monitor the G20’s progress on the international trade and investment policy agenda,” said Carrier. “If G20 leaders were to break the stalemate in WTO negotiations or to make progress towards a multilateral framework for investment, these advances would be reflected in a significantly higher score.”
The G20 Business Summit demonstrates just how useful increased collaboration between business and government can be.
“The commitment and recommendations of the CEOs gathered in Los Cabos compel a mechanism to pursue the dialogue on an ongoing basis,” Worms said. “ICC hopes that the G20 will recognize the value of creating a permanent role for world business at future G20 summits and in the policymaking process between summits.”
Staff contact: Rob Mulligan