Earlier this week, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson attended the B20 business meetings preceding the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, joining USCIB Chairman Harold (Terry) McGraw III and a host of global business leaders for intensive discussion and dialogue with G20 governments.
In a message to members reflecting on the summit’s outcome, Mr. Robinson wrote: “There is one thing I am certain of: G20 governments have heard the voice of business on a number of critical trade, investment and financial issues. To what extent the G20 truly listened to and learned from business will only be revealed through government actions going forward.”
The B20 Summit has become an annual accompaniment to the G20 Summit, attended by numerous business leaders and incorporating the involvement of each leg of USCIB’s global network – the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD.
Robinson said this year’s B20 meeting was a well-organized event that incorporated dialogue and exchange between business and government leaders, including both heads of state and heads of intergovernmental organizations, representing an opportunity for business to communicate its views. Position papers were developed through a consultative process established by Alejandro Ramirez, CEO of the Mexican company Cinepolis, who Robinson said “did a great job” as the B20 coordinator appointed by Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Industry task forces organized by ICC and the World Economic Forum examined a wide range of issues in the lead-up to Los Cabos, with ICC leading the task force on trade and investment, which was co-chaired by ICC Honorary Chairman Victor Fung. IOE Executive Vice President Daniel Funes de Rioja participated in the employment task force, which was co-chaired by USCIB Trustee Jeffrey Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. IOE and BIAC have organized business input to the G8/G20 labor ministerials.
In addition to Calderon, the B20 gathering was addressed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Benin President Yayi Boni. The heads of major intergovernmental bodies also participated, including World Bank President Robert Zoellick, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria and WTO Director General Pascal Lamy.
According to Robinson, government leaders emphasized a common refrain:
- a commitment to open markets and roll back protectionism
- the importance of encouraging economic growth and job creation
- a challenge to business to make its voice heard strongly and to go beyond basic recommendations
- encouragement of the business community to measure results and actions by governments.
Robinson said business would indeed strive to hold the G20 accountable. “Certainly, the final communiqué endorsed a number of basic business messages,” he said. “I am optimistic and hopeful that the considerable energy that went into the organization of the B20 in Los Cabos will pay off in the long run, and that business will have a continued leadership role in the years ahead.”