The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) called on global business leaders to intensify discussions with G20 governments and to emphasize priorities for trade, investment and servicing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to grow the economy and generate jobs.
ICC Chairman Terry McGraw addressed 350 global business leaders gathered in Washington D.C. for a special B20 plenary session co-hosted by the World Bank Group. In his keynote speech, McGraw urged fellow business leaders to step up the dialogue with the G20 and press for adoption of B20 recommendations on trade and investment and on stimulating the contribution of smaller businesses to the global economic recovery.
“We must remember that the G20 is a coalition of 20 individual member governments,” said McGraw. “To ensure that governments hear and understand our priorities, we need to take a horizontal approach that addresses individual circumstances across the G20.
The high-level B20 plenary session featured interventions from IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Word Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan, and Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chair of B20 Turkey. Lagarde, who has participated in B20 meetings annually since 2011, when the G20 was held in France, reiterated the importance of business contributions to the G20 agenda and called for “continuing dialogue between the B’s [B20] and the G’s [G20].”
Babacan emphasized the importance of business engagement in the G20 process. “Governments alone cannot create growth or employment. No matter how much you increase government spending, no matter how much central banks go through a monetary expansion process, if the private sector is not onboard it is not realistic to expect sustainable growth, it is not realistic to expect real job creation. So B20 is very important for us and business involvement in our G20 agenda is of utmost importance,” he said.
The B20 plenary was preceded by the inaugural meeting of the B20 International Business Advisory Council (IBAC) which is chaired by Muthar Kent, CEO and chairman of the Coca-Cola Company and comprises CEOs and business association heads from each of the G20 countries.
“The objectives of IBAC are to ramp up our communications with G20 government officials and to improve continuity between [G20] Summits,” said Kent. “I’m happy to be able to support Turkey’s Presidency of the G20 and B20 and to advance the economic reform agenda that will be critical to increasing global growth, growth in trade, growth in job creation and growth in inclusiveness.”
B20 Turkey also invited ICC to serve as its international secretariat for the IBAC, to be chaired by ICC Secretary General John Danilovich.
“ICC has had an historic responsibility to convey business priorities to national and intergovernmental officials for decades,” explained Danilovich. “Serving as the IBAC Secretariat is a natural extension of this role and draws upon our experience as strategic partner to the B20 since the Seoul Summit in 2010. Our job will be to ensure that business priorities are included in the deliberations of the G20, as a collective body for global economic governance and in national capitals.”
The B20 meetings in Washington also included breakout sessions for the six B20 policy task forces: Infrastructure and Investment, Trade, Employment, SMEs, Anti-Corruption, and Finance. The meetings were used to provide mid-point assessments of priorities across the task forces and to begin finalizing the recommendations that will be presented to G20 leaders in advance of the Antalya Summit in November.
ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group deputies met ahead of the Task Force meetings to align priorities and outline a strategy for ICC’s contributions to the 2015 B20 process. The ICC group comprises over forty CEOs from major multinational corporations from most of the G20 countries who are committed to sharing real world experience for the G20 growth agenda.
“The ICC group forms the ‘corporate core’ of the B20,” said ICC CEO Advisory Group Director Jeff Hardy. “The B stands for business and it’s important that we amplify the priorities of the companies that drive global trade, investment and employment.”
The 2015 G20 Leaders’ Summit will be held in Antalya on November 15-16.