As global leaders continue to face the challenges of addressing the global financial and economic crisis, over 150 international business and government policy decision-makers met May 21 to explore and discuss how the OECD and the international business community are working together to promote open markets and job creation.
The one-day conference, organized by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) and its Portuguese member Associação Industrial Portuguesa – Confederação Empressarial (AIP-CE) on the occasion of BIAC’s annual general assembly, provided insight into how the Paris-based OECD, which groups the world’s most advanced industrialized nations, influences economic policies worldwide and how business can engage with it.
“We must work together, BIAC and OECD, to restore public trust,” said OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría. “Trust in governments and regulations, in banks and corporations, in open markets and globalization as a whole.”
BIAC Chairman Charles P. Heeter (Deloitte & Touche) helped open the event. “Crisis management necessitates extraordinary measures, and governments are pressing, both domestically as well as internationally, to restore market confidence in the financial sector and to stimulate their economies,” he stated. “BIAC is the means for the business voice to be heard at the highest levels at the OECD as it deals with today’s problems and thinks of tomorrow’s challenges.”
In a panel discussion of the current global economic outlook, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson called upon governments to refrain from imposing new barriers to trade and investment, even where technically allowable under multilateral rules. Referring to recent OECD discussions of globally integrated production, he stated: “We must resist the tide of ‘below the WTO radar’ non-tariff barriers that disrupt global, vertically integrated production patterns.”
Additional speakers included Fernando Teixeria Dos Santos, Portugal’s minister of state and finance, Jorge Rocha De Matos, president of AIP-CE, and Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues Portugal’s ambassador to the OECD. Panels included numerous other business and industry representatives from the U.S., Japan, Germany, Brazil, India, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, as well as host Portugal.
Mr. Heeter concluded by thanking AIP-CE for successfully hosting this year’s event, and by highlighting that BIAC will build on the outcomes of the roundtable in preparing for its June 23 consultation with OECD ministers in Paris. “It is in times like these when our collective work is needed more than ever,” he said. “Business and governments acting together can help restore trust in globalization.”
Staff contact: Peter Robinson