From the President’s Desk:
Now More Than Ever: Open Markets Matter
As the world debates new regulatory structures, USCIB will be there.
By Peter M. Robinson
The unfolding global financial crisis and worldwide recession have put open markets in jeopardy. According to the World Bank, since their summit in Washington last November, fully 17 of the G20 nations introduced some 47 new trade and related market barriers, despite pledges to avoid doing so.
The results are startling. The World Trade Organization estimates that world trade will plunge by nine percent this year, its sharpest decline since World War II. Lower worldwide demand is certainly contributing to this drop, as is the drying-up of credit, which has hit international trade just like it has every other sector of economic activity. But countries add insult to injury by pursuing such ruinous beggar-thy-neighbor policies.
What can business do to help get us out of this mess? Clearly, we must actively support close international cooperation to lift the major economies out of recession and to lay the groundwork for future prosperity. USCIB and our affiliated business groups have been pushing for this since the onset of the crisis. The results of the most recent G20 meeting in London appear to indicate that our leaders’ hearts are in the right place. But we need to hold policy makers to account.
Many countries have proposed new rules, even new international institutions, to deal with the fallout from recent market failures. New regulation is clearly necessary. But we must be alert to the real possibility of regulatory overreach, both at home and in the global arena. In particular, it is important that leading international bodies remain focused on their core competencies, and that the purpose of any new cross-border regulatory machinery be clearly defined.
USCIB’s global business network, with its strong links to key governments and international bodies, is playing an instrumental role in providing business with a clear, coordinated voice in major world capitals and intergovernmental forums. Furthermore, we are seeking to bring a global perspective in support of open markets to domestic debates over trade, investment and economic recovery.
Following the G20 Summit in London, attention is expected to turn toward July’s G8 Summit in Sardinia. Our chairman Bill Parrett took part in April’s preparatory G8 Business Summit in Sardinia, where business federation heads from each of the G8 nations were expected to press for a strong and united policy response as well as the rejection of isolationist and discriminatory measures on the part of major governments.
Even in these difficult times, it is critically important for companies to remain engaged and provide necessary leadership in the fast-changing global business environment. Indeed, I would argue that such leadership is needed especially in difficult times, because in public policy, it is often during a crisis that important structural changes are made. What is decided this year may last for decades to come.
As the world debates new financial, economic and regulatory structures, USCIB will continue to serve as your vehicle for providing business solutions, vision and leadership. Because now more than ever, open markets matter.
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