New York, N.Y., December 7, 2013 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) applauded the adoption of an ambitious package of trade liberalization measures by World Trade Organization members at the WTO ministerial in Bali, Indonesia today.
”WTO members have delivered a dose of holiday cheer to a struggling global economy,” said USCIB President and CEOPeter Robinson. “We congratulate ministers on making the tough choices necessary to push this package of agreements past the finish line. They have demonstrated once again the critical importance of multilateral trade liberalization.”
Expectations ahead of the Bali meeting were low, said Robinson, in light of the inability of WTO members to agree to a package in preliminary meetings in Geneva last month, leaving the tough decisions for trade ministers. But he said the business community did not give up hope, and indeed redoubled its efforts to push governments toward an agreement. Robinson said the result – a set of agreements to, among other things, facilitate global trade through modernization of customs and other administrative practices – “will add billions of dollars to global GDP and create millions of jobs.”
A major business push came from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which earlier this year estimated that a trade facilitation agreement alone would deliver global job gains of 21 million, with developing countries gaining more than 18 million jobs and developed countries increasing their workforce by three million.
“With our help, 159 countries came together to reach a trade facilitation agreement that will boost the world’s economy by almost one trillion U.S. dollars,” said ICC Chairman Terry McGraw, who also serves as USCIB’s chairman, in a video message to governments and ICC members worldwide. “What an accomplishment! And the good news is everyone participated.”
McGraw said the agreement “breaks through the logjam that has bottled up trade agreements for the last decade, and paves the way for future agreements that will further increase global growth and job creation.”
The business community, already rallying in support of renewed Trade Promotion Authority as well as prospective U.S. trade pacts with 12 Asia-Pacific nations and the European Union, will push hard for adoption of the Bali package by Congress, according to USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan, who attended the Bali ministerial and who spearheads USCIB’s Washington-based activities. “We in the private sector are united in our support for this agreement, and for additional action to spur jobs and growth through international trade,” he said.
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
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