DOHA/GENEVA: Business leaders presented to World Trade Organization (WTO) permanent ambassadors and representatives, at WTO headquarters in Geneva yesterday, their initial recommendations for driving international trade negotiations out of an 11-year deadlock and boosting the global economy, a release said yesterday.
Executives from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Qatar Chamber updated WTO representatives on progress from the ICC World Trade Agenda. This initiative was established in 2011 with the aim of defining a practical and forward-looking trade policy agenda that will contribute to economic growth and job creation, moving WTO trade talks “Beyond Doha”.
ICC and Qatar Chamber are gathering input from businesses globally in order to compile a final set of recommendations that will be presented at the ICC World Trade Agenda Summit to be held here on April 22, 2013, with a view to presenting them to governments in the lead up to the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia in December 2013.
Among those taking part in discussions in Geneva were: Pascal Lamy, WTO Director-General; Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC Secretary General; Remy Rowhani, Qatar Chamber CEO; Jan Atteslander, Economiesuisse Executive Board Member; Barbara Meynert, Senior Advisor, Li & Fung Group; Stuart Harbinson, Former WTO Ambassador, Switzerland and Gabriela Wurcel, Director of International Trade, Phillip Morris International.
“We are here to press for the inclusion of global business views in WTO deliberations and to introduce fresh approaches to boosting economic growth and employment through open trade and investment,” said Jean-Guy Carrier.
The current economic crisis has only intensified the urgency to redefine trade rules and harness the potential of new multilateral agreements to provide a debt-free stimulus to the global economy.
For example, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a WTO agreement on trade facilitation is expected to deliver gains of at least $130bn per year worldwide and millions of new jobs, which will particularly benefit developing economies.
This business initiative, in partnership with governments, aims to define a new world trade agenda to overcome the deadlock in WTO negotiations and reach a “Doha victory”.
“This is a serious effort aimed at fostering better dialogue between business and trade policymakers,” Lamy added. “It is essential that this dialogue is ongoing if we are to ensure the WTO and the global trading system remains vibrant.”
The ICC World Trade Agenda initiative will continue to gather the input of small, medium and large enterprises that produce the goods and services traded daily throughout the world so as to shape recommendations that reflect trading realities.
“Business is uniquely placed to identify bottlenecks in the global trading system,” Rowhani said. “We are moved to take action, because without a stronger multilateral trading system, business around the world will face an even tougher environment for trade and investment.”
ICC and Qatar Chamber answered calls from WTO and G20 leaders for new approaches by launching the WTA initiative in March 2012 at the WTO headquarters in Geneva.
The ICC World Trade Agenda initial recommendations, which were launched at the World Business Leaders Conference in Beijing on September 28, 2012, include a call on governments to: Conclude a stand-alone trade facilitation agreement; “Multilateralize” trade liberalisation; Liberalize trade in services; Lower barriers to trade in information technology products and services and Work towards a multilateral framework on international investment.