World business priorities for a new round of multilateral trade negotiations
Publication date : 21/06/1999 | Document Number : 103/213
World business, as represented by ICC, firmly believes that an open multilateral system that facilitates flows of goods, services and investment across national borders is a major force for raising living standards and creating jobs in all parts of the world.
For almost half a century, ICC gave strong support to the sever al successive rounds of negotiations to liberalize world trade carried out under the aegis of GATT. We were particularly supportive of the ambitious Uruguay Round negotiations, which resulted in unprecedentedly wide-ranging agreements to further reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, and which initiated a process of extending multilateral rules to new trade-related policy areas of major importance to world business.
We warmly welcomed the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its strengthened dispute settlement machinery, as a powerful new institution through which governments can develop and enforce global rules.
The Uruguay Round was a major step forward in improving the ground rules and reducing impediments for business to trade across frontiers. However, the world of today is not the same world as in 1986 when the Round was launched. The years since then have seen a marked acceleration in the pace and dissemination of technological development and a phenomenally rapid integration of the global marketplace.
'Trade' in its traditional sense – cross-border movement of goods and services – is nowadays only a part of what constitutes the global marketplace, and it is no longer adequate to focus on 'trade' barriers as the primary impediment to doing business across frontiers. The focus today must be on a much broader conception of market access – on the international rules for doing business on a global basis.
Globalization is presenting great challenges as well as great opportunities to societies the world over. Sound multilateral rules for the worldwide marketplace are vital to ensure the smooth functioning and good management of globalization. Markets, like freedom, only work well within a suitable framework of rules. It is the task of governments, with the help of business, to cooperate closely to find the balance between freedom and rules that maximizes the scope for business to create wealth and employment.
For further information, please contact
Policy Manager, Trade and Investment Policies
+33 (0)1 49 53 28 43