World business and the multilateral trading system:recommendations for the Qatar ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization
Publication date : 06/06/2001
World business, as represented by ICC, believes strongly that the rules-based multilateral trading system built up through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO) is one of the central pillars of international cooperation.
It has contributed greatly to liberalizing world trade and improving market access, and is a major driving force for global economic growth, job creation, and wider consumer choice. Regional and plurilateral trading arrangements are no substitute for that system. It is in the urgent interest of all WTO member countries to work closely together to reaffirm in concrete form the key role of the WTO multilateral system in the management of globalization and in enabling its benefits to spread throughout society in all parts of the world.
ICC continues to believe that new broad-based multilateral trade negotiations (whether formally labelled a 'round' or not) under the aegis of the WTO should be a priority on the international economic agenda.
Early agreement to launch such negotiations would:
- reassure business that governments will continue to seek further market-opening measures - leading to additional business opportunities for international suppliers of goods and services - and will work to develop multilateral rules in line with new business realities and requirements;
- send a confidence-boosting signal to investors, traders and consumers that, at a time of growing uncertainty in the face of a pronounced slowdown in the global economy, governments from all continents are able to work together not only to resist protectionist pressures but to enlarge the potential for increasing tr ade and investment links between nations;
- reverse the impression given by governments in recent times that their focus has shifted to creating bilateral, plurilateral and regional trading arrangements at the expense of efforts to further liberalize multilateral trade through a global institution, the WTO.
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