Hong Kong, 22-23 September 2011

The Asia Regional Consultation of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group took place in Hong Kong on September 22 and 23, 2011. The meeting brought together over 25 business leaders and policy experts from around the Asia Pacific region and France for a candid discussion on the current global economic situation.

The Hong Kong meeting was the second in a series of four consultations designed to gather input from local business leaders – ensuring that our work is balanced, substantive and representative of business views worldwide – and to transmit our views to government officials and media. It is included in the work of ICC’s G20 CEO Advisory Group, which is hosting a series of regional policy consultations, designed to provide local businesses with an opportunity to help shape ICC’s policy recommendations for input into the G20 process.

Agenda

Stefano Bertasi, ICC Policy Director, framed the discussion with a presentation on the ICC’s global and inclusive policy development process, along with a distillation of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group’s work in the areas of: trade, investment and development; strengthening financial regulation, fighting corruption, reforming the international monetary system, reducing commodity price volatility; and green growth

Participants

The meeting was hosted by ICC’s Honorary Chairman, Victor K. Fung, who is also a leading member of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group. The roundtable brought together CEOs of leading companies from Bangladesh, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and France. Speakers included Mr Fung, ICC Secretary-General Jean-Guy Carrier and Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO of Schneider Electric.

Outcomes

One major area of concern expressed was the inability of global trade rules and frameworks to keep up with the realities of how global companies actually trade and do business. Rules of Origin, which form the basis for computing national trade deficits and surpluses, are just one example. In some cases, outdated global frameworks can work against market access, investment and innovation.

The Group also offered feedback on issues that would be addressed by the G20 leaders in November 2011 in France.

  • Noting that the number of protectionist measures had actually increased over the last 18 months, the group suggested that ICC speak out strongly on the harms of protectionism. They also suggested that such an ICC campaign should also more effectively dispel arguments that trade results in job losses by clearly explaining how trade is a dynamic process that contributes to job creation.
  • Participants expressed concern over the increasing volatility of global economic conditions, and how this volatility affected all players in all parts of the world due to the increasing integration of the global economy. One of business’s objectives in influencing the G20 agenda and in the outcomes of the G20 process should be to try to decrease this volatility to more manageable levels.
  • On investment, participants suggested that a multilateral framework for cross-border investment should be proposed by the G20. Multilateral rules for trade have proven to be effective in raising living standards across the world. Now, more than ever, given global supply chains and the complementary role of trade and investment, it is time to create a global regime for investment that parallels the global regime for trade.
  • Participants in the consultation welcomed ICC’s soon-to-be-released “Open Markets Index,” suggesting that a business-led index of economic openness would be an excellent complement to existing indicators developed by intergovernmental organizations.
  • On the subject of corruption, the group acknowledged that there is much that business could do to spread good practice and improve corporate performance using ICC rules and associated tools. Close cooperation between business and government to eradicate corruption would yield faster progress while boosting investment prospects.

Media coverage

Victor K. Fung, ICC Honorary Chairman and Chairman of the Li & Fung group companies, hosted the media roundtable in Hong Kong. This media event presented the outcomes of the discussion taken among members of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group as well as CEOs of leading regional companies in Hong Kong.

The event had a significant amount of coverage from media such as Bloomberg, Reuters, Xinhua, the China Daily and the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Selected quotes

“Recent events have shown the fragility of economic recovery and highlighted the need for forward-looking measures to support trade, global economic cooperation and job creation. Our focus on jobs is deliberate: every major economy is facing serious challenges in this area, whether due to fiscal concerns, demographic change, or social integration. Business has an important contribution to make to the global recovery in terms of job creation. And a concerted 'jobs agenda' from global leaders would in turn do much to boost confidence in the business community.”

Victor K Fung, ICC Honorary Chairman

"More effective and ambitious international cooperation is vital for tackling the world's major challenges in today’s integrated global economy. Meetings such as this one help determine how business can and should contribute to global policy discussions – on energy as well as on other key issues for our societies.”

Jean-Pascal Tricoire President and CEO, Schneider Electric

“Trade will play a key role in tackling the jobs crisis. Economic growth depends largely on the capacity of G20 governments to improve the conditions for international trade and job creation, and business stands ready as a partner in this recovery.”

Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC Secretary General