On 16 November, 20 Leaders from the world’s largest economies met in Brisbane, Australia, to outline a work program to lift growth and create jobs, build a stronger more resilient global economy, and strengthen global institutions. The three-page communiqué adopted by Leaders’ at the end of the two-day meeting reaffirmed the G20’s ambitious goal of lifting GDP by an additional 2.1% by 2018, and delineated a number of specific commitments closely relating to the policy recommendations put forward by the B20 task forces, including ICC priorities on energy.
ICC has been deeply engaged in the Business-20 (B20) process since the Seoul Summit in 2010, and this year worked closely with the head of the B20 Australia group Richard Goyder to formulate a set of 20 recommendations that focus on the core economic drivers of trade, infrastructure, human capital, finance and transparency. Presented to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in July 2014, the recommendations have been strongly endorsed by ICC. Notably, around half the commitments in the G20 Leader's November communiqué reflect recommendations that were made by the B20 Australia in July and almost all of the B20's recommendations (14 out of 20) are reflected in the communiqué; touching each of the 5 task force and working group issues.
ICC was particularly pleased that the Summit Communiqué rallied support for a strong multilateral trading system to drive economic growth and job creation, with G20 Leaders highlighting the centrality of the WTO rules and their historic role in delivering economic prosperity. Recognizing the recent breakthrough between USA and India on the WTO trade facilitation agreement, G20 Leaders pledged to implement all elements of the Bali package and to swiftly define a WTO work programme on the remaining issues of the Doha Development Agenda.
Business delegation to the Brisbane Summit
A delegation of 26 members of the B20 community representing 18 countries, as well as numerous international and national business associations, traveled to Sydney to participate in a series of G20/B20 meetings. ICC was represented by ICC Chairman Terry McGraw and the business delegation included eight other members of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group:
- Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu, President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey
- Antonio Brufau, Chairman & CEO of Repsol (Spain)
- Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes (Denmark)
- Alejandro Ramirez Magana, Director General of Cinepolis (Mexico)
- Richard Goyder, CEO of Wesfarmers Limited (Australia)
- Alexander Shokhin, President of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Russia)
- Michael Smith, CEO of Australia New Zealand Bank (Australia)
- Jamal J. Malaikah, President of National Petrochemical Industrial Co (Saudi Arabia)
The business delegation had the opportunity to meet with a group of G20 Leaders on the eve of the Summit to reiterate business priorities, press the need for action on creating the right environment for businesses to invest and create jobs, and to convey expectations for the Brisbane Summit. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott hosted and chaired the meeting with B20 Chair Richard Goyder. Heads of government from Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Senegal and New Zealand participated in the discussions. On Saturday, the B20 represented by Alejandro Ramirez and Richard Goyder directly addressed the G20 Leaders in session on the imperative of growth and the need to reestablish confidence to encourage greater investment, trade and job creation.
ICC Press Conference
ICC held a press conference on the afternoon of 14 November inside the G20 media center. Terry McGraw and Peder Holk Nielsen spoke to the media on ICC priorities for trade and energy. Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu laid out priorities for the B20 Turkey and ICC Australia Chair Kate Carnell emphasized the importance of the global community of SMEs to economic development and employment. Additional media coverage can be found
Traction on business recommendations
For the fifth consecutive year ICC has served as a strategic partner in the B20 process. This year members from the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group held leadership positions in three of the four task forces established under the Australian B20, and were able to advance a number of ICC priorities. The following sections delineate ICC's initial views on the substantive outcomes from Brisbane on the elements of the G20 agenda that are central to ICC's work.
In addition to support and progress on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, business was pleased that the G20 reaffirmed its longstanding standstill and rollback commitments to resist protectionism. However, the Leaders' commitment comes on the heels of the November WTO-UNCTAD report which points out that the stock of restrictive trade measures introduced by G20 economies since 2008 continues to rise. ICC now urges national governments to fulfil the G20 leaders' commitment to reduce protectionism.
Commitments to infrastructure
Business welcomed several G20 commitments to stimulate much needed investment in infrastructure, including the G20's Global Infrastructure Initiative, a multi-year work programme to lift quality public and private infrastructure investment. The Global Infrastructure Hub, which responds to one of the B20's core business recommendations this year, has the potential to support an additional US$2 trillion in infrastructure capacity, drive an additional US$600 billion to global GDP and support the creation of around 10 million jobs.
Leading by example on anti-corruption
Acknowledging the leadership role it can play in combatting corrupt practices, the G20 also endorsed a new two-year Anti-corruption Action Plan for 2015-2016. The Action Plan recognizes that the private sector is an essential partner in achieving the G20's anti-corruption goals. G20 countries committed to continue working with the private sector including by developing anti-corruption education and training for business.
Taxation rules for the 21st Century
ICC also applauded the G20's continued commitment to modernize international tax rules and to move towards a world standard. ICC fully supports the G20/OECD base erosion and profit shifting project and calls for increased coordination between governments to avoid inconsistencies between national tax systems and to create transparent, efficient, predictable and stable tax regimes that incentivize long-term investment, job creation and economic growth. ICC encourages G20 tax authorities to further collaborate on cross-border compliance, which is important to ensure the proper allocation of taxing rights between countries to prevent double taxation.
Energy and climate issues
ICC was pleased to see a dedicated session on global energy issues debut at the Brisbane Summit. The Leaders' declaration included the launch of a G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan, explicit support for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the endorsement of G20 principles for increased energy collaboration, energy trade and investment, deployment of innovative energy technologies, cost-effective energy efficiency, and renewable and clean energy solutions.
ICC co-hosted a special
conference with Griffith University and the University of Toronto's G20 Research Group. The only "unofficial" conference held during the summit week featured a number of presentations from the ICC group, including a keynote by ICC Chairman Terry McGraw on the challenges for the 21st Century Trade Agenda.
Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes, conveyed ICC energy policy messages on energy security and energy efficiency during a panel discussion on Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainable Development. Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu, President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, was invited to outline priorities for the business community during the Turkish G20 Presidency. He was then joined by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu who confirmed that Turkey will concentrate on development, trade, employment, SMEs, energy, investment and climate. Jeff Hardy, Director of the ICC G20 Advisory Group, participated on a panel on G20 Summit Performance and explained the value of the ICC G20 Business Scorecard to the policy-making process.
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ICC – WTO breakfast meeting
On Saturday morning, ICC Chairman Terry McGraw and ICC Australia Chair Kate Carnell hosted a meeting with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo and the business delegates in Brisbane to discuss WTO trade negotiations and the role of business going forward. Mr Azevedo updated the business community on the status of negotiations on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, including the recent progress made between the US and India. Azevedo was enthusiastic about the progress and the potential to advance the WTO trade agenda and deliver on the potential economic and job benefits. He stressed that there was more work to be done and expressed his appreciation to the business community for its work on the B20 trade recommendations and also for its efforts to communicate the benefits of open multilateral trade to national governments and trade ministers.
20 business recommendations for the G20
During the G20 Summit in Brisbane, ICC advanced 20 recommendations that were defined during the B20 process. The recommendations promote structural flexibility, free movement across borders, consistent and effective regulation and integrity and credibility in commerce.
Read more: 20 business recommendations for the G20