Mr McGraw and a high-level ICC delegation participated in several meetings during the delegations visit to Australia. The visit included meetings with high-level government officials, meetings with Australian business leaders, two ICC G20 Advisory Group consultations, and a G20 panel scheduled during the Australian Business Congress.
The trip afforded an opportunity for Mr McGraw to strengthen the ICC network in Australia, advocate for ICC's policy positions and build a foundation for world business in the lead up to the Australian G20 Presidency in 2014.
Chairman McGraw met with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to discuss the governments' priorities for the Australia G20 Presidency and to champion ICC policy positions. During the meeting, Mr Rudd emphasized the need for the G20 to moderate financial regulation, bring better balance to public finance, increase private investment in infrastructure, address the global challenge of youth employment and implement tangible solutions to the Doha trade negotiations. He stressed it was important to "crack the nut on free trade". Mr Rudd believes that business has a critical role in the process for generating the commerce behind economic growth and jobs.
Mr McGraw also met with Opposition leader Tony Abbott. Mr Abbott noted that Australia's G20 leadership will be an opportunity to recommit to the open market policies that have historically driven global economic growth.
During meetings with Trade Minister Richard Marles, Finance Minister Penny Wong and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, Mr McGraw empasized the value of engaging ICC and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in the G20 process. He also pressed the following 'short list' of ICC policy priorities:
- Reject measures that restrict trade and investment by extending the standstill agreement and tangibly reduce trade protections throughout the G20
- Commit to finalizing a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement at the WTO Bali Ministerial
- Honour commitments for complete ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)
- Develop a high-standard multilateral framework for international investment, drawing up the ICC Guidelines for International Investment
- Ensure the availability, stability and sustainability of trade finance
- Mandate multi-lateral development banks and international financial institutions to frame and promulgate global project preparation guidelines for sustainable infrastructure projects
- Support the implementation of the WTO rules on Trade-related Intellectual Property (TRIPs)
- Establish and implement clear and elevated standards for energy efficiency
Business 20 Australia
Having formed a national "B20 leadership group" of Australian businesses and associations including ACCI, the ICC delegation also met with the Business 20 leader Richard Goyder and B20 Sherpa Robert Milliner. The Business 20 leadership group is deep into the planning stages of the B20's Australian cycle.
Sydney policy consultation
One of the highlights of the week-long activities was an ICC G20 policy consultation hosted by ACCI and the New South Wales Business Chamber which was attended by Australian G20 Sherpa Gordon de Brouwer, and leading Australian business representatives. The policy consultation explored key policy issues of most importance for Australian businesses, which may not have yet had an opportunity to contribute to the G20 conversation.
Strengthening the ICC network
A key objective of the ICC delegation was to strengthen the ICC network in Australia. Chairman McGraw held a series of roundtable meetings with leaders that included hosts ACCI and ICC Australia and was attended by local chambers: VECCI, New South Wales Business Chamber, CCIWA, CCIQ and the Sydney Chamber of Commerce.
The congregation of chambers and business leaders exemplified the ICC network at its finest, combining centrally-driven policy initiatives with the expertise and influence of national committees operating at the doorstep of national governments.