Mobilizing global business
The ICC World Trade Agenda initiative was launched during its 1st policy conference at WTO Headquarters to begin defining trade negotiation priorities from the perspective of the private sector and move multilateral trade talks ‘beyond Doha’ to address the increasingly important trade policy issues, such as trade in environmental goods, trade in services, etc.
Input was also sought through an open and broad-based consultative process with business leaders and experts in ICC's global network. A series of regional consultations were organized to solicit input on the initial policy recommendations to help define a broadly-shared agenda of business priorities for presentation to governments. In addition to the extensive input from global business, ICC built on its policy content through research papers such as that prepared by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, in consultation with intergovernmental organizations and governments.
The result of the year long initial phase was the finalized set of business priorities that were publicly released during the World Trade Agenda Summit in April 2013 in Doha, held under the patronage of the Minister of Economy of Qatar. The Summit, hosted by Qatar Chamber, provided an opportunity for more than 800 business leaders to discuss and endorse the World Trade Agenda business priorities to WTO governments. The business priorities are also being fed into the G20 process to further make the case for multilateral trade and investment.
The 2nd phase of the World Trade Agenda initiative was to mount a campaign targeting key WTO members to achieve one or more agreements at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, in Bali, Indonesia from 3 to 6 December 2013. Business leaders in ICC's global network met with key policymakers and interested stakeholders to convince national governments to pursue negotiations to reach a series of multilateral agreements.
Since the Bali Package. the 3rd phase for the World Trade Agenda initiative has been initiated. The post-Bali business priorities urge WTO Members to prioritze areas where tangible results can be acheived. Amoung the priorities are the following:
Liberalize trade in services
Multilateralize trade liberalization under the WTO framework
Foster ‘greener’ economic activity through trade
Move towards a high-standard multilateral framework on investment
Reform the WTO Dispute Settlement System
Reaching a balanced and satisfactory outcome on the Doha Development Agenda
Improving global trade rules and achieving greater liberalization through negotiation is an essential function of the WTO. Unless WTO members are able to successfully discharge this function collectively by completing the DDA, one of the key roles of the institution – that of providing an effective forum for multilateral trade negotiations – will be called into question. As a result, the WTO’s dispute settlement system will be placed under increasingly strain should rule making and trade liberalization occur through adjudication rather than negotiation. In such circumstances, ICC is concerned that the two main pillars of the rule-based multilateral trading system would be significantly weakened. ICC is committed to a strong and effective WTO, one whose members collectively negotiate the lowering of trade barriers and the strengthening of global trade rules.