Bali Ministerial 2013
Having reaffirmed its strong support for the multilateral trading system entrusted to the WTO, ICC underscored the urgency of producing a meaningful result at the 9th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference as essential to sustaining the centrality of the multilateral trading system and strengthening the WTO.
As a leading voice of international business on issues that are of the utmost importance to liberalizing trade, increasing global investment and generating a sustainable global economic recovery, ICC made every effort to convince governments to reach an agreement on trade facilitation at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, 3-6 December in Bali.
On behalf of its global network reaching 6.5 million companies worldwide, ICC had been steadfast in its campaign to push for the conclusion of a trade facilitation agreement that according to a recent ICC commissioned report could create more than US$1 trillion in world export gains.
The WTO trade facilitation agreement that was successfully made in Bali on 7 December is the most effective way to simplify policies and administrative procedures that determine how goods cross borders or are handled by customs. In short, it cuts red tape that diverts precious resources, slows down supply chains and increases the cost of goods by an estimated 5% to 15%.
The deal will encourage cross-border trade and investment, economic growth and job creation worldwide, for all countries at all levels of economic development, and will be of particular benefit to developing countries and small- and medium-sized enterprises in these countries. Bilateral and regional trade agreements normally include trade facilitation provisions. However, they do not provide consistency across the whole world. Only a multilateral deal can do this.
“The trade facilitation deal under discussion at the WTO is basically about cutting red tape at borders and in customs for trade in goods. It means, for instance, harmonizing forms, administrative procedures and standards, and fees. These are a significant cost to business, particularly SMEs and companies in developing countries, often as high as 5-15% of the value of the goods involved."
Victor K. Fung
Chairman, World Trade Agenda Initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce
Chairman,Fung Global Institute
“The end of the formal negotiations in Geneva is nothing new. Neither is the start of a new phase of intensive talks between members over the next few days. The Uruguay Round negotiations went down to a tense finish in 1994 after eight years of talks. Agreement to launch the Doha Round took five years to develop and only occurred through last-minute bargaining between key players during all-night sessions at the Doha WTO Ministerial Conference in 2001.”
ICC Secretary General
“Everyone in the business community is now very much focused on the World Trade Organization ministerial in Bali next month, where there is a tremendous expectation for at least a minimalist deal that will greatly stimulate growth.”
ICC Secretary General
“Regardless of how fruitful existing bilateral and regional trade agreements have been towards the realisation of this projected growth, it is worth mentioning that regional blocs, such as the GCC, also stand to yield higher growth through further multilateral trade agreements through the WTO”.
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassem Bin Mohammed Al Thani
Chairman of Qatar Chamber
“It's vital that businesses and consumer groups make their voice heard in support of a global agreement on trade facilitation. Trade ministers have at their fingertips the chance to inject a massive stimulus into the global economy - and, in doing so, put multilateralism firmly back on the international trade agenda. We should not let that opportunity pass.”
Interim Executive Director at the International Chamber of Commerce UK
A top priority of the WTO ministerial, which will bring together ministers from the group's 159 members, should be moving forward with the WTO's trade facilitation agreement. This would harmonize hundreds of administrative procedures and standards that dictate how goods cross borders or are handled in customs. Progress here can help pave the way for market openings that unleash more opportunity and higher growth throughout the world.
Harold (Terry) McGraw III
ICC Chairman and
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of McGraw Hill Financial