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          Chambers of commerce increase pressure on governments for Doha trade deal

          • Istanbul, 06 July 2007

          Leaders of the global chambers of commerce community issued a statement today at the World Chambers Congress being held here, stressing the vital importance of the multilateral trading system and calling upon all governments, especially those of the biggest trading nations, to finally summon the political will to bridge their outstanding differences and make the concessions necessary for a successful deal in the Doha round of world trade negotiations.

          Marcus Wallenberg, ICC Chairman

          Meeting this week at the 5th World Chambers Congress, organized by the International Chamber of Commerce’s World Chambers Federation, 1,600 representatives of business from 118 countries agreed to redouble their efforts when they return home, to convince their government leaders to act swiftly and effectively to reach a final trade agreement.

          “The coming weeks are make-or-break time for this major exercise in international economic cooperation. After six years and numerous missed deadlines, the Doha talks cannot continue to stagger from one false dawn to another,“ said Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

          “We live in a global economy. Trade across borders is an issue close to the heart of all businesses, no matter how large or small. The desire for a rules-based multilateral trading system is common to companies in all sectors, of all sizes, and in all corners of the globe,” Mr Wallenberg said. "There is no better way to ensure economic growth, and by extension, greater prosperity for people in all parts of the world.”

          The statement is as follows:
          Meeting this week at the 5th World Chambers Congress of the International Chamber of Commerce’s World Chambers Federation, 1,600 representatives of business from 118 countries:

          • stress the vital importance they attach to the multilateral trading system as a proven engine of economic growth and development for the whole world;
          • express their strong support for the World Trade Organization and the goals of the Doha negotiations to liberalize cross-border trade within a global framework of stronger and fairer rules;
          • note the considerable progress that has already been achieved in the negotiations and the value of what is already on the table, which will be lost if the talks are allowed to fail;
          • register their deep concern that failure would encourage protectionism, accelerate the growth of bilateral trade deals, and erode respect for the WTO and other multilateral institutions; and so
          • call upon all governments, and especially those of the biggest trading nations, to finally summon the political will to bridge their outstanding differences and make the concessions that are known to be necessary for a successful deal.

          “More has already been achieved in the Doha negotiations than remains to be done. Governments must seize a last opportunity in the weeks ahead to forge a comprehensive agreement that will translate the longstanding promise of Doha into far-reaching new trade opportunities and the prospect of higher living standards throughout the world. Time is fast running out, but the prize is still within reach,” the statement concluded.

          The World Chambers Federation brings together ICC’s worldwide network of 12,000 chambers of commerce, fostering interaction and exchange of chamber best practice. The global forum includes local, regional, national, bilateral and transnational chambers.

          Chambers attending the 5th World Chambers Congress include: Eurochambres, the US Chamber of Commerce, Latin America's Asociacion Iberoamerica de Camaras de Comercio (AICO), the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce (CACCI) and the Union of African Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Professions.

          The 5th World Chambers Congress has set new attendance records, doubling attendance since the last congress in Durban in 2005. Delegates this year come from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan, as well as from a wide range of developing and developed economies including Brazil, China, Finland, India, Iran, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.

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