The centerpiece of the B20 launch was opening remarks by Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan which outlined Turkey's priorities for the G20. "2015 will be a year where G20 will focus its efforts on ensuring inclusive and robust growth through collective action," Mr Babacan said. "This can be formulated as the three I's of the Turkish Presidency: Inclusiveness, Implementation, and Investment for Growth."
On the topic of inclusivity, Mr Babacan emphasized the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to economic growth and job creation, and noted that his G20 colleagues shared the view that the voice of SMEs must be taken into consideration in the process and integrated into the work of the G20. Mr Babacan also underscored the essential role the B20 would play in integrating SMEs and announced a partnership with ICC, the world business organization, to launch the Global SME Forum.
Warmly accepting Mr Babacan's joint initiative ICC Chairman Terry McGraw said: "ICC welcomes the opportunity to partner with Turkey to ensure that the SME initiative is a success this year and becomes an anchor of the B20's work for years to come."
Demonstrating an understanding of the valuable role the business community plays in the G20 process, Mr Babacan said: "The ideas you [B20] develop are valuable to us. Economic growth can only be achieved by private sector investment. No matter what decisions we take, if you don't have the confidence to undertake investment we are not going to meet our growth objective. This is why the B20 is so important."
During the plenary session, Mr McGraw underscored the importance of an ongoing B20-G20 dialogue: "The B20 is a vital mechanism for business to amplify priorities and to tangibly contribute to building sustainable economic growth," he said. "Business stands ready to deliver real-world input to policymaking, but making progress on our recommendations relies on resolve, collaboration and commitment from G20 leaders."
Rifat Hisarciklioglu, Chair of the B20 Turkey, President of The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), and ICC executive board member, presided over the largest B20 launch in history. Mr Hisarcıklıoglu emphasized the importance of continuity in the B20 process. "We are going to start working with B20 Australia's recommendations, exploring first how we can improve these recommendations and then concentrating on implementation."
Mr Hisarcıklıoglu delineated the task forces including Infrastructure and Investments, Finance and Growth, Employment, Anti-corruption and Trade. "This year the Trade task force will be co-chaired by Guler Sabanci, Chairman of Sabanci Holding, who also ranks as one of the world's most powerful women.
Mr McGraw will co-chair the Trade task force with Ms Sabancı. "Mr McGraw is widely recognized as one of the world's leading experts on trade issue," said Mr Hisarcıklıoglu.
ICC Secretary General John Danilovich led a delegation of ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group members from companies including Novozymes, Shell, Repsol, GDF Suez, Nestle, Dow Chemicals, Schneider Electric, Danfoss, Li & Fung, National Petrochemical Industrial Co. Qatar Chamber, Energy Transportation Group, Bayer, A'amal Group, and McGraw Hill Financial.
Mobilizing its global network that reaches over 6 million enterprises worldwide, ICC will contribute business views on key issues on the G20 agenda. CEOs from the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group will also engage in business taskforces convened ahead of the B20 Summit. "The G20 agenda impacts business priorities for growth and employment and warrants our engagement and the contribution of business recommendations," said Mr Danilovich. "We look forward to supporting Turkey and building on the progress achieved in Brisbane."
An afternoon breakout session focused on the six business taskforces identified by B20 Turkey: Trade; Financing Growth; Infrastructure & Investments; Human Capital, Anti-Corruption; SME's & Entrepreneurship.
The B20 is the business arm of the G20, providing a channel for businesses worldwide to support the G20 agenda. Today's launch event was held alongside the first G20 Sherpa meeting under the Turkish G20 chairmanship, which is followed by a B20 gala dinner with G20 Sherpas providing an opportunity for interaction between the two groups.
The Turkish presidency will build on the agendas of previous presidencies, to ensure seamless continuity in the G20, while introducing new elements on collective action to provide inclusive and robust growth. Turkey's priorities for the 2015 Summit include: Macro policy cooperation; Investment; Employment; Trade; Financial regulation; International financial architecture; International taxation; Anti-corruption; Development; Energy sustainability and Climate change finance.