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          ICC welcomes G20 commitments, urges leaders to maintain momentum on growth and jobs

          • Brisbane, 18 November 2014

          The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has welcomed the 2014 G20 Summit declaration, outlining commitments to implement an action plan geared to maintaining the group’s focus on raising global growth and delivering better living standards and quality jobs worldwide.

          B20 Delegate David Thodey and ICC Chairman Terry McGraw at this year's G20 Summit | Credit: G20 Australia

          “The newly adopted work programme is evidence that G20 leaders remain committed to achieving the 2% growth targets set forward by finance ministers last summer,” said ICC Chairman Terry McGraw. “Business was especially pleased to see that the declaration endorsed a number of the B20 recommendations in the areas of trade, investment, energy and anti-corruption,” he said.

          In particular, ICC was pleased that the G20 rallied support for a strong multilateral trading system to drive economic growth and job creation, with G20 leaders highlighting the centrality of the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and their historic role in delivering economic prosperity. Recognizing the recent breakthrough between the US and India on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, G20 leaders pledged to implement all elements of the Bali package and to swiftly define a WTO work programme on the remaining issues of the Doha Development Agenda.

          “ICC has repeatedly called on G20 governments to demonstrate the necessary leadership to advance WTO trade negotiations. It’s encouraging to see G20 leaders recommit to open trade. Their support for the multilateral trading system is vital to getting the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement back on track,” said Mr McGraw.

          While business was pleased that the G20 reaffirmed its longstanding standstill and rollback commitments to resist protectionism, the leader’s commitment comes on the heels of the November report from WTO and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which points out that the stock of restrictive trade measures introduced by G20 economies since 2008 continues to rise despite the pledge to roll back any new protectionist measures that may have arisen.

          “ICC has routinely called on the G20 to eliminate trade protectionism measures and other barriers to open trade,” said ICC Secretary General John Danilovich. “ICC now urges national governments to fulfil the G20 leaders’ commitment to reduce protectionism. Eliminating non-tariff barriers to trade will be essential to achieving the G20 countries’ growth strategies, as outlined in the Brisbane Action Plan,” he said.

          Commitments to infrastructure

          Business also welcomed several G20 commitments to stimulate much needed investment in infrastructure, including the G20’s Global Infrastructure Initiative, a multi-year work programme to lift quality public and private infrastructure investment. Agreed by G20 finance ministers in September and endorsed by G20 leaders in Brisbane, the initiative is set to enhance the productivity and quality of public and private infrastructure investment.

          “The G20 initiative comes at a critical time, given estimates by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that over US$70 trillion in investment in infrastructure is needed worldwide by 2030,” said Mr Danilovich. “Business welcomes the establishment of the Global Infrastructure Hub, which responds to one of the B20’s core business recommendations this year. If properly established and resourced, B20 research shows that the infrastructure hub could support an additional US$2 trillion in infrastructure capacity, drive an additional US$600 billion to global GDP and support the creation of around 10 million jobs,” he said.

          Leading by example on anti-corruption

          Acknowledging the leadership role it can play in combatting corrupt practices, the G20 also endorsed a new two-year Anti-corruption Action Plan for 2015-2016. The Action Plan recognizes that the private sector is an essential partner in achieving the G20’s anti-corruption goals and to combat corruption. G20 countries committed to continue working with the private sector including by developing anti-corruption education and training for business.

          Mr Danilovich said: “Corruption undermines investments, global growth and financial stability. We are therefore pleased to see that several initiatives in the Brisbane Action Plan mirror recommendations put forward by the B20. The G20’s continued leadership on global anti-corruption efforts is commendable and ICC stands ready to support the G20 with this important work."

          Taxation rules for the 21st Century

          ICC also applauded the G20’s continued commitment to modernize international tax rules and to move towards a world standard. ICC fully supports the G20/OECD base erosion and profit shifting project and calls for increased coordination between governments to avoid inconsistencies between national tax systems and to create transparent, efficient, predictable and stable tax regimes that incentivize long-term investment, job creation and economic growth.

          “We encourage G20 tax authorities to further collaborate on cross-border compliance, which is important to ensure the proper allocation of taxing rights between countries to prevent double taxation,” Mr Danilovich said. “Double taxation is a major impediment to trade and ICC calls upon the G20 and other countries to enhance tax dispute settlement mechanisms.”

          Energy and climate issues

          Because energy and climate issues had not been a priority for the Australian G20 Presidency, ICC was pleased to see a dedicated session on global energy issues debut at the Brisbane Summit. The leaders’ declaration included the launch of a G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan, explicit support for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the endorsement of G20 principles for increased energy collaboration, energy trade and investment, deployment of innovative energy technologies, cost-effective energy efficiency, and renewable and clean energy solutions.

          “ICC welcomes the overlap between the G20’s energy priorities and those put forward by the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group earlier this year,” said Mr Danilovich. “We also welcome the announcement of the first ever G20 Energy Ministers meeting to be held in 2015. This focus should go a long way in improving conditions for energy investment and long-run energy security,” he said.

          ICC G20 engagement

          Mr McGraw joined leading members of the ICC G20 Advisory Group to represent the B20 during a Summit session with G20 leaders. The B20 presented heads of state and government with business policy recommendations and called for leadership to drive economic growth and job creation through trade liberalization and the improvement of conditions for global investment, particularly in infrastructure.

          ICC has been deeply engaged in the B20 process since the Seoul Summit in 2010, and this year worked closely with the head of the B20 Australia group Richard Goyder to formulate a set of 20 recommendations that focus on the core economic drivers of trade, infrastructure, human capital, finance and transparency. Presented to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in July 2014, the recommendations have been strongly endorsed by ICC.

          Mr McGraw was joined in Brisbane by representatives of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group that includes Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu, President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes, Antonio Brufau, Chairman and CEO of Repsol, Alejandro Ramirez Magana, Director General of Cinepolis, Jamal J. Malaikah, President of National Petrochemical Industrial Co, Alexander Shokhin, President of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Richard Goyder, CEO of Wesfarmers and Michael Smith, CEO of Australia New Zealand Bank are also members of the ICC CEO Group.

          Comprising over 30 CEOs and prominent business leaders, the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group has been a platform for continuity in the B20 process between Summits, soliciting priorities and recommendations from companies and business organizations of all sizes and in all regions of the world.

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