ICC, in partnership with Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, launched the ICC World Trade Agenda (WTA) to address the stalemate in multilateral trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Doha Round.
WTA was launched in March 2012 at the WTO Headquarters in response to calls from members and from G20 leaders for fresh approaches following a 12-year impasse in multilateral trade negotiations.
At the meeting, CEOs, senior corporate executives, and representatives of business organizations began defining elements of a world trade agenda that would increase global growth and job creation, underscoring the private sector's desire to reach agreement and bring multilateral trade negotiations back to centre stage.
Opportunities for business
Through WTA business leaders have and continue to contribute to concrete proposals for strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system, reconfirming that global business is committed to the objectives of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Since its launch, the initiative has organized consultations with CEOs and senior executives in all major regions of the world to gather input and validation of its recommendations. These business priorities were released during the ICC World Trade Agenda Summit on 22 April 2013 in Doha.
The final set of business recommendations was submitted to governments ahead of the G20 Summit in Russia in September 2013, and the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in December 2013.
The post-Bali trade agenda Bali Package: a WTO trade facilitation agreement
The Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which was finally adopted at the WTO's 9th Ministerial Conference on 7 December 2013, was the first major agreement to have been reached since the creation of the WTO.
The ICC global network - representing approximately 6.5 million companies in 130 countries - had spent two years calling for the deal and was given recognition for the influential role it had played in pressing governments to reach such an agreement.
The agreement will have a real impact on the economy in terms of jobs and opportunity. It is expected to inject up to US$ 1 trillion into the global economy, create 21 million jobs and pave the way for future agreements.
Global business will continue to work with governments to identify and prioritize areas where further results can be achieved as part of the post-Bali global trade agenda.
UNECE Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide: simplifying cross-border trade
By cutting red tape at borders and in customs, the Bali package will speed up supply chains and make it easier for small companies and developing countries to integrate into international trade. The deal will also boost the ability of developing countries to provide food security to their poorest citizens.
The UNECE Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide, a web-based interactive tool , has been designed to help countries simplify cross-border trade. It offers a brief and comprehensive overview of what trade facilitation is, why it matters, what it involves, and how countries should go about implementing it.
The Guide shows policymakers and implementers how to identify, examine and select relevant trade facilitation measures and instruments for dealing with issues such as: avoiding waiting times at border crossings; setting up a Single Window for exports and imports; using modern information technologies for trade facilitation.
This guide is a valuable tool and fully endorsed by the ICC World Trade Agenda initiative.
Partnership to move 'beyond Doha'
ICC and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce launched WTA to help successfully conclude the round of multilateral trade negotiations that began in Doha, Qatar over a decade ago.
Since the Doha Round was launched, the Qatar Chamber has helped oversee one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world, thus giving the Chamber a unique understanding of the rapidly changing macro-economic conditions that now charaterize the current state of multilateral trade negotiations.
ICC and Qatar Chamber are committed to mobilizing business around the world as one global voice to move trade and investment policy into the 21st century and 'beyond Doha'.
ICC World Trade Agenda initiative tools
ICC WORLD TRADE AGENDA - Post-Bali Business Priorities
The statement urges trading countries to act on the following priorities:
1. Continue to liberalize trade in goods and services worldwide. The overarching goal should be the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to world trade.
2. Accelerate multilateral trade liberalization within the WTO by the early conclusion of ongoing global negotiations through a balanced and satisfactory outcome on the critical issues of agriculture, non-agricultural market access, and services.
3. Move forward with positive regional efforts worldwide to reduce barriers to trade and investment, and ensure that those efforts complement and reinforce the multilateral trading system.
4. Expand the product coverage of the WTO Information Technology Agreement, continue to refrain from taxing electronic commerce, develop better disciplines on export restrictions and state-owned enterprises, and reach an early conclusion in the newly announced WTO negotiations to reduce and eliminate tariffs on green goods.
5. Improve the protection and promotion of investment worldwide through bilateral and other international agreements, while laying the groundwork for more global investment protection and promotion through a high-standard multilateral framework on investment.