It has been an exciting period for ICC and I am pleased to provide an update on our key activities during what is a vital period for business on the global stage.
G20 – outreach and advocacy
In our role as the secretariat to the B20’s International Business Advisory Council (IBAC), we have been leading a global advocacy campaign over the past two months in advance of the G20 leaders’ summit in Antalya in mid-November.
Our campaigning has focused on four priority issues for the global business community: trade facilitation; SME access to finance; infrastructure investment; and youth and women participation in the labour force. Taken together, we believe that G20 action in these areas could provide a significant boost to economic growth and job creation the world over.
As part of our outreach, letters and reports have been sent to key ministers in each of the G20 economies and op-eds have been placed in a range of media outlets. We understand that our recommendations have received good traction in many national capitals and hope that this will translate into clear and robust commitments in the Antalya leaders’ declaration.
Another core element of our G20 messaging has been the need for policies to be designed with the needs of small businesses in mind. In this context, we are calling on the G20 to formally endorse the new World SME Forum (WSF)—a major new initiative from the Turkish Presidency of the B20 and ICC—which will work to help maximize the potential of small businesses to create economic opportunity and employment.
The news that world trade recorded its biggest contraction since the financial crisis in the first half of this year only serves to underscore the importance of one of our G20 advocacy priorities—specifically, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
A new study from the WTO, released just last week, suggests that implementing the TFA could boost trade flows by a possible US$3.6 trillion—more than the effect of removing all existing tariff barriers globally. The good news is that—thanks in no small part to ICC’s outreach efforts—rapid progress is now being made on the ratification of this agreement. To date, 51 countries have now ratified the TFA, though a further 57 are required to do so for the deal to come into effect.
We will be scaling up our outreach further on this agenda ahead of the WTO’s 10thMinisterial in Nairobi this December. Our intelligence suggests we are likely to see around 80 ratifications by the time of the Ministerial, but we hope to be able to generate sufficient momentum to ensure the agreement will enter into force in early 2016. In Nairobi, I’m delighted that we will formally launch the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation: a new public-private platform to accelerate implementation of the TFA—an initiative that underscores ICC’s commitment to maximizing the potential of this vital agreement.
There is now just one month to go to the landmark Paris Climate Conference, known as COP21, at which a new global climate agreement is expected to be agreed. Building on our successful outreach around the launch of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals, we are advocating for a robust global deal that works with business to speed emissions reductions and build climate resilience.
A key message to governments in recent weeks has been the need to provide a recognized role for business under any new global agreement—to ensure that the expertise and experience of the private sector can be fully tapped in the development of climate policy post-COP21. Progress on this issue was made at the final set of UN negotiations before COP21 in Bonn last month and we will maintain our dialogue with governments in the weeks ahead.
Further details of our engagement around COP21 can be found on our dedicated microsite.
Finally, the ICC Academy had its commercial launch at the annual SIBOS banking convention last month. Our first trade finance course is now live, with several more to follow in the coming weeks as part of the Academy’s ground-breaking Global Trade Certificate programme.
Five banks—Commonwealth Bank of Australia, DBS, OCBC Bank, Banco Santander, and Standard Bank—have been announced as the Academy’s first institutional customers. Later this week, the ICC Academy will launch a major partnership with polytechnic institutes in Singapore. The programme, subsidized by the government of Singapore, offers Singaporean students internship opportunities, accredited training, and a globally recognized certification to support and advance their careers in banking.
For further details on the Academy, please don’t hesitate to contact Thierry Senechal.
With best wishes,