Dear Colleagues and Members,
We are united in our profound sadness and grief following the attacks in Paris two weeks ago. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
I wanted to write to you to provide a short update on our activities over the past month and to give a look ahead to the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) which starts in just a few days.
G20 Antalya Summit
ICC played a leading role in representing business interests at this year’s G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on 13–16 November.
Our delegation at the Summit—led by ICC’s First Vice-Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal—emphasized four priorities to kick-start global growth: trade facilitation; SME access to finance; youth and women employment; and investment in infrastructure. We were pleased that these calls for action—which were identified through the ICC-led International Business Advisory Council—were met with clear commitments in the Summit communique.
In our initial response to the conclusion of this year’s G20 process, I have emphasized the importance of ensuring that the good words of the Antalya communique translate into real world action to promote growth, jobs and opportunity.This is particularly important when it comes to the new G20 commitments on trade. Trade flows—which have historically been an important driver of growth—look set to grow at theirslowest rate since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2015. New data also suggests that protectionism has increased at an unprecedented rate over the past 12 months.
It is vital that G20 countries lead by example in keeping markets open and in making trade easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs. An initial priority for our advocacy will be to press all G20 governments ratify the WTO’s landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement before the end of the year.
Next year’s G20 process will be launched in Beijing—under the 2016 Chinese Presidency—in early January. The launch of the associated B20 process will be held shortly afterwards. Details on these events will follow through the usual channels.
We were delighted that the new World SME Forum (WSF)—established by ICC and the Turkish B20 Presidency—was officially welcomed by G20 leaders in Antalya. I was also pleased to participate in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the WSF and the OECD during the Summit.
The WSF—established with a mandate to provide advocacy, know-how, and e-knowledge to support SMEs—has significant potential to turbocharge small business growth in the years ahead. An urgent priority for the WSF will be the financing of small businesses. ICC Research shows that the enormous potential of small businesses is being held back by limited access to reasonably priced finance. This will be a key focus for the WSF—and ICC—in the year ahead, building on new G20 commitments to support SME access to short- and long-term financing.
Earlier this week I had a series of meetings with senior United Nations officials and ambassadors to discuss business engagement in a range of key UN work streams. A particular focus was the implementation of the new UN Suitable Development Goals—the success of which will hinge on widespread business support and action.
To help further amplify the business voice in key international processes, we will be redoubling our efforts in 2016 to secure observer status at the UN for ICC as the leading representative of global business. I hope you will be able to support us in these efforts.
The clock is now ticking before the start of the landmark Paris Climate Conference, COP21. As the business focal point to the UN climate talks, ICC will be active throughout the next two weeks, making the case for a robust agreement that works with the private sector to meet the climate challenge.
I look forward to working with many of you during COP21 over the coming two weeks. You can also follow our engagement via our dedicated COP21 microsite and through our social media channels.
With best wishes,