CEOs meet with G20 leaders to urge progress on trade and investment

CEOs meet with G20 leaders to urge progress on trade and investment

Saint Petersburg, 6 September 2013 – G20 heads of state today met with
CEOs representing the Business-20 or “B20” during a special session of the G20 Leaders’
Summit at Strelna Palace, near Saint Petersburg in Russia.

CEOs, including members
of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) G20 Advisory Group, presented policy recommendations to G20 heads of state, urging
world leaders to drive economic growth and job creation by liberalizing
trade and improving
conditions for global investment, particularly in infrastructure.

These recommendations were the product of intensive collaboration among
companies serving on B20 task forces since December 2012. The process was
chaired by Alexander Shokhin, President
of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), who had been
designated by President Vladimir Putin to organize B20 efforts during the
Russian G20 presidency. T
he priorities shared with G20 leaders covered
subjects including: trade, investments and infrastructure, financial systems, innovation
and development, job creation, as well as transparency and anti-corruption.

Harold (Terry) McGraw – ICC Chairman and Chairman, President and CEO of
McGraw-Hill Financial –

took part in the meeting. He underscored that the impasse among members
of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and an increasingly sluggish global trading system risk reversing significant progress
made in global living standards over the past 60 years.

Collective
leadership by the G20 would inject new life into trade agreements that are vital
for job creation, particularly the successful conclusion of an agreement on trade
facilitation at the WTO Bali Ministerial in December
,” he said.

Mr McGraw cited
research commissioned by ICC, which concludes that completion of a WTO trade facilitation
agreement would translate into more than US$1 trillion in world export gains,
increase global GDP by US$ 960 billion, and support more than 21 million jobs,
most of them in G20 countries.

“The G20’s
expanding policy agenda bears directly on core business goals for trade,
economic growth and job creation,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC Secretary
General, who also attended the meeting with G20 leaders. As the everyday
practitioners of the global economy, we have a clear stake in the success of
the G20. The business
community believes the G20 remains a critical forum for global cooperation in
support of growth and jobs.¨

ICC has echoed
the B20’s call for greater global investment in infrastructure. According to
OECD estimates, approximately US$ 53 trillion of investment will be needed to
meet the demand for infrastructure investment across the globe over the coming
decades.

“A key
constraint in increasing private participation in infrastructure lies with the
lack of bankable projects and limited public-private partnership expertise in
local governments and multilateral development banks,” said Marcus Wallenberg,
Chairman of the ICC G20 Advisory Group and Chairman of Sweden’s SEB, who served
as the co-chair for the B20 task force on investments and infrastructure and took
part in the meeting in Saint Petersburg. “If the G20 can follow through on our
investment recommendations – using
the ICC Guidelines for International Investment as a template –
investors
will have the
confidence they need to get off the sidelines and begin supplying capital,
particularly for critical infrastructure projects.”

CEOs also
highlighted for G20 leaders the importance of trade finance as a cornerstone of
the global trading system, with 80% to 90% of world trade relying on some sort
of trade finance products. ICC has cautioned that a dramatic increase in
capital requirements, from implementing Basel III principles, could have an
unintended adverse effect on banks’ ability to provide affordable trade
finance. ICC’s 2013 Global Survey on Trade and Finance found that a continued
shortage of finance for international trade remains a major challenge for
economic recovery and development, with experts identifying implementation of
Basel III regulations as affecting the cost of funds and liquidity for trade
finance.  

“We hope
that the G20 will be responsive to our concern that Basel III will generate
unintended consequences that may restrict trade finance,” Mr Carrier said. “An
increase of 10% in availability of trade finance would result in 5% more
production and 5% more jobs,” he said.

Kris
Gopalakrishnan, Executive Vice Chairman of India’s Infosys, Ltd., added that G20
leadership would go a long way in spurring investment in innovative
technologies that are important for economic growth and development.

“Energy
efficiency and sustainability, food security, access to telecommunications will
all benefit from the type of policy leadership and stable investment climates
that the G20 can put in place,” said Mr Gopalakrishnan, a leading member of the
ICC G20 Advisory Group, as well as President of the Confederation of Indian
Industries, who has also served as co-chair for the B20 task force on
innovation and development.

“For the fourth consecutive year since the G20
Summit in Seoul, ICC and its member CEOs have served as a strategic partner in
the B20 process,” Mr Carrier said. “As the voice of international business, our
mission is to press for the inclusion of business views in deliberations by G20
heads of state.”

Since the
Seoul G20 Summit Declaration noted the importance of business input, ICC has
invested deeply in the G20-B20 process. Its member CEOs have co-chaired several
B20 task forces, and it has participated actively in the development of
business recommendations to G20 governments.

“Today’s
meeting reflects the constructive partnership between business and government
that we hope and expect will continue when Australia and Turkey host the G20
Summit in 2014 and 2015,”said Alejandro Ramirez, CEO of Mexico’s Cinépolis, who
organized the B20 effort in Mexico last year.

ICC has
also produced two editions of the ICC G20 Business Scorecard assessing the
responsiveness of G20 governments to business recommendations. The Scorecard following the Los Cabos Summit of 2012
rated G20 responsiveness to business priorities as ‘fair’, indicating that G20
leaders are making progress but at a somewhat protracted pace.  A third edition of the Scorecard assessing
progress at St. Petersburg will be issued by the end of 2013.