22 GLOBAL BUSINESS LEADERS – SIX TAKEAWAYS

September 28, 2020

WTO REFORMS; CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

On 10 September ICC convened 22 Chairs and CEOs representing companies from the US, Europe and Asia, for the first of our ICC Board Briefing Series to discuss WTO reform. Collectively the group manage over US$1 trillion in global turnover and represent some of the world’s leading international companies trading across every region in the world.

There is a sense that the current trading system was built for another age and is just not working for the world we live in today, but also an unwavering degree of support for the WTO, without which the global trading system wouldn’t function. It would be like having a transport system without rules – chaos.

It is clear that we need a trading system that works for the future with modern laws, rules and standards that reflect how businesses now operate. It’s also clear there is a need to reset the way we talk about trade to bring greater coherence between trade, sustainability and climate change. This is the only way to “build back better” from COVID-19 and to develop a trading system that promotes a greener, more sustainable and inclusive global economy, where everyone benefits. In short, we urgently need our governments to deliver reforms at both national and international level.

Six Key Takeaways

  1. The business community can make a real difference – when engaged and vocal businesses bring a more pragmatic approach to the challenges we all face. The WTO needs the private sector to help guide the discussion and set the right priorities;
  2. The private sector can help create a policy space for governments – to help provide an impartial environment to focus on practical solutions;
  3. Reform will require a collective endeavour – no-one can do it alone. It requires businesses, governments and wider stakeholders to work together to find the right solutions;
  4. Reform must deliver a WTO fit for the future – with modern laws, rules and standards that are relevant for governing how economies operate and integrate G20, ESG and sustainability goals;
  5. Change the way we talk about trade – there is an opportunity to reset the narrative to promote a model for trade that works for everyone and helps “build back better” from the COVID crisis;
  6. Reform must deliver results quickly – a multilateral agreement on sustainable fishing and an ambitious ecommerce agreement must both be made a priority.

 If you are interested to find out more, we’ll be continuing the conversation at the ICC International Trade and Prosperity Week w/c 19 October.





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