CEOs Meet With G20 Leaders to Urge Progress on Trade and Investment

CNBC interview with ICC Chairman Terry McGraw
CNBC interview with ICC Chairman Terry McGraw

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

The CEOs, including members of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) G20 Advisory Group, presented policy recommendations to the 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, which covered topics including trade, investment and infrastructure, financial systems, innovation and development, job creation, and transparency and anti-corruption, 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.

ICC Chairman Terry McGraw, who is also chairman of USCIB 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,” said McGraw, citing research commissioned by ICC, which concludes that completion of a WTO trade facilitation agreement would translate into more than $1 trillion in world export gains, increase global GDP by $960 billion and support more than 21 million jobs, most of them in G20 countries.

“The most important thing for growth is trade and investment,” McGraw told CNBC. To view the full interview click here.

For more information on the ICC website, click here.

IOE, BIAC Voice Business Views on Jobs and Taxation

A strong business presence, through the B20 group, delivered recommendations to governments at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in St. Petersburg, pushing for the realization of concrete policy measures that will make a difference.

At a roundtable discussion on September 5, the G20 Task Force on Employment called tackling unemployment and job creation a top priority for the G20 countries. The co-chair of the B20’s own employment task force, Brent Wilton– secretary-general of the International Organization of Employers  – expressed concern over the lack of action taken by governments with regard to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Wilton referred to evidence from the World Bank’s Doing Business Report of 2013 in calling on “G20 states to effectively assess the impact of regulation on business and job creation. Complicated and rigid labor law is a major stumbling block for SMEs, especially when it comes to hiring.” Key to getting more people into work, he added, were education and training programs that provide individuals with skills that match the needs of the labor market, and foster entrepreneurship. Click here to read more.

For its part, BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee
to the OECD, issued two important statements on global taxation.

In response to growing public concern about international corporate taxation in both the developed and developing world, as well as the current focus on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) outlined in the OECD Action Plan on BEPS endorsed by the G20, BIAC has produced two sets of voluntary guidance for business: a Statement of Tax Principles for International Business intended to promote and affirm responsible business tax management generally, and a Statement of Best Practices for Engaging with Tax Authorities in Developing Countries.

Will Morris (GE), chair of the BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs, stated that: “Business makes a significant contribution to the global economy in terms of taxes paid and collected. However, public confidence in the international tax system has been shaken. In order to help restore that confidence, BIAC is working closely with the OECD to update international tax rules. But businesses also need to tell their own story.”

Morris said in developing countries, “it is in the interests of both taxpayers and governments that the tax authorities are given the information and cooperation they need to act in an efficient and transparent manner.”

Click here for more information.

Staff Contact:   Alice Slayton Clark

Director, Investment, Trade and China
Tel: 202.682.0051

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