G8 Business Leaders: Crisis Demands Urgent Response But Does Not Indicate a Failure of Market Economics

Leaders of the G8 business federations (USCIB President Peter Robinson is at far right).
Leaders of the G8 business federations (USCIB President Peter Robinson is at far right).

Paris and New York, December 4, 2008 – Meeting in Paris, business federation heads from the G8 nations called for urgent measures by governments to correct “real dysfunctions” in the world financial system.  But they said the crisis did not call into question the basic assumptions of private sector-led growth, and they pressed for an immediate re-launch of WTO trade talks as a way to revive the global economy.

“We came to Paris to voice our common support for efforts to make the market economy work better, increase financial transparency and foster closer international cooperation,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, who joined business leaders from North America, Europe and Japan in issuing a joint statement prior to a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.  “Where more clarification and regulation is needed, it must be smart regulation, and policy makers must avoid over-regulation at this delicate time for the global economy.”

In their statement, the business leaders stated that “the present crisis does not call into question the basic principles of the open market economy but calls for urgent responses mainly in technical and regulatory terms.”  They said the causes of the crisis were multiple, and included monetary policies leading to excessive liquidity, lack of regulation or inappropriate regulation, attempts to achieve high yields without an accurate assessment of risks and inadequate coordination of macro-economic policies.

“These are real dysfunctions which have had serious consequences and which in concrete terms call for a revision of the rules governing agents, products and operations on the financial open markets,” the statement said.  “On the other hand, these dysfunctions do not in any way cast doubt on the open market economy, which requires clear and shared rules to make private companies and entrepreneurs free to create, grow and innovate.  Businesses have today the talented people, technologies, and drive to succeed as before the crisis.  This is the cause for our optimism.”

The business chiefs welcomed pledges made by leaders at last month’s G20 Summit in Washington to avoid protectionist policies.  They echoed the G20’s call for efforts to restart the struggling Doha Round of trade talks as an immediate priority.  “The business community fully supports all of the efforts that will result in a prompt, ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda,” the statement said.  “This is necessary to ensure the world’s economic growth in the coming years.”

USCIB’s Mr. Robinson applauded the French business federation MEDEF for convening the business leaders, and for working rapidly and effectively to develop a consensus approach all parties could support without reservation.

The other participants in the G8 Business Summit were:

Fujio Mitarai, president of Nippon Keidanren (Japan)

Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Laurence Parisot, president of MEDEF (France)

Jürgen R. Thumann, president of BDI (Germany)

Emma Marcegaglia, president of Confindustria (Italy)

Alexander Shokhin, president of RSPP (Russia)

Martin Broughton, president of the Confederation of British Industry

Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ernest-Antoine Seillière, president of BusinessEurope.

USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment.  Its membership includes more than 300 leading U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $4 trillion.  As American affiliate of three global business groups – the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers, and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD – USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade.

Contact: Jonathan Huneke, VP Communications & Public Affairs, USCIB (212) 703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Statement From the G8 Business Summit Leaders (click here for summary)

Watch the press conference (MEDEF website, French/Japanese/English)

USCIB statement on the G20 Summit (November 2008)

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

Staff Contact:   Kira Yevtukhova

Deputy Director, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 202.617.3160

Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and has an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
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