The FINANCIAL -- The shrinkage in global trade flows over the first two quarters of 2015 was highlighted as a major concern for global business by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), at its executive board meeting today in New Delhi, India.
Discussing strategic priorities for the international business community, ICC leaders called for a major push to ensure the potential benefits of the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement are realized. This agreement-concluded in 2013-has significant potential to boost global trade flows, up to an estimated US$1 trillion over time, according to ICC.
ICC Chairman Terry McGraw said: "The TFA has significant potential to support the recovery of global trade flows, by making it easier, quicker and less costly to export. Ratifying the TFA must be the starting point for a concerted effort to promote trade as a driver of growth."
Comprising CEO's and business leaders from over 20 countries, executive board members discussed a core work programme for ICC for the coming three months focusing on four major summits - each of which is expected to have a major impact on business for years to come. Specifically, the 10th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in Nairobi, the UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York, the G20 leaders Summit in Antalya and the landmark Climate Conference, COP21, in Paris.
The TFA tops a list of four priorities set out by the Business-20 International Business Advisory Council (IBAC), established under this year's Turkish presidency. The Executive Board endorsed the IBAC priorities that also include financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises, youth and women's engagement in the labour force and infrastructure investment.
Terry McGraw, who led the meeting said: "We as businesses can't generate jobs and growth without government support. As the voice of business with representation in over 130 countries we are ready to do all we can in the weeks ahead to promote the G20 agenda for growth, jobs and opportunity."
ICC Executive Board members met in Delhi on the eve of the 2015 India Economic Convention. Co-hosted by ICC and the India Foundation, the convention will review the progress of reforms spearheaded by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a leading centre for global business.
ICC Chairman Terry McGraw (McGraw Hill Financial) and ICC Vice-Chair Sunil Bharti Mittal (Bharti Enterprises) will be joined by a number of senior Indian ministers and international business leaders.