The FINANCIAL — Victor K. Fung, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), has welcomed the statement from the G20 Summit held on 15 November in Washington, DC for the significant initiatives agreed by the attending leaders to achieve "an ambitious and balanced outcome" for the WTO's Doha Development Agenda.
In a statement issued today, ICC, which has vigorously campaigned for a rules-based multilateral trading system, said it was particularly encouraged by the G20 leaders' rejection of protectionism and their pledge to reach agreement this year on modalities leading to a successful conclusion to the Doha trade negotiations.
"The successful conclusion of Doha is as powerful as an economic stimulus programme," said Mr Fung. He stressed that the benefits of a rules-based multilateral trading system will be felt by all economies, freeing the supply chain of the global production system to operate efficiently and cost effectively.
"We also welcome the spirit of international cooperation shown by the G20 leaders to help emerging and developing economies and small and medium enterprises gain access to finance in the current difficult financial conditions, including through liquidity facilities," said Mr Fung. "It is important to ensure the immediate availability of trade finance, which is the lifeblood of trade," he added.
Mr Fung concluded: "To instill confidence, it is critical to minimize the impact of the financial crisis on the real economy and allow trade and investment to continue unhindered."
In a statement from Saturday's Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy, the G20 leaders said: "We underscore the critical importance of rejecting protectionism and not turning inward in times of financial uncertainty. In this regard, within the next 12 months, we will refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports. Further, we shall strive to reach agreement this year on modalities that leads to a successful conclusion to the WTO's Doha Development Agenda with an ambitious and balanced outcome. We instruct our Trade Ministers to achieve this objective and stand ready to assist directly, as necessary. We also agree that our countries have the largest stake in the global trading system and therefore each must make the positive contributions necessary to achieve such an outcome."