The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has announced recommendations to counteract the global trade slowdown.
In its Business World Trade Agenda initiative, due to be presented to governments in Doha in April 2013, the ICC has compiled advice from international businesses of all sizes to define practical governmental and multilateral measures aimed at boosting trade growth.
“Business is uniquely placed to suggest innovative ways for overcoming obstacles in the ongoing trade negotiations,” says ICC chairman Gerard Worms. “The potential impact of failed trade talks on business and job creation has moved us to take action. Without a stronger multilateral trading system, business will face an even more difficult environment for trade and investment.”
The document urges governments to conclude a stand-alone trade facilitation agreement, advance the multilateral process under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) framework, liberalise trade in services, lower barriers to trade in information technology products and services and work towards a multilateral framework on international investment.
The ICC expects a WTO agreement on trade facilitation to generate US$130bn a year worldwide.
“Resolving the current trade deadlock is a priority for global business. International trade and investment are the engines of economic growth and job creation, which will ultimately pull the global economy out of recession,” says ICC honorary chairman Victor Fung. “It is crucial that governments work now to find a solution to unleash the benefits of trade and investment.”
Global trade has dropped sharply in 2012 and just last week (September 24) the WTO downgraded its 2012 world trade expansion forecast from 3.7% to 2.5%, pointing to slow global growth. With its recommendation, the ICC is calling for governments to address “the urgency of declining trade, which has been further hampered by the shortage of trade finance and the rising threat of protectionism”.