5 ICC recommendations could yield tangible outcomes

5 ICC recommendations could yield tangible outcomes


Five recommendations developed under ICC initiative, including implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access for exports from least-developed countries, could achieve tangible outcomes by the end of 2013, to harvest gains from the WTO’s Doha Development Round.

“Conclude a trade facilitation agreement, phase out agricultural export subsidies, renounce food export restrictions and expand trade
in IT products and encourage growth of e-commerce worldwide are other four recommendations developed for Bali WTO Ministerial Meeting,” said
a news bulletin of the International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICC,B) released on Thursday. With more than 3,000 agreements on
investment already in place, it is time to move towards a single multilateral framework to facilitate cross-border investment, which
will encourage to economic growth and job creation. The WTO (World Trade Organization) 9th Biannual Ministerial Conference is taking
place in Bali, on December 3-6. The race to agree on a deal at the Bali Conference is not only an opportunity to slash the cost of
shipping goods around the world, it also represents what many experts see as the last chance to restore confidence in WTO’s ability to
reform global trade rules. If there is no deal in Bali, the risk for the WTO is that major trading powers, which are already spending much
more energy on bilateral deals than on the push for a global agreement, would give up for good. Some experts say that these could
foster the growth of rival trading blocs and deepen divisions, the opposite of what the WTO was meant to achieve, it said. For the past
60 years, trade has been a driver of growth and employment. This engine of the world economy is threatened by the stalemate in
multilateral trade negotiations. The increase in trade and investment restrictions fueled by the global economic downturn is
damaging the business climate and prospects for recovery, precisely when global trade and investment liberalization could provide a
debt-free and much-needed boost to world economic growth. Trade facilitation is a series of measures whereby countries reduce red tape
and simplify customs and other procedures for handling goods at borders. An agreement on trade facilitation should significantly
reduce costs, speed up and streamline administrative and other official procedures as well as create a more transparent, predictable
and efficient environment for cross-border trade. A WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement would, thus, add significant momentum to these
initiatives, leading to even greater reductions in trade costs.
Several hundred business leaders and trade experts at the ICC World Trade Agenda Summit held in Doha on 22 April this year, considered a
set of recommendations finalized by ICC on behalf of global business for WTO Member Countries to salvage parts of on-going Doha trade
negotiations that could heighten global GDP by US$960 billion. It was observed that by simplifying customs procedures – through trade
facilitation measures – alone, member countries would deliver global job gains of 21 million, with developing countries gaining more than
18 million jobs and developed countries increasing their workforce by three million. It is estimated that the payoff from liberalizing
trade in services could generate world trade gains of US$1.1 trillion, which would translate into global employment gains of nine million
jobs. ICC is committed to a strong and effective WTO, one whose members collectively negotiate the lowering of trade barriers and the
strengthening of global trade rules. ICC’s World Trade Agenda initiative includes a longer-term proposal that governments should
begin discussions towards a multilateral framework on investment. – UNB


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