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Business provides outlook for G20 Brisbane Summit

On 8 October 2014, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted an event in Washington D.C. on the outlook of the upcoming G20 Summit in Brisbane.

The event brought together Australian and US government officials, business leaders and international policy experts to discuss expectations for the Australian G20 Summit to take place next month.

In the run up to the Leaders Summit, ICC and CSIS co-hosted the meeting to explore the prospects for the G20 to maintain its leadership in driving economic growth and jobs. The meeting principals included Australian Finance Minister Joe Hockey, Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley, Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics and US G20 Sherpa Caroline Atkinson, and Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund David Lipton.

Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group headlined the event with opening remarks on the state of the economy and the role of business in the G20 process.

“In most of Europe, the recapitalization of banks is still ongoing and moving slowly,” said Mr Wallenberg. While central banks have done a good job in keeping the global economy moving for the past six years, we will still need further structural reforms to prevent long run stagnation.”

From his perspective as one of the Business-20’s (B20) leading CEOs, Mr Wallenberg called upon the G20 to put in place the right circumstances to strengthen market predictability and encourage a new wave of investments. In doing so, he outlined four priorities for the Brisbane Summit. “The effective operation of financial markets, the development of global human capital, a predictable investment environment to encourage, in particular, infrastructure investment and greater opportunities for trade in goods and services can get the economic wheels going again,” he said.

Australian Finance Minister Joe Hockey announced that the G20 is on track to create growth and lift jobs. “In Sydney we pledged to complete as much of the financial regulation agenda as possible. We’ve made great strides to deliver stability and certainty in that area. Globally, banks will have more and better quality capital and greater defenses against liquidity pressures,” he said. “Brisbane will mark a turning point for international financial regulation. It’s time we draw a line in the sand on the global financial crisis. Our focus will shift to implementation – policy uncertainty must be removed,” he said.

US G20 Sherpa Caroline Atkinson shared insights into several G20 priorities for Brisbane. “Lifting female participation in the workplace, addressing energy and climate and of course progressing the trade agenda will be critical areas where we hope to convey leadership in Brisbane,” she said.

During discussions with Ms Atkinson, ICC called on the G20 to continue demonstrating its relevance in global economic governance. “The G20’s collective agreement on trade issues, including the extension of the standstill agreement and endorsement of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement is the type of leadership the world needs to gain traction on contentious issues,” said Jeffrey Hardy, Director of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group. “We hope that the G20, especially in the post-crisis period, can continue to take collective decisions and demonstrate the leadership needed in intergovernmental forums such as the WTO, the World Customs Organization, and the Financial Stability Board,” he said.

Mr Hardy joined Australian B20 Sherpa Robert Milliner, B20 Sherpa for Turkey Sarp Kalkan, and Citi’s Managing Director of Global Government Affairs Rick Johnston on a business panel during the meeting.

He explained that ICC had engaged in the G20 process to ensure business priorities are considered in the deliberations of G20 leaders. “The work of the G20 is a natural focal point for ICC because its mixed membership of advanced and emerging economies can more effectively tackle problems that transcend national boundaries and which governments are increasingly unable to resolve on their own,” he said.

The G20 has become a powerful force for shaping the rules of engagement for global market competition – its agenda bears upon core business goals for trade, investment, economic growth and job creation and will increasingly shape intergovernmental policies that affect business internationally. “As the everyday practitioners in an increasingly integrated global economy and as leading creators of jobs – business has a clear stake in the success of the G20,” said Mr Hardy.

Mr Milliner spoke on his experiences organizing the Australian B20 and summarized the 20 mutually reinforcing business recommendations for G20 government action. “Business leaders have an important role to play as champions of the B20 recommendations and as the drivers of global economic growth. Only if business and government work together can we achieve the shared goal of economic growth and prosperity,” he said.

The morning session concluded with Mr Kalkan praising the Australians for hosting a successful B20 cycle and pledging to pick up on the recommendations formulated during it. “We intend to concentrate on advocating for the implementation of the existing stock of B20 recommendations,” said Mr Kalkan. “We will do this through extensive consultations with G20 ministers, sherpas and business leaders,” he said. Mr Kalkan also indicated that the voice of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was crucial to the dialogue and that Turkey would endeavor to emphasize the views of SMEs in the G20 process during the Turkish