International business chiefs call for new global trade deal

4 December 2013

Business leaders from more than 30 countries are urging governments to conclude a new multilateral deal to cut customs bureaucracy at this week’s World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Bali.

In an letter to the Financial Times, the CEOs and chairmen of more than 80 international businesses –headed by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) chairman, Harold McGraw -  say that a trade facilitation deal could boost global GDP by more than three per cent.

During the past three weeks, officials from around the world have been in round-the-clock negotiations to agree a deal which could be finalized at this week.

The letter, released at the initiative of ICC, urges trade ministers in Bali “to get the deal done” and secure the first multilateral trade agreement in almost two decades.

The business leaders write: “All trade ministers should consider what this would mean for businesses in their respective economies. A robust WTO deal would enable many companies to trade internationally for the first time, particularly as the Internet opens up new market opportunities for SMEs.”

Following the publication of the letter, Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC secretary general said: “The initiative emphasizes business’ strong support for a successful outcome to this week’s ministerial.

“A deal to cut red-tape at borders could provide a major stimulus to the global economy – bringing benefits to businesses, consumers and governments. An agreement is within touching distance: the thing now is for us all to stay engaged to make it happen.”