Business leaders urge G20 to resist protectionism
Posted by hkarner - 9. Dezember 2016
A group of business executives has urged the Group of 20 leading economies to resist the temptation to take protectionist measures and to foster international economic cooperation.
Germany took over the G20 presidency last week, a platform Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to use to safeguard multilateral cooperation under threat following Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election.
The B20, the G20’s business outreach arm, said popular concerns about trade liberalisation should be taken seriously but that „seemingly easy solutions risk having long-term negative consequences for business, workers, and consumers.“
„We urge governments to resist the temptation to resort to protectionist measures such as trade barriers or investment restrictions,“ the B20 added in a statement dated Dec. 8, a copy of which Reuters obtained on Friday.
„The challenges of globalisation cannot be solved within national borders,“ the group added. „The G20 is an important forum for international economic cooperation.“
German officials, while acknowledging privately that they will not have an easy ride leading the G20, stress that the motto for their presidency – „Shaping an Interconnected World“ – indicates they want to take globalisation forward through international cooperation rather than roll it back.
(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Paul Carrel)
The Statement by B20:
Trade & Investment
The global exchange of goods, services, capital, and knowledge is an important pillar of our prosperity. Specialization increases productivity. Open markets lead to greater innovation. Trade and investment allows companies to reach out to new customers and realize economies of scale. Consumers benefit from a greater product variety and lower prices. Our economic well-being depends on trade and investment.
Yet, protectionism is on the rise, also in G20 countries despite the agreed protectionism standstill. Trade liberalization is becoming more and more unpopular in many countries around the world, with anti-globalization movements gaining momentum. At the same time, the way we trade changes every day through developments like digitalization and regionalization.
But our trading system and trade rules do not sufficiently reflect the changing nature of trade. We need rules for trade and investments of the 21th century. We need to curtail protectionism. We need to more fully integrate those countries into the world economy, which have not yet fully benefitted from globalization. We need to improve investment policymaking and market access. And we need to address the growing opposition to globalization in our societies. We know of our responsibility. Business is ready to play its part.
B20 Focal Areas
Digital Trade offers diverse advantages: it reduces transaction costs and facilitates trade participation for SMEs and developing countries. Yet, in order to make full use of these opportunities, capacity-building needs to be supported. We therefore need to make sure that businesses become ready for e-commerce. B20 also wants to work towards an adaption of rules for digital trade on a global level to avoid digital protectionism and legal insecurity.
The Multilateral Trade System needs to be strengthened further as trade-restrictive measures still hinder trade. Protectionist measures of G20 states have to be addressed and rolled back. We also want to explore all opportunities within the WTO framework to foster multilateral trade liberalization. At the same time, B20 calls for more transparency in Regional Free Trade Agreements.
Investment Facilitation is needed as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) still faces barriers and disincentives. B20 wants to work against discrimination and unfair treatment and wishes to improve the protection of property rights and contract enforcements. We want to endorse common best practices for investment facilitation and want to push for a process on a multilateral investment framework.