The onus is on business to drive more inclusive trade

In his first speaking engagement as ICC Secretary General, John Denton put the onus on business to help drive transition to a more inclusive trading system.

container portAddressing participants of ICC United Kingdom’s Annual General Meeting in London, Denton said that a revised global architecture was needed to reach a new global consensus that re-engages citizens in the process, and ensures the benefits of a globalised world are more fairly distributed.

“We must ensure that trade policies are recalibrated in a way that enables the benefits of global commerce to reach all parts of society – and by extension to ensure that all companies, regardless of size, sector or geographical location, can benefit from equal access to the global trading system,” Denton said.

Kicking off discussions to consider what an inclusive UK trade governance model might look like post Brexit, Denton said that legitimate concerns about globalisation must be respected but that any new model must also continue to harness economic openness to international trade, investment and the movement of people.

“Business as usual when it comes to trade policymaking is no longer a viable option. But that is not to say that we should abandon our principles, what we stand for, and ultimately what economists can show to be mathematically true,” he said.

Outlining key areas for engagement for a new path for global trade, Denton said: “Efforts to drive the transition to a more inclusive world economy must begin with a trade governance model that is itself inclusive. We are here to demonstrate our capacity and eagerness to help governments chart a new course for global trade policy-making that places inclusion at its heart.”

Concluding his address, Denton called for business leadership saying: “We cannot afford to be shy or reluctant to lead the debate on the future of trade governance and to act in partnership with governments where we can.”

Coinciding with the ICC UK Annual General Meeting, a practical framework for national and international policymakers to guide best practice and help governments deliver on global commitments was launched Thursday.

Entitled A Trade Governance Model That Works for Everyone, the framework aims to ensure more inclusive, transparent and democratic trade policy that benefits all stakeholders.

The framework is supported by an informal alliance of organisations including ICC UK, British Chambers of Commerce, Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Business, Institute of Export and International Trade, Trade Justice Movement, TUC, UNITE the Union and 85 others.

Chris Southworth, Secretary General of ICC UK, said: “It is clear that not enough people have felt the benefits of trade and that public trust in trade policy has collapsed. This governance model provides a real opportunity for the UK to set new world standards in trade policy, re-build trust and put in place a modern governance framework that works for everyone and has the necessary support from all the key institutions.”

Read more about A Trade Governance Model That Works for Everyone on the ICC UK website.