13 November 2020
In an interview with international news channel France 24, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO outlined measures that the incoming Biden administration can take to shield small businesses from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Senior News Editor and anchor Stephen Carroll, Mr Denton underscored the vital role played by small businesses within the much wider landscape of the US economy saying: “In the US alone, we’re talking about 30 million small businesses. This is a very big part of the US economy and one of the most important employers. Let’s also be very clear here: they’re hurting, and they continue to hurt.”
In reference to the ongoing debate over whether Congress should extend COVID-19 relief measures to small businesses, Mr Denton called upon Republicans and Democrats to resolve their differences and work together to pass a stimulus package that will provide small businesses with working capital to survive the pandemic.
“There really does need to be a serious fiscal intervention and that’s going to require the political establishment to get its act together to ensure that there is a significant fiscal intervention as quickly as possible,” said Mr Denton. “We can’t wait two months. More businesses will go out of business, more jobs will be lost, and more businesses will not open.”
Mr Denton also said that the Biden administration and other governments around the world could support small businesses by providing greater access to trade finance. “If you get trade finance operating in the US, which enables SMEs and other businesses to function again, what you’re also enabling them to do is to export,” he said. During the interview, Mr Denton mentioned a recent letter issued by ICC’s Advisory Group on Trade Finance, which calls upon G20 leaders to leverage trade finance to safeguard SMEs.
Responding to a question on whether ICC was optimistic that global trade relations would improve under Biden’s administration Mr Denton said: “From our perspective, the most important thing is to make certain that people understand that trade is actually a positive.
“We would want any incoming US administration – we would want all governments [around the world] – to understand the importance of that. We need …to make sure that there is domestic support for the global trading environment. Domestic support for open economies. Domestic support for better bilateral relations – and domestic support for global rules that enable clear and transparent guidance for companies about how they trade.”
Watch the France 24 interview in full.