Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), supported by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and regional development banks, have announced a new initiative to host a global consultation to support multilateral trade reform.
Launched today by ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO and WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, the new Global Dialogue on Trade platform will provide concrete support to the on-going intergovernmental approach to improving the multilateral rules-based trade system.
The initiative – digitally enabled and managed by ICC – will convene open dialogue among multilateral institutions, think tanks and businesses from around the world. Following an initial call for debate themes, the platform will seek input from users to assess elements in the existing framework that work well, elements that should be improved and what should be addressed to help the WTO effectively deal with the challenges and disruptions of the 21st century.
ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:
“The business community is at the forefront of international commerce and should contribute to shaping the rules that govern cross-border trade. The Global Dialogue on Trade, launched today, enables business to be a constructive partner to the on-going intergovernmental negotiations through actionable recommendations on reform. The digital platform provides an unprecedented opportunity for users of the multilateral rules-based trading system to drive positive change and ensure that solutions proposed to make the system fit-for-purpose are heard.”
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said:
“These are challenging times for trade. Escalating tensions between major economies risk undermining the global economic recovery and the multilateral trading system itself. So we can’t just cross our arms. We need everybody who believes in the system as a force for good to speak up. This is particularly crucial in the context of the debate about the future of the WTO and how it could potentially be strengthened and improved to deal with emerging challenges. The voice of the private sector should be heard in that conversation. I warmly welcome this initiative.”
More than 100 businesses – representing a diverse range of sectors and geographies – along with a wide range of think tanks have been invited to join the platform.
The Global Dialogue on Trade was launched at a press conference on the sidelines of the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group taking place in Bali.
The call for themes will close on 31 October, to be followed in November by the platform’s first three privately-held, digital debates on selected themes. Recommendations for reform will channel into the ongoing intergovernmental processes and will be made publicly available on the platform at: globaldialogueontrade.org