Pitching for more predictable multi-lateral trade rules under the WTO, ICC’s Vice-Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal today said 3 per cent growth in global trade should not be treated as new normal and effort should be made to make trade central driver of global growth.
Mittal, who is also Bharti Enterprises founder and Chairman, was speaking at the first ever dialogue of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the WTO.
“Business wants predictable, modern and up-to-date multilateral trade rules, negotiated and agreed at the WTO. Trade is expected to grow by less than 3 per cent for the fifth consecutive year in 2016.
“We should not accept this as the new normal. We are ready to work constructively with WTO members to restore trade as a central driver of global growth,” an ICC statement quoting Mittal said.
The meeting identified a broad range of possible WTO initiatives to help boost trade-led inclusive growth and that the issues include SME growth, investment, sectoral liberalisation and e-commerce.
It said that there was a strong call from business leaders for the WTO to play a central role in underpinning an open, reliable and secure global digital economy.
Participants expressed particular interest in possible ‘e-commerce negotiations’ which could encompass a broad range of issues such as customs duties, electronic signatures, data protection and localization requirements, it added.
Speaking on the e-commerce initiative, Sunil Bharti Mittal said: “The global nature of e-commerce means that the WTO has a vital role to play in the further development of rules and standards in this area.
“E-commerce has the potential to revolutionise global trade flows. Today, even the smallest of businesses can go global if they can access the internet”.
It also said that many participants in the dialogue expressed an interest in a new WTO dialogue to explore the scope for global standards in the field of investment promotion, protection and facilitation.
The dialogue was initiated on the back of the successful outcome of the WTO’s ministerial conference in Nairobi last December, and in response to growing concern within the global business community about faltering global trade growth, it said.
The ICC is a leading business organisation with a network of over 6.5 million members in more than 130 countries.