Ahead of the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August, the CBI outlined its priorities on trade and investment to the G7 Sherpas, including preserving and strengthening the WTO, pushing for an ambitious e-commerce agreement, and enhancing cyber security.
Business’ concrete priorities include:
- The need to preserve and reform the rules-based multilateral trading system and the vital role of the WTO’s Appellate Body.
- The importance of digitalisation in modern-day trade, particularly the need for rules and regulations to keep pace with the mammoth changes in the wider economy brought about by the digital transformation.
- For e-commerce negotiations at the WTO to deliver concrete and rapid results for business; to reduce forced data localisation; to make the moratorium on import duties for electronic transmission permanent; and to reject the trend of the transfer or access to source codes being a market access requirement for software.
The CBI welcomed the start of e-commerce negotiations at the WTO, but reiterated that businesses will only take advantage of ambitious new rules if they believe they can do so safely. The importance of cybersecurity, and the role of governments in protecting, educating and informing business was highlighted as a means of encouraging a proliferation of firms that export, and we returned to the point that business will only invest in the development of new rules if the existing rules and enforcement of those rules at the WTO are reinforced.
G7 Sherpas and the French G7 Secretariat welcomed the perspectives of business as our French and German sister federations also discussed their priorities on global trade and the future of the WTO. The French Secretariat also outlined how e-commerce and digitalisation are closely connected to the French G7 priorities of tackling global inequalities and boosting the potential of Africa.
The G7 process is a vital trend-setter for international policy development and provides many of the initial ideas that eventually become more concrete multilaterally through the G20 process and domestically in the world’s major economies. Cross-border issues such as energy and the environment, trade and investment, digitalisation, and gender equality are vital issues for business and influencing the macro-level G7 is a good means of projecting the values and priorities of British businesses around the world.
The CBI will continue to provide the business perspective in order to influence the G7 process. One integral part of this is the formulation of a B7 joint-statement, the business world’s version of the G7, which will be publicly released at the B7 Summit in early-July and submitted to G7 France’s secretariat and the national Sherpas. We will shape the development of the B7 statement from the outset to ensure that the priorities of UK business are best reflected and that we are thus best placed to influence the G7 communique that will be negotiated by Sherpas in the coming months and then agreed upon by the seven national leaders in August.