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Business Leaders Call for Ratification of Trade Facilitation Agreement

Posted February 13, 2015

The Business-20 (B20) trade task force, which includes 68 company executives from 25 countries, met earlier this week in Istanbul in preparation for the G20 Leaders Summit to be hosted by Turkey in November 2015.

“The world’s leading corporations are deeply invested in helping to shape a trade agenda that will deliver economic growth and millions of new jobs,” said Güler Guler Sabancı, Chairman of Turkey’s Sabanci Holdings, who co-chaired the task force. 

Gathering ahead of a meeting with finance ministers, the trade task force called on G20 leaders to rapidly implement and ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement that will create binding commitments across all WTO members to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods, improve cooperation among WTO members in customs matters, and help developing countries fully implement the Agreement’s terms. It is estimated that the agreement can cut trade costs by almost 14.5 percent for low-income countries, and by 10 percent for high-income countries, forming part of international efforts to cut tax barriers to trade on a global basis under the Doha Round.

Business leaders also urged G20 countries to stop protectionism in its tracks, remove supply chain barriers and ensure that plurilateral trade agreements contribute to a stronger multilateral trading system. The task force also called for progressive leadership by the G20 to liberalize trade in services, encourage the growth of e-commerce and improve intellectual property protection and enforcement regimes as drivers of economic growth.