The leaders of the B7 business federations issued a declaration to the G7 governments, containing 18 recommendations based on three broad themes: inclusive growth, resource efficiency and scaling up small business. These themes anchored discussions at the 2018 B7 Business Summit in Quebec City, Canada, on April 5 and 6. They are rooted in a fundamental belief that the growth generated by freer trade provides the best tool to lift people out of poverty, create a bigger, more prosperous middle class and raise living standards for all.

Achieving more open trade requires businesses and governments to stand together against protectionism. We must open markets by upholding our trade agreements and creating new ones and by strengthening institutions, like the World Trade Organization, that form the backbone of the global trading system.

Introduction

We, the undersigned business federations of the G7 nations, are issuing this declaration at the conclusion of the 2018 B7 Summit, held in Québec City, Canada, on April 5 and 6, 2018. We urge our governments to adopt the recommendations in this declaration, which provide a path to widespread prosperity through inclusive, responsible and collaborative economic growth.

Since the last B7 Summit we have seen unprecedented positive valuations in global stock markets, the conclusion of negotiations on trade agreements, widespread increases in incomes, and tremendous advances in technology and business models across many sectors. We have also seen volatile commodity prices, uncertainty gripping businesses, income inequality, and rising fears about global security and the potential for technology to displace jobs.

Rising protectionism, coupled with a backlash against trade in many regions creates a challenging business environment. It damages competitiveness and creates uncertainty, which in turn breeds sluggishness in global trade. In contrast, open and free markets stimulate increased global prosperity. Freer trade has helped more than a billion people escape poverty since 1990. Small business is a key tool to accelerating growth and ensuring that growth is inclusive.

The role of open markets and global trade in these gains must be protected.

As international business federation leaders, we recognize and accept that the role of business has expanded beyond that of an economic agent to include social and environmental change. Our role and responsibility is to work within our societies and with our governments to create opportunities, ensure the benefits of business and economic growth are widely felt by our populations, and work to make sure that business is conducted in a manner that protects our environments for generations to come.

To that end, we have identified three priorities that build on the B7 recommendations of past years to help move our collective agenda forward:
– inclusive growth;
– climate change and resource efficiency; and
– scaling up small business.

These three priorities are the backbone of the B7’s work in 2018 and of our recommendations. They were not developed in a vacuum. Instead, they reflect the broader context of issues that remain significant for G7 business federations.

Trust in our institutions

Our societies can only function effectively if everyone — business owners, investors, workers, customers and the broader public — feel they are playing by the same rules and that those rules are applied equitably, and decisions are made transparently.

It is important for governments and business representatives to reaffirm their commitment to transparently respect and sustain established rules and laws and the institutions that govern them. They must also support those, including the media, who help communicate those rules and laws. At the same time, we must also create new strategies, rules and laws to address emerging issues, such as cybercrime, privacy infringements and the use of technology.

Inclusive Growth
Defining inclusive growth
Recommendations
1. Make a commitment to global trade and investment
2. Strengthen global economic governance
3. Embrace the power of the digital age
4. Find sustainable solutions to health-related issues
5. Invest in infrastructure
6. Our people are our most important resource

Climate Change and Resource Efficiency
Recommendations
1. Partner with the private sector on innovative solutions for resource and energy efficiency
2. Encourage the development of market-based mechanisms, in accordance with national/regional circumstances, for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
3. Enhance trade and international cooperation on resource efficiency
4. Ensure domestic policy and regulatory frameworks support private sector investment
5. Involve the private sector in the domestic and international policy-development process

Scaling Up Small Business
Recommendations
1. Enact tax policies that reward entrepreneurship and stimulate ongoing investments
2. Ensure regulatory policies take into account the impacts on SMEs
3. Encourage SMEs to adopt digital technologies
4. Adopt procurement policies to make government contracts more accessible for innovative SMEs
5. Improve and introduce new programs to connect SMEs to international business opportunities
6. Develop tools and incentives to help SMEs understand the benefits of workplace diversity
7. Support the development and growth of female-owned SMEs

Conclusion

The countries of the G7 will need to overcome many important challenges in coming years. However, we remain optimistic about the future. The actions proposed in this declaration can form an important part of the strategies needed to create better and more prosperous lives in a more inclusive global economy. We wish the G7 governments success in their Summit and pledge ourselves to work with them to build growth and opportunity for all of our citizens.

To download the summary letter – To the Heads of State and Government of the G7 nationsclick here

To download the full – 2018 B7 Declarationclick here

Source: B7 Canada

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