Leaders of the business world will assemble shortly in Toronto for the first G20 Business Summit, dubbed the B20. Organized at the request of Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), each member country was invited to nominate two CEOs to participate in the B20 which will take place in the same building as the G20 summit.
Tonight, the B20 will commence with a working dinner hosted by John Manley, CEO of the CCCE and inaugural chair of the G20 Business Summit. Remarks will be made by Mr. Flaherty and South Korean finance minister Jeung-Hyun Yoon, reflecting the Canada-Korea co-chairing at this weekend’s summit.
Tomorrow, discussion among the business leaders will focus on three central topics. First, “Recession and Recovery” will cover short-term prospects for global economic recovery, and readiness of the private sector for exit from fiscal stimulus programs. A keynote address by Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD will begin the session. Second, “Financial Market Regulation and Taxation” will survey risks of sovereign debt defaults and the state global financial markets. Discussions will be led by bankers from Argentina, Canada and South Korea. And third, “Drivers of Sustainable Growth” will assess necessary conditions in developed and emerging economies for strong and sustainable economic growth. A keynote address by Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization will open this discussion.
Notably, an afternoon working session with G20 Finance Ministers and a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper will allow for dialogue on these issues with the summit organizers.
The advent of the B20 fulfills a recommendation driven by CIGI’s Barry Carin, who has built the case for a G20 business and industry advisory committee as part of a wider summit outreach strategy. In essence, he suggests that this committee could articulate the interests of business networks, “develop policy positions on issues under review by the G20, and advise on the implications of proposed policies on business and industry.”
Looking ahead to future summits, the business consultations may well become a permanent feature of policy outreach. Organizers of the Seoul summit in November had earlier announced a B20 meeting in the week before the leaders’ summit. It is anticipated that this meeting will include discussions on corporate social responsibility for development as well as business reaction to exit strategies and financial regulation.
Many issues on the G20 agenda have direct impact on the international business community, from the bank tax to financial regulation to balanced growth. By reaching out to key corporate leaders, the G20 can build a constituency of supporters for its proposed policies. These steps will enhance the legitimacy of the “premier forum” for international economic cooperation.
Policy created in consultation with the private sector is likely to have a better chance of adoption and compliance than policy created in silos.
Andrew Schrumm is Interim Partnerships Manager at The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
(Image Credit: Flickr user antkriz)