much greater inclusion of SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) in global trade. In short, for the WTO remain a driver of progressive trade policies, it needs to be brought to the 21st century with efficient and prompt deliverables. With regards to the latter, EUROCHAMBRES and the Global Chamber Platform (GCP) – an informal global business network launched by EUROCHAMBRES more than a decade ago – have been urging G20 Leaders to build on the progress made at MC11 in Buenos Aires with regards to a dedicated work plan for MSMEs at the WTO, and table a set of guidelines for an ambitious SME agenda at the global level so as to make the system more inclusive. The well-established “think small first principle” in Europe can help guide the future global work on good regulatory practice, transparency burden reduction, or in better tailoring the trade policy review to the needs of SMEs. It is crucial to remember that SMEs are the backbone of global economy and critical towards achieving more inclusive growth. As they are coincidentally the businesses most likely to lack necessary financial or legal resources, it must thus in the interest of global economic growth and stability to make policy more inclusive, targeted, and simple to use and this is a message G20 Leaders in Osaka should deliver on. Importantly and in the interest of the global business community, we much hope for the G20 meeting to be a meaningful platform for the de-escalation of trade conflicts among the G20, that are threatening to jeopardize the global economic upswing for all involved. Progress also needs to be made regarding a more sustainable use of resources by the G20 economies and in effectively addressing climate change. In this sense EUROCHAMBRES would like to underscore the role of Circular Economy for competitive industries in a resource efficient economy and the importance to our societies as a whole. Successfully implementing circular economy in regions across the globe significantly contributes to the achievement of the UN SDGs, in particular number 12 and number 15, which deal with sustainable
The governance ssues are important, as our businesses need a negotiation agenda at the global level that can match today’s business realities.
consumption and production, and the protection of ecosystems respectively. At the current rate of progress, this concept may be a key solution towards making significant progress towards a successful completion of two sustainable development goals. Beyond that, its applicability will reach even further: Circular Economy is an essential component in reaching the Climate objectives of the Paris Agreement. Putting the implementation of such a system on the agenda would enable the G20 to further promote practical and effective political economic solutions that have a direct positive impact on existing and negotiated agreements in place. For Europe, studies indicate that the EU’s industrial emissions could be more than halved by 2050 if the entire circular potential was to be exploited. European businesses have already undergone huge developments in order to become more circular. After all, resource efficiency makes perfect economic sense in times of trade constraints and volatile primary raw material prices. In order to further promote the Circular Economy worldwide and to boost innovative business models and technologies, three points should be encouraged actively with partners to discuss best practices for implementation. For one, the G20 should work resolutely towards quality control standards for secondary raw materials, which will also contribute to enhancing their usage by both businesses and consumers. Secondly, the G20 should remove key barriers, such as contradictory definitions in chemical, waste and product legislation as well as non-
harmonized end-of-waste criteria as fast as possible, given its potential to facilitate cross-border trade in secondary raw materials. Contradictory definitions inhibit the free and effective cooperation between companies and industries of neighbouring countries or regions, which then may divert to other, less resource-efficient alternatives. When these key barriers are removed, and uncertainties about the legal environment have been clarified, this will be conducive to logical cooperation with potential partners nearby. Finally, the concept of circularity shall be included in training curricula and public awareness raising campaigns. The awareness, knowledge and skills needed by the current and future labor force will thereby be greatly enhanced. Communicating the right skill set to our future workforce is a globally recognized necessity. As such, combining the commitment of transitioning towards a sustainable and circular economy with the pledge to increase employability of future generations could deliver a highly advantageous synergy between economic interests and environmental responsibility. The G20 is a unique and powerful platform whose outcomes have the potential to significantly affect the global community. In a time of looming crises and rising challenges, we need the G20 to deliver actionable and practicable recommendations for future policies. The G20 members have the necessary resources to lead the way in their regions towards a more sustainable and inclusive economic model where all can profit. They should equally make headway to solve the deadlock at the WTO and lay the path for a credible reform that with sensible and transposable recommendations that will ensure the functionality of the system. This is essential if we want to uphold the predictability of rules-based trade to our companies. Without those policies, we risk losing a big opportunity for more concerted global action to simulate growth, and smoother transition towards a more sustainable and inclusive future for our businesses and citizens. ◆ OSAKA_JAPAN
A look at the world challenges and insight on how we can improve.