BIAC attends B20 Summit in Sidney
Sydney, 17-18 July 2014 – BIAC participated in the Australian Business 20 Summit organized on 17 and 18 July 2014 in Sydney, where the Recommendations of the business community for the Australian G20 Presidency were finalized. Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed 400 business leaders stressing the vital role of the private sector for a more sustainable global recovery. BIAC’s Chair Phil O'Reilly spoke on a panel about entrepreneurship and Human Capital. He also addressed the B20 plenary meeting on business advocacy towards the G20 and offered BIAC’s support to promote the B20 recommendations in the run up to the G20 summit in November 2014 in Brisbane.
In addition to Human Capital and skills, the B20 Recommendations focus on Trade, Investment and Infrastructure, Financing, and the fight against corruption. O'Reilly pointed to the need of continuity and consistency for the G20 business message. Among the highlights in Sidney was a breakfast meeting with OECD Secretary Angel Gurria and G20 business leaders, hosted by BIAC with the support of Deloitte Australia. Participants were united in the expectation that the OECD will continue to play a major role as a knowledge partner of the G20 on efficient markets, competitiveness, and growth.
Update of the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance for State-Owned Enterprises – Expert Consultation
The OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are an internationally-agreed standard on how governments should exercise ownership of SOEs. They provide concrete advice to countries on how to manage effectively their responsibilities as company owners. The Guidelines were first developed in 2005 and are currently being updated.
BIAC has been actively involved in the discussions underlining that the ongoing revision presents an important opportunity to ensure that the Guidelines are strengthened as a global benchmark for SOE governance with a view to ensure competitive neutrality, avoid distortions of competition, and foster open trade and investment. In BIAC’s view, the revised Guidelines should help ensure that on the one hand states exercise their ownership functions responsibly and wisely and on the other that they do not abuse their power.
Since the SOE Guidelines were developed as a complement to the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, which are also being updated, close coordination is important to ensure continued compatibility. BIAC will participate in the expert consultation, which will take place on 8 September and which will provide an important opportunity to provide comments on the latest draft, which has been issued for public consultation.
High-level OECD-ILO Roundtable on Responsible Supply Chains in the Textile and Garment Sector
Since the Rana Plaza tragedy last year, the textiles and garment sector has been high on the OECD agenda, and individual National Contact Points (NCPs) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) have undertaken a series of specific initiatives. Last year’s Global Forum included a high-level session on Bangladesh. At this year’s meeting, NCPs issued a statement on One Year After Rana Plaza, calling for additional efforts in this area. One specific follow-up is the ILO-OECD High Level Roundtable on Responsible Supply Chains in the Textile and Garment Sector, which will be held at the OECD in Paris on 29–30 September 2014 with the active input of BIAC and IOE.
The meeting, which is organized with the active input of BIAC and IOE, is intended to provide a forum for dialogue between representatives of governments, the private sector, trade unions and civil society organisations on building responsible supply chains in the textiles and garment sector, taking into account the OECD MNE Guidelines and the principles of the ILO MNE Declaration. The roundtable will also identify challenges and areas for future collaborative action.
Nanotechnology and Tyres: Greening Industry and Transport
After several years of close cooperation between the OECD and business, the OECD this month finalized its report on Nanotechnology and Tyres - Greening Industry and Transport. The project was launched at the initiative of business and was carried out jointly by the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials and the OECD Working Party on Nanotechnology in close cooperation with the tyres industry represented through BIAC.
The study is intended to advance the policy debate by considering a wide range of issues regarding sustainable growth and the responsible development of nanotechnology from the perspective of the specific application of nanotechnology in tyres. The project is an excellent example of how business and governments can work cooperatively to help address specific challenges and explore new opportunities..
Bank Business Models
A number of countries are taking different approaches to structural bank reforms, focusing on the prohibition of certain types of proprietary trading, ring fencing and/or imposition of specific organisational structures. But the consequences of these reforms – both nationally and internationally – are not well understood. In this context, and following a request from the G20 Russia Presidency last year, the OECD, FSB and IMF are studying the possible cross-border implications of national or regional rules.
As input to this new work, a small-scale OECD-IMF Roundtable on Bank Business Models was held on 7 July in Paris, bringing together the OECD, IMF and FSB secretariats together with several financial industry representatives, including BIAC. In contribution to these efforts, BIAC submitted four short papers to the OECD, available on the BIAC website.
Colombia’s Accession to the OECD
Colombia is currently engaged in discussions towards becoming a full OECD member country. In contribution to the ongoing reviews by OECD committees, BIAC has developed a Submission that provides business perspectives on the following issues: market access (including energy costs, fiscal issues, infrastructure, customs control, automobiles, agriculture, alcohol, tobacco and telecommunications); corporate governance; labour market reform; anti-corruption; and pharmaceutical and health care issues.
BIAC asserts that Colombia’s accession process represents a critical opportunity to disseminate OECD instruments, standards and good policy practices to one of Latin America’s leading economies, while also allowing Colombia to share its policy experiences with OECD member countries. BIAC thanks members and our observer organisation, the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI), for contributions to this paper.