More than 200 business leaders attend the special event, held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
International Chamber of Commerce Qatar (ICC Qatar) on Wednesday proudly disclosed the achievements of the ICC World Trade Agenda, while illustrating future plans for support to Qatar’s businesses at the ICC Qatar Annual Gala Dinner.
The Gala Dinner was held under the patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, and attended by hundreds of executives, business and advocacy leaders, and key ministers of Qatar. The event was sponsored by Qatar Development Bank, as part of its mission to nurture and promote the private sector in Qatar.
Speaking at a press conference, held on the side-lines the Annual Gala Dinner, ICC Qatar and ICC General Secretaries, Remy Rowhani and Jean-Guy Carrier respectively, shared their excitement over the ‘Doha Victory’ outcome in Bali, Indonesia, which has rekindled new hope to bring global trade negotiations out of a deadlock.
ICC Qatar, under the umbrella of Qatar Chamber, together with ICC launched the ICC World Trade Agenda (WTA) in 2011 with the aim of stimulating the global economy by helping to move the ‘Doha Round’ of multilateral trade negotiations out of a 13-year stalemate.
“If there’s one thing that the ‘Doha Victory’ demonstrates, it is that global business can indeed unite and voice their concerns under an authoritative platform such as that of ICC to press governments towards better business climate,” said Remy Rowhani, director general of Qatar Chamber and secretary general of ICC Qatar.
“Business today holds the key to spurring economies around the world and ICC’s contribution to achieving the Bali Package at the WTO are at the centre of ICC Qatar’s mission to promote cross-border trade and investment as a means of fostering peace and prosperity,” said Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar Chamber and ICC Qatar, at the Gala Dinner.
The WTA business priorities prepared by ICC – which represents approximately 6.5 million companies in 130 countries, including Qatar – took two years to take shape, including several rounds of business consultations in various parts of the world and the WTA Summit in Doha in April 2013. The success of the recommendations in the shape of the ‘Doha Victory’ has reignited confidence in the World Trade Organization, whose 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali adopted a package of agreements which included agreements covering trade facilitation, food security, agriculture and other issues of interest to developing and least developed countries.
“The Bali agreements and in particular the agreement on trade facilitation represent a turning point for the WTO Doha Development Agenda and multilateralism. The positive momentum created by this “Doha victory” owes much to the invaluable support of the Qatar Chamber for the ICC WTA initiative, through which global business must now redouble its efforts to define a multilateral trade and investment policy agenda for the 21st century,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, secretary general of ICC.
The Agreement reached at Bali in late 2013 provides a framework of rights and obligations that should see reform of border procedures around the world, together with a mechanism to satisfy legitimate requests from developing countries for technical assistance.
The agreement has the potential to be of particular benefit to traders in developing countries, who continually face lengthy and costly border delays. Depending on the specific country’s implementation of the trade facilitation agreement, the removal of these barriers to trade could reduce total trade costs by 10% in advanced economies and by 13-15.5% in developing economies.
ICC Qatar is currently enhancing the institution to answer the needs of Qatar’s private sector on local and international stages. The organisation has launched a series of commissions where Qatar’s businesses enjoy direct participating in shaping and formulating policy in areas ranging from banking and environment to corporate responsibility and investment.
Members of ICC Qatar also gain access to a world-class suite of trainings and services to enhance competitiveness, as well as new networking platforms such as the ICC Annual Gala Dinner and planned policy consultation rounds.