B20 Australia – Influencing the G20 on growth and trade

The Business 20 (B20) is typically a forum through which the private sector suggests policy recommendations for the annual meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) leaders. The forum aims at bringing together business leaders from across G20 member countries to emphasize the role of the private sector as the main driver of strong, sustainable and balanced growth. Like G20, B20 has no permanent secretariat and exists from year to year at the invitation of the G20 Presidency.

The first B20 Summit was convened during the Canadian G20 Presidency in June 2010 which continued to play an important role during the following Korean, French, Mexican and Russian summits. Being the president of the G20 in 2014, Australia also takes on leadership of the B20. The B20 Australia Leadership Group includes 32 Australian business leaders representing a range of industries. It is chaired by Richard Goyder AO, Managing Director and CEO of Wesfarmers.

Bringing together leaders from the largest international companies within the largest economies of the world, B20 offers a unique opportunity for business leaders to articulate a clear set of priorities for the global economy and actively contribute to the G20’s policymaking process. Looking forward to the 2014 G20 Brisbane Summit in November, the B20 recently held its own summit in Sydney, aiming to influence policymakers on a variety of issues from trade and protectionism to infrastructure and financial regulation. The summit drew more than 400 business leaders from the likes of UBS, Credit Suisse, News Corp, Google and BHP, with a number of Australian companies filling out the Leadership Group.

The final version includes twenty recommendations to kick start global economic growth and trade. Richard Goyder, the B20 Australia Chair and CEO of Wesfarmers, struck a decidedly optimistic tone. “Our analysis suggests that if these were adopted, the G20 would not only meet, but exceed the two percent additional growth target set by G20 Finance Ministers in February,” he said. A failure by the G20 to embrace these reforms, on the other hand, “will mean a significant opportunity cost.”

One of the key priorities for the G20 under Australian leadership is to promote greater investment into long-term infrastructure projects that can increase productivity and job creation. This will not only help bridge the policy gap between developed and developing countries but will also open up a much greater role for the private sector. Such a move will draw heavily on private-sector finance and expertise.

With an aim to tackle any possible global financial crisis, B20 Australia aims at improvising financial regulations and laws to ease global trade and bring harmony across multiple economies.

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