Global businesses agree a G7 'wish list'

Global business groups have agreed a set of proposals to promote economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which will be put to next month's G7 summit in the UK.

The B7 group of business federations says the proposals it is putting to the summit of world leaders, represent "critical areas where business and governments worldwide can work together to rebuild the global economy, reduce inequalities and curb escalating protectionism".Between June 11-13 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US will meet in a bid to map a path for economic recovery. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also been due to attend the gathering but withdrew on Wednesday because of the nation's continuing Covid-19 crisis.The B7 business group wants to see their political masters commit to a roadmap to roll back protectionist measures adopted in the pandemic, including export restrictions.Other proposals include a plan for the G7 nations to lead international action to achieve cross-economy, net-zero carbon emission targets by progressing decarbonised power generation.Additionally, the business leaders say there should be an increase in international alignment over developing sustainable finance taxonomies, disclosures, regulations and policy frameworks to support climate risk mitigation and facilitate the growth of sustainable finance.On international travel, the leaders are being urged to enact "clear, consistent and internationally harmonised standards and procedures for restarting cross-border travel, using mutual recognition of Covid-19 tests and digital health credentials to enable a globally applicable solution".Miles Celic, CEO of the financial services trade group TheCityUK, reacted favourably to the proposal, saying that restarting international travel must be seen as a priority, not a luxury.“During this crisis, businesses have done remarkably well in keeping relationships alive, and productivity high, but they have been relying on past links and relationships that were forged in person," he said.“A return to travel must be safe and measured, with restrictions remaining on high-risk countries, but air links re-established where the risks of variants is low."The UK’s vaccination success story should now allow us to push on with rebuilding the businesses, jobs and livelihoods that have been hit so hard by our forced isolation.”Another call the business group is making to the summit is for greater cooperation within the G7 on next-generation regulatory frameworks governing emerging technologies such as AI and fintech.Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said the B7 proposals had been put together at a virtual summit of more than 200 global CEOs and leaders of business organisations.“There’s never been a more important moment for the international community to come together as we rebuild from the devastation of Covid-19," he said.“From climate change to digitisation, resilience-building to fighting protectionist instincts, the challenges we face are seismic. It’s simply not acceptable for business to sit on the side lines. We must stand up and be counted, using our knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver the solutions that will be felt in communities worldwide.“As host of the G7 and COP26, the UK has a unique opportunity to be the key ‘global broker’, building consensus and mobilising international action. With economic rulebooks being ripped-up around the world, future generations are relying on us to seize the moment.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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