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Report on G20 Business Dialogue in Berlin, Germany

Dominique Hogan-Doran SC

I recently joined the G20 Business Dialogue (B20) in Berlin, Germany. I am a member of the B20's Trade & Investment Taskforce as well as the Responsible Business Conduct & Anti-Corruption Cross-Thematic Group.  Our teleconferences and policy drafting work has been ongoing since my appointment in October 2016.

G20 Work Program

The G20 is the premier forum for international

economic cooperation and increasingly the central forum for all questions of global governance. The G20 was initiated in 1999 and consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (EU).

With the commencement of the German presidency on 1 December 2016, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Germany's priorities for the upcoming year: the German G20 agenda rests on three main pillars:

  • Ensuring stability
  • Improving viability for the future
  • Accepting responsibility.

Chancellor Merkel also cited the stability of the global economy as the "top issue". The G20 finance ministers will be focusing on achieving progress on the stricter regulation of financial markets, especially in the field of shadow banking. The G20 summit under the German Presidency will be held on 7 and 8 July 2017 in Hamburg.

About the B20

The B20 is an integral part of the G20 process, representing the entire G20 business community. The mission of the B20 is to support the G20 through consolidated representation of interests, concrete policy proposals, and expertise. The B20 promotes dialogue among policymakers, civil society, and business at the international level. In the B20, business representatives from the entire G20 develop joint recommendations and advocate specific policy-actions across the complete G20 agenda. In addition, the B20 organizes a number of events and provides a platform for exchanges with governments and other stakeholders of the G20 process. Like the G20, the B20 is a perennial process with working activities and events during the throughout the whole year.

B20 Conference, Berlin

The drafting of the groups' policy reports is well underway and the B20 Conference in Berlin offered a great opportunity for personal exchanges and constructive discussions between members. From creating a conducive environment for long-term investment to combatting unemployment via vocational training, the working groups and their knowledge partners engaged in intense and timely debate on many pressing issues.

During the two-day event, German Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble and G20 Sherpa Lars-Hendrik Roeller elaborated on the key issue areas of digitalization, migration and climate change, as well as the “Compact for Africa” investment facilitation program for Germany’s G20 presidency. These priorities were echoed by B20 Chairman Juergen Heraeus, who underlined the importance of the B20 motto – especially the need to increase “responsiveness” to solidify support for global cooperation in times when globalization skepticism is on the raise around the world.

Two panel discussions concluded a very productive first B20 Conference. The first panel, “Risks and Uncertainties – Towards a Resilient Global Economy,” focused on the need for new cooperative frameworks to account for uncertainty as well as new policy tools to reduce risk. The subsequent panel on “Innovation and Future Orientation: Stepping Stones for Sustainable Economic Growth” discussed the role of digitalization for future economic growth. Panelists also debated key aspects of competitive labor markets and inclusiveness, emphasizing the importance of lifelong learning.