Buenos Aires, Argentina.

MC11 Business Forum Briefing

Event Overview
The MC11 Business Forum will be held in Buenos Aires on December 12, 2017, as part of the activities organized by the Government of Argentina as the host of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization.

The Business Forum has been designed as a platform to amplify the voice of the private sector within the context of the WTO Ministerial Conference with a view to promoting an enriching public-private dialogue about the multilateral trading system and contributing to institutionalize closer engagement between governments and business leaders at the World Trade Organization.

The WTO Ministerial Conference is the WTO topmost decision-making body. It brings together all members of the WTO and can adopt decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

This will be the first time that the Ministerial Conference will have a dedicated event like the Business Forum for the private sector to have its voice heard by global public policy makers.

The goal of the Business Forum is to offer C-level executives a unique opportunity to influence global trade law and policy, to express support for the multilateral rules-based trading system and to offer specific and concrete recommendations on the issues that will be considered by governments at the Ministerial Conference.

The Business Forum is designed on the premise that businesses and governments alike will benefit from exchanging views on how to best design and implement global trade policies tailored to the changing realities of globalized business activities with the aim of maximizing economic growth and development for populations.

Panels at the Business Forum will feature Trade Ministers from WTO member countries and C-level executives from global businesses and will address the outlook and opportunities for global trade as well as opportunities for progress at the WTO about the internationalization of small and medium enterprises, agricultural trade, the digital economy and the promotion of an inclusive trade agenda.

Parallel Opportunities
The MC11 Business Forum is scheduled at a time in which Buenos Aires will be the epicenter of all key actors in the global trading system and will thus offer participants a series of additional opportunities for engagement with the public sector, think-tanks and civil society in multiple meetings and events.

Ministers from all WTO member countries are expected to attend the Ministerial Conference, providing participants at the Business Forum the opportunity to conduct bilateral meetings to discuss their specific trade and investment interests in multiple countries and to promote their policy agendas.

In addition, the Argentine Investment and Trade Promotion Agency will be available to arrange meetings at the highest level of government to discuss trade and investment interests.

The MC11 Business Forum is organized by the Government of Argentina, with support and collaboration from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the B20 Chair.



Panel Descriptions

Outlook and opportunities for global trade at the Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference

Building on the progress achieved at the Bali and Nairobi ministerial meetings, the Buenos Aires conference aims at achieving concrete results on new rules for agricultural, industrial and services trade – as well as other issues, like e-commerce and the participation of SMEs in global trade – while affording an opportunity to strengthen global trade in a way that promotes economic growth and development. Panelists will discuss the outlook and opportunities for global trade at the Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference and beyond.

Fostering internationalization: micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for a significant proportion of private sector employment and, particularly in developing countries, represent a powerful tool for social inclusion. The panel will assess how can countries design rules for the multilateral trading system that contribute to the internationalization of MSMEs, helping them integrate into regional and global value chains and increase their presence in foreign markets.

Progress in trade facilitation and new opportunities in investment facilitation

Trade facilitation remains the single most powerful way to increase trade flows, helping to significantly reduce the times and costs of international trade. The panel will assess the trade facilitation landscape after the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and discuss ways in which governments and the private sector can work together to continue promoting connection to global value chains and export diversification through investment facilitation measures.

Trade in agriculture: promoting food security

The past two WTO Ministerial Conferences have achieved significant progress on international trade rules in agriculture, including the historic decision to eliminate agricultural export subsidies adopted in 2015. Negotiations continue to address subsidies and high trade barriers that distort agricultural trade. The panel will discuss the opportunities to establish a fairer trading system that will increase market access, improve the livelihoods of farmers around the world and contribute to food security.

Trade and Gender: SheTrades Argentina and the Buenos Aires Declaration

The panel will discuss key priorities for ensuring an inclusive trade agenda, with a particular focus on ensuring equal access and opportunities for women entrepreneurs. During the panel, InvestArgentina will officially launch the SheTrades program – an initiative that provides women entrepreneurs around the world with a unique network and platform to connect to markets – and WTO members states will announce the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Gender.

E-Commerce: trade at the crossroads of digitalization

The digital economy has experienced exponential growth over the past few years, expanding trade and investment opportunities and transforming business models. The panel will explore the ways in which countries can help develop a regulatory framework for e-commerce that continues to foster growth and acts as a nurturing environment for innovation, while addressing important issues like internet freedom, transparency, tariffs and trade facilitation, consumer and personal data protection and privacy, among others.

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