The International Chamber of Commerce, the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies, has responded to the conclusion of today’s virtual G20 leaders summit.

Commenting on new G20 commitments to ease the flow of essential medical equipment – against a background of rapidly escalating trade restrictions on key products – ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:

“The commitment of the world’s largest economies to promote the supply of, and ensure the free flow of, medical equipment is absolutely essential. But actions must follow words. G20 countries must immediately unravel export bans that have been implemented in recent weeks if we are to get medical equipment and medicines into the hands of those that need them the most. This cannot be an empty pledge if we are to limit the human toll of COVID-19.”

“We encourage all countries to follow the G20’s leadership and take every possible action to enable effective sourcing and production of the essential goods we need to fight this pandemic.”

ICC also welcomed the G20’s commitment to maintain a bold and large scale fiscal stimulus in the global economy but emphasised the imperative to prioritise the needs of small businesses and developing economies.

Mr Denton said:

“The human and economic impacts of the pandemic require an extraordinary fiscal response. Today’s commitment to scale the response of multilateral institutions is to be welcomed, but the challenge is to make sure that the bulk of that cash flows into the hands of small businesses and workers.”

“This is a downturn like no other – with increasingly worrying signs that many supply chains are close to collapse in developing economies. It’s imperative that money pledged by the G20 makes a difference in the real economy by keeping small businesses viable and people in work throughout the world.”

Mr Denton concluded by emphasizing that today’s extraordinary summit must be the start of an ongoing process to ensure an effective global response to a virus that knows know borders:

“Today’s summit cannot be a one-off. The global nature of the pandemic and the complexity of the economic consequences requires ongoing coordination and review. We look forward to G20 trade ministers taking forward key aspects of this agenda next week. But the business community also expects regular meetings of leaders to deal with this unprecedented crisis and hold each other accountable to their common commitments.”