The German B20 Presidency

B20-Conference in Berlin © Christian Kruppa

If the G20 did not exist, it would have to be invented today. Our world economy is facing challenges that cannot be solved individually. National solo runs will not allow us to take full advantage of today’s opportunities or to solve our collective problems. Such attempts are doomed to failure. The G20 is the premier forum for global governance and an important agenda setter. It helps to advance the rules and regulation for the world economy. The Business 20 (B20) supports the G20 with expertise and concrete policy recommendations.

The world economy is facing vast chances and challenges. Digitalization, which has become the fourth industrial revolution, is changing the way we produce, work and trade. Smart factories, smart cities, smart transportation, smart homes – digitalization offers large potential for innovation, efficiency gains and employment. It can boost an ailing economy and provide a new impetus. This does not only mean more goods traded online, but also a fertile ground for new products, more efficient supply chains and improved cross-border trade.

A crises mix dominates the global economy

At the same time the G20 states face an unprecedented crises mix. The world economy is slowly recovering from the global financial and economic crisis between 2007 and 2010 and financial markets are more robust today. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently come to the conclusion that risks are increasing again: loan conditions are getting trickier to meet and capital flows are becoming more volatile. Emerging markets, the engines of global growth, are struggling, and political risks are on the rise. Geopolitical crises and armed conflicts are curbing the international investment climate, which also exacerbate infrastructure deficits. Volatile commodity prices create further market insecurities. The uncertainty followed by the British referendum further adds an economic unknown and has proven to be another success story for political populism against globalization.

Global cooperation is necessary

With a self-centered and isolationist agenda, countries around the world will neither be able to rise to the challenges of globalization, nor seize the opportunities it offers. Most issues require intensive global cooperation. The Paris climate agreement, the WTO Doha development round, migration, digitalization, resource efficiency, the investment gap, or the fight against corruption, to name just a few. Global economic governance institutions, led by the G20, which address those issues collectively are all the more important. The G20 may not be an international organization like the IMF or the WTO in which member states agree on conventions that are binding under international law. However, the G20 is the premier forum for global governance, an important agenda setter and the cornerstone of global regulation.

The B20 and G20 are closely intertwined

The G20 is supported by the B20 in its work. The B20 is the voice of the G20 business community. The B20’s foundation is the development of recommendations to the G20 in Taskforces and Cross-thematic Groups that are constituted by business representatives and experts from the G20 countries. The B20 is guided by the G20 priorities and identifies areas where G20 action is crucial.

Each taskforce is headed by a chair and several co-chairs. Around 100 representatives from companies and business associations, representing all G20 countries and sectors of the economy, are working together in each taskforce and cross-thematic group to find answers to global challenges.

BDI, BDA and DIHK assumed the B20 Presidency

After a successful Chinese presidency in 2016, the G20 leadership has now moved on to Germany. On September 2016, the leading German business associations BDI, BDA, and DIHK, mandated by the German Chancellery, assumed the B20 presidency. Chair of B20 Germany is Jürgen Heraeus.

Under the German B20 leadership, the focus will lie on established and new fields of engagement. This year, our Taskforces and Cross-thematic Groups will include: Trade and Investment, Energy, Climate & Resource Efficiency, Financing Growth & Infrastructure, Digitalization, Employment & Education, Responsible Business Conduct & Anti-Corruption, and SMEs. In order to identify and push the necessary initiatives, the B20 stands ready to assist the G20.