Shaping the Global Economy: The BDI and the Global Business Coalition (GBC)

© Joshua Roberts

Enabling sustainable economic growth, promoting jobs, strengthening international trade: governments face a multitude of challenges in an increasingly complex and interconnected world economy that cannot be resolved by policy-makers alone. Rather, they depend on the expertise of the business community. The Global Business Coalition (GBC), which brings together leading business federations from around the world, is a strong and reliable partner in global economic governance.

The GBC (formerly the B20 Coalition) was established in 2012 and brings together leading business associations from the major world economies. It operates as a worldwide exchange platform for national business communities. By providing a unique interface between policy makers, international organisations, and business, the GBC has become instrumental in representing the voice of business within the G20 process and many other global governance fora.

GBC Presidency 2018: A New Political Commitment to Reshape the Global Trading System

During the GBC Plenary in February 2018, Dieter Kempf, President of the BDI, was elected president of the GBC. Three major topics guide his presidency: Trade, resource efficiency, and digitalisation. In their joint statement, issued right before the Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in July 2018, the GBC urges the G20 to reshape the global trading system. The G20 need to renew their commitment to keep markets open, refrain from raising new protectionist barriers, address unfair competition, set up an agenda for modern trade and investment rules, and strengthen the WTO.

Major Impetus for Global Business Issues

In recent years, the core topics addressed by the GBC were digital economy (Industry 4.0, Smart Cities, digital trade), international trade, and resource efficiency, among others. At the same time, the GBC responds to current developments by formulating joint positions and statements. For example, on the occasion of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in December 2017, it released a joint statement on how to strengthen the WTO. 

The GBC regularly supports the Business 20 (B20) and Business 7 (B7), through which the G20 and G7, respectively, conduct a dialogue with business. During the Turkish and German B20 Presidency, it served as the network partner of various B20 taskforces. Under the current Argentine B20 Presidency, it is the network partner for the taskforces on trade and investment, the digital economy and Industry 4.0, and energy, resource efficiency, and sustainability. The GBC is the official partner of the Canadian B7 Presidency, which it supports, among others, through its workshop on resource efficiency.

Independence, Representativeness and the Commitment to Open Markets

Leading business federations from 14 of today’s major economies belong to the GBC. Together, they represent more than 6.7 million small, medium-sized and large enterprises. Only one federation from each country can become a member of the GBC, whereby it must fulfil certain conditions; these include independence from government, representativeness, an interest in global governance, and the commitment to the free market economy.

The members of the GBC are:

  • Argentina: Unión Industrial Argentina (UIA)
  • Australia: Australian Industry Group (AIG)
  • Brazil: National Confederation of Industry Brazil (CNI)
  • Canada: Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC)
  • Europe: BusinessEurope (BE)
  • France: French Business Federation (MEDEF)
  • Germany: Federation of German Industries (BDI)
  • India: Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
  • Italy: Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria)
  • Spain: Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE)
  • South Korea: Federation of Korean Industries (FKI)
  • Turkey: Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD)
  • United Kingdom: Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
  • United States: US Chamber of Commerce (USCC)