Industry organisation Business Unity South Africa and other business associations, representing 14 countries on six continents, have congratulated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The business community has also jointly written a letter to the new director-general explaining the paramount role that the WTO plays in the business community, and outlining issues that need to be addressed by the WTO to better function.
The business community has proposed ways in which a more regular and structured dialogue between the WTO and the business community can be achieved, building upon existing initiatives and establishing possible opportunities.
These include establishing an advisory council that would allow business to provide insights to WTO members on matters of importance.
Moreover, arranging more regular trade dialogues, as well as consultations and hearings on specific negotiations is requested.
Further, creating an online platform where stakeholders can register would enhance dialogue and transparency. The community says this could act as a forum for the WTO to share information on ongoing negotiations and allow businesses globally and of all sizes to contribute.
It has also suggested organising business summits on the margins of the WTO Ministerial Conferences to enhance dialogue.
Lastly, it has suggested providing the WTO Secretariat with a mandate to proactively review the organisation’s engagement with the business community and present ideas for improving outreach and communication.