Global business leaders put trade, infrastructure proposals to G20

SYDNEY, July 18 Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:41am EDT

SYDNEY, July 18 (Reuters) - World leaders must immediately ratify a pact to lower trade barriers, establish a global "infrastructure hub" to arrange and prioritise projects and agree to rules on stopping corruption, business leaders said on Friday.

The proposals were among 20 that the Business 20 group will give the Australian government after meetings in Sydney this week in the hope the country puts them on the agenda when it hosts a meeting of the Group of 20 in November.

The recommendations may also be raised at a meeting of G20 trade ministers on Saturday in Sydney.

The B20 was set up in 2010 to give policy recommendations on behalf of the international business community to the G20 bloc of advanced and developing countries .

The business leaders want the G20 to tackle what they say is a $57 trillion shortfall in global infrastructure and are pressing for changes to funding, trade and corruption rules they say would help big projects move ahead.

Adopting all their recommendations would enable the G20 to achieve its goal of lifting world economic growth by 2 percent over five years and would create 50 million jobs, they said.

"It's about jobs and making worthwhile contributions to society," Wesfarmers Ltd Chief Executive Officer and B20 Chairman Richard Goyder said.

"It's ... about infrastructure. It's also about less time in traffic, less time having our products held up at ports, less time through airports, more access to telecommunications and technology that will enable us to be more productive in the world."

The recommendations also include measures the B20 believes will lower barriers to international trade, increase private sector investment, free cross-border labour markets and strengthen the finance sector.

First on the list is a recommendation to "rapidly implement and ratify" the Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement to cut bureaucracy around the transport of goods over national borders, signed by the 159 World Trade Organisation countries in 2013.

The proposed global infrastructure hub would "facilitate the development and delivery of pipelines of bankable, investment-ready infrastructure projects", the B20 said. (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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