Strategic Priorities

2008 will be the first year of a new era for ICC – a major turning point in its long history. ICC’s governing bodies moved to introduce a more business-like governance and decision-making structure to enable the organization to adapt rapidly and flexibly to the fast-changing world being shaped by globalization.

This far-reaching reform is intended to:
- reinforce ICC’s global leadership role in trade and investment policy and advocacy, ruleswriting and dispute resolution;
- enable ICC’s renowned arbitration service to meet the growing pressures of competition and enlarge its presence in emerging economies, especially in Asia;
- promote a global network of strong national committees that can evolve with the times and reflect the growing economic strength of parts of the world outside north America and western Europe;
- make more productive use of ICC’s chambers network, through the World Chambers Federation, to access the growing number of small- and medium- sized enterprises that are being affected by globalization;
- bring ICC closer to its ultimate clients – its member companies, chambers and business organizations;
- attract more top executives to be active in ICC, and notably through an annual CEO forum  to be launched in June 2008 in Stockholm as the ICC World Business Summit; and - foster more outreach activities to increase ICC’s visibility, recognition and impact and to reinforce its reputation as the voice of world business among national governments and intergovernmental organizations.
 
Above all, the reform re-affirms ICC’s dedication to the fundamental mission of its founding fathers: to promote trade and investment across frontiers. All ICC’s activities are directed to that end.
 
ICC derives a unique legitimacy at the global level not only from its presence in 130 countries, among firms of all sizes and in all sectors, but from its unswerving advocacy for almost 90 yearsof open international trade and investment and the market economy system. That policy stance has made an enormously effective contribution towards the healthy expansion of business and the improvement of living standards across large parts of the world.
 
But ICC has never just limited itself to policy advocacy, waiting upon governments to solve problems. Our commercial arbitration service, for example, is a form of private justice. And, drawing on the expertise and experience of its worldwide membership, ICC has over time developed a large array of voluntary rules, guidelines, and codes - sometimes referred to as ‘trade tools’ - which facilitate business across borders and help spread best practice among companies.
 
A newly-revised version of ICC’s universally-accepted rules on the use of documentary credits came into force in mid 2007.
 
And, in 2008, ICC will begin the latest updating of its famous standard trade terms, known as Incoterms. The historic rules-writing function of ICC - some of it technical and low-profile - provides an invaluable service to business across the globe.
 
A further big asset of ICC is its privileged consultative status with major intergovernmental organizations and its long experience in voicing the views of business to influence intergovernmental negotiations. Over recent decades, the world has become increasingly interdependent. National governments, even in rich and powerful countries, are clearly unable to resolve alone such global challenges as climate change – an area of policy-making with a huge impact on business in which ICC will be increasingly active during 2008 following the outcome of the UN climate change conference in Bali at the end of 2007.
 
The way ahead must lie in increased multilateral cooperation among countries in intergovernmental fora, and it must be a major priority of ICC to promote that development. ICC is well positioned to take full advantage of its close ties with intergovernmental organizations, and its unique ability to build policy consensuses within the global business community, to ensure that the business voice is heard loud and clear where it will increasingly count.
 
The fight for an open world economy and the market system is never won, is seems. Each generation has to learn the old lessons. As it has done throughout its history, ICC will remain a steadfast rallying point for those who believe, like ICC’s founders, that strengthening commercial ties among nations is good for business, good for world living standards, and good for peace.

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