One of the key international business organizations we participate in is the B7, which is the business advisory group to G7 governments. In contrast to some of the larger and more diverse international groups that we are involved with, the B7 provides a higher degree of commonality in the members’ perspectives.
This year’s B7 meeting occurred in Washington, D.C., which provided an opportunity for the top business associations in the G7 countries to hear directly from the White House and U.S. State Department officials about their G7 agenda and global economic issues.
Over the last few years, the scope of the G7 has substantially proliferated to become a far-reaching agenda beyond core economic issues, which was why a theme of discussion was the “back to basics” approach this year by the American hosts to ensure that industrialized economies are focusing on the core issues needed to support economic growth.
The discussions at the B7 focused on:
- What solutions should we pursue to respond the powers of state-owned or state-back companies that place our businesses at a disadvantage when they compete domestically and internationally?
- What measures can be taken to ensure our global economic institutions maintain relevance?
- How do we respond to the rapidly changing economic landscape through ensuring people have the skills they need to be active participants in the workforce, as well as react to growing pressures from capital markets and others to be responsive to environmental, social and governance (so-called “ESG”) considerations?
A theme cutting through the discussions was also maintaining the relevance of the G7, and by extension B7, as an international group. The G7 is critical for Canada since it allows us to play a key role in the consensus building process that goes into setting the international policy agenda. Our role as the B7 is to ensure that the G7 consensus building process enhances the competitiveness of our members. What we deliver in the B7 also helps to inform the positions we take in forums such as the B20 and Business at OECD.
It may have been a back to basics year, but the outcomes are still very critical for companies. To learn more about our international policy work, click here.