The CEO of International CEOE, Marta Blanco, participated in the Annual Consultation Meeting of Business at OECD with the ambassadors accredited to the OECD, which was held yesterday in Paris. In the course of it, he stressed that Spain represents a good example of a country that has benefited from the progressive opening of its economy, among other issues.

During his visit, he also met with the Spanish ambassador to the OECD, Manuel María Escudero; with the ambassador of Spain in France, Fernando Carderera; and with various representatives of the OECD and the CEOE homologous employer, MEDEF. This last meeting with the French business confederation (MEDEF) served as a follow-up to the visit at the end of October of the president of said institution, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, to Spain, during which he met with Spanish businessmen at CEOE, in order to strengthen business cooperation between the two countries and discuss matters of common interest to companies.

Annual Business Consultation at OECD

The Annual Consultation with the OECD, officially called the Liaison Committee Meeting (LCM), is chaired by the Secretary General of that Institution, Ángel Gurría, and addresses the business priorities that involve the OECD. Both Gurría and the president of Business at OECD, Phil O'Reilly, presented the objectives of the day and, later, the director general of Confindustria, Marcella Panucci; and AT&T senior vice president Karim Antonio Lessina and USCIB CEO Peter Robinson, who made a joint presentation.

After the first session, moderated by the Secretary General of Business at OECD, Rusell Mills, three simultaneous working groups took place, in which ambassadors and members of Business at OECD took part, and the value of the open markets to society in relation to trade, investment / taxes and development; how society faces the opportunities that arise in the future: digital transformation, employment and skills; and how to lay the foundations for prosperous societies: health, environment and energy.

Value of open markets

The CEO of International CEOE, Marta Blanco, moderated the first of the tables, related to the value that markets open to society bring in relation to trade, investment / taxes and development. For this, questions were addressed regarding how citizens see the economic and social benefits of open markets; what specific policies are applied by the various countries and companies to promote the opening of these markets and what are the best sources of the OECD to demonstrate these benefits.

Marta Blanco mentioned that Spanish society is one of the most committed and is in favor of international trade, especially among the youngest. In fact, according to the Eurobarometer of Spain, the main reasons for this support is that a broader option is offered to customers and imported products are cheaper. Likewise, the survey reflects that 42% of Spaniards think that the EU as a whole is more effective in defending the commercial interests of its members than when the States do it alone. It was also indicated that 56% believe that we need international trade standards, as they help create equitable conditions for countries and businesses.

The president of CEOE International said, in her role as moderator, that Spaniards are strong supporters of open markets. In this regard, it was highlighted, during the round table, that successive governments have strongly advocated a multilateral system and a strong WTO, capable of establishing clear rules and resolving differences between countries.

It was also stressed that we must bet on the WTO reform to adapt the current regulation to new economic challenges in the areas related to digitalization, distorted subsidies and state-owned enterprises or technology transfer. The speakers at the table pointed out that it is essential to support the achievement of ambitious agreements, which go beyond the mere reduction of tariff barriers, improving the conditions of market access by making the rules compatible and achieving better access to the services markets and investments.

Marta Blanco agreed with the speakers to reaffirm the benefits offered by international trade. In fact, the OECD offers a wide range of analyzes and tools that help highlight the benefits of trade and investments, as is the case, to name an example, of the TIVA trade and value-added instrument; and especially from the FDI Quality Project, a report that presents a new set of indicators that measure the impacts on the sustainable development of foreign direct investment in the various countries.

The session was attended by the CEO of Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), Danny McCoy; the co-chair of the Digital Business at OECD Committee, Julie Brill; the chairman of the Investment Committee, Winand Quaedvlieg; the Chairman of the Fiscal Committee, William Morris; and the vice president of the Commerce Committee, Marco Felisati. A small debate was also held in which the present ambassadors, representatives of the OECD and of Business at OECD, such as Ángel Gurría and Phil O'Reilley, also participated.

Bilateral meetings

Marta Blanco also held meetings during her trip to Paris with the Spanish ambassador to the OECD, Manuel María Escudero; with the ambassador of Spain in France, Fernando Carderera; with the director of the Department of Communication of the OECD, Anthony Gooch and the head of the Area of ​​the Middle East and Africa, Carlos Conde; and with the president of the European and International Commission of MEDEF, Bernard Spitz.

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