"We share fundamental values including democracy, the rule of law, human rights, liberty, open societies and trust in the market economy," stated Ulrich Grillo, President of the BDI (the Federation of German Industries), summing up the principles of the B7. This is the basis on which we must push forward with the global agenda, he added.
Recommendations handed over to Chancellor
The 21-page paper which B7 representatives handed over to Chancellor Angela Merkel is entitled "Industrial innovation for a sustainable world".
The paper lays out recommendations on a range of issues, from the sustainability of global supply chains to energy and climate policy, the efficient use of resources and health policy. These were also the main issues on the agenda when the group met with the Chancellor.
Industry, climate and health
The seven business associations stand united in their support of free trade agreements. According to Ulrich Grillo they offer major benefits to all stakeholders. Today duties totalling ten billion US dollars are still charged on transatlantic trade. These duties could be scaled back.
There was also agreement that the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement should come into effect as soon as possible. "I am delighted that the B7 business associations have advocated worldwide compliance with OECD standards. This is a matter of great concern to us," confirmed the Chancellor.
The OECD standards embrace a wide range of aspects of corporate social responsibility. The standards are applied wherever multinational businesses operate and are an important instrument in shaping globalisation.
The discussion of safe, affordable, clean energy must be put on the global agenda, stressed the Chancellor and the BDI President at a joint press conference. The call for a level playing field in competition must not be limited to the national level or to the European level. All parties must make "comparable, ambitious and verifiable contributions".
The Chancellor praised the readiness of B7 representatives to engage positively and actively with the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris at the end of the year. Creating equal conditions around the world is "the best situation for competition in the global economy".
Angela Merkel and Ulrich Grillo also expressed their support for the "Vision Zero Fund". This is a new insurance fund that is to support victims of industrial accidents and their families. By improving occupational health and safety and safety organisation within individual companies it is also to reduce the number of accidents at work. The Chancellor welcomes the fact that B7 representatives will be working around the world to further these aims.