Insurers call for governments to remove free trade barriers

Insurers call for governments to remove free trade barriers

Insurers call for governments to remove free trade barriers The Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) is backing recommendations made by the Business 20 (B20) business forum on how private sector activity and investment can help the Australian G20 Presidency meet economic growth targets agreed by the Finance Ministers.

The G20 is a forum of governments and central bank chiefs from 20 major global economies, with the next meeting due to be held in November in Brisbane. The B20 is a forum of business leaders from the G20 member countries.

The 20 recommendations include urging G20 governments to reaffirm the critical importance of infrastructure – and private investment in infrastructure – and set specific five-year investment targets aligned to a national strategic vision, and removing barriers inhibiting entrepreneurs from starting and growing businesses.

The GFIA also said it supports the B20 goal of stimulating growth by promoting investment in long-term infrastructure.

Frank Swedlove, chair of the GFIA, said: “Insurers are natural long-term investors because of our business model. We welcome the B20’s recognition of the important role the insurance sector already plays in long-term financing. But we can do much more if the right policy environment is put in place.”

The GFIA welcomed the emphasis that the B20 has put on ensuring appropriateness of regulation including the need to ensure that the necessary impact assessments and review processes are carried out. Early dialogue with all stakeholders is essential.

The GFIA urges that work on international capital currently underway at the IAIS (International Association of Insurance Supervisors) is carefully reviewed early in the process.

A statement read: “Policymakers need to ensure that regulation under development at the global level does not limit the ability of insurers to provide those long-term investments. This is particularly important in terms of new international standards being developed for capital and accounting purposes.”

The recommendations, which cover five core economic drivers – trade, infrastructure, human capital, finance and transparency – were made following a two-day summit held in Sydney, Australia where the international business leaders who make up the B20 gathered to discuss and finalise their recommendations ahead of the November G20 Summit in Brisbane.

GFIA also issued a statement this week in support of the B20 recommendations to G20 trade ministers outlining examples of trade restrictive measures, which if removed, could help facilitate long-term stable economic growth.