Business must not be ‘victim’ in security clampdown, says TABD

Series Title
Series Details 27/09/01, Volume 7, Number 35
Publication Date 27/09/2001
Content Type

Date: 27/09/01

By Peter Chapman

CHIEF executives meeting US and EU policy chiefs will warn that companies must not be the innocent victims of actions against terrorism.

An emergency Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) meeting in Washington next month will say moves to stiffen border controls and patrol international freight must not stem the flow of commerce.

“Security issues are clearly out of our scope,” said an aide to Electrolux CEO Michael Treschow, the European chair of the meeting. “But measures where the US has gone overboard with new security may come onto the table.” She said small and medium-sized companies could be the worst hit, as would firms who relied on 'just-in-time' delivery that depended on smooth transit of goods across borders. TABD, like the Davos World Economic Forum, offers businesses the chance to meet their counterparts in government. Its aim is to boost transatlantic trade by cutting down on red tape and protectionist regulations.

The next session was originally scheduled for 12 October in Stockholm. But the events in the US and flight bans on many American CEOs by their companies led organisers to scale back the meeting to just 24 top managers and to change its venue to Washington. Among the remaining attendees will be PricewaterhouseCooper chief James Schiro and EU Commissioners Pascal Lamy and Erkki Liikanen.

Despite the lower turn-out, TABD insiders said the talks would still cover five priority issues identified before 11 September: capital markets, dispute management, networked economy, regulatory policy and the WTO agenda.

Anti-globalisation campaigners, including 20 MEPs, Corporate Europe Observatory, Attac Sweden and Friends of the Earth have urged Commissioners to stay away from the TABD which they claim has “inappropriate, undemocratic powers”. Despite the change of venue, they said they will go ahead with a “counter-summit” in Stockholm on October 12 and 13. This “would inform the Swedish public and to build NGO strategies to undermine the TABD”.

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