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Business envoy

Putting business at the heart of recovery: How the OECD can help

Mathias Cormann

Crisis has a powerful way of focusing the mind on what matters – how to survive, adapt and thrive again.

The COVID-recession continues to have a massive impact on jobs and livelihoods all around the world. The economic mission for all governments is to save jobs, restore jobs and help create as many new jobs as possible.

Jobs don’t grow on trees. Jobs are created by viable, successful and growing businesses.

Mathias Cormann
The Hon Mathias Cormann at the announcement of his nomination for Secretary-General to the OECD. Credit: DFAT.

As the world addresses the devastating economic impact of COVID-19, private sector businesses will be the key to jobs recovery and the jobs growth our economies need.

Policy measures world-wide need to give business the confidence to invest in their future growth and success.

That is what I worked to do with my Australian Government colleagues in our October Budget for FY21.

Our policy response to COVID-19 preserved employment and secured business survival.

Our tax incentives and other measures encourage businesses to start investing in their future growth again.

The green shoots of an economic and jobs recovery are emerging, but uncertainty remains high and the strength of the global recovery will vary markedly between countries and between sectors.

The effect of uncertainty is to dampen consumer and business confidence. Simultaneously, it has put pressure on the global economic and financial architecture. Policies that can help to reduce investor risk and increase policy predictability can rebuild confidence and encourage foreign direct investment flows.

As Australia’s candidate for Secretary-General of the OECD, I believe the Organisation has a critical role to play in helping Governments create the conditions for business to thrive, thereby creating employment and growth in productivity.

The OECD is the world’s leading forum to design, discuss and road-test innovative policy solutions. It facilitates debate and dialogue on what economic policies work, and how countries can get the settings right at home. It also provides credible, evidenced-based analysis and advice to underpin reform efforts by OECD members.

If selected to become Secretary-General, I want to see the OECD help countries strengthen economic resilience and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth in living standards among its member countries and beyond.

Key tasks for the OECD include supporting the expansion of global trade and investment, setting standards for the digital economy, and designing more effective, efficient and equitable taxation systems.

The OECD also has an important role to play in championing a sustainable and future-ready green recovery. Across all OECD members climate policy responses increasingly need to factor into long-term economic planning. Recovery from COVID-19 is an opportunity to target support towards investments that drive the development and commercialisation of new technologies. Through the OECD, we can come together to share ideas about our collective green recovery effort on our journey towards a low emissions future.

If we can get these policy settings right, then we can provide more certainty and opportunity for business to grow and fuel a stronger economic recovery.

That is why as Secretary-General I will foster greater engagement between the OECD and the private sector. The OECD must listen to the experience, expertise and perspectives of business. I welcome the important role played by the Business at OECD network as the “voice of business” shaping OECD policymaking.

Our countries are strongest when governments, communities and businesses are working together. Our global economy is strongest when our international organisations are delivering consensus, cooperation and certainty. This has been my approach as Finance Minister, and it will be my focus as OECD Secretary-General.

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