It is vital for Belgian businesses whose activities are geared towards the European and global markets that their voice is heard within the bodies and organisations that hold sway at those levels. This task falls to FEB, whose staff participate actively in the work of numerous organisations and institutions, both European and international, and closely monitor the proposals they make.
FEB is a member of the following international bodies:
ICC Belgium International Organisation of Employers (IOE) International Labour Organisation (ILO) Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC)
ICC Belgium FEB works in close cooperation with the Belgian National Committee (www.iccbelgium.be) of the International Chamber of Commerce – ICC (www.iccwbo.org). Based in Paris, the ICC is the world business association. As such, it is active in international institutions including the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. It works to promote the responsible liberalisation of global trade and international investment. It draws up voluntary rules for international trade which are recognised and applied throughout the world, such as the International Commercial Terms (Incoterms®), rules on documentary credit and guarantees, model contracts, etc. It is also concerned with issues such as the fight against counterfeiting and corruption, and the protection of intellectual property. It plays a major role in international arbitration. ICC Belgium, together with the Belgian customs authorities, has set up the ‘No to counterfeiting and piracy’ Foundation whose main aims are to raise public awareness about the risks of counterfeiting and provide a neutral forum for the exchange of information between all stakeholders. The Foundation also acts as a central contact point for reporting abuses.
In 2012, ICC Belgium joined forces with the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce to set up the International Business Institute. Its first programme of high-level, practice-oriented modular training covered the full range of international trade issues. Certificates were awarded to students who attended the full series of 22 Friday afternoon sessions, spread over one year, and passed the exams.
International Organisation of Employers The International Organisation of Employers – IOE (www.ioe-emp.org) is the global umbrella organisation for employers. It has 151 employers’ organisation members (including FEB) in 144 countries. The IOE’s main objectives are to promote a socio-economic environment that is favourable to free enterprise and the market economy. The IOE also provides a forum for employers’ organisations, offers them advice and supports their advancement, particularly in developing countries. The IOE acts as the coordinator and voice of the Employers’ Group in the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The issues addressed by the IOE include globalisation, international labour standards, corporate social responsibility, the links between social obligations and trade, business and human rights, international standards, the activities of the G20 and all topics discussed by the ILO.
International Labour Organisation Through the IOE, FEB participates in the work of the International Labour Organisation – ILO (www.ilo.org). FEB is also represented in the ILO’s Governing Body. Due to its tripartite composition, the ILO – a specialised agency of the United Nations with 185 member countries – occupies a unique position among international institutions. It is a forum where representatives of employers, workers and governments can debate socio-economic issues and policy openly and on an equal footing. The ILO’s role is primarily a standard-setting one: it draws up international standards, conventions, recommendations and resolutions. For example, there are ILO standards on employment, entrepreneurship, social security, occupational safety and health, labour inspection, freedom of association and social dialogue. Most of these standards are incorporated into Belgian law, which means that they are of practical relevance to Belgian businesses.
The ILO also plays a less visible role in Belgium as a partner in development cooperation, supporting less developed countries in the areas of labour and growth. In this connection, it is increasingly interested in sustainable business, the free market and the role of SMEs in economic development.
Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) FEB is the Belgian employers’ member of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD – BIAC (www.biac.org). BIAC defends the interests of businesses at the OECD (www.oecd.org) and represents business and industry in the industrialised world. It is very active in all areas discussed at the OECD, including economic and fiscal policy, environment, foreign investment, energy, competition, export credit rules, tax rules governing international transactions and R&D. The OECD is a unique forum where the governments of 34 industrialised and democratic countries work together to address the economic, social and environmental challenges posed by globalisation.