Gary Litman
Senior Vice President, Global Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Published

January 03, 2023

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The inclination for a country to turn inward in times of crisis is as old as the need for multilateral institutions to help uphold and shape a cooperative and productive world order. And after almost three years of uncertainty with COVID, then rising inflation and Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, we are in a time of geopolitical crisis and looming economic disorder. 

As we kick off 2023, here’s a look at what the G20 is, why it’s important, who is hosting, and what role the private sector plays. 

Importance of G20: Born out of the Asian financial crisis, and with the realization that nobody alone can solve a global debt crisis or prevent an environmental disaster, the G20 was formed to foster cooperation around macroeconomic issues.  

Together, the leaders of the 19 member countries plus the EU represent:  

  • Around 90% of global GDP 
  • 80% of global trade 
  • Two-thirds of the world’s population 

This group of countries can’t hide from the impacts of major international challenges and therefore, can’t hide from their responsibility to help avert or address them. Each G20 meeting is an opportunity for the policymakers of these key countries to discuss solutions to global issues so they can act together, despite some fundamental political disagreements, and build off each other's contributions.  

In 2023, the G20 needs to set an optimistic tone for restarting the global economy after the initial pandemic shock. The G20 will need to counterbalance skepticism about global trade with the political understanding that trade is a critical component to foster economic growth. Each year the G20 presidency rotates, and the new host country helps set the agenda for the year. For 2023, it’s India. 

Meet the new G20 host, India: India is on track to become the world’s most populous country this year and is one of the largest global economies. Their economic diversity, commercial advancements in transformational areas like digital economy, long history of representing the global south, strong international voice, and depth of global engagement could make India’s host year quite impactful.   

For India, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use this global platform to articulate its vision for the world and present its view of what India stands for and where they are heading as serious global player. Under its G20 theme of One Earth. One Family. One Future., it’s also India’s chance to shape the economic agenda and provide a viewpoint on how the world should collectively handle major challenges. 

For the U.S., we have strong ties to India through our strong commercial relationship and large diaspora, including a generation of Indian entrepreneurs. The U.S. government should use the G20 to avoid further market fragmentation and find ways to support and encourage global trade. After all, these countries are our major trading partners. 

What we’re focused on:  

  • Digital transformation – connecting more people in a way that is reliable and spurs economic growth through digital payments or enhanced digital infrastructure of the financial sector. 
  • Environmental and climate risks – bringing business solutions to sustainability challenges. 
  • Resilient global health systems – preparing for the next pandemic or another global health crisis. 
  • Reform of development finance – making the global financial infrastructure better fit for the purpose of sustainable development economic growth.  

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a long history of working with India, including through our U.S.-India Business Council, which has been on the ground in India for nearly 50 years. We also started the B20 – the private sector side of the G20 – and business is the fabric that weaves the G20 together.  

We look forward to building on this foundation to engage with Indian officials and business leaders to be part of India’s growth and to continue our work through the B20 to develop recommendations and push for actions that will lead to a more prosperous future for us all. 

What’s next: Throughout the year, we’ll work with the Confederation of Indian Industry, CII, to make sure the private sector voice is prominent. This includes a stocktaking event in April in Washington – stay tuned for more information! 

About the authors

Gary Litman

Gary Litman

Senior Vice President, Global Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Gary Litman, senior vice president of Global Initiatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is responsible for the Chamber’s policy advocacy for the economic reform agenda of the G20, G7, and international institutions. He leads the Chamber’s participation in a range of global business coalitions and related business summits focused on sustainable economic policies.

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