Declaring corporate leaders must speak out "when forces are at work that seek to disable global commerce," UPS chairman & CEO Jim Kelly told the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia yesterday that terrorism attacks "simply do not threaten the lifeblood of the civilized world.
"That lifeblood of the civilized world is commerce; the natural thing that free people do," Kelly said. "For those of us here in the U.S. and around the world who have flourished under the benefits of a free-market system, we have a deep and even moral obligation to keep global commerce moving forward. Moving forward toward a new normal."
While the human costs of the tragedies go far beyond numbers, the proper response is not to pull back in fear or suggest that globalization is now threatened, said Kelly, who serves on the President's Export Council and is the chairman of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
Kelly added that many in the business world appreciated the irony of the terrorism aftermath.
"Their acts on September 11 were meant to derail globalization. But in effect they should guarantee it by enlisting the most potent economic engine on earth, the free market, to help shape it with new forethought, intent and resolve.” He said, "We've seen the 50-mile tractor-trailer back-ups at the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, and we've heard stories of goods sitting in customs offices around the world for days. Clearly the global supply chain is under attack, and we will deal with it."
Kelly said businesses need to take four steps; Support the necessary investment in infrastructure for developing countries, partner with fledgling companies to address global issues, engage governments around the world to sustain commerce, and develop more trust between public and private sectors.