Trudeau cau­tions against pro­tec­tion­ism

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

WORLD lead­ers need to push back against a tide of “ram­pant” pro­tec­tion­ism and na­tion­al­ism, Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said, warn­ing that “build­ing walls” was not the so­lu­tion.

The global econ­omy is not work­ing for too many peo­ple, Mr Trudeau said, fu­elling anger among vot­ers left be­hind by un­equal growth and “tak­ing us in the wrong di­rec­tion in many places in the world”.

“There’s a sense the for­ward march of progress has stalled,” he told a busi­ness fo­rum in the Chi­nese city of Hangzhou which is host­ing the G20 sum­mit.

“That anx­i­ety is ex­actly what is lead­ing to the kind of anti-trade, anti-glob­al­i­sa­tion pro­tec­tion­ism that is run­ning ram­pant, whether in Brexit, or in pro­tec­tion­ist rhetoric in elec­tion cam­paigns,” he said.

“We have to push back against that,” he said. “It’s very tempt­ing to fall into di­vi­sive rhetoric. That’s one of the things we have to be strongly com­pelling in stand­ing against.”

Mr Trudeau did not ex­plic­itly ref­er­ence Don­ald Trump’s pop­ulist cam­paign for the US pres­i­dency, but al­luded to the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee’s plat­form as he ar­gued for the ben­e­fits of free trade.

“We know that iso­la­tion­ism does not cre­ate op­por­tu­nity, does not cre­ate growth, does not cre­ate ben­e­fits for the mid­dle class,” he said.

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping – whose coun­try is reg­u­larly ac­cused of dump­ing and other trade vi­o­la­tions by the US and EU – also warned against pro­tec­tion­ism.

“The path of world eco­nomic devel­op­ment shows that open­ness brings progress and iso­la­tion leads to back­ward­ness,” he said.

“The beg­gar-thy-neigh­bour ap­proach will not help any coun­try to get out of the cri­sis or re­ces­sion,” he said. “In the age of eco­nomic glob­al­i­sa­tion, coun­tries are closely linked in their devel­op­ment, and they all rise and fall to­gether.”

China is not part of the Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship, the US-led ef­fort to cre­ate a gi­ant free trade area around the Pa­cific Ocean.

The two lead­ers’ com­ments came af­ter IMF chief Christine La­garde warned that the world’s economies faced a po­ten­tially toxic mix of low long-term growth and ris­ing in­equal­ity, cre­at­ing po­lit­i­cal temp­ta­tions to pop­ulism and raised trade bar­ri­ers. –

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