I can­not imag­ine a no-deal Brexit sce­nario, says IMF’s La­garde

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Anna Isaac

CHRIS­TINE LA­GARDE, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund, has said that she “can­not imag­ine” a no-deal Brexit sce­nario.

The move­ment of peo­ple and avi­a­tion lo­gis­tics were not cov­ered by the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WTO) rules that would come into force should a deal not be agreed by March 29 2019, Ms La­garde said, as she ex­plained that such a sce­nario was un­think­able.

“[I] can­not imag­ine that would hap­pen,” said the leader of the world’s lender of last re­sort, speak­ing at the IMF’s an­nual meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton DC. “For the peo­ple them­selves, what does that mean? WTO does not pro­vide for those,” the for­mer French fi­nance min­is­ter added.

As she high­lighted the hu­man fac­tor in the Brexit de­ci­sion mak­ing, Ms La­garde said that the EU and the UK should pri­ori­tise the mat­ter of peo­ple – those EU na­tion­als liv­ing in the UK and vice versa – above all else. “[It’s a] sit­u­a­tion of peo­ple first [and] busi­ness sec­ond,” she said.

Ms La­garde’s com­ments come on the same day that Brexit talks between the UK and the EU ap­peared be dead­locked, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that Bri­tain could crash out of the union with no new trade deal in place.

Her re­marks fol­low a speech ear­lier this week by Carolyn Fair­bairn, head of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish In­dus­try (CBI), in which she ac­cused Bri­tain’s lead­ers of play­ing “hu­man poker” with EU mi­grants.

A clearer timetable and plan for UK ne­go­ti­a­tions with Brus­sels was es­sen­tial, Ms La­garde ar­gued, adding that “our [the IMF’s] hope is that it be con­ducted promptly”.

The IMF head also ad­dressed the furore that emerged fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of the fund’s bi-an­nual “Fis­cal Mon­i­tor”, which called for higher tax­a­tion on top earn­ers in ad­vanced economies in or­der to gen­er­ate more in­clu­sive growth.

It pro­voked sig­nif­i­cant back­lash from lead­ers in the US who con­sider the IMF to be op­posed to their plans to cut taxes for high earn­ers and claimed that the fund wanted to see them fail.

Ms La­garde also pointed to the im­por­tance for all economies of “in­creas­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion” of women in the work­force. She called on pol­i­cy­mak­ers and cen­tral bankers to work hard to “close the gen­der gap between men and women” by ad­dress­ing mat­ters such as equal pay.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.