World finance officials believe that the answer to growing attacks on globalization is not to erect new trade barriers, but to do a better job of protecting workers who are harmed by free trade.
The finance officials were yesterday concluding three days of talks with sessions of the policymaking bodies of the 189-nation IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank.
The meetings are coming at a time when there is a sizable anti-globalization backlash following a June vote in Britain to leave the EU and the US presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has focused on his complaints about illegal immigration and the US’ huge trade deficits.
Trump has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on countries such as China and Mexico that he feels are pursuing unfair trade practices and costing millions of US jobs.
However, officials at these meetings said that a decades-long effort to tear down trade barriers has lifted millions of people in poor nations out of poverty.
They said the problem is that not enough has been done to protect workers who have lost jobs because of the greater competition from developing countries.
“If we really want jobs and higher income, if we care about poverty reduction and economic fairness ... if we care about growth, then we need to be serious about fostering global trade and about making sure that global trade works for all,” IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said on Friday.
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim agreed that at present there is “tremendous anger against trade,” but he said that critics do not understand how important the growth of world trade has been in lifting people out of extreme poverty.
“We are here because we believe in our mission of ending extreme poverty,” Kim said. “We are not going to do it without more robust trade.”
Before the IMF and World Bank meetings, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors renewed a pledge to utilize all the policy tools at their disposal to combat what has been an anemic global recovery from the Great Recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.
The G20 officials acknowledged they are confronting a broad range of new risks ranging from the anti-trade backlash to lingering worries in financial markets over whether Britain’s exit from the EU could further drag down growth and possible trigger a new worldwide downturn.
Chinese Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei (樓繼偉), chairman of the G20 finance group, on Friday said that the global situation “remains challenging and complicated,” with growth in many nations still too slow, despite years of aggressive monetary policies by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks.
“Geopolitical tensions are growing, terrorist attacks are frequent... All of these factors have major implications on the international economic and financial markets,” Lou said.
US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew told reporters after the G20 discussions that he was encouraged that there was growing support among other nations that more tools needed to be employed beyond monetary policy to boost weak global growth.
The concerns about financial markets were highlighted earlier on Friday when the British pound plunged sharply, sliding 6 percent in just a couple of minutes to its lowest level in more than three decades, before rebounding.
Markets have also been roiled in recent days by worries about the health of Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank AG.
Lew refused to discuss Deutsche Bank specifically, but he said with regard to all Europeans banks, US officials have made the point for some time that it was important for financial institutions to have adequate capital buffers.
“We have been clear that Europe has not done as much as the United States,” Lew said.
German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble said that a new financial crisis could not be ruled out and that the IMF is backing up his long-standing warnings about the risks to the banking system from “ultra-loose” monetary policy.
Speaking at a news conference to discuss Germany’s leadership of the G20 major economy meetings next year, Schaeuble also declined to answer direct questions about Deutsche Bank’s health.
However, he repeated his sharp criticism of “ultra-loose monetary policy,” which includes the negative interest rates and other unconventional strategies of the European Central Bank aimed at jolting Europe out of extremely weak growth.
“The danger of a new crisis has not completely vanished,” Schaeuble said.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion
‘ONE-STOCK SHOW’: Turnover hit an all-time high as TSMC continued to determine the local market’s direction and surpassed Visa in market capitalization The TAIEX early yesterday hit an all-time intraday high on the back of soaring Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) shares, before tumbling back to the previous day’s close as the contract chipmaker could not single-handedly prop up the index. The TAIEX rose more than 400 points in the first 20 minutes of trading to hit a record 13,031.7 points, but later pared its gains to close down 0.01 percent at 12,586.73. Turnover was NT$343.252 billion (US$11.63 billion), the highest in the Taiwan Stock Exchange’s history. TSMC continued to dictate the market’s direction, as its early surge by the daily
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for