Free Trade and the Global Economy – Can Growth Be Sustained in a Protectionist World?
An early move by the Trump Administration was to withdraw from the near–complete Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Objections of a Belgian regional government nearly destroyed the Canada-EU Comprehensive Trade Agreement (CETA). Protectionist instincts, even in leading economic powers, are straining the free-trade consensus. The G20 has abandoned its long-standing support for trade liberalisation as the engine of economic growth and poverty reduction. The financial crisis is partly to blame—not least in fanning protectionist sentiment among the public in France and Germany—but it is President Trump who has made protectionism an ideology.
Has the tide of globalisation truly turned, as it did nearly a century ago? Are deals such as CETA the last gasps of a decades-long era of trade liberalisation, or do they show the continued resilience of the global free trade paradigm? Who stands to lose and gain if globalisation goes into reverse?
Mauro Petriccione, Deputy Director General of the Directorate General for Trade, European Commission
Marietje Schaake, Member of European Parliament, the Netherlands
Stephen Biegun, Vice President of Ford
Siim Kallas, Professor of the University of Tartu, Former Vice- President of the European Commission
Moderated by: Kristjan Lepik, Product Manager at Move Guides Teleport, Estonia