Trade conflicts need to be resolved for global growth: India

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over increasing protectionism and trade conflicts across the world, India’s G-20 Sherpa Shaktikanta Das said that countries ought to work out arrangements that are beneficial to all in the larger interest of reviving global growth. “Global growth has taken a downward turn in the aftermath of 2008 financial crisis. Then advanced economies were under pressure because of subsequent developments. Financial crisis was followed by debt crisis in PIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). It was followed by Eurozone crisis,” he told PTI. There was another major event like Britain deciding to exit the European Union, putting further pressure on global growth, he said. “But now I think in recent months, the US economy as well as European economies are showing signs of revival. On the whole, the global economy appears to be in revival mode. Therefore, at this juncture, any trade conflict which goes beyond a certain point will definitely have negative impact on global growth,” he said. Free trade has been responsible for sustained global growth over the years, he said, adding that protectionist tendencies going beyond a point, naturally will have adverse consequences on world economy. Emphasising that the world economy cannot afford another era of slow growth, Das said: “It is therefore necessary that all countries act in a spirit of cooperation and resolve –the trade issue bilaterally or multilaterally.” The former Economic Affairs Secretary also noted that some of the trade issues are bilateral in nature and unless they are resolved the global economy faces negative prospect of growth slowing down. “In that background, the negotiations taking place under the aegis of WTO (World Trade Organisation), among the trade ministers assumes very great significance. Countries work out arrangements which are beneficial to all,” he added. Talking about G20 forum and trade issue, Das said, “Argentinian presidency has proposed trade ministers meeting also. Even in the G20 meeting the issue of trade comes up, we voice our very clear opinion that protectionism is against growth and there is need for open trade between the countries.” One of its priorities is the future of jobs in the context of automation, robotics.

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