As part of the 21st annual Warwick Economics Summit, the International Trade Panel featured a riveting discussion between Pascal Lamy, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, and Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, which was chaired by Joe Lynam and broadcasted live to our virtual audience on 5th February, 2022.
Below, you will find our official Summit Press Release for the event, which summarises the speech's highlights, and is accompanied by a collection of the very best quotes from the International Trade Panel at WES 2022.
Warwick Economics Summit welcomed its second panel of guests in its largest-ever 2022 edition on 5th February. The panel was hosted by Joe Lynam, presenter for the BBC World Service, who simulated discussion between the panellists: Pascal Lamy, former director of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and former European Commissioner for Trade; Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Member of European Parliament; and Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General of OECD and former Danish Ambassador to UNESCO.
Ulrik Knudsen lamented that multilateralism "is not in fashion anymore," despite the best efforts of the WTO, with Marie-Pierre Verdrenne agreeing that rule-based trade and multilateralism "must be defended". Pascal Lamy offered some meaningful nuance, reminding the audience that "trade does not automatically lead to an increase in welfare."
All three panellists highlighted various transformations taking place in the realm of international trade. Knudsen stressed the significance of ongoing digitisation across industries, saying "it would have taken eight years or longer if not for the pandemic" for these digital advances to materialise, including the massive growth of tech giants like Facebook and Alphabet. Lamy spoke of the rise of China, warning that "if China does not accept new rules of international trade, (...) trade with China will not be as open in the future as it was in the past". Finally, Vedrenne discussed issues of climate change in the realm of international trade, and how the EU is seeking to tackle the issues posed by greater trade for the climate.
"Digital changes happening in our economy have been accelerating. It would have taken 8 years longer if not for the pandemic." (Ulrik Knudsen)
"We do have a triple crisis - one that stems from the economic crisis, or the pandemic one; one that's political in nature; and one that has to do with the need to modernise the trade rules." (Ulrik Knudsen)
"If China does not accept new rules of international trade that constrain its capacity to subsidise part of its economy, then trade with China will not be as open in the future as it was in the past." (Pascal Lamy)
"There is less consensus than there used to be on the benefits of trade union, and this stems from two reasons which we have to understand." "The first one is that there is a feeling that (...) China does not play by the same rules as global market capitalist economies." "The second issue is (...) the feeling, by some constituencies in some countries, (...) that trade opening works for some but not for them." (Pascal Lamy)
"Multilateralism is attacked by a lot of issues. (...) The Covid crisis shows that multilateralism must be defended." (Marie-Pierre Vedrenne)
"We have, for example in my region, a lot of issues for our SMEs. It was a global challenge, and the European Union acts at all the levels to respond to all the issues - health issues, economic issues." (Marie-Pierre Vedrenne)
Press release written by Max Vorster
VIDEO RECORDING OF THE TALK:
You will find the video recording of the full International Trade Panel, delivered at WES 2022, here:
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