On March 13, the German Marshall Fund of the United States hosted Dominick Chilcott, deputy head of mission of the British Embassy, for a luncheon discussion to outline the ambitions of the British Government for the upcoming G-20 summit in London and explain how these goals will relate to growing signs of protectionism. William A. Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, provided a response to Mr. Chilcott's remarks. Robert Liberatore, GMF Senior Transatlantic Fellow, moderated the event.
A podcast interview of Chilcott and Reinsch with Rob Liberatore is available for download below:
Mr. Chilcott's remarks focused on four main subjects:
- the strategic context for the London summit,
- an overview of the London summit itself,
- new signs of protectionism and
- the question of how the London summit should respond to protectionism.
Chilcott acknowledged that stabilizing the financial system and stimulating global demand would be at the top of the summit's agenda, but he stressed that leaders should also commit themselves to open markets and resisting protectionism to restore confidence in and revive the global economy. To resist protectionism, he called on world leaders to establish a more formal mechanism for monitoring countries' protectionist measures, with the WTO potentially assuming a leading role in naming and shaming countries that break free trade rules. In addition, he hoped that leaders would throw their weight behind the conclusion of the Doha Round, and commit more money for trade finance. (For the full remarks click here).
While Mr. Reinsch largely agreed with Mr. Chilcott's remarks, he did take exception with a few points. First, he questioned the assumption that all countries are in the same boat when responding to the global recession, as Mr. Chilcott had asserted. He also believed that some countries had not responded effectively to the crisis yet, and that they would therefore emerge from a recession much later than other states. Reinsch moreover outlined the possibility of the rise of a new era of competing economic models, with China and the Muslim world offering counter examples to the traditional Western approach to market policies.
After the two presentations, the question and answer session which covered not just trade issues, but other economic challenges facing world leaders as they meet in London. To a question about how to achieve practical, tangible results against protectionism from the G-20, Mr. Chilcott responded by reiterating his call for more monitoring of state actions and greater leadership from the European Commission to keep member states from implementing protectionist measures . In response to a question about the Doha Round, both Mr. Chilcott and Mr. Reinsch emphasized the need to complete the current round of trade negotiations, and they stressed that pledge for a completion of the round should remain on the agenda the G-20 summit. Both speakers also conceded that that there is a trade off between legitimacy and effectiveness with regard to the size of the summit. While a smaller group of participating countries could probably come easier to agreement of policy solutions, such outcomes would not be considered legitimate if the major economies of the world were not part of the meeting.