At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, ministers of G20 countries called on members to continue on the path of inclusive growth, warning against protectionism.
“If you want to get more inclusive growth, you need more free trade,” said Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance of Germany, which holds the G20 presidency. Schäuble added that the G20 should be redoubling efforts to promote inclusive growth as part of free trade.
Nicolas Dujovne, Minister of Treasury of Argentina, said that, after being closed to international trade, his country will embrace globalization. “The new administration is opening the economy and wants to open up and receive the benefits of globalization to generate more inclusive growth,” he said, acknowledging that trying to avoid competition and openness is not good for Argentina. Argentina will take over the G20 presidency after Germany.
Mehmet Şimşek, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, said that protectionism is bad for global growth. He added that inclusive growth – a key focus of the 2015 Turkish G20 presidency – is important for creating jobs and reducing income inequality. “Evidence shows that inequalities constrain global growth,” he said. Despite a drop in the value of the Turkish lira, he reassured investors that the fundamentals are still there.
While too early to comment on the incoming US administration’s policies, Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance of South Africa, said that, he expects the US to continue to play a key role in enabling global growth and creating the right framework for inclusivity. “Collective determination can lift global growth and ensure all economies benefit at the right time,” he said.
Responding to a warning from Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to not threaten Britain for leaving the European Union, Schäuble countered, “We don’t’ want to punish the UK [for Brexit].” He explained: “We’re not happy with the decision and I don’t think it’s good for the UK or Europe … We need to minimize the damage to the EU and UK.” Schäuble added: “If you want to make our economies stable, we all agree the direction is for more growth inclusiveness and sustainability.”