Interview: Anti-globalization sentiment likely to feed into G20 discussions: Italian expert

by Alessandra Cardone

ROME, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) — Brexit and the rising anti-globalization sentiment are among global uncertain factors that are likely to feed into the discussions at the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit early next month in China, an Italian expert said.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Giuseppe Sacco, a professor of political science and international relations at LUISS University in Rome, said the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama will leave the White House in a few months may also have an impact.

“Some pressing political events are taking place at the global level, and they might divert the G20 agenda or, at least, impact it,” said the former division director at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Specifically, Sacco said that the rising anti-globalization sentiment in the heart of the Anglo-Saxon world is a new and interesting phenomenon.

“Most intriguingly, this trend is not revealing itself in a country like Greece, for example, which was hit most badly by the global financial crisis and by consequent austerity measures easily ascribable to the globalized economy,” he said.

“Anti-globalization feelings have instead grown in Britain, and the Brexit referendum is much proof of that, and within the campaign of (Republican presidential nominee) Donald Trump in the United States,” he added.

China, the rotating chair of G20 this year, has outlined the key points expected to be unveiled at the summit with the theme of building an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive global economy. Innovative and inclusive growth is at the heart of the agenda.

Experts have said that it is necessary for the world leaders to make globalization work in the interest of all. Multinational firms from the developed economies have benefited the most, whereas even the white collars and middle class in many countries feel that they have not benefited so much from globalization, leading to a rise in anti-globalization.

The global challenges and issues have been mentioned in statements of G20 meetings that have been taking place at various levels throughout 2016, showing that world leaders are aware of the urgency.

Development will be a key word at the G20 summit this year. It is one of the key words for the summit as China tries to facilitate the transition of the G20 from crisis response to a mechanism focusing on long-term global economic governance.

Nevertheless, Sacco expects the G20 leaders to address both the short-term economic issues and those related to development.

“Compared to other G20 summits addressing only the ongoing political and economic situation, however difficult it was, the summit in Hangzhou cannot avoid facing structural problems of the global economy,” he said.

The sluggish growth pace of global gross domestic product, the depressed market demand, the international trade slowdown, and the excess capacities of some industries are among the structural priorities that are expected to be at the core of the G20 agenda.

Sacco also said world leaders at the forthcoming summit should pay much attention to the worrying rise of protectionism.

“I think Italy will have a keen eye on this, because it is a major exporting economy and risks paying a higher price compared with others for the increasing trade restricting measures,” he said, citing the G20 commitment to have consultations aimed at resisting protectionism.

The G20 groups the world’s 19 economically important countries as well as the European Union (EU). The upcoming G20 Summit is scheduled to be held in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou on Sept. 4-5.

Representatives of international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Labor Organization, the OECD and some guest countries have been invited to attend the summit.

The Italian scholar also said the possible impact of the “still fresh” Brexit referendum is likely to feed into discussions at the summit.

“Its impact on Britain and EU’s future is still unclear,” he said.

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