The 8th Annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit explored changing landscapes in the areas of energy, trade and investment, and how these fields factor into sustaining global economic growth.
Read the top four takeaways from the summit here, and visit the Meridian International Center blog to watch a highlight video of the event.
Americans remain largely pro-trade believing that it has a positive effect on innovation, economic growth, and prices of products. Americans are more skeptical of trade’s effects on American jobs, quality of products, and American businesses. There is also broad bipartisan consensus that trade is an opportunity for economic growth, signaling a willingness to enter new trade deals and avoid trade wars. While largely unpopular, most employed Americans say that the U.S.—China trade war has little to no effect on them. That is likely to change, however, if the U.S. economy dips.
Plurilateral agreements allow nations of common interest to come together and negotiate deals that would otherwise be shut out of multilateral negotiations, such as through the WTO. Favored by countries seeking liberalization such as Germany and New Zealand, plurilateral agreements typically have stronger enforcement mechanisms. They increasingly appear to be the future of trade. The WTO itself can be reformed using plurilateral negotiations that pool nations of similar interests together to advocate for desired change.
We are faced with the dual challenge of meeting the world’s rising demand for energy while addressing the need to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Given this increased demand, no single source of energy can be immediately removed from the market. Countries, however, can focus on energy diversification as a part of an intentional step towards fighting climate change while still recognizing consumer and development economics. As it is a global problem, each country must develop their own comprehensive energy strategy that moves the needle towards sustainable energy consumption, and the United States must continue innovating to provide alternatives to countries still consuming energy from a single source.
With strategic competition between the U.S. and China dominating headlines, governments are creating private sector investment opportunities to explore the world’s developing economies. The soon-to-be established U.S. International Development Finance Corporation will streamline the investment process and provide new ways for U.S. businesses to invest. This will serve as a viable alternative to Chinese investment while also providing American companies some leverage over China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Developing countries that exhibit a strong rule of law and open markets will find a clear path toward attracting investment. By prioritizing the sanctity of contracts and methodical measures to foster positive market ecosystems, these nations stand to unlock capital primed for investment.
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