The second session of the APEC CEO Submit with the theme of “The future of globalization” on November 9 focused on the challenges of globalization which governments and businesses around the world are facing.
Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, said it would be difficult to predict the global picture in the next three years. But he assured other participants at the summit in Danang City on November 9 that globalization would move on despite growing trends of anti-globalization, ultra-nationalism, and trade protectionism.
However, he warned, globalization will be disconnected as its benefits have failed to spread to the average middle class, especially in more industrialized economies where many have lost their jobs in the process. Besides, global interests have been fragmented from national interests of individual countries.
He stressed each resident should have an understanding of globalization, and enjoy direct benefits from the trend. Therefore, the global business community should pay attention to this issue, he added.
Robert Moritz, global chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, cited findings in a survey of over 1,400 business leaders with responsibility in the 21 APEC economies conducted by his company as saying that business prospects in the region are improving.
Around 37% of APEC CEOs are confident of revenue growth in the next 12 months, up from 28% in 2016, while about 63% of APEC CEOs expect their broader global footprint to expand over the next three years.
Notably, a net 50% of businesses will increase their global investments, up from 43% last year. Up to 71% of those surveyed will inject more investments into APEC economies next year.
He stressed companies are adjusting their operations to fit overseas markets in the context of the changing international trade and investment environment, but they have no intention to withdraw from multilateral economies. CEOs have a better understanding of their social responsibility due to inclusive growth, he said.
Victoria Kwakwa, Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific Region at the World Bank, shared the same view, saying technological advancements act as the midwife of globalization which helps bring about prosperity. Global gross domestic product (GDP) growth has doubled compared to the 1990s, and global trade has expanded as well, helping billions of residents out of poverty.
Kwakwa stressed globalization tends to benefit higher income nations more. The “only option is to make globalization better,” she said. She pointed out that stagnant wage growth in many advanced economies undermined public faith in globalization.
There is “no alternative for globalization,” she said, adding that issues associated with globalization are not only economic but also political. In order to solve the problems with globalization, the business community should focus on powering civil society.
Therefore, she noted, there should be a joint effort by governments and businesses to ensure an equal share of global growth to the working class majority.
Philipp Rösler, managing director of the World Economic Forum, said the core issue is to address the negative impacts of trade agreements in order to guarantee equality among economies through tax policy adjustments and job creations.
Governments should come up with plans to support their disadvantaged residents, retrain their workforce, and improve workers’ ability to change jobs, he added.
He noted the challenge was to find “simple” and “right” answers to peoples’ legitimate concerns regarding the changing nature of work and economic restructuring.