Interview: Global trade system reform vital to economic recovery, says Australian economist

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-15 14:23:31|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The reform of the global trade system is significant for the world's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and long-term economic growth, a senior Australian economist has said.

Without renewed efforts on trade system reform, "the crumbling confidence in open trade will hamper recovery from the COVID-19 economic crisis and recovery of the long-term growth potential of East Asia and the global economy," Peter Drysdale, head of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research and East Asia Forum at the Australian National University, told Xinhua.

"There has been some pushback against the attack on the multilateral trading system in the past year," Drysdale said, referring to progress made on bilateral and regional levels, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the completion of China-EU investment agreement negotiations.

However, "the world trade system is still in crisis," said the economist, adding "reforming the (global trade) regime is now the key global task."

China and East Asia's development has benefited from the open, transparent and rules-based trading system, Drysdale said.

To reform the global trade system and restore confidence in open trade, major global and regional forums, such as the Group of 20 (G20) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, have an important role to play, he said.

For example, "setting up a G20 task force that has active Asian engagement could signal high-level commitment to constructive system repair, strengthening the global economic outlook for longer-term recovery," said the economist.

Regional arrangements, such as the RCEP, have also offered the opportunity for exploration of approaches to reform, he said.

The economist also warned against a widening digital divide, which is a "real danger to an integrated international economy and the continuation of global prosperity."

Calling for joint efforts to solve the issues related to digital governance, Drysdale suggested establishing "a workable multilateral digital trade regime." Enditem