Trade Wars and Global Competition
Autore: Centro Studi del Pensiero Liberale
Ore: 18:00 - 21:00
Luogo: Hotel Baglioni - Via Senato 5, Milano
Description of the event:
Protectionism poses important challenges to the Italian and global economy, triggering a potentially explosive circle. This is the theme of the event organized by the Centro Studi del Pensiero Liberale, chaired by Francesco Ferri, in Milan on September 12 with the title: Trade Wars and Global Competition: the positioning of Italy between Europe, China, and the United States. The President of the Study Center, Francesco Ferri, will introduce the debate. Action Institute will participate in the event, with an intervention by our President Carlotta de Franceschi.
The spark ignited in March, but the fire, seven months later, seems all but destined to die out. If one cannot speak of a declaration of war without lapsing into hyperbole, the decision by US President Donald Trump to apply trade tariffs to imports of certain goods has generated a wave of knock-on repercussions that risk damaging the fragile global trade and political balances forged by twenty years of multilateralism and international cooperation.
Initially excluded from tariffs, member states of the European Union, a traditional trading and strategic partner of the United States, were hit by the second round of sanctions, which also involved Canada and Mexico. The 25% tax on steel exports and 10% on aluminum exports did not leave Brussels’ leaders indifferent, and they responded with the promise of a counter-offensive, followed at the end of June by the introduction of duties on iconic products of the stars and stripes exports. The decisive reaction of Brussels has had its effects since after about a month of skirmishes and verbal threats, President Trump received at the White House the counterpart of the European Commission Juncker. The meeting between the two leaders averted the continuation of trade tensions and inaugurated a period of collaboration aimed at achieving the goal of “zero tariffs, zero trade barriers, zero subsidies on industrial goods other than cars.”
Much more subtle are the implications of the affair between the United States and China. The balance between the world’s two largest economies has been pursued by taking the road of economic and technological convergence before that of political convergence. As Pisani-Ferry noted, Russia and China have not aligned politically with liberal democracies, but have benefited from the economic standards of market economies. President Trump has justified the imposition of tariffs with an article in the Trade Act, a 1974 document that authorizes him to take action when there are violations of trade treaties that endanger U.S. goods, without WTO authorization. However, there appears to be significantly more at stake. What really seems to be endangered is not the exports of US products or the health of US companies in the short term, but the very hegemonic position of the United States in the global economy exercised through the primacy in international trade of the dollar and now threatened from many sides.
In this tangle of global interests, Italy, as a member of the Union, finds itself caught between the two fires of China and America.
Carlotta de Franceschi, President, Action Institute
Piercarlo Padoan (Keynote speaker), Former Minister of Economy and Finance of the Italian Government
Federico Imbert, CEO, Credit Suisse Italy
Biagio Giacalone, Intesa Sanpaolo
Emanuele Spoto, CEO, Telsy