The Jakarta Post
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati warned during the first CSIS Global Dialogue and 25th PECC General Meeting on Monday that the biggest risk to the otherwise rosy global economic outlook was the trade dispute between the United States, the world’s largest economy, and China, the second-largest.
Both economic powerhouses, she said, tend to settle their imbalances bilaterally, not through multilateral negotiations.
“Therefore, a global forum like this is very important and should send a strong message to defend the multilateral mechanism to settle economic or trade disputes,” Sri Mulyani said.
She noted the trade imbalances between the US and China, which generated a huge deficit for the former, but urged that these imbalances should be resolved through multilateral negotiations without damaging the accessibility of the global economy and trade.
“Under a bilateral mechanism, only the fittest will survive,” she cautioned.
She also expressed concern that an increasing number of leaders had succumbed to domestic politics and become more inward-looking, ignoring their commitment to opening the regional and global economy, as well as trade.
The main message of Sri Mulyani’s speech fitted well with the main theme of the conference, “Global Disorder: The need for new regional architecture and business model?”, jointly hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).
The two-day conference featured several sessions on such issues as sustainable development, environmental issues and climate change, disruptive technological impact on jobs, inclusive economic development, regional trade and development initiatives, among others.