G20 leaders resolved to combat a “populist backlash” against global trade, and highlight the benefits it has brought including lifting millions out of poverty, IMF’s Christine Lagarde said on September 5. Lagarde said that the benefits of free trade in terms of lifting productivity, giving people choices and hauling them out of poverty were being drowned out by the chorus of opposition.
There was “a determination around the room to better identify the benefits of trade in order to respond to the easy populist backlash against globalisation,” the IMF managing director said after a summit in China.
“The way, for instance, China has managed to bring more than 700 million people out of poverty towards the formation of a middle class. Those stories are not really included in the narrative that we have at the moment.”
But in a concession to the rising sense that many have been left behind, she said that globalisation “has to benefit all, not a few”.
In an opening speech on September 4 Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a stern warning over sluggish global growth, financial market turbulence and receding global trade and investment.
But the talks take place amid a perception that the global economic order exemplified by the G20 is not working for ordinary people, a mood that makes it difficult for many leaders to make meaningful commitments.