DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) — Ministers of G20 member nations at the World Economic Forum here have called on the international group of major economies to continue aiming for inclusive growth and free trade, and rejecting protectionism.
“If you want to get more inclusive growth, you need more free trade,” said Wolfgang Schauble, the federal minister of finance in Germany, which currently holds the G20 presidency. Schauble argued the G20 should redouble efforts to promote inclusive growth as a part of free trade.
Inclusive growth is development that creates opportunity for all segments of the population, and which sees benefits of increased prosperity distributed more equally.
Nicolas Dujovne, Argentina’s treasury minister, said that Argentina’s closure to international trade would end as his country embraced globalization. He said the new administration was “opening the economy and wants to open up and receive the benefits of globalization to generate more inclusive growth.”
Dujovne admitted that avoidance of competition and openness had not been good for Argentina, which will take over the G20 presidency in November 2017.
Inclusive growth had been a cornerstone of the Turkish G20 presidency in 2015, and Mehmet Simsek, deputy prime minister of Turkey, argued that it was important for creating jobs and reducing income inequality.
“Evidence shows that inequalities constrain global growth,” he said, adding that protectionism was another growth hurdle.
Protectionism has become an increasing concern in the world trading community after both Brexit in June, when Britain decided by referendum to leave the European Union (EU), and uncertainty related to the incoming Trump administration in the United States.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tuesday confirmation that Britain would be leaving the EU single market has also raised concerns, while the head of Britain’s government said Britain should not be punished for leaving the Union.
“We don’t’ want to punish the UK [for Brexit],” Schauble asserted. “We’re not happy with the decision and I don’t think it’s good for the UK or Europe…We need to minimize the damage to the EU and UK.”
Schauble added: “If you want to make our economies stable, we all agree the direction is for more growth inclusiveness and sustainability.”
While the incoming U.S. administration’s policies are not yet clear enough for comment, Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s finance minister, said he expected the United States to continue to play a key role in enabling global growth and creating the right framework for inclusivity. “Collective determination can lift global growth and ensure all economies benefit at the right time,” he said.
The World Economic Forum, a Swiss nonprofit organization, is holding its 47th annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, and has welcomed over 3,000 participants from nearly 100 countries.