by N. Peter Kramer
Opening the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, President Trump touted what he described as a ‘blue-collar boom’ transforming the US economy and hailed his trade agreement with China in a speech to global business and government leaders. He ticked off a list of accomplishments from low unemployment to increases in foreign investment. ‘ The campaign style address appeared aimed as much to a US re-election audience and the 100 senators who will act as jurors in his impeachment trial as at the other head of states and business executives attending to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss mountain resort’, The Wall Street Journal wrote.
Before the Davos crowd of several hundred global business and political leaders, Mr Trump took also a shot at his domestic left wing political opponents Elisabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, saying: ‘We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country or eradicate our liberty’. It was the US President’s second appearance in Davos. In 2018 he sought to reassure world leaders and business executives. ‘America First does not mean America alone’, he said at the time.
Challenges of restoring growth overshadow climate goals
The organisers of WEF had wanted this year’s event to promote a more sustainable world by urging companies to look beyond profits. But the message of IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath that trimmed the forecasts for global economic growth casted a shadow over it. Also, the in Davos launched PwC annual survey of CEOs revealed concerns about the global economic backdrop, with corporate leaders saying their own companies’ prospects are under pressure.
These latest signs of global economy fragility will force global leaders and chief executives to tackle the more immediate challenges of restoring growth and confidence, than putting the focus on issues such as climate change. ‘There is simply no room for complacency, the world needs stronger multilateral co-operation and national level policies to support a sustained recovery that benefits all’, Ms Gopinath said.